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 Buzzard
By John Dryden (1631–1700)
 
[From Part III.]

  ‘A PORTLY 1 prince, and goodly to the sight,
He seemed a son of Anak for his height:
Like those whom stature did to crowns prefer;
Black-browed and bluff, like Homer’s Jupiter;
Broad-backed and brawny built for love’s delight,        5
A prophet formed to make a female proselyte.
A theologue more by need than genial bent;
By breeding sharp, by nature confident,
Interest in all his actions was discerned;
More learned than honest, more a wit than learned;        10
Or forced by fear or by his profit led,
Or both conjoined, his native clime 2 he fled:
But brought the virtues of his heaven along;
A fair behaviour, and a fluent tongue.
And yet with all his arts he could not thrive,        15
The most unlucky parasite alive.
Loud praises to prepare his paths he sent,
And then himself pursued his compliment;
But by reverse of fortune chased away,
His gifts no longer than their author stay;        20
He shakes the dust against the ungrateful race,
And leaves the stench of ordures in the place.
Oft has he flattered and blasphemed the same,
For in his rage he spares no sovereign’s name:
The hero and the tyrant change their style        25
By the same measure that they frown or smile.
When well received by hospitable foes,
The kindness he returns is to expose;
For courtesies, though undeserved and great,
No gratitude in felon-minds beget;        30
As tribute to his wit, the churl receives the treat.
His praise of foes is venomously nice;
So touched, it turns a virtue to a vice:
A Greek, and bountiful, forewarns us twice. 3
Seven sacraments he wisely does disown,        35
Because he knows Confession stands for one;
Where sins to sacred silence are conveyed,
And not for fear or love to be betrayed: 4
But he, uncalled, his patron to control,
Divulged the secret whispers of his soul;        40
Stood forth the accusing Satan of his crimes,
And offered to the Moloch of the times.
Prompt to assail, and careless of defence,
Invulnerable in his impudence,
He dares the world and, eager of a name,        45
He thrusts about and justles into fame.
Frontless and satire-proof, he scours the streets,
And runs an Indian muck at all he meets.
So fond of loud report, that not to miss
Of being known (his last and utmost bliss,)        50
He rather would be known for what he is.
  ‘Such was and is the Captain of the Test, 5
Though half his virtues are not here exprest;
The modesty of fame conceals the rest.
The spleenful Pigeons never could create        55
A prince more proper to revenge their hate;
Indeed, more proper to revenge than save;
A king whom in His wrath the Almighty gave:
For all the grace the landlord had allowed
But made the Buzzard and the Pigeons proud,        60
Gave time to fix their friends and to seduce the crowd.
They long their fellow-subjects to enthral,
Their patron’s promise into question call,
And vainly think he meant to make them lords of all.
 
Note 1. Burnet, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury. [back]
Note 2. Scotland. [back]
Note 3. ‘Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.’ Verg. Æn. ii. 49. [back]
Note 4. The allusion is to the evidence given by Burnet against the Earl of Lauderdale before the House of Commons in 1675. [back]
Note 5. The allusion seems to be to Burnet’s defence of the obnoxious Test against Parker, Bishop of Oxford. [back]
 
 
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