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  Dryden Poet Laureate Political Satire: Absalom and Achitophel, Part I  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

I. Dryden.

§ 20. The “Rose-alley ambuscade”.


Noblemen of Rochester’s stamp, and others of a more sober sort, took pride in displaying their more or less arbitrary patronage of men of letters. This condition of things may almost be said to have culminated in the “Rose-alley ambuscade,” one of the most shameless episodes in English literary history. On the suspicion of his having assisted John Sheffield, earl of Mulgrave (afterwards duke of Bucking-hamshire), in a passage in his Essay on Satire reflecting on Rochester’s “want of wit,” Dryden was brutally assaulted by hirelings of that patron of letters, who had recently transferred his favours, such as they were, to other writers (1679).  77    50

Note 77. There is small comfort in a parallel; but, in noting the light thrown by this incident upon the relations between society and letters in Dryden’s age, it may be added that the date of a not dissimilar brutal insult to Voltaire by a member of the house of Rohan was 1725. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Dryden Poet Laureate Political Satire: Absalom and Achitophel, Part I  
 
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