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The Works of John Dryden, now first collected in eighteen volumes. Volume 07
In the latter part of Charles the Second's reign, the stage, as well as every other engine which could affect the popular mind, was eagerly employed in the service of the contending factions. Settle and Shadwell had, in tragedy and comedy, contributed their mite to the support of the popular cause. In the stormy session of parliament, in 1680, the famous bill was moved, for the exclusion of the Duke of York, as a papist, from the succession, and accompanied by others of a nature equally peremptory and determined. The most remarkable was a bill to order an association for the safety of his majesty's person, for defence of the protestant religion, for the preservation of the protestant liege subjects against invasion and opposition, and for preventing any papist from succeeding to the throne of England. To recommend these rigid measures, and to keep up that zealous hatred and terror of the catholic religion, which the plot had inspired, Settle wrote his forgotten tragedy of "Pope Joan," in which he revives the old fable of a female pope, and loads her with all the crimes of which a priest, or a woman, could possibly be guilty. Shadwell's comedy of the "Lancashire Witches" was levelled more immediately at the papists, but interspersed with most gross and scurrilous reflections upon the English divines of the high church party. Otway, Lee, and Dryden were the formidable antagonists, whom the court opposed to the whig poets. Thus arrayed and confronted, the stage absolutely foamed with politics; the prologues and epilogues, in particular formed channels, through which the tenets of the opposite parties were frequently assailed, and the persons of their leaders and their poets exposed to scandal and derision. ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 16402
Author: Dryden, John
Release Date: Jul 31, 2005
Editor: Scott, Walter, 1771-1832
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