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This mean retreat did mighty Pan* contain;
And pacified her tail, and lick'd her frothy jaws. The Hind did first her country cates provide; Then couch'd herself securely by her side.
* Our Saviour.
† Ut ventum ad sedes: Hæc, inquit, limina victor
Aude, hospes, contemnere opes, et te quoque dignum
Æneid. Lib. VIII.
THE HIND AND THE PANTHER.
Dame, said the Panther, times are mended well,
The toils were pitch'd, a spacious tract of ground,
Of hounds and death drew nearer every hour.-P. 161.
In these spirited lines, Dryden describes the dangers in which the English Catholics were involved by the Popish Plot, which rendered them so obnoxious for two years, that even Charles himself, much as he was inclined to favour them, durst not attempt to prevent the most severe measures from being adopted towards them. It is somewhat curious, that the very same metaphor of hounds and huntsmen is employed by one of the most warm advocates for the plot. "Had this plot been a forged contrivance of their own, (i. e. the Papists,) they would at the very first discovery of it have had half a dozen, or half a score, crafty fellows, ready to have attested all the same things; whereas, on the contrary, notwithstanding we are now on a burning scent, we were fain till here of late, to pick out, by little and little, all upon a cold scent, and that stained too by the tricks and malice of our enemies. So that had not we had some such good huntsmen as the Right Noble Earl of Shaftesbury to manage the chase for us, our hounds must needs have been baffled, and the game lost.". Appeal from the Country to the City. State Tracts, p. 407.
As I remember, said the sober Hind,
Those toils were for your own dear self design'd,
Then ran you down for your rank loyalty.-P. 162.
The country party, during the 1679, and the succeeding years, were as much incensed against the divines of the high church of England as against the Papists. The furious pamphlet, quoted in the last note, divides the enemies of this country into four classes; officers, courtiers, over-hot churchmen, and Papists. "Over-hot churchmen," it continues, " are bribed to wish well to Popery, by the hopes, if not of a cardinal's cap, yet at least by a command over some abbey, priory, or other ecclesiastical preferment, whereof the Romish church hath so great plenty. These are the men, who exclaim against our parliament's proceedings, in relation to the plot, as too violent, calling these times by no other name than that of forty or forty-one ;* when, to amuse as well his sacred majesty as his good people, they again threaten us with another forty-eight; and all this is done to vindicate underhand the Catholic party, by throwing a suspicion on the fanatics. These are the gentlemen who so magnify the principles of Bishop Laud, and so much extol the writings of that same late spirited prelate Dr Heylin, who hath made more Papists by his books than Christians by his sermons. These are those episcopal Tantivies, who can make even the very Scriptures pimp for the court, who out of Urim and Thummim can extort a sermon, to prove the not paying of tithes and taxes to be the sin against the Holy Ghost; and had rather see the kingdom run down with blood, than part with the least hem of a sanctified frock, which they themselves made holy."-Appeal, &c. State Tracts, p. 403. In a very violent tract, written expressly against the influence of the clergy,t they are charged with being the principal instruments of the court in corrupting elections. "I find," says the author, when talking of the approaching general election, "all persons are very forward to countenance this public work, except the high-flown ritualists and ceremony-mongers of the clergy, who, being in the conspiracy against the people, lay themselves out to accommodate their
* The great Civil War broke out in 1641-2, and the king was dethroned in 1648.
+ "The Freeholders Choice, or a Letter of Advice concerning Elections."
masters with the veriest villains that can be picked up in all the country, that so we may fall into the hands again of as treacherous and lewd a parliament, as the wisdom of God and folly of man has most miraculously dissolved. To which end they traduce all worthy men for fanatics, schismatics, or favourers of them. Nay, do but pitch upon a gentleman, who believes it his duty to serve his God, his king, and country, faithfully, they cry him down as a person dangerous and disaffected to the government; thinking thereby to scare the people from the freedom of their choice, and then impose their hairbrained journeymen and half-witted fops upon them." In Shadwell's Whig play, called "The Lancashire Witches," he has introduced an high-flying chaplain, as the expression then run, and an Irish priest, who are described as very ready to accommodate each other in all religious tenets, since they agree in disbelieving the Popish Plot, and in believing that ascribed to the fanatics. These, out of a thousand instances, may serve to shew, how closely the country party in the time of Charles II. were disposed to identify the interests of Rome, and of the high church of England. Dryden is therefore well authorized to say, that both communions were aimed at by that cabal, which pushed on the investigation of the supposed plot.
The test, it seems, at last has loosed your tongue.-P. 162. If there was any ambiguity in the church of England's doctrine concerning the eucharist, it was fully explained by the memorable Test Act, passed in 1678, during the heat of the Popish Plot, by which all persons holding public offices were required, under pain of disqualification, to disown the doctrine of transubstantiation, in the most explicit terms, as also that of image worship. This bill was pressed forwards with great violence by the country party. "I would not," said one of their orators, "have a popish man, or a popish woman, remain here; not a popish dog, or a popish bitch; not so much as a popish cat, to pur and mew about the king." Many of the church of England party opposed this test, from an idea that it was prejudicial to the interests of the
I then affirm, that this unfailing guide
By numerous votes, the other ratifies ;
On this undoubted sense the church relies.-P. 164.
Dryden does not plead the cause of infallibility so high as to
declare it lodged in the Pope alone; but inclines to the milder and more moderate opinion, which vests it in the church and Pope jointly. This was the shape in which the doctrine was stated in the pamphlets generally dispersed from the king's printing-press about this time; whether because James really held the opinion of the Ultramontane, or Gallican church, in this point, or that he thought the more moderate statement was most likely to be acceptable to new converts. In a dialogue betwixt a Missioner and a Plain Man, printed along with the Rosary, in a very small form, and apparently designed for very extensive circulation, the question is thus stated:
"Plain Man. How shall I know what the church teaches, and by what means may I come to know her infallible doctrine?
"Missioner. In those cases, she speaks to us by her supreme courts of judicature, her general councils, which, being the legal representatives of her whole body, she is secured from erring in them as to all things which appertain to faith."
But mark how sandy is your own pretence,
every man his own presuming guide.
All who can read interpreters may be.—P. 165.
This ultimate appeal to the Scriptures against the authority of the church, as it is what the church of Rome has most to dread, is most combated by her followers. Dryden, like a good courtier, adopts here, as well as elsewhere, the arguments which converted his master, Charles II. "We declare," says the king in his first paper, "to believe one Catholic and apostolic church; and it is not left to every phantastical man's head to believe as he pleases, but to the church, to whom Christ left the power upon earth, to govern us in matters of faith, who made these creeds for our directions. It were a very irrational thing to make laws for a country, and leave it to the inhabitants to be interpreters and judges of those laws: For then every man will be his own judge; and, by consequence, no such thing as either right or wrong. Can we therefore suppose, that God Almighty would leave us at those uncertainties, as to give us a rule to go by, and leave every man to be his own judge? I do ask any ingenuous man, Whether it be not the same thing to follow our own phancy, or to interpret the Scripture by it? I would have any man shew me, where the power of deciding matters of faith is given to every particular man. Christ left his power to his church, even to forgive sins in