You are on page 1of 35

Absalom and Achitophel

John Dryden
1681

Edited by Jack Lynch
Absalom and Achitophel was originally published in November 1681 (a “second part” appeared in 1682 but is not included here). The text of this online edition is based on that in The Works of John Dryden (1882–92), though I've introduced some changes from other texts, especially the California Edition. It is meant only as an annotated teaching edition, and makes no pretense to being a reliable critical text. Most of the notes are concerned with explaining the complicated biblical and historical allusions, and here again I confess my tremendous debt to the California Edition. Anyone who wants to know more about the poem and its context should consult this edition, where the commentary on this poem alone runs to nearly eighty pages. I have not identified every allusion, focusing only on the major figures. I also haven't bothered with most of the disputed identifications.

—— Si Propiùs stes Te Capiet magis ——
In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin, Before polygamy was made a sin; When man on many multiplied his kind, Ere one to one was cursedly confined; When nature prompted, and no law denied, [5] Promiscuous use of concubine and bride; Then Israel's monarch 1 after heaven's own heart, His vigorous warmth did variously impart To wives and slaves; and, wide as his command, Scattered his Maker's image through the land. [10] Michal, 2 of royal blood, the crown did wear,

A soil ungrateful to the tiller's care: Not so the rest; for several mothers bore To godlike David several sons before. But since like slaves his bed they did ascend, [15] No true succession could their seed attend. Of all the numerous progeny was none So beautiful, so brave, as Absalon; 3 Whether inspired by some diviner lust, His father got him with a greater gust; [20] Or that his conscious destiny made way, By manly beauty, to imperial sway. Early in foreign fields he won renown, 4 With kings and states, allied to Israel's crown; In peace the thoughts of war he could remove, [25] And seemed as he were only born for love. Whate'er he did, was done with so much ease, In him alone 'twas natural to please; His motions all accompanied with grace, And paradise was opened in his face. [30] With secret joy indulgent David viewed His youthful image in his son renewed; To all his wishes nothing he denied, And made the charming Annabel 5 his bride. What faults he had, — for who from faults is free? [35] His father could not, or he would not see. Some warm excesses, which the law forbore, Were construed youth that purged by boiling o'er; And Amnon's 6 murder, by a specious name, Was called a just revenge for injured fame. [40] Thus praised and loved, the noble youth remained, While David undisturbed in Sion 7 reigned. But life can never be sincerely 8 blest; Heaven punishes the bad, and proves the best. The Jews, 9 a headstrong, moody, murmuring race, [45]

As ever tried the extent and stretch of grace; God's pampered people, whom, debauched with ease, No king could govern, nor no God could please; Gods they had tried of every shape and size, That godsmiths could produce, or priests devise; [50] These Adam-wits, 10 too fortunately free, Began to dream they wanted liberty: And when no rule, no precedent was found, Of men, by laws less circumscribed and bound; They led their wild desires to woods and caves, [55] And thought that all but savages were slaves. They who, when Saul was dead, without a blow, Made foolish Ishbosheth the crown forego; 11 Who banished David did from Hebron 12 bring, And with a general shout proclaimed him king; [60] Those very Jews, who at their very best, Their humour more than loyalty exprest, Now wondered why so long they had obeyed An idol monarch, which their hands had made; Thought they might ruin him they could create, [65] Or melt him to that golden calf, — a State. But these were random bolts; no formed design, Nor interest made the factious crowd to join: The sober part of Israel, free from stain, Well knew the value of a peaceful reign; [70] And, looking backward with a wise affright, Saw seams of wounds dishonest 13 to the sight; In contemplation of whose ugly scars, They curst the memory of civil wars. The moderate sort of men, thus qualified, [75] Inclined the balance to the better side; And David's mildness managed it so well, The bad found no occasion to rebel. But when to sin our biassed nature leans, The careful devil is still at hand with means, [80] And providently pimps for ill desires; The good old cause, 14 revived, a plot requires. Plots, true or false, 15 are necessary things, To raise up commonwealths, and ruin kings.

Submit they must to David's government. Some truth there was. 19 the nation's curse. [95] And. Thus worn or weakened. [110] With oaths affirmed. what was harder yet to flesh and blood. This set the heathen priesthood 17 in a flame. by whom they eat and drink. Believing nothing.— But when the chosen people grew more strong. But swallowed in the mass. but represented worse. [120] As served at once for worship and for food. The Egyptian rites the Jebusites embraced. As if he had been born of beaten gold. and puzzle all the wise. For priests of all religions are the same. Impoverished and deprived of all command. And theirs the native right. [100] Stock. [115] Succeeding times did equal folly call.The inhabitants of old Jerusalem [85] Were Jebusites. In this conclude them honest men and wise. Their gods disgraced. [105] For 'twas their duty. Their taxes doubled as they lost their land. Where gods were recommended by their taste. or believing all. with dying vows denied. unchewed and crude. 18 though their enemies. Such savoury deities must needs be good. all the learned think. Raised in extremes. In his defence his servants are as bold. The rightful cause at length became the wrong. From hence began that plot. and burnt like common wood. By force they could not introduce these gods. Not weighed nor winnowed by the multitude. And every loss the men of Jebus bore. Bad in itself. and in extremes decried. 16 the town so called from them. The Jewish rabbins.— For ten to one 20 in former days was odds. Of whatsoe'er descent their godhead be.— . To espouse his cause. well or ill content. To please the fools. or other homely pedigree. but dashed and brewed with lies. stone. [90] They still were thought God's enemies the more.

Some by their friends. Pleased with the danger. unfixed in principles and place. . bubbles o'er. to boast his wit. thrown from thence. [150] A name to all succeeding ages curst: For close designs. In power unpleased. when the waves went high. and threat the government. [125] Their busy teachers mingled with the Jews. for a calm unfit. Opposed the power to which they could not rise. [155] A fiery soul. Restless. and. the sacrificer's trade. Had yet a deep and dangerous consequence. [145] Some. Some had in courts been great. more by themselves thought wise. [140] Work up to foam. [135] For as. Some thought they God's anointed meant to slay [130] By guns. impatient of disgrace. And o'er-informed the tenement of clay. if bands ungrateful men could tie. working out its way. from this first ferment. when raging fevers boil the blood. Sagacious. which failed for want of common sense. Strong bands. by their monarch's fatal mercy. which. A daring pilot in extremity. Like fiends. So several factions. but who can know How far the devil and Jebusites may go? This plot. Were raised in power and public office high. grown From pardoned rebels kinsmen to the throne. Of these the false Achitophel 23 was first. [160] He sought the storms.So fraud was used. 21 Which Hebrew priests the more unkindly took. And every hostile humour. Fretted the pigmy-body to decay. bold. Because the fleece accompanies the flock. invented since full many a day: Our author swears it not. and crooked counsels fit. 22 which before Slept quiet in its channels. The standing lake soon floats into a flood. were hardened in impenitence. And raked for converts even the court and stews. Would steer too nigh the sands. and turbulent of wit. Fools are more hard to conquer than persuade. but.

28 Or had the rankness of the soil been freed From cockle. yet still affecting fame. And fortune's ice prefers to virtue's land. [190] Swift of dispatch.Great wits are sure to madness near allied. or hands more clean. and lazy happiness. Achitophel. Usurped a patriot's 26 all-atoning name. Where none can sin against the people's will? Where crowds can wink. In Israel's courts ne'er sat an Abbethdin 27 With more discerning eyes. 30 But wild ambition loves to slide. Bankrupt of life. . the wretched to redress. Resolved to ruin. and how sacred ill. [180] With public zeal to cancel private crimes. unsought. why should he. not stand. Since in another's guilt they find their own? [185] Yet fame deserved no enemy can grudge. So easy still it proves in factious times. And heaven had wanted one immortal song. 24 a son. And born a shapeless lump. but praise the judge. [170] Got. [165] Refuse his age the needful hours of rest? Punish a body which he could not please. like anarchy. while his soul did huddled notions try. Then. [195] David for him his tuneful harp had strung. Oh! had be been content to serve the crown. To that unfeathered two-legged thing. Disdained the golden fruit to gather free. with wealth and honour blest. In friendship false. seized with fear. With virtue only proper to the gown. or to rule the state. The statesman we abhor. [175] The pillars of the public safety shook. Unbribed. And fitted Israel for a foreign yoke. 29 that oppressed the noble seed. And thin partitions do their bounds divide. and easy of access. grown weary to possess [200] A lawful fame. Else. How safe is treason. To compass this the triple bond 25 he broke. implacable in hate. yet prodigal of ease? And all to leave what with his toil he won. and no offence be known.

By buzzing emissaries fills the ears [210] Of listening crowds with jealousies and fears Of arbitrary counsels brought to light. Their cloudy pillar and their guardian fire. might be Drawn to the dregs of a democracy. and skulked behind the laws. . and shows the promised land. manifest of crimes contrived long since. bless. at whose nativity [230] Some royal planet ruled the southern sky. and none [220] Was found so fit as warlike Absalon. but more he makes. the giddy Jews Tread the same track when she the prime renews. in every distant age. and the old men's dream! Thee. And proves the king himself a Jebusite. He stood at bold defiance with his prince. And sheds his venom in such words as these. The people's prayer. whose extended wand Divides the seas. [205] Held up the buckler of the people's cause Against the crown. Thy longing country's darling and desire. Achitophel still wants a chief. he knew full well. The young men's vision. thee the nation's vows confess. Saviour. Weak arguments! which yet. But. never satisfied with seeing. Would keep him still depending on the crowd. for he knew his title not allowed. Has exercised the sacred prophet's rage. governed by the moon. Him he attempts with studied arts to please. Were strong with people easy to rebel. By natural instinct they change their lord. [240] And. Some circumstances finds. [225] That kingly power. And once in twenty years their scribes record. [215] For. The wished occasion of the plot he takes. “Auspicious prince.And lent the crowd his arm to shake the tree. Not that he wished his greatness to create. For politicians neither love nor hate. 31 Their second Moses. [235] Whose dawning day. thus ebbing out. the glad diviner's theme. Now.

33 [270] The joyful people thronged to see him land. or rot upon the tree. on Jordan's sand. Heaven has to all allotted.Swift unbespoken pomps thy steps proclaim. Blown off and scattered by a puff of wind. Whose motions if we watch and guide with skill (For human good depends on human will). [255] Our fortune rolls as from a smooth descent. The shadows lengthening as the vapours rise. Now. Covering the beach and blackening all the strand. and tarnish with our daily sight? Believe me. like the prince of angels. Till thy fresh glories. from his height Comes tumbling downward with diminished light. if unseized. 34 Betrayed by one poor plot to public scorn. Some lucky revolution of their fate. from whose loins you spring. And from the first impression takes the bent. Those heaps of people which one sheaf did bind. But. when fortune called him. [260] And spreads her locks before you as she flies. [275] Our only blessing since his curst return. And leaves repenting folly far behind. And stammering babes are taught to lisp thy name. [245] Content ingloriously to pass thy days. thy fruit must be [250] Or gathered ripe. He is not now. Naked of friends. Not dared. How long wilt thou the general joy detain. Grow stale. What strength can he to your designs oppose. But. Starve and defraud the people of thy reign. which now shine so bright. soon or late. At Gath 32 an exile he might still remain. and round beset with foes? [280] . But shun the example of declining age: Behold him setting in his western skies. royal youth. to be king. she glides away like wind. And heaven's anointing oil had been in vain. Like one of virtue's fools that feed on praise. Had thus old David. now she meets you with a glorious prize. [265] Let his successful youth your hopes engage. as when.

All sorts of men. In God 'tis glory.If Pharaoh's 35 doubtful succour he should use.— For loyal blood within him struggled still. and liberty. Foment the war. observant of the laws. and half consenting to the ill. If you. . but not support the king: Nor would the royal party e'er unite [285] With Pharaoh's arms to assist the Jebusite. commonwealth. just. long and dark. Or. Too full of angel's metal in his frame. sprung from high. Proud Egypt would dissembled friendship bring. A foreign aid would more incense the Jews. and when ambition blinds? Desire of power. is of celestial seed. Made drunk with honour. by my successful arts Abhorring kings. Add to their arms a chief of royal blood. their interest soon would break. [310] Unwarily was led from virtue's ways. The faith's defender. And nobler is a limited command. and when men aspire. that gaudy flower Fair only to the sight. Half loath. on earth a vicious weed. What may not Israel hope. if they should. When flattery soothes. and debauched with praise.” What cannot praise effect in mighty minds. The ambitious youth. and what applause [295] Might such a general gain by such a cause? Not barren praise alone. Given by the love of all your native land. Religion. gracious. Good. And with such odious aid make David weak. too covetous of fame. and 'tis the general cry. [300] Than a successive title. [305] Yet. Drawn from the mouldy rolls of Noah's ark. as champion of the public good. and mankind's delight. — “And what pretence have I [315] To take up arms for public liberty? My father governs with unquestioned right. but solid power.— He thus replied. 'Tis but a spark too much of heavenly fire. estrange their altered hearts [290] From David's rule.

If mildness ill with stubborn Israel suit. Why then should I. And that” — But there he paused. [320] Whom has he wronged in all his peaceful reign? Who sues for justice to his throne in vain? What millions has he pardoned of his foes. [350] His lawful issue shall the throne ascend. His loyalty the king. But what was right in them were crime in me. the world his fame.And heaven by wonders has espoused his cause. and restrain my hands: [340] The people might assert their liberty. and yoke a servile train. What could he gain his people to betray. Yet dauntless. Or the collateral line. his friends his truth proclaim. and run popularly mad? Were he a tyrant. said— “Is justly destined for a worthier head. Or change his right for arbitrary sway? [330] Let haughty Pharaoh curse with such a reign His fruitful Nile. encouraging the bad. The dog-star heats their brains to this disease. For. Whom just revenge did to his wrath expose! Mild. His courage foes. His favour leaves me nothing to require. Of every royal virtue stands possest. and averse from blood. when my father from his toils shall rest. [335] Turn rebel. . His brother. though oppressed with vulgar spite. and raised the Jebusite. What more can I expect while David lives? [345] All but his kingly diadem he gives. humble. who by lawless might Oppressed the Jews. [325] Inclined to mercy. And late augment the number of the blest. His crime is God's beloved attribute. but nature's holy bands Would curb my spirits. easy. then sighing. If David's rule Jerusalem displease. [355] Still dear to all the bravest and the best. Prevents 36 my wishes. 37 where that shall end. and secure of native right. Well might I mourn. and outruns desire. studious of our good.

And more. [390] And every shekel. Why am I scanted by a niggard birth? My soul disclaims the kindred of her earth. buy. whispers me within. To ply him with new plots shall be my care. or had debased my mind.” Him staggering so. supremely good and wise. And David's part disdains my mother's mould. His faithful friends. Shall cost a limb of his prerogative. [380] Not that your father's mildness I contemn. when hell's dire agent found. Or plunge him deep in some expensive war. 'Tis true. perhaps. than subjects ought to have. If not when kings are negligent. But manly force becomes the diadem. Such virtue's only given to guide a throne. or weak? Let him give on till he can give no more. While fainting virtue scarce maintained her ground. he grants the people all they crave. Which gives me no pretence to royalty? Yet oh that fate. [365] And then betrayed it to a mean descent! I find. [395] He must. [385] And more his goodness than his wit proclaim: But when should people strive their bonds to break. Had raised my birth. For sure he comes of a forgiving kind. with the remains of kingship.His mercy even the offending crowd will find. He pours fresh forces in. made for empire. I find my mounting spirits bold. To my large soul not all her treasure lent. The thrifty Sanhedrin 38 shall keep him poor. and thus replies: [375] “The eternal God. Desire of greatness is a godlike sin. [370] And. Imparts not these prodigious gifts in vain. propitiously inclined. What wonders are reserved to bless your reign! Against your will your arguments have shown. Which when his treasure can no more supply. our jealousies and fears . [360] Why should I then repine at heaven's decree. For lavish grants suppose a monarch tame. which he can receive.

than to anoint him king? [430] It surely showed he loved the shepherd well. Nor let his love enchant your generous mind. can be no longer just. Our fond begetters. To pass your doubtful title into law: If not. [410] All empire is no more than power in trust. and God they durst depose. Succession. that universal call. My arts have made obnoxious to the state. and Pharaoh's pensioners. for the general good designed. [425] Love but themselves in their posterity. Or let him lay his vain pretence aside. Or let his kindness by the effects be tried. His right. when resumed. A father's right. could he bring A better proof.— [420] The public good. Which. ere Saul they chose. Would David have you thought his darling son? What means he then to alienate 39 the crown? The name of godly he may blush to bear. [405] Shall first be pawned. [415] Better one suffer than a million grieve. . To which even heaven submitted. Turned all his virtues to his overthrow. Whom when our fury from his aid has torn. God said. God was their king. 'Tis nature's trick to propagate her kind. [400] The next successor. Till time shall ever-wanting David draw. the people have a right supreme To make their kings. He shall be naked left to public scorn. answers all. your filial name. and afterwards be sold. [435] 'Tis after God's own heart to cheat his heir. Who gave so fair a flock as Israel. for kings are made for them. he loved your father. And gained our elders to pronounce a foe. The Jews well know their power.Call Jebusites. and fear of future fame. In its own wrong a nation cannot bind. whom I fear and hate. Urge now your piety. If altering that the people can relieve. for sums of necessary gold. who would never die.

Perhaps the old harp. And who can sound the depth of David's soul? Perhaps his fear his kindness may control. Already looks on you with jealous eyes. Commit a pleasing rape upon the crown. [450] Till. [460] Prevail yourself of what occasion gives. To you a legacy of barren land. and contracts his paws. Whose sacred life each minute would expose [465] To plots. He fears his brother. Though now his mighty soul its grief contains. Your case no tame expedients will afford. The prostrate vulgar 40 passes o'er and spares. Like woman's lechery to seem constrained. [455] Resolve on death. For plighted vows too late to be undone. from seeming friends. And self-defence is nature's eldest law. But try your title while your father lives. Constrains his roaring. while he waits his prey. Proclaim you take them in the king's defence. Doubt not. his time for fury found. Secure his person to secure your cause. [470] If so. Or sleep dissembling. For then rebellion may be thought a crime. and secret foes. Sees through the thin disguises of your arts.He to his brother gives supreme command. a prince severe and wise. [475] . And that your arms may have a fair pretence. Leave the warm people no considering time. slumbering in the way. And marks your progress in the people's hearts. His fearless foes within his distance draws. [440] Then the next heir. at the last. Which for no less a stake than life you draw. but. [445] He meditates revenge who least complains. on which he thrums his lays. when he most affects the frown. Or some dull Hebrew ballad in your praise. though he loves his son. But with a lordly rage his hunters tears. by force he wishes to be gained. And like a lion. He shoots with sudden vengeance from the ground. or conquest by the sword.

of old. to serve the same design. possess the laws. and this advice. to serve their own. and in treason bold. Unblamed of life. [480] How happy had he been. With blandishments to gain the public love. And blest all other countries but his own. On principles of pure good husbandry. [485] 'Tis juster to lament him than accuse.They. By these the springs of property were bent. In godly faction. And make their Jewish markets of the throne. For several ends. That thought to get preferment by the tongue. Others thought kings an useless heavy load. ambition set aside. With Absalom's mild nature suited best. Achitophel unites The malcontents of all the Israelites. they cracked the government. These were for laying honest David by. above the rest. and did too little good. well versed. The Solym‘ an 41 rout. Not stained with cruelty.” He said. The best. Whose differing parties he could wisely join. [490] To further this. or not so high! His kingly virtues might have claimed a throne. and patriots in their hearts. Strong were his hopes a rival to remove. who possess the prince. Not only hating David. And popularly prosecute the plot. [500] The next for interest sought to embroil the state. nor puffed with pride.— [495] Who thought the power of monarchy too much. . but seduced by impious arts. Not wicked. To sell their duty at a dearer rate. — and of the princes some were such. And wound so high. To head the faction while their zeal was hot. [505] Who cost too much. Pretending public good. if destiny Had higher placed his birth. but the king. But charming greatness since so few refuse. With them joined all the haranguers of the throng. Mistaken men. [510] Who follow next a double danger bring.

[550] Then all for women. drinking. always in the wrong. Pursued their old beloved theocracy. Nothing to build. These out of mere instinct. Blest madman. [530] 'Gainst form and order they their power employ. [520] Resumed their cant. pulled before From the ark. Was chemist. Was everything by starts. that he seemed to be [545] Not one. . which in the Judges' days they bore. Stiff in opinions. and who talk too much. in the course of one revolving moon. [540] Such were the tools. rhyming. who could every hour employ. The devil and the Jebusite did hate. 47 fiddler. Yet deepest mouthed against the government.Cow'ring and quaking at a conqueror's sword. Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. though not of surest scent. they knew not why. And. even in their own despite. and nothing long. Hot Levites 43 headed these. Where sanhedrim and priest enslaved the nation. and all things to destroy. 44 [525] If once dominion they could found in grace? These led the pack. but all mankind's epitome. For who so fit to reign as Aaron's race. but a whole Hydra 45 more Remains of sprouting heads too long to score. by the same blind benefit of fate. A man so various. Because they could not help believing right. Of the true old enthusiastic breed. A numerous host of dreaming saints succeed. and. Saw with disdain an Ethnic plot 42 begun. Born to be saved. Some of their chiefs were princes of the land: In the first rank of these did Zimri 46 stand. and buffoon. who. and property. with a zealous cry. And scorned by Jebusites to be outdone. statesman. Who think too little. painting. [535] Adored their fathers' God. But far more numerous was the herd of such. But. [515] But lofty to a lawful prince restored. And justified their spoils by inspiration.

[555] And both. Shimei. The wretch. Nor shall the rascal rabble here have place. or to enjoy! Railing and praising were his usual themes. and some let scorn secure. of means bereft. to show his judgment. He left not faction. and they had his estate. but of that was left. in extremes. spite of him. all the rest. [570] Wits.— Did wisely from expensive sins refrain. So over violent. is followed by a worse. But he. and mere nobles. Whom kings no titles gave. or over civil. [560] Beggared by fools. That every man with him was God or devil.With something new to wish. be The well-hung Balaam and cold Caleb free. warriors. In squandering wealth was his peculiar art. For. He had his jest. wicked but in will. 48 And canting Nadab 49 let oblivion damn. [575] Who made new porridge 50 for the paschal lamb. He laughed himself from court. And therefore. Some their own worth. and wise Achitophel. commonwealths-men. but could ne'er be chief. 51 who could statutes draw To mean rebellion. Thus. in the name of dulness. and God no grace: [580] Not bull-faced Jonas. Titles and names 'twere tedious to rehearse Of lords. Nothing went unrewarded but desert. the weight of business fell [565] On Absalom. then sought relief By forming parties. Kind husbands. who heaven's anointed dared to curse. and make treason law. below the dignity of verse. and hatred to his king. though bad. 52 — whose youth did early promise bring [585] Of zeal to God. were the best. And never broke the Sabbath but for gain: . Let friendship's holy band some names assure. whom still he found too late.

[595] His neck was loaded with a chain of gold. [625] With spiritual food he fed his servants well. [605] If any durst his factious friends accuse. Shimei was always in the midst of them: And. During his office treason was no crime. But free from flesh. 57 such magistrates require.— His business was. He packed a jury of dissenting Jews.Nor ever was he known an oath to vent. [615] And. their trade forgot. No Rechabite 55 more shunned the fumes of wine. and his shrieval board 56 The grossness of a city-feast abhorred. chose him magistrate. Such frugal virtue malice may accuse. His cooks. Whose fellow-feeling in the godly cause Would free the suffering saint from human laws: For laws are only made to punish those [610] Who serve the king. which was — to cheat and pray. His hand a vare 53 of justice did uphold. that his noble style he might refine. Chaste were his cellars. once burnt. As dare not tempt God's providence by fire. If any leisure-time he had from power. though not prodigal of pelf. to persuade. The sons of Belial 54 had a glorious time: For Shimei. that made the Jews rebel: . and to protect his foes. Would rather curse than break good company. [600] When two or three were gathered to declaim Against the monarch of Jerusalem. But sure 'twas necessary to the Jews: For towns. [590] Thus heaping wealth. That kings were useless. Or curse. and a clog to trade. though his brains were hot.— Because 'tis sin to misemploy an hour. The city. with long disuse. unless against the government. to reward his pious hate Against his master. [620] Cool was his kitchen. by the most ready way Among the Jews. by writing. if they cursed the king when he was by. Yet loved his wicked neighbour as himself.

and. And gave him his rabbinical degree. thou monumental brass. Whose oath with martyrdom did Stephen 60 grace? Ours was a Levite. Unknown to foreign university. Then groaning under Jebusitic crimes. To speak the rest (who better are forgot). His memory. And rashly judge his writ apocryphal. and a Moses' face. — the Lord knows where. 59 as by prince's son. his saint-like grace A church vermilion. ere they shine in skies. 58 thou shalt from oblivion pass. Erect thyself. Who ever asked the witnesses' high race.And Moses' laws he held in more account. Prodigious actions may as well be done By weaver's issue. This arch-attester for the public good [640] By that one deed ennobles all his blood. nor proud: His long chin proved his wit. Yet Corah. [645] Sunk were his eyes. [665] Our laws for such affronts have forfeits made: . For human wit could never such devise. exceeding man's belief. 62 His judgment yet his memory did excel. And suited to the temper of the times. The spirit caught him up. [630] Would tire a well-breathed witness of the plot. High as the serpent of thy metal made. yet comets rise From earthy vapours. miraculously great. [650] Could plots. But where the witness failed the prophet spoke: [655] Some things like visionary flight appear. [660] Which pieced his wondrous evidence so well. Some future truths are mingled in his book. repeat. as times went then. his voice was harsh and loud: Sure signs he neither choleric 61 was. Which therefore cannot be accounted lies. For forty days of fasting in the mount. Let Israel's foes suspect his heavenly call. His tribe were God Almighty's gentlemen. While nations stand secure beneath thy shade! [635] What though his birth were base.

for your dear cause [700] Exposed a prey to arbitrary laws! Yet oh! that I alone could be undone. “I mourn. Cut off from empire. And sighs. furnished out with arts. Deluded Absalom forsakes the court. though once forgot. More slow than Hybla-drops. He glides unfelt into their secret hearts. bespeaking pity ere he spoke. [695] Few words he said. Were I myself in witness Corah's place. And fired with near possession of a crown. he sets himself to show. my countrymen. who takes away his trade. And load his person with indignities. In Corah's own predicament will fall: [680] For witness is a common name to all. His zeal to heaven made him his prince despise. The wretch. but easy those and fit. 64 and far more sweet. [690] And with familiar ease repeats their names. who did me such a dire disgrace. and his words he frames. Impatient of high hopes. Should whet my memory. and no more a son! . The best that could be had for love or coin. his gestures. Then with a kind compassionating look. [670] To make him an appendix of my plot. [685] The admiring crowd are dazzled with surprise.He takes his life. In terms as coarse as Samuel used to Saul. urged with renown. your lost estate. And on his goodly person feed their eyes. Indulging latitude to deeds and words: [675] And Corah might for Agag's 63 murder call. On each side bowing popularly low: His looks. Though far unable to prevent your fate: Behold a banished man. Surrounded thus with friends of every sort. His joy concealed. But zeal peculiar privilege affords. Thus formed by nature. What others in his evidence did join.

And. Fame runs before him as the morning-star.” Youth. Egypt and Tyrus 65 intercept your trade. And pity never ceases to be shown [725] To him who makes the people's wrongs his own. beauty. Is grown in Bathsheba's 66 embraces old. that still believe their kings oppress. This moving court. [705] And Jebusites your sacred rites invade. his friends destroys. [710] Exalts his enemies. only he. and a numerous train: [730] From east to west his glories he displays. [715] And he alone from my revenge is freed. But hospitable treats did most commend Wise Issachar. can make the nation bleed. And all his power against himself employs. — and let him give.— “'Tis all the aid my present power supplies: No court-informer can these arms accuse. And. bribed with petty sums of foreign gold. — my right away: But why should he his own and yours betray? He. Each house receives him as a guardian god. graceful action seldom fail.Now all your liberties a spoil are made. — whom with reverence yet I name— Charmed into ease. These arms may sons against their fathers use: [720] And 'tis my wish. He gives. With lifted hands their young Messiah bless: Who now begins his progress to ordain With chariots. [735] And consecrates the place of his abode. But common interest always will prevail. the next successor's reign May make no other Israelite complain. And shouts of joy salute him from afar. Take then my tears. that caught the people's eyes. My father. like the sun. the promised land surveys. is careless of his fame. . 67 his wealthy western friend. horsemen.” — with that he wiped his eyes. The crowd.

arbitrary lord: And laws are vain. distinguish friends from foes. by which we right enjoy. The people's hearts. Add. Yet if the crowd be judge of fit and just. [770] How then could Adam bind his future race? How could his forfeit on mankind take place? Or how could heavenly justice damn us all. Make heirs for monarchs. Oh foolish Israel! never warned by ill! Still the same bait. And try their strength before they came to blows. that the power. did other ends disguise: [740] Achitophel had formed it. If those. By their own deed. (Two names that always cheat. [775] And tenants to their people's pleasure stand. and fathom. their own posterity. with intent To sound the depths. 68 [750] Thus in a pageant-show a plot is made.) Are often urged. [755] In midst of health imagine a disease. where it went. their native sway? [760] Then they are left defenceless to the sword Of each unbounded. and redress of grievances. Is mischievously seated in the crowd. and good king David's life. for property allowed. Who ne'er consented to our father's fall? Then kings are slaves to those whom they command. Endangered by a brother and a wife. and for God decree? What shall we think? Can people give away. and duty to their prince. And peace itself is war in masquerade. Yet all was coloured with a smooth pretence [745] Of specious love. Religion. Both for themselves and sons.And seemed but pomp. . Then this resuming covenant was declared When kings were made. and circumvented 69 still! Did ever men forsake their present ease. Take pains contingent mischiefs to foresee. could not tie. and always please. who gave the sceptre. If kings unquestioned can those laws destroy. [765] And kings are only officers in trust. or is for ever barred.

[795] What prudent man a settled throne would shake? For whatsoe'er their sufferings were before. And faultless kings run down by common cry. What standard is there in a fickle rout. oppression. And share the madness of rebellious times. grant our lords. [790] If they may give and take whene'er they please. flowing to the mark. 70 [785] Which. who base ends pursue. and for tyranny. so high the madness grows. At once divine and human laws control. If sovereign sway may be dissolved by might? [780] Nor is the people's judgment always true: The most may err as grossly as the few. For all beyond it is to touch our ark. To physic their disease into a worse. All other errors but disturb a state. Yet. runs faster out? Nor only crowds but Sanhedrims may be Infected with this public lunacy. [815] Some let me name. But government itself. and buttress up the wall. the people. Not kings alone. That change they covet makes them suffer more. And mend the parts by ruin of the whole. and naming is to praise. 72 To change foundations. Thus far 'tis duty: but here fix the mark. Who dare be such must be the people's foes. For vice. [810] Now what relief can righteous David bring? How fatal 'tis to be too good a king! Friends he has few. [800] If ancient fabrics 71 nod. where all have right to all. But innovation is the blow of fate. and threat to fall. The tampering world is subject to this curse. at length must fall To nature's state. kings can make. To patch the flaws. To murder monarchs for imagined crimes. Yet some there were. the Godhead's images. cast the frame anew.For who can be secure of private right. . In this short file Barzillai first appears. [805] Is work for rebels. even in the worst of days.

and perfect in thy line! By sea. thy matchless worth was known. It looks as heaven our ruin had designed. To aid the guardian angel of thy king. by land. Long since. Now more than half a father's name is lost. but of power divine. Whom foes unpunished never could withstand! [845] But Israel was unworthy of thy name: Short is the date of all immoderate fame. here cease thy painful flight. always mourned. And always honoured. Here stop. crowned with honour and with years. and providence's crime: Yet not before the goal of honour won. and war was all thy own: Thy force infused the fainting Tyrians propped. Oh ancient honour! Oh unconquered hand. And haughty Pharaoh found his fortune stopped. thy disencumbered soul [850] Mounts up. And durst not trust thy fortune and thy mind. my muse. [835] All parts fulfilled of subject and of son: Swift was the race. Now. but short the time to run. free from earth. [830] His eldest hope. Scanted in space. But sinking underneath his master's fate: In exile with his godlike prince he mourned. His bed could once a fruitful issue boast. Oh narrow circle. and leaves behind the clouds and starry pole: From thence thy kindred legions may'st thou bring. so heaven will have it. 74 with every grace adorned. but larger was his heart. Which well the noblest objects knew to choose. snatched in manhood's prime By unequal fates. [840] Arms thy delight. and with him returned. . By me. The fighting warrior.Barzillai. the rising rebels he withstood In regions waste 73 beyond the Jordan's flood: [820] Unfortunately brave to buoy the state. The court he practised. For him he suffered. not the courtier's art: [825] Large was his wealth. and recording muse.

[870] To learning and to loyalty were bred: For colleges on bounteous kings depend. To these succeed the pillars of the laws. By foreign treaties he informed his youth. Him of the western dome. Who best could plead. and left this verse To hang on her departed patron's hearse? 75 Now take thy steepy flight from heaven. 80 the muses' friend. His frugal care supplied the wanting throne. Endued by nature. [875] Next them a train of loyal peers ascend. See then whom thou canst see not far behind. Of hospitable soul. 82 the friend of David in distress. His lowly mind advanced to David's grace. and pregnant thought. 79 by such example led. whom. and noble stem. [880] That from his disobedient son were torn. but turned the balance too. The prophet's sons. So much the weight of one brave man can do. then chose the better side: [885] Nor chose alone. To move assemblies. And tell thy soul she should have fled before: Or fled she with his life. who but only tried The worse awhile. shunning power and place. and heavenly eloquence. [890] And joined experience to his native truth. Sharp-judging Adriel. True to his prince. Himself a muse: in Sanhedrim's debate. and best can judge a cause. And never rebel was to arts a friend. Zadoc 76 the priest. [865] With him the Sagan 77 of Jerusalem.No pinions can pursue immortal height: [855] Tell good Barzillai thou canst sing no more. of manly stedfastness. and by learning taught. and see [860] If thou canst find on earth another he: Another he would be too hard to find. but not a slave of state: Whom David's love with honours did adorn. Hushai. 78 whose weighty sense Flows in fit words. Jotham. . In public storms. 81 of piercing wit.

83 who can Amiel's praise refuse? Of ancient race by birth. The plot. That no concessions from the throne would please. and mistake the way. at their mad labours smiles. [915] And tempt the united fury of the land. [925] But lenitives fomented the disease: That Absalom. These were the chief. and without title great: The Sanhedrim long time as chief he ruled. While he.Frugal for that. Indulge one labour more. with pretended frights. For Amiel. in the breach who dared to stand. [905] That. but nobler yet [900] In his own worth. In Sanhedrims to plume 85 the legal rights. Now rasher charioteers the seat ascend. [920] The true successor from the court removed. and their passion cooled: So dexterous was he in the crown's defence. . my weary muse. 84 [910] Misguide the seasons. So formed to speak a loyal nation's sense. They showed the king the danger of the wound. improved. But hard the task to manage well the low. or crowds to buy. ambitious of the crown. as their duty bound. and. by hireling witnesses. To batter down the lawful government. When kings are forced to sell. like the unequal ruler of the day. And safe enjoys the Sabbath of his toils. as their band was Israel's tribes in small. withdrawn. A numerous faction. Their reason guided. a small but faithful band Of worthies. These ills they saw. the rabble worse. So fit was he to represent them all. Was made the lure to draw the people down: That false Achitophel's pernicious hate Had turned the plot to ruin church and state: [930] The council violent. [895] For sovereign power is too depressed or high. Whose loose careers his steady skill commend: They. but bounteous of his own: 'Tis easy conduct when exchequers flow. With grief they viewed such powerful engines bent.

by my paternal care Raised up to all the height his fame could bear! Had God ordained his fate for empire born. So much the father did the king assuage. 87 the politician's tool. Whence comes it. by heaven inspired. pleading for a darling son! [960] Poor.That Shimei taught Jerusalem to curse. my revenge delayed. pitied youth. that yet he would repent and live! How easy 'tis for parents to forgive! With how few tears a pardon might be won From nature. The people's brave. that haughty subjects bring. my fear. that religion and the laws . They call my tenderness of blood. [945] But 'tis to rule. “Thus long. Never was patriot yet. have I by native mercy swayed. at last. The offenders question my forgiving right. He would have given his soul another turn: Gulled with a patriot's name. [950] Those heaped affronts. Born to sustain and prop the nation's weight: If my young Samson 86 will pretend a call [955] To shake the column. [940] So willing to forgive the offending age. 'Tis time to show I am not good by force. they contend. But now so far my clemency they slight. from his royal throne. Kings are the public pillars of the state. With all these loads of injuries opprest. not a king. whose modern sense [965] Is one that would by law supplant his prince. Yet since they will divert my native course. but was a fool. his patience tired. The godlike David spoke. That one was made for many. And long revolving in his careful breast The event of things. with awful fear His train their Maker in their master hear. [935] Thus. for that's a monarch's end. let him share the fall: But oh. My wrongs dissembled. Are burdens for a camel. Though manly tempers can the longest bear.

[1000] To make examples of another kind? Must I at length the sword of justice draw? Oh curst effects of necessary law! How ill my fear they by my mercy scan! Beware the fury of a patient man. . as make a part exceed the whole. but with a daring eye. No groundless clamours shall my friends remove. [985] But save me most from my petitioners! Unsatiate as the barren womb or grave. Her hinder parts. Would they impose an heir upon the throne? [975] Let Sanhedrims be taught to give their own. Infers a right the present to depose. What then is left. A king's at least a part of government. [1005] Law they require. let law then show her face. against my mind. [980] True. From plots and treasons heaven preserve my years. Good heavens. that my power to saving were confined! Why am I forced. God cannot grant so much as they can crave. Still to defend their servants in distress. And the same law teach rebels to obey: Votes shall no more established power control. they take my power away. For gods and godlike kings their care express. [995] Nor crowds have power to punish ere they prove. Was never thought endued with so much grace. they petition me to approve their choice. And mine as requisite as their consent: Without my leave a future king to choose. They could not be content to look on grace. 88 My pious subjects for my safety pray.Should more be Absalom's than David's cause? [970] His old instructor. Oh. like heaven. Which to secure.— Such votes. ere he lost his place. but with a jealous eye To guard the small remains of royalty? [990] The law shall still direct my peaceful sway. how faction can a patriot paint! My rebel ever proves my people's saint. But Esau's hands suit ill with Jacob's voice.

nodding. here stands for Charles II. the illegitimate son of Charles II. 4. By their own arts 'tis righteously decreed. Then let them take an unresisted course. Thus on my foes. viper-like. . Once more the godlike David was restored.To tempt the terror of her front. and delude their force: But when they stand all breathless. When long driven back. And suck for nutriment that bloody gore. 2. Till. who had no children. Which was their principle of life before. for factious crowds engage. Here she stands for Catherine of Braganza. Monmouth was thirty-two years old. And rise upon them with redoubled might: For lawful power is still superior found. Absolon was David's beloved son. the Almighty. Foreign fields . The mighty years in long procession ran. Michal is the daughter of Saul. And peals of thunder shook the firmament. David. Here he stands for James. the wife of Charles II. . at length it stands the ground. In their first onset. [1020] Retire. all their brutal rage. 3. Monmouth sided against his father and with the Exclusionists. Against themselves their witnesses will swear. who was also childless. [1015] Their Belial with their Beelzebub 89 will fight. At the time Absalom and Achitophel was published. renown: Monmouth fought against the Dutch in the early 1670s. Henceforth a series of new time began.” [1025] He said. gave consent. their mother-plot they tear. urge the fight. who later rebelled against him. Notes 1. and die. [1010] Those dire artificers of death shall bleed. he was eventually executed for treason. and traverse. . my foes shall do me right: Nor doubt the event. [1030] And willing nations knew their lawful lord. the Duke of Monmouth (1649-85). Israel's monarch.

brother. which was still ongoing when Dryden wrote the poem. wholly” (OED). like their predecessors of the forties. who followed him for a brief while. Later it was revealed that no such plot ever existed. Annabel: There is no Annabel in the Bible. Charles was named king of Scotland in 1651 (even though he lived in exile) and king of England in 1660. The good old cause refers to the Puritan rebellions during the Civil War of the 1640s. Hebron: David became king of Judah in Hebron. Adam-wits: here I simply quote the California Edition: “Apparently a reference to those who. “horrible. 8. 12. In 1678 Titus Oates declared that Jesuits were plotting to kill Charles II. in which Saul's son. 3-4.” 11. who ruled England as Lord Protector after Charles's execution. Plots. and Oates was convicted of perjury. could not be satisfied with the true freedom under God's law and wrongly yearned for more. 9. and Godfrey was found dead shortly thereafter. true or false: The most important false plot in Dryden's mind would be the Popish Plot. crown forgo: See 2 Sam. To Dryden the English of the late seventies and early eighties who complained of arbitrary government. succeeds his father as king of Israel for just a short time. “the city of David” (1 Kings 8:1). Sion is Zion. countess of Buccleuch. would have been Adam-wits. 15. Here it stands for London. Anne. thoroughly. . Saul . Ishbosheth. and eventually around thirty-five Catholics were executed. because he raped Absalom's sister. 7. Here Saul stands for Oliver Cromwell. 6. here she stands for Monmouth's wife.5. Sincerely. . The Jews here stand for the English. and Ishbosheth for his son Richard. like Adam. . “Completely. Absalom had him killed. Amnon: Amnon was Absalom's half. when he made a public declaration to Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey. Anti-Catholicism was widespread. 10. 13. a public panic ensued.” 14. Dishonest. and was soon proclaimed king of Israel. David eventually forgave Absalom.

22. . Stew. 24. an officer of the Jewish high court. reckoned by the old physicians to be phlegm. who controlled England before the Reformation brought Protestantism to the country. 25. The triple bond here stands for the Triple Alliance. were supposed to determine the temper of mind” (Johnson). choler. and Sweden. “The different kind of moisture in man's body. Abbethdin. Gown: Worn by judges and clerics.” Here they stand for English Protestant theologians and clergymen. When he realized the rebellion could not be won. the first Earl of Shaftesbury (1621-83).16. which. Jebusites were a tribe in Jerusalem before the arrival of the Israelites. as they predominated. 20. “A brothel. Unfeathered two-legged thing: Plato's definition of man. Rabbins. “rabbis. a house of prostitution” (Johnson). That plot. Patriot was a loaded word at the time. Achitophel was the counselor of King David who later betrayed him and advised Absalom to rebel against his father. Ten to one is supposed to be the ratio of Protestants to Catholics in England. It was designed to be a defense against French expansion. 27. blood. usually meaning a member of the Opposition. Holland. Humour. Here they stand for Roman Catholics. 23. As the editors of the California Edition note. In fact the proportion of Catholics was much smaller. Charles II was not happy with it. he hanged himself. 28. 17. he began negotiating with Louis XIV and undermined the alliance. 19.” Here he stands for Anthony Ashley Cooper. the Popish Plot: see the note on line 83 above. 21. an agreement between England. “In the seventeenth century the name Achitophel was virtually a synonym for a wicked and traitorous counselor and politician. Charles signed the notorious Treaty of Dover in May 1670: it required him eventually to declare himself and his country Catholic. 18. and melancholy. and to help the French in a war against the Dutch. 26. Heathen priesthood: Here the Roman Catholic priests. dating from 1668.

36. I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. the priests. . Wanted one immortal song: “Wanted” here means “lacked. the site of Charles II's arrival in England upon the Restoration. . “To transfer the property of anything to another” (Johnson). Prevents. 43. 40. It refers here to the English Parliament. Vulgar.29. Prince of angels . supposed to be an attack on the enemies of David. Gath was where David took refuge when he fled Saul. priests. suiting to the common people. 34. practised among the common people” (Johnson).” Charles II and his brother James (later James II) were thus collateral heirs to the throne. They here stand for the Puritan preachers who were penalized by the Act of Uniformity in 1662. Luke 10:18: “And he said unto them. 31. that is. “Of or belonging to Jerusalem” (OED). “Plebeian. 38. the Jewish high council. Here it stands for Brussels. Solym‘ an. a Gentile plot. where Charles II was an exile. Cloudy pillar . Levites. Collateral line: Johnson defines collateral as “those that stand in equal relation to some common ancestor. Here “the Solym‘an rout” stands for the mobs of London. 41. diminished light: Cf. Sanhedrin. Jordan's sand here stands for Dover.” 37. Pharaoh here stands for Louis XIV of France. 44.” The “immortal song” is Psalm 109. . “A weed that grows in corn” (Johnson). “anticipates. It refers here to the Popish Plot (see the note on line 83 above). Cockle.” 35. guardian fire: Forms assumed by God in Exodus. 42. . Aaron's race. . Alienate. 30. 39. 33. 32. Ethnic plot.

or wand. 57. Rechabite: The sons of Rechab abstained from wine (Jer. 56. staff. Here he probably stands for Arthur Capel. the second Duke of Buckingham (1628-87). once burnt: Most of London was consumed by a fire in 1666. who was angry that God had saved Nineveh after he had prophesied its destruction. he was an idolater) and was consumed by Him (Lev. who supported the Exclusion Bill. He stands here for George Villiers. a Puritan preacher. a sheriff of London and Middlesex. a servant of Moses who entered the Promised Land with Joshua. the sheriff's dinner table. Lord Howard of Esrick (1626-94). 54. 52. Jonah. Here he stands for Sir William Jones (1631-82). 47. Vare. Dryden had ridiculed Buckingham in his play The Rehearsal (1671). Caleb. as a symbol of judicial office or authority” (OED). Here he probably stands for Theophilus Hastings. The sons of Belial: Belial's sons were wicked and debauched. and supported the Exclusion Bill. Nadab. 46. 10:1-2). “A rod. Porridge was term used by Nonconformists to mean the Book of Common Prayer. . Shrieval board. a philosopher by fire” (Johnson) — the modern distinction between chemist as scientist and alchemist as magician had not yet taken firm hold. Chemist. 48. offered “strange fire” to God (that is. 50. 53. Jonas. The name Zimri appears twice in the Bible. In 1680 he became a member of Parliament. Towns.45. 35). esp. “A professor of chymistry. a monster with many heads. 51. the attorney general who prosecuted many of the Catholics charged in the early stages of the Popish Plot. Aaron's eldest son. a prophet who ignored God's word to please the rich and powerful. Here he stands for William. Hydra. 55. that is. Shimei cursed David by calling him a “man of Belial” (2 Sam. once as a lecherous murderer (Numbers 25) and again as a murderous usurper (1 Kings 16). Here he stands for Slingsby Bethel (1617-97). 49. 16:5-12). Balaam. earl of Essex.

Ark: Not the boat in which Noah traveled. where he was killed. Here he seems to stands for Lord Stafford. he then sent her husband into battle. a Catholic who had been accused of treason by Oates. 63. 68. Corah: Corah led a rebellion against Moses. Weaver's issue: Oates was the son of a weaver. Hybla-drops. Rout. Egypt and Tyrus stand for France and Holland. David later married her. honey. Bathsheba: David had a child with Bathsheba while she was married. and his wife. cheated. 65. Here he stands for Titus Oates. According to Samuel. 61. . “A building. 71. one of Charles II's mistresses. He here stands for the fabulously wealthy Thomas Thynne (1648-82). 72. duchess of Portsmouth. Agag. Regions waste here stand for Ireland. Circumvented. Oates accused both Charles's brother. 62. Stephen was the first martyr. James. university: Oates claimed to have a Doctorate of Divinity from the University of Salamanca. deluded” (Johnson).” Dryden is being ironic. who was lazy and greedy. Fabric. “irascible” or “irritable. Stephen: St. however. a rabble. A brother and a wife: After defending them for a while. 70. a tumultuous crowd” (Johnson). Samuel told him that God was angry with him. . of being involved in the Popish Plot. 67. “A clamorous multitude. When Saul took Agag prisoner. 64. 66. Queen Catherine. Hyblaean honey was proverbial for its sweetness. “Deceived. God wanted Saul to annihilate them. king of the Amalekites. 73. an edifice” (Johnson). It was sacrilegious to disturb it. and the victim of false witnesses. . 60. Rabbinical degree . Issachar.58. 59. but the Ark of the Covenant. 69. one of the sons of Jacob. who invented the Popish Plot and led the persecution of Catholics. Choleric. Here she stands for Louise de Keroualle.

He loyally defended his father against Shaftesbury's accusations. 75. . 80.74. 76. He fought against the Exclusion Bill. Duke of York. Dryden later dedicated his Fables to Ossory's son. Here he stands for Henry Compton. Jotham here stands for George Savile. Amiel: Amiel and Barzillai traveled into the wilderness to bring supplies to David. who carried the Ark of the Covenant with him into the wilderness. Samson: Samson brought down the house by shaking the pillars. Eldest hope: Thomas Butler. and he opposed Monmouth. 85. and Dryden gave him credit for helping to defeat the Exclusion Bill. Zadoc was a companion of David. son of Barzillai. earl of Rochester. Bishop of London. speaker of the House of Commons and treasurer of the Navy. Adriel. where Sancroft was dean. Charles II's First Lord of the Treasury. Halifax later became one of Charles's favorites. 79. earl of Ossory. Hushai. Here he stands for Edward Seymour. the second Duke of Ormonde. here stands for Lawrence Hyde. Like Sheffield. marquis of Halifax. “To strip. David sent him back to Jerusalem to await God's judgment. which Dryden attended as a child. Archbishop of Canterbury. 78. Charles II disliked him at first. was Ormonde's eldest son. but was persuaded to appoint him to the council in 1679. He defended the king from his uncle's attacks. He supported Dryden and James. and nephew of Shaftesbury. The unequal ruler of the day: Phaeton. Sagan. killing himself along with his captors. 3rd earl of Mulgrave. 84. who lost control of Apollo's chariot and scorched the earth. “A temporary monument set over a grave” (Johnson). but died in 1680. Hearse. to pill” (Johnson). a Jewish deputy high priest. Here he stands for William Sancroft. 82. Plume. 86. Western dome here stands for Westminster Abbey. Prophet's sons here stand for the students of Westminster School. 77. David's friend. Dryden also dedicated his King Arthur to Halifax. he was one of Dryden's patrons. Here he stands for John Sheffield. 83. 81.

. He covered himself with the hair of a goat. . . unable to see. Belial . and his father. by pretending to be his brother Esau. .87. Isaac. Beelzebub: Fallen angels. Jacob's voice: Jacob sought the blessing of his father. 88. Brave. . “A hector. Esau's hands . 89. thought he was his more hirsute brother. a man daring beyond decency or discretion” (Johnson).