Vinton A. Dearing and Alan Roper (eds), The Works of John Dryden, Vol. 14: Plays; The Kind Keeper; The Spanish Fryar; The Duke of Guise; and The Vindication of the Duke of Guise

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pg 207To the Right Honourable LAWRENCE, EARL of ROCHESTER, &c.

Editor’s Note1My Lord,

2The Authors of this Poem, present it humbly to your Lord-3ships Patronage, if you shall think it worthy of that hon-4our. It has already been a Confessor, and was almost made 5a Martyr for the Royal Cause. But having stood two Tryals from 6its Enemies, one before it was Acted, another in the Representa-7tion, and having been in both acquitted, 'tis now to stand the 8Publick Censure in the reading: Where since, of necessity, it 9must have the same Enemies, we hope it may also find the same 10Friends; and therein we are secure not only of the greater Num-11ber, but of the more Honest and Loyal Party. We only expected 12bare Justice in the Permission to have it Acted; and that we 13had, after a severe and long Examination, from an Upright and Editor’s Note14knowing Judge, who having heard both sides, and examin'd the 15Merits of the Cause in a strict perusal of the Play, gave Sentence 16for us, that it was neither a Libel, nor a Parallel of particular 17Persons. In the Representation it self, it was persecuted with so 18notorious Malice by one side, that it procur'd us the Partiality 19of the other; so that the Favour more than recompenc'd the 20Prejudice: And 'tis happier to have been sav'd (if so we were) 21by the Indulgence of our good and faithful Fellow-Subjects, 22than by our own Deserts; because thereby the weakness of the 23Faction is discover'd, which in us, at that time, attack'd the Gov-24ernment; and stood combin'd, like the Members of the Rebel-25lious League, against the Lawful Soveraign Authority. To what 26Topique will they have recourse, when they are manifestly Editor’s Note27beaten from their chief Post, which has always been Popularity, 28and Majority of Voices? They will tell us, That the Voices of a 29People are not to be gather'd in a Play-House; and yet even there, 30the Enemies as well as Friends have free Admission; but while Editor’s Note31our Argument was serviceable to their Interests, they cou'd boast Editor’s Note32that the Theaters were True Protestant, and came insulting to pg 2081the Plays, where their own Triumphs were represented. But let 2them now assure themselves, that they can make the major part Editor’s Note3of no Assembly, except it be a Meeting-House. Their Tyde of 4Popularity is spent, and the natural Current of Obedience is in Critical Apparatus5spight of them, at last prevalent: In which, my Lord, after the 6merciful Providence of God, the unshaken Resolution, and pru-7dent Carriage of the King, and the inviolable Duty, and manifest 8Innocence of his Royal Highness, the prudent Management of 9the Ministers is also most conspicuous. I am not particular in 10this Commendation, because I am unwilling to raise Envy to 11your Lordship, who are too just not to desire that Praise shou'd 12be communicated to others, which was the common Endeavor 13and Co-operation of all. 'Tis enough, my Lord, that your own 14Part was neither obscure in it, nor unhazardous. And if ever this 15excellent Government so well establish'd by the Wisdom of our 16Forefathers, and so much shaken by the Folly of this Age, shall 17recover its ancient Splendor, Posterity cannot be so ungrateful, 18as to forget those, who in the worst of Times, have stood un-19daunted by their King and Countrey, and for the Safeguard of 20both, have expos'd themselves to the malice of false Patriots, 21and the madness of an headstrong Rabble. But since this glorious 22Work is yet unfinish'd, and though we have reason to hope well 23of the success, yet the Event depends on the unsearchable Provi-Editor’s Note24dence of Almighty God, 'tis no time to raise Trophees, while the 25Victory is in dispute: but every man by your example, to con-26tribute what is in his power, to maintain so just a Cause, on 27which depends the future Settlement and Prosperity of Three Editor’s Note28Nations. The Pilot's Prayer to Neptune was not amiss, in the Critical Apparatus29middle of the Storm: Thou may'st do with me, O Neptune, what 30thou pleasest, but I will be sure to hold fast the Rudder. We are 31to trust firmly in the Deity, but so as not to forget, that he com-Editor’s Note32monly works by second Causes, and admits of our Endeavors 33with his concurrence. For our own parts, we are sensible as we 34ought, how little we can contribute with our weak assistance. 35The most we can boast of, is, that we are not so inconsiderable as 36to want Enemies, whom we have rais'd to our selves on no other pg 2091account, than that we are not of their number: and since that's 2their Quarrel, they shall have daily occasion to hate us more. Editor’s Note3'Tis not, my Lord, that any man delights to see himself pasquin'd 4and affronted by their inveterate Scriblers, but on the other side 5it ought to be our glory, that themselves believe not of us what 6they write. Reasonable men are well satisfi'd for whose sakes the 7venom of their Party is shed on us, because they see that at the 8same time, our Adversaries spare not those to whom they owe 9Allegiance and Veneration. Their Despair has push'd them to 10break those Bonds; and 'tis observable, that the lower they are 11driven, the more violently they write: As Lucifer and his Com-12panions were only proud when Angels, but grew malicious when 13Devils. Let them rail, since 'tis the only solace of their miseries, 14and the only revenge, which we hope they now can take. The 15greatest and the best of men are above their reach, and for our Editor’s Note16meanness, though they assault us like Foot-padders in the dark, 17their Blows have done us little harm; we yet live, to justifie our 18selves in open day, to vindicate our Loyalty to the Government, 19and to assure your Lordship, with all Submission and Sincerity, 20that we are

  • 21Your lordships
  • 22Most Obedient, Faithful Servants,
  • 23John Dryden, Nat. Lee.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
P. 207 Lawrence, Earl of Rochester. Dryden had earlier praised Laurence Hyde (1641–1711) as Hushai in Absalom and Achitophel, ll. 888–897 (Works, II, 32); see Works, II, 280, for details of his early career. As first lord of the treasury and a strong opponent of exclusion, Hyde remained in Charles II's favor for the rest of the reign. He was created Viscount Hyde of Kenilworth on 23 April 1681 and Earl of Rochester on 29 November 1682, one day after the premiere of The Duke of Guise. Although James began his reign by appointing Rochester Lord Treasurer and creating him Knight of the Garter, he soon came to differ with Rochester over religious policy, and Rochester was dismissed from office early in 1687. During the Convention Parliament Rochester opposed the offer of the crown to William and Mary and as a consequence remained out of favor in the early years of their reign. He was restored to the Privy Council in March 1692 in time to intercede on Dryden's behalf and secure the acting of Cleomenes after the play had been briefly interdicted. Dryden thanked Rochester for this office when dedicating the play to him (1692, sig. A3r–v; S-S, VIII, 216–217).
Editor’s Note
14 Judge. The Lord Chamberlain, Henry Bennett, Earl of Arlington, who held the office from 1674 to 1685. During the Exclusion Crisis Arlington ordered the prohibition of several plays in addition to The Duke of Guise. Crowne's City Politiques and Lee's The Massacre of Paris were also banned before performance, as were three plays by Banks (according to his own account): Cyrus the Great, The Innocent Usurper, and The Island Queens. Lee's Lucius Junius Brutus, Tate's Richard II, and Crowne's Henry the Sixth, The First Part, were all banned after a few performances. See White, pp. 30–43.
Editor’s Note
27–28 Popularity … Voices. See I, i, 56–58 (p. 219 above), and The Medall, ll. 86–87 (Works, II, 45).
Editor’s Note
31–208:1 they cou'd … represented. Scott (S-S, VII, 14) notes that Dryden probably refers to Shadwell's preface to The Lancashire Witches (1682; Complete Works, IV, 99–100):

I heard that great opposition was design'd against the Play (a month before it was acted) by a Party, who … pretended that I had written a Satyr upon the Church of England, and several profest Papists railed at it violently, before they had seen it. … And … they came with the greatest malice in the World to hiss it, and many that call'd themselves Protestants, joyn'd with them in that noble enterprise. … But to my great satisfaction they came off as meanly as I could wish. I had so numerous an assembly of the best sort of men, who stood so generously in my defence, for the first three days, that they quash'd all the vain attempts of my Enemies, the inconsiderable Party of Hissers yielded, and the Play lived in spight of them.

See also The Vindication, pp. 312:14–16, 28–35 above, and notes (p. 542 below).
Editor’s Note
32 True Protestant. A nonconformist (also called a true-blue Protestant, as on the title page of the pirated first edition of Mac Flecknoe [Works, II, 53]); cf. L'Estrange in the Observator for 6 October 1683: "The Puritan-Party [of 1641] … was the same with our Modern-True-Protestants."
Editor’s Note
32 insulting. Swaggering, acting insolently.
Editor’s Note
3 Meeting-House. A nonconformist conventicle. Cf. The Kind Keeper, I, i, 10, and note (pp. 9, 383–384 above).
Critical Apparatus
5 prevalent:] ~. Q1–3, F, D.
Editor’s Note
24 Trophees. See The Kind Keeper, IV, ii, 140, and note (pp. 75, 417 above).
Editor’s Note
28–30 The Pilot's … Rudder. Summers (V, 456–457) notes a source in Montaigne: "The ancient Sailer said thus to Neptune in a greate storme, 'Oh God, thou shalt save me if thou please, if not, thou shalt lose me; yet I will keepe my helme still fast'" (Essayes, II, xvi ["Of Glory"], trans. John Florio [1928], II, 348). Summers also supplies classical analogues, especially in Seneca, Epistulae, LXXXV, 33, and Consolatio ad Marciam, VI, 3.
Critical Apparatus
29 O Neptune] Q3, D; O Neptune Q1–2, F.
Editor’s Note
32 second Causes. Causes derived from the "first cause," God, and involving human or other physical agency. See also IV, ii, 57 (p. 263 above).
Editor’s Note
3 pasquin'd. Lampooned, pasquinaded (OED, citing only this instance).
Editor’s Note
16 they assault … the dark. Dryden had good reason to associate physical and verbal abuse. Winn, p. 328, connects this simile with the cudgeling of Dryden in Rose Alley on 18 December 1679. Christopher Nesse had already claimed that Dryden perhaps added to Absalom and Achitophel the lines that offer some praise of Shaftesbury (ll. 180–191 [Works, II, 11]) out of fear that the poem would cost him another Rose Alley beating (A Key [With the Whip] to Open the Mystery & Iniquity of the Poem Called Absalom if Achitophel [1682], p. 26). Moreover, just three weeks before Tonson and Bentley published The Duke of Guise Crowne was cudgeled in St. Martin's Lane (on 24 January 1683) for his authorship of the recently performed City Politiques, a play that satirizes the Whigs (London Stage, Part I, p. 318).
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