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vain enough to hope he could be mistaken for him.* So that if you would have made a Parallel, we could not. And yet I fancy, that where I make it my business to draw likeness, it will be no hard matter to judge who sate for the picture. For the Duke of Guise's return to Paris contrary to the king's order, enough already has been said; it was too considerable in the story to be omitted, because it occasioned the mischiefs that ensued. But in this likeness, which was only casual, no danger followed. I am confident there was none intended; and am satisfied that none was feared. But the argument drawn from our evident design is yet, if possible, more convincing. The first words of the prologue spake the play to be a Parallel, and then you are immediately informed how far that Parallel extended, and of what it is so: "The Holy League begot the Covenant, Guisards got the Whig, &c." So then it is not, (as the snarling authors of the Reflections tell you) a Parallel of the men, but of the times; a Parallel of the factions, and of the leaguers. And
* This single remark is amply sufficient to exculpate Dryden from having intended any general parallel between Monmouth and the Duke of Guise. To have produced such a parallel, it would have been necessary to unite, in one individual, the daring political courage of Shaftesbury, his capacity of seizing the means to attain his object, and his unprincipled carelessness of their nature, with the fine person, chivalrous gallantry, military fame, and courteous manners of the Duke of Monmouth. Had these talents, as they were employed in the same cause, been vested in the same person, the Duke of Guise must have yielded the palm. The partial resemblance, in one point of their conduct, is stated by our poet, not to have been introduced as an intended likeness, betwixt the Duke of Guise, and the Protestant Duke. We may observe, in the words of Bertran,
The dial spoke not—but it made >hrewd signs.
VOL. VII. K
every one knows that this prologue was written before the stopping of the play. Neither was the name altered on any such account as they insinuate, but laid aside long before, because a book called the Parallel had been printed, resembling the French League to the English Covenant; and therefore we thought it not convenient to make use of another man's title.* The chief person in the tragedy, or he whose disasters are the subject of it, may in reason give the name; and so it was called the "Duke of Guise." Our intention therefore was to make the play a Parallel betwixt the Holy League, plotted by the house of Guise and its adherents, with the Covenant plotted by the rebels in the time of king Charles I. and those of the new Association, which was the spawn of the old Covenant.
But this parallel is plain, that the exclusion of the lawful heir was the main design of both parties; and that the endeavours to get the lieutenancy of France established on the head of the League, is in effect the same with offering to get the militia out of the king's hand (as declared by parliament,) and consequently, that the power of peace and war should be wholly in the people. It is also true that the tumults in the city, in the choice of their officers, have had no small resemblance with a Parisian rabble: and I am afraid that both their faction and ours had the same good lord. I believe also, that if Julian had been written and calculated for the Parisians, as it was for our sectaries, one of their sheriffs might have mistaken too, and called him
* Alluding to a book, called "The Parallel," published by J. Northleigh L. L. B. the same who afterwards wrote " the Triumph of the Monarchy," and was honoured by a copy of verses from our author.
Julian the Apostle.* I suppose I need not push this point any further; where the parallel was intended, I am certain it will reach; but a larger account of the proceedings in the city may be expected from a better hand, and I have no reason to forestall it. |" In the mean time, because there has been no actual rebellion,the faction triumph in their loyalty; which if it were out of principle, all our divisions would soon be ended, and we the happy people, which God and the constitution of our government have put us in condition to be; but so long as they take it for a maxim, that the king is but an officer in trust, that the people, or their representatives, are superior to him, judges of miscarriages, and have power of revocation, it is a plain case, that whenever they please they may take up arms; and, according to their doctrine, lawfully too. Let them jointly renounce this one opinion, as in conscience and law they are bound to do, because both scripture and acts of parliament oblige them to it, and we will then thank their obedience for our quiet, whereas now we are only beholden to them for their fear. The miseries of the last war are yet too fresh in all men's memory; and they are not rebels, only because they have been so too lately. An author of theirs has told us roundly the west-country pro
• "Julian the Apostate, with a short account of his life, and a parallel betwixt Popery and Paganism," was a treatise, written by the Rev. Samuel Johnson, chaplain to Lord Russell, for the purpose of forwarding the bill of exclusion, by shewing the consequences to Christianity of a Pagan Emperor attaining the throne. It would seem, that one of the sheriffs had mistaken so grossly, as to talk of Julian the Apostle; or, more probably, such a blunder was circulated as true, by some tory wit. Wood surmises, that Hunt had some share in composing Julian. Ath. Ox. II. p. 72J).
f This probably alludes to L'Estrange, who answered Hunt in the " Lawyer Outlawed."
verb; Chud eat more cheese, and chad it; their stomach is as good as ever it was; but the mischief on't is, they are either muzzled, or want their teeth. If there were as many fanatics now in England, as there were christians in the empire, when Julian reigned, I doubt we should not find them much inclined to passive obedience; and, "Curse ye Meroz"* would be oftener preached upon, than "G i ve to Caisar," except in the sense Mr Hunt means it.
Having clearly shewn wherein the parallel consisted, which no man can mistake, who does not wilfully, I need not justify myself, in what concerns the sacred person of his majesty. Neither the French history, nor our own, could have supplied me, nor Plutarch himself, were he now alive, could have found a Greek or Roman to have compared to him, in that eminent virtue of his clemency; even his enemies must acknowledge it to be superlative, because they live by it. Far be it from flattery, if I say, that there is nothing under heaven, which can furnish me with a parallel; and that, in his mercy, he is of all men the truest image of his Maker.
Henry III. was a prince of a mixed character; he had, as an old historian says of another, magnas virtutes, nec minora vitia; but amongst those virtues,
* " Curse ye Meroz," was a text much in vogue among the fanntic preachers in the civil wars. It was preached upon in Guildhall, before the Lord Mayor, pth May, 1630, by Edmund Hick- eringill, rector of All Saints, in Colchester:
There's Colchester Hickeriugil, the fanatic's delight,
The Assembly of the Moderate Ditintt, ttama 18.
Gregory Greybeard was probably some ballad, alluding to the execution of Charles I, who was beheaded by a person disguised by a visor and greybeard. The name of the common hangman, at that time, was Gregory.
I do not find his forgiving qualities to be much celebrated. That he was deeply engaged in the bloody massacre of St Bartholomew, is notoriously known; and if the relation printed in the memoirs of Villeroy be true, he confesses there that the Admiral having brought him and the queen-mother into suspicion with his brother then reigning, for endeavouring to lessen his authority, and draw it to themselves, he first designed his accuser's death by Maurevel, who shot him with a carbine, but failed to kill him; after which, he pushed on the king to that dreadful revenge, which immediately succeeded. It is true, the provocations were high; there had been reiterated rebellions, but a peace was now concluded; it was solemnly sworn to by both parties, and as great an assurance of safety given to the protestants, as the word of a king and public instruments could make it. Therefore the punishment was execrable, and it pleased God, (if we may dare to judge of his secret providence,) to cut off that king in the very flower of his youth, to blast his successor in his undertakings, to raise against him the Duke of Guise, the complotter and executioner of that inhuman action, (who, by the divine justice, fell afterwards into the same snare which he had laid for others,) and, finally, to die a violent death himself, murdered by a priest, an enthusiast of his own religion.* From these premises, let it be concluded, if reasonably it can, that we could draw a parallel, where the lines were so diametrically opposite. We were indeed obliged, by the laws of poetry, to cast into shadows the vices of
* Jaques Clement, a Jacobin Monk, stabbed Henry III. on the 1st of August, 1589. He expired the following day.