Introduction to English Literature, Including a Number of Classic Works; with Notes
General Books, 2013 - 196 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1894 edition. Excerpt: ... of Shaftesbury and his adherents, who were seeking to secure the succession to the throne for the Duke of Monmouth, Charles's eldest son. It has been called the best political satire ever written. There is no effort at playful and delicate art; the poem was composed in earnest, and it abounds in hard, sweeping, stunning blows. It was eagerly seized upon by the public, and in a year no fewer than nine editions were called for. The Earl of Shaftesbury figures as Achitophel: --"A name to all succeeding ages cursed: For close designs, and crooked counsels fit; Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit; Restless, unfix'd in principles and place; In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace: A fiery soul, which, working out its way, Fretted the pigmy-body to decay, And o'er-inform'd the tenement of clay; A daring pilot in extremity; Pleased with the danger, when the waves went high, He sought the storms; but, for a calm unfit, Would steer too nigh the sands to boast his wit." The Duke of Buckingham is Zimri, whose character is outlined with astonishing power: --"A man so various, that he seemed to be Not one, but all mankind's epitome: Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong; Was every thing by starts, and nothing long: But in the course of one revolving moon, Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon: Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. Bless'd madman, who could every hour employ, With something new to wish, or to enjoy! Railing and praising were his usual themes; And both, to show his judgment, in extremes." In 1682 appeared the "Religio Laici," which is appended for special study. As an exposition of a layman's faith, it was probably an honest presentation of Dryden's beliefs at the...