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Anti-Achitophel (1682) Three Verse Replies to Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden   By: (1633-1691?)

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[Transcriber's Note: Typographical errors are listed separately at the end of the Editor's Introduction and each poem.]

Anti Achitophel



Absalom and Achitophel by JOHN DRYDEN

Absalom Senior by Elkanah Settle Poetical Reflections by Anonymous Azaria and Hushai by Samuel Pordage

Facsimile Reproductions

Edited with an Introduction by HAROLD WHITMORE JONES

Gainesville, Florida Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints 1961

SCHOLARS' FACSIMILES & REPRINTS 118 N.W. 26th Street Gainesville, Florida Harry R. Warfel, General Editor


L. C. Catalog Card Number: 60 6430

Manufactured in the U.S.A. Letterpress by J. N. Anzel, Inc. Photolithography by Edwards Brothers Binding by Universal Dixie Bindery


English verse allegory, humorous or serious, political or moral, has deep roots; a reprint such as the present is clearly no place for a discussion of the subject at large:[1] it need only be recalled here that to the age that produced The Pilgrim's Progress the art form was not new. Throughout his life Dryden had his enemies, Prior and Montague in their satire of The Hind and the Panther , for example. The general circumstances under which Dryden wrote Absalom and Achitophel , familiar enough and easily accessible, are therefore recalled only briefly below. Information is likewise readily available on his use of Biblical allegory.[2]

[Footnote 1: Cf. E. D. Leyburn, Satiric Allegory, Mirror of Man (New Haven, 1956).]

[Footnote 2: e.g., Absalom's Conspiracy , a tract tracing how the Bible story came to be used for allegorical purposes. See The Harleian Miscellany (1811), VIII, 478 479; and R. F. Jones, "The Originality of 'Absalom and Achitophel,'" Modern Language Notes , XLVI (April, 1931) 211 218.]

We are here concerned with three representative replies to Absalom and Achitophel : their form, their authors, and details of their publication. Settle's poem was reprinted with one slight alteration a year after its first appearance; the Reflections has since been reprinted in part, Pordage's poem not at all. Absalom Senior has been chosen because, of the many verse pieces directed against Dryden's poem, it is of the greatest intrinsic merit and shows the reverse side of the medal, as it were, to that piece; the second is given, not for any literary merit it may possess indeed, from its first appearance it has been dismissed as of small worth but rather as a poem representative of much of the versifying that followed hard on the Popish Plot and as one that has inspired great speculation as to its author; the third, in addition to throwing light on the others, is a typical specimen of the lesser work produced in the Absalom dispute.

The author and precise publication date of the Reflections remain unidentified. Ascription of the poem to Buckingham rests ultimately on the authority of Wood's Athenae Oxonienses and on Wood alone, and we do not know on what evidence he thought it to be Buckingham's; we do know, however, that Wood was often mistaken over such matters. Sir Walter Scott in his collected edition of Dryden (1808; IX, 272 5) also accepted Buckingham as the author, but cited no authority; he printed extracts, yet the shortcomings of his edition, whatever its convenience, are well known. The poem has not appeared in any subsequent edition of Dryden's poems, the latest being the four volume set (Oxford, 1958); the volume of the California Dryden[A] relevant to Absalom is still awaited. Internal evidence is even more scanty. Only one passage of the Reflections (sig... Continue reading book >>

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