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directed against the Earl of Shaftesbury, who favored the Protestant Duke of Monmouth as Charles's successor rather than the Roman Catholic Duke of York (afterwards James II). When Shaftesbury was tried for high treason and acquitted, and his friends had a medal struck in commemoration of the event, Dryden wrote another satire with the same aim, entitled The Medal.
"Mac Flecknoe." Among the replies was one by Thomas Shadwell, whose taking part in the wit-combat would be quite forgotten but for Dryden's rejoinder to it. It may almost be said that Shadwell's very name would be forgotten but for Dryden's Mac Flecknoe, a poem in which Shadwell is made successor to the throne of dulness. Such lines as the following were quite beyond Shadwell, and they hit hard:
"Shadwell alone, of all my 1 sons is he
Who stands confirmed in full stupidity.
The rest to some faint meaning make pretence,
So Shadwell swore, nor should his vow be vain,
And in his father's right, and realm's defence,
Ne'er to have peace with wit, nor truce with sense."
Religious Poems. The year of the Shadwell poem was signalized by a venture of Dryden's into a field entirely new to him religion. This venture was Religio Laici (“Religion of a Layman "), a poem setting forth the fallacy of the Roman Catholic doctrine of infallibility. After the accession of James II appeared The Hind and the Panther, an allegorical satire in verse proving the Roman Church to be the true and only church. This was the last of those changes
Flecknoe, King of Nonsense, is speaking.
of which mention was made in our introductory paragraph on Dryden; and it seems probable that he was at heart more a Catholic than anything else. In the poem various sects are represented by animals, from the Church of Rome ("the milk-white Hind ") and that of England (the Panther -"fairest creature of the spotted kind ") to the Baptist ("the bristled Boar ") and the Quaker (the Hare - that "Professed neutrality, but would not swear").
Last Years. With the exile of James at the Revolution and the accession of the Protestants William and Mary (1688-1689), Dryden lost the position of laureate; and from that time until his death in 1700 he suffered from physical ills and from lack of income to relieve them. What is by some, however, considered his best work was written in the last ten years of his life: translations, including the Eneid of Virgil; the Fables, including translations from Ovid and Boccaccio, and modernizations of Chaucer; and the ode called Alexander's Feast.
JOHN BUNYAN, 1628-1688
Although John Bunyan was a Puritan of Puritans, it seems more correct to assign him to the Restoration period for two reasons. In the first place all of his works that have any claim on our consideration were written after 1660; and in the second, it is very doubtful whether his great works would ever have been written had it not been for the religious persecution he suffered under Charles's government.
Birth and Education. Bunyan was born in Elstow, Bedfordshire, in 1628, " of a low and inconsiderable generation," as he himself says. His father, Thomas Bunyan, who called himself a "brazier," was called by the son's first biographer a "tinker," that is, a mender of pots and kettles;" and
the son followed the same trade. His schooling must have been very limited, but his literary training was of the best. The Bible," says Froude, " is a literature in itself the
rarest and richest in all departments of thought or imagination which exists;" and Bunyan knew his Bible. Foxe's Book of Martyrs is said to be the only other book with which he was at all well acquainted.
According to his own narra
Conversion; and Marriage. tive after his conversion, he was a very wicked youth and young man, the chief of sinners; but it is now very generally believed that he exaggerated, quite unconsciously, his early wickedness. In the great ardor of his changed life, very slight lapses from propriety seemed to him the blackest of crimes against his Maker. For three years he served in the army, on the side of Parliament, as is now established.1 Shortly after his release he married. His wife brought as her dowry two religious books, which he took pleasure in reading with her, but which had no effect on his life. His change resulted from a new and sympathetic reading of the Bible; he joined a dissenting sect in 1653; and three years later was regularly engaged in preaching.
Works Written while in Prison. Six months after the Restoration of Charles and of the Established Church, Bunyan, with many other dissenting preachers, was arrested; and on his refusal to discontinue preaching, was imprisoned. During the twelve years of his confinement he wrote a number of books, including one of "the four outstanding creations of his genius" - Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, his autobiography. It is in this volume that he charges himself with the extreme sinfulness already referred
1 See Cambridge History, VII, 192.
to. Released from prison in 1972, Bunyan became pastor of the Bedford church; but after a service of only three years he was again arrested and imprisoned. This second imprisonment of six months is for the world the most important episode in Bunyan's life; for it was then that he wrote the first part of The Pilgrim's Progress.
"The Pilgrim's Progress." - The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to that which is to Come is "delivered under the
JAIL ON BEDFORD BRIDGE.
Here Bunyan was imprisoned for years.
similitude of a dream." The author of Piers Plowman, it will be recalled (see page 22), lay down on Malvern Hills one morning, and had a dream in which appeared a "field full of folk." So Bunyan says he lay down in a "den" (i.e., Bedford Jail), and dreamed. At the end of the story, he "awoke, and behold it was a dream."
The story is of Christian, who, reading in a Book (the Bible) that his city was to be destroyed by fire, set out for a place of safety. Evangelist gives him directions; his
neighbors, Obstinate and Pliable, follow him and try to turn him back. Christian, however, refuses to return, and after a long and toilsome journey is conducted by two Shining Ones into the Celestial City.
In striving to reach his goal he has experienced many and distressing hindrances. Among them are the Slough of Despond, into which he falls; the Hill of Difficulty; Doubting Castle, the home of Giant Despair; the Valley of Humiliation, where he has to fight the fiend Apollyon; the town of Vanity, where he and a companion named Faithful are tried for disturbing the peace by talking against a fair to be held in the town. He is enabled to overcome these hindrances by the aid of the shepherds Knowledge, Experience, and Sincere, dwellers in the Delectable Mountains; an Interpreter, who has a house on the road; the porter Watchful, and the damsels Prudence, Piety, and Charity, who occupy the Palace Beautiful; and Hopeful, who joins Christian after the execution of Faithful at Vanity Fair, and accompanies him to the end of the journey.
The reception accorded The Pilgrim's Progress is shown. by the appearance of fifty-nine editions in the hundred years following its publication. Before 1700 it was translated into French, German, and Dutch; and at the present time versions exist in more than one hundred languages and dialects.
Later Works. The period between the release from his second imprisonment and his death was a happy and prosperous one for Bunyan. The second part of The Pilgrim's Progress, setting forth the journey of Christian's wife, Christiana, and their children, appeared; and though unquestionably inferior to the first part, it met with a most cordial reception. Two more of his great works were publishedThe Life and Death of Mr. Badman, a reversal of Christian's