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gustalis, the elegy on Charles II's death. James's truthfulness is dwelt
Above deceit, no crookedness of thought;
Till every petty service be o'erpaid.
Some then libel him :
Duke of Guise, Act v. Sc. 1.
Threnodia Augustalis, 485-490. Compare also Dryden's character of James in The Hind and the Panther, Part iii, beginning at line 906: 'A plain good man,' &c.
1. 416. million in first edition, instead of nation.
11. 417, 418. Dryden here describes the government of the Commonwealth before Cromwell's Protectorate as a theocracy. In line 522 he speaks of an 'old beloved theocracy.' 1. 436. This line was changed by Derrick so as to make a question :
'Is 't after God's own heart to cheat his heir?' and Derrick's change has been adopted by succeeding editors, including Scott. Dryden makes Achitophel assert it to be 'after God's own heart to cheat his heir,' i.e. to deprive the Duke of York of his succession. This is intended for the assertion of a wicked counsellor. Derrick's change spoils the sense.
1. 447. This simile of the lion is again used by Dryden in Sigismunda and Guiscardo, 241 :
For malice and revenge had put him on his guard,
With inward rage he meditates his prey ?'
1. 461. Prevail yourself. Avail was substituted by Derrick for prevail, and the editors have followed Derrick. The same has happened where Dryden uses the same verb prevail reflectively, as in the preface to Annus Mirabilis.
1. 519. Levites, priests ; the Presbyterian ministers displaced by the Act of Uniformity.
* 11. 524-568. See Dryden's own criticism on this character in the Essay on Satire, prefixed to his translation of Juvenal (Works, ed. Scott, xiji. 95). He concludes : “The character of “ Zimri ” is, in my opinion, worth the whole poem. It is not bloody, but it is ridiculous enough, and he for whom it was intended was too witty to resent it as an injury. ... I avoided the mention of great crimes, and applied myself to the representing of blind sides and little extravagances, to which, the wittier a man is, he is generally the more obnoxious.
1. 525. Aaron's race, the clergy. For in this line has been carelessly changed into To in most editions, including Scott's.
1. 544. Zimri, George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham, a poet as well as a politician, who united great talents with extreme profligacy. There is a well-known brilliant sketch of this Buckingham in Pope's Moral Essays. He ran through a very large fortune.
Alas! how changed for him
Moral Essays, iii. 309. Buckingham, in The Rehearsal, had unsparingly ridiculed Dryden's plays, and given Dryden the nickname of Bayes. The Rehearsal was first acted in 1671. Dryden took his revenge on Buckingham now. Buckingham wrote a reply to this poem, under the title, “Poetic Reflections on a late Poem, entitled Absalom and Achitophel, by a Person of Honour. This reply was a very poor production, unworthy of the author of The Rehearsal.
1. 574. Balaam, the Earl of Huntingdon, younger brother of the Lord Hastings, whose premature death in youth was lamented by Dryden in his first known poem. Lord Huntingdon was now a very zealous mem. ber of Shaftesbury's party, bent on the exclusion of James Duke of York from succession to the throne ; but he afterwards changed his politics and became a warm adherent of James.
* l. 574. Well-hung, voluble, fluent,
Flippant of talk and voluble of tongue
Oldham, Imitation of the Third Satire of Juvenal. Caleb, Ford, Lord Grey of Wark. 1. 575. Nadab, Lord Howard of Escrick, the third peer of that title. He had been lately a prisoner in the Tower on account of accusations made by Fitzharris, and he is accused of having taken the Sacrament when in prison, to assert his innocence, in a mixture of ale and apples called 'lamb's wool.' Lord Howard afterwards became infamous by betraying Lord Russell and Algernon Sydney.
1. 581. Jonas, Sir William Jones, the Attorney-General who conducted the prosecutions of the Popish Plot. Mr. Luttrell, in a manuscript note on this poem, says that Sir William Jones drew the Habeas Corpus Act. 1. 585. This line stood in the first edition,
‘Shimei, whose early youth did promise bring.' Shimei is Slingsby Bethel, who had been elected one of the sheriffs of London in 1680. He had been conspicuous as a republican before the Restoration, and was a member of Richard Cromwell's parliament. His stinginess was a by-word :
And though you more than Buckingham has spent
Oldham, Imitation of Eighth Satire of Boileau. 11. 585-681. Most satirists are usually prone to the error of attacking either mere types, or else individuals too definitely marked as individuals. The first is the fault of Regnier and all the minor French satirists, the second is the fault of Pope. In the first case the point and zest of the thing are apt to be lost, and the satire becomes a declamation against vice and folly in the abstract. In the second case a suspicion of personal pique comes in, and it is felt that the requirement of art, the disengagement of the general law from the individual instance, is not sufficiently attended to.' Dryden avoids both these faults. His figures are always at once types and individuals. Zimri is at once Buckingham and the idle grand seigneur who plays at politics and learning, Achitophel at once Shaftesbury and the abstract intriguer, Shimei at once Bethel and the sectarian politician of all days.' Saintsbury, Dryden, p. 77.
1. 595. vare, a wand, from the Spanish vara. The word occurs in Howel's Letters (p. 161, ed. 1728): "The proudest don of Spain, when he is prancing upon his ginet in the street, if an alguazil show him his vare, that is, a little white staff he carrieth as a badge of his office, my don will presently off his horse and yield himself his prisoner. The word vase has been substituted for vare in some editions, including Scott's., 1. 634. An allusion to the serpent of brass made by Moses, and 'set upon a pole' by God's command, to save the Israelites from the fiery serpents which God had sent for punishment. And it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived.' (Numbers xxi. 6, 9.)
1. 637. earthy: incorrectly printed earthly in some editions.
1. 644. Ours was a Levite. Titus Oates had taken orders in the Church of England, and his father was a Church of England clergyman, having been before an Anabaptist minister.
1. 649. A church vermillion and a Moses' face. The rubicùnd look of a jolly churchman, and a shining face supposed to be like that of Moses, when he came down from the Mount (Exod. xxxiv. 29–35).
1. 658. Rabbinical degree. Oates represented that he had received the degree of Doctor of Divinity at Salamanca.
1. 665. wit in first edition, instead of writ.
1. 676. Agag's murder. The murder of Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey, the magistrate before whom Oates had deposed on oath his story of the Popish Plot, and who was soon after found dead near Primrose Hill. The believers in the Popish Plot charged the Roman Catholics with having murdered Godfrey in revenge. It was urged on the opposite side that Oates and his witnesses instigated the murder in order to impute it to the Roman Catholics. Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey was reputed friendly to the Roman Catholics, and was said to be unwilling to take the depositions. Dryden's meaning seems to be that Godfrey was murdered at the call of Oates, for being friendly to the Roman Catholics. See 1 Samuel xv. for Samuel's reproaches to Saul for disobeying the Lord's command and sparing Agag.
1. 688. Dissembling joy in first edition, instead of His joy concealed.
1.700. Behold a banished man. Monmouth had been sent out of England by the King in September 1679, and in November he returned without permission. The King then ordered him again to quit England, and he disobeyed, whereupon he was deprived of all his offices and banished from court.
*l. 738. Wise Issachar, his wealthy western friend. Thomas Thynne of Longleat, who on account of his wealth went by the name of Tom of Ten Thousand. Wise is ironical. “Issachar is a strong ass' (Genesis xliv. 14), and Tom Thynne's reputation is hinted at in a satire which refers to the assault on Dryden mentioned in p. xxx of the preface :
• What drudge would be in Dryden's cudgelled skin,
State Poems, vol. i. pt. 2. p. 33. Thynne was murdered in February 1682, a few months after the publication of this poem, by assassins employed by Count Königsmark, who
desired to marry Lady Ogle, a young heiress to whom Thynne was betrothed.
1. 742. depth in first edition, instead of depths.
*11. 759-768. According to Hobbes the State was based on a contract or covenant. Men, weary of the perpetual warfare and insecurity of the state of nature, covenanted together to surrender their right of governing themselves to a sovereign, or to a sovereign assembly. This covenant or contract was irrevocable, and the power thus transferred could not be resumed by those who gave it. Dryden and the Tories in general accepted this view. The Whigs held that the transfer of power was only conditional, not absolute. 1.777. In the first edition this line stood,
“That power which is for property allowed.' *1. 794. In the state of nature, according to Hobbes, there can be 'no property, no mine and thine distinct; but only that to be every man's that he can get, and for so long as he can keep it.' 1. 802. This line has been generally printed after Derrick,
"To patch their flaws and buttress up the wall.' But the change of the to their before flaws is not necessary, nor is it an improvement.
1. 804. Broughton changed our ark into the ark, and has been generally followed by succeeding editors. But there is no reason for the change.
1. 817. Barzillai, the Duke of Ormond, an old Cavalier, who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for Charles I at the beginning of the Civil War, and was re-appointed by Charles II to the same post after the Restoration. He was removed in 1669, but re-appointed a few years after ; and he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the time of the publi. cation of this poem. The duke was one of Dryden's patrons : Carte, in his life of Ormond, mentions Dryden as one of his periodical dinnerguests. Dryden dedicated, in 1683, to the Duke of Ormond the translation of Plutarch's Lives, to which was prefixed a Life of Plutarch, by Dryden. Ormond died 1688, before the Revolution. Dryden dedicated his Fables, published in 1699, to the duke's grandson and successor, son of the Earl of Ossory, who died in July 1680, and who is eulogised in the lines which soon follow.
1.825. The court he practised. To practise the court is a Gallicism.
1. 827. chuse is the spelling here to rhyme with Muse. Later, in line 979, it is printed choose, where the rhyme is with depose. In The Hind and the Panther, Part i. line 40, chuse rhymes with use. See note on Astræa and Redux, 119, for similar variety of spelling, strow and strew to suit rhyme : and it is the same with show and shew in Dryden.