Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Extracts from The Hind and the Panther: The Sects. Private Judgment
By John Dryden (1631–1700)
 
[From Part I; April, 1687.]

  PANTING and pensive now she ranged alone,
And wandered in the kingdoms once her own.
The common hunt, though from their rage restrained
By sovereign power, her company disdained,
Grinned as they passed, and with a glaring eye        5
Gave gloomy signs of secret enmity.
’Tis true she bounded by and tripped so light,
They had not time to take a steady sight;
For truth has such a face and such a mien
As to be loved needs only to be seen.        10
  The bloody Bear, an independent beast,
Unlicked to form, in groans her hate expressed.
Among the timorous kind the quaking Hare
Professed neutrality, but would not swear.
Next her the buffoon Ape, as atheists use,        15
Mimicked all sects and had his own to choose;
Still, when the Lion looked, his knees he bent,
And paid at church a courtier’s compliment.
The bristled baptist Boar, impure as he,
But whitened with the foam of sanctity,        20
With fat pollutions filled the sacred place
And mountains levelled in his furious race;
So first rebellion founded was in grace.
But, since the mighty ravage which he made
In German forests 1 had his guilt betrayed,        25
With broken tusks and with a borrowed name,
He shunned the vengeance and concealed the shame,
So lurked in sects unseen. With greater guile
False Reynard fed on consecrated spoil;
The graceless beast by Athanasius first        30
Was chased from Nice, then by Socinus nursed,
His impious race their blasphemy renewed,
And Nature’s King through Nature’s optics viewed;
Reversed they viewed him lessened to their eye,
Nor in an infant could a God descry.        35
New swarming sects to this obliquely tend,
Hence they began, and here they all will end.
  What weight of ancient witness can prevail,
If private reason hold the public scale?
But, gracious God, how well dost Thou provide        40
For erring judgments an unerring guide!
Thy throne is darkness in the abyss of light,
A blaze of glory that forbids the sight.
O teach me to believe Thee thus concealed,
And search no farther than Thyself revealed;        45
But her alone for my director take,
Whom Thou hast promised never to forsake!
My thoughtless youth was winged with vain desires;
My manhood, long misled by wandering fires,
Followed false lights; and when their glimpse was gone,        50
My pride struck out new sparkles of her own.
Such was I, such by nature still I am;
Be Thine the glory and be mine the shame!
 
Note 1. The allusion is more especially to the Anabaptist doings at Münster. [back]
 
 
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