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Such toil of fate must build a man of fame,
And such, to Israel's crown, the godlike David
What sudden beams dispel the clouds so fast,
And boldly all Sedition's syrtes stem,
Crowds mourn'd their error, and obey'd their lord.
A SATIRE AGAINST SEDITION.
EPISTLE TO THE WHIGS.
FOR to whom can I dedicate this Poem with so much justice as to you? It is the representation of your own hero; it is the picture drawn at length, which you admire and prize so much in little.* None of your ornaments are wanting; neither the landscape of the Tower, nor the Rising Sun; nor the anno domini of your new sovereign's coronation. This must needs be a grateful undertaking to your whole party, especially to those who have not been so happy as to purchase the original. I hear the graver has made a good market of it: all his kings are bought up already; or the value of the remainder so enhanced, that many a poor Polander, who would be glad to worship the
* On the Jury's refusing to find a bill against Lord Shaftesbury for high-treason, in Nov. 1681, a medal was struck to commemorate the event, which gave occasion to Dryden's satire. A "picture in little," means a miniature. See Shakspeare's Hamlet.
+ Shaftesbury was said to entertain hopes that he should be elect ed King of Poland.
image, is not able to go to the cost of him, but must be content to see him here. I must confess I am no great artist; but sign-post painting will serve the turn to remember a friend by, especially when better is not to be had: yet, for your comfort, the lineaments are true; and though he sat not five times to me, as he did to B.* yet I have consulted history, as the Italian painters do, when they would draw a Nero or a Caligula; though they have not seen the man, they can help their imagination by a statue of him, and find out the colouring from Suetonius and Tacitus. Truth is, you might have spared one side of your Medal: the head would be seen to more advantage if it were placed on a spike of the Tower, a little nearer to the sun, which would then break out to better purpose.
You tell us, in your Preface to the No-protestant Plot, that you shall be forced hereafter to leave off your modesty. I suppose you mean that little which is left you; for it was worn to rags when you put out this Medal. Never was there practised such a piece of notorious impudence in the face of an established government. I believe, when he is dead, you will wear him in thumbrings, as the Turks did Scanderbeg; as if there were virtue in his bones to preserve you against monarchy. Yet all this while you pretend not only zeal for the public good, but a due veneration for the person of the King. But all men, who can see an inch before them, may easily detect
* George Bower, a medallic engraver.
those gross fallacies. That it is necessary for men in your circumstances to pretend both, is granted you; for without them there could be no ground to raise a faction. But I would ask you one civil question, What right has any man among you, or any association of men, (to come nearer to you) who out of parliament cannot be considered in a public capacity, to meet, as you daily do, in factious clubs, to vilify the government in your discourses, and to libel it in all your writings? Who made you judges in Israel? or how is it consistent with your zeal for the public welfare to promote sedition? Does your definition of loyal, which is to serve the King according to the laws, allow you the licence of traducing the executive power with which you own he is invested? You complain that his Majesty has lost the love and confidence of his people; and, by your very urging it, you endeavour what in you lies to make him lose them. All good subjects abhor the thought of arbitrary power, whether it be in one or many: if you were the patriots you would seem, you would not, at this rate, incense the multitude to assume it; for no sober man can fear it, either from the King's disposition or his practice, or even, where you would odiously lay it, from his ministers. Give us leave to enjoy the government, and benefit of laws under which we were born, and which we desire to transmit to our posterity. You are not the trustees of the public liberty; and, if you have not right to petition in a crowd, much less have you to intermeddle in the management of affairs, or to arraign what you do not like; which, in effect, is every thing that is done by the King and
council. Can you imagine that any reasonable man will believe you respect the person of his Majesty, when it is apparent that your seditious pamphlets are stuffed with particular reflections on him? If you have the confidence to deny this, it is easy to be evinced from a thousand passages, which I only forbear to quote, because I desire they should die and be forgotten. I have perused many of your papers; and to show you that I have, the third part of your "No-protestant Plot” is much of it stolen from your dead author's pamphlet, called "The Growth of Popery;* as manifestly as Milton's "Defence of the English People" is from Buchanan, "De Jure Regni apud Scotos;" or your first Covenant, and New Association, from the Holy League of the French Guisards. Any one who reads Davila, may trace your practices all along. There were the same pretences for reformation and loyalty, the same aspersions of the King, and the same grounds of a rebellion. I know not whether you will take the historian's word, who says it was reported that Poltrot, a huguenot, murdered Francis Duke of Guise, by the instigations of Theodore Beza; or that it was a huguenot minister, otherwise called a presbyterian (for our church abhors so devilish a tenet,) who first writ a treatise of the lawfulness of deposing and murdering kings of a different persuasion in religion. But I am able to prove, from the doctrine of Calvin, and principles of Buchanan, that they set the people above the magistrate; which, if I mistake not, is your own fundamental; and
* Written by Andrew Marvel, and published in 1678,