Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
The Hind and the Panther
The First Part
To the Reader.

  The nation is in too high a Ferment, for me to expect either fair War or even so much as fair Quarter from a Reader of the opposite Party. All Men are engag’d either on this side or that: and tho’ Conscience is the common Word which is given by both, yet if a Writer fall among Enemies and cannot give the Marks of Their Conscience, he is knock’d down before the Reasons of his own are heard. A Preface, therefore, which is but a bespeaking of Favour, is altogether useless. What I desire the Reader should know concerning me, he will find in the Body of the Poem, if he have but the patience to peruse it. Only this Advertisement let him take before hand, which relates to the Merits of the Cause. No general Characters of Parties (call ’em either Sects or Churches) can be so fully and exactly drawn as to comprehend all the several Members of ’em; at least all such as are receiv’d under that Denomination. For example; there are some of the Church by Law established who envy not Liberty of Conscience to Dissenters; as being well satisfied that, according to their own Principles, they ought not to persecute them. Yet these, by reason of their fewness, I could not distinguish from the Numbers of the rest, with whom they are Embodied in one common Name: On the other side there are many of our Sects, and more indeed than I could reasonably have hop’d, who have withdrawn themselves from the Communion of the Panther and embrac’d this Gracious Indulgence of His Majesty in point of Toleration. But neither to the one nor the other of these is this Satyr any way intended: ’tis aim’d only at the refractory and disobedient on either side. For those who are come over to the Royal Party are consequently suppos’d to be out of Gunshot. Our physicians have observ’d, that in Process of Time, some Diseases have abated of their Virulence and have in a manner worn out their Malignity, so as to be no longer Mortal: and why may not I suppose the same concerning some of those who have formerly been Enemies to Kingly Government as well as Catholick Religion? I hope they have now another Notion of both, as having found by Comfortable Experience that the doctrine of Persecution is far from being an Article of our Faith.
  ’Tis not for any Private Man to Censure the Proceedings of a Foreign Prince; but without suspicion of Flattery I may praise our own, who has taken contrary Measures, and those more suitable to the Spirit of Christianity. Some of the Dissenters, in their Addresses to His Majesty, have said that he has restor’d God to his Empire over Conscience: I Confess I dare not stretch the Figure to so great a boldness; but I may safely say, that Conscience is the Royalty and Prerogative of every Private man. He is absolute in his own Breast, and accountable to no Earthly Power for that which passes only betwixt God and Him. Those who are driven into the Fold are, generally speaking, rather made Hypocrites than Converts.
  This Indulgence being granted to all the Sects, it ought in reason to be expected that they should both receive it, and receive it thankfully. For at this time of day to refuse the Benefit and adhere to those whom they have esteemed their Persecutors, what is it else, but publickly to own that they suffer’d not before for Conscience sake, but only out of Pride and Obstinacy to separate from a Church for those Impositions which they now judge may be lawfully obey’d? After they have so long contended for their Classical Ordination (not to speak of Rites and Ceremonies) will they at length submit to an Episcopal? If they can go so far out of Complaisance to their old Enemies, methinks a little reason should perswade ’em to take another step, and see whether that wou’d lead ’em.
  Of the receiving this Toleration thankfully, I shall say no more, than that they ought, and I doubt not they will consider from what hands they receiv’d it. ’Tis not from a Cyrus, a Heathen Prince and a Foreigner, but from a Christian King, their Native Sovereign, who expects a Return in Specie from them; that the Kindness which He has graciously shown them, may be retaliated on those of his own perswasion.
  As for the Poem in general, I will only thus far satisfie the Reader: that it was neither impos’d on me nor so much as the Subject given me by any man. It was written during the last Winter and the beginning of this Spring; though with long interruptions of ill health and other hindrances. About a Fortnight before I had finish’d it, His Majesties Declaration for Liberty of Conscience came abroad: which if I had so soon expected, I might have spar’d myself the labour of writing many things which are contained in the third part of it. But I was always in some hope that the Church of England might have been persuaded to have taken off the Penal Lawes and the Test, which was one Design of the Poem, when I propos’d to myself the writing of it.
  ’Tis evident that some part of it was only occasional, and not first intended. I mean that defence of my self, to which every honest man is bound, when he is injuriously attacqu’d in Print: and I refer my Self to the judgment of those who have read the Answer to the Defence of the late Kings Papers, and that of the Dutchess (in which last I was concerned) how charitably I have been represented there. I am now inform’d both of the Author and Supervisers of his Pamphlet, and will reply, when I think he can affront me: for I am of Socrate’s Opinion, that all Creatures cannot. In the mean time let him consider whether he deserv’d not a more severe reprehension then I gave him formerly; for using so little respect to the Memory of those whom he pretended to answer: and at his leisure look out for some Original Treatise of Humility, written by any Protestant in English, (I believe I may say in any other Tongue:) for the magnified Piece of Duncomb on that subject, which either he must mean, or none, and with which another of his Fellows has upbraided me, was Translated from the Spanish of Rodriguez: though with the omission of the 17th, the 24th, the 25th, and the last Chapter, which will be found in comparing of the Books.
  He would have insinuated to the world, that Her late Highness died not a Roman Catholick; he declares himself to be now satisfied to the contrary; in which he has given up the Cause: for matter of Fact was the Principal Debate betwixt us. In the mean time, he would dispute the Motives of her Change; how preposterously, let all men judge, when he seem’d to deny the Subject of the Controversy, the Change itself. And because I would not take up this ridiculous Challenge, he tells the World I cannot argue: but he may as well infer that a Catholic cannot fast because he will not take up the cudgels against Mrs. James to confute the Protestant Religion.
  I have but one word more to say concerning the Poem as such, and abstracting from the Matters, either Religious or Civil, which are handled in it. The first Part, consisting most in general Characters and Narration, I have endeavour’d to raise, and give it the Majestic Turn of Heroic Poesie. The second being Matter of Dispute, and chiefly concerning Church Authority, I was obliged to make as plain and perspicuous as possibly I cou’d: yet not wholly neglecting the Numbers, though I had not frequent occasions for the Magnificence of Verse. The third, which has more of the Nature of Domestick Conversation, is, or ought to be more free and familiar than the two former.
  There are in it two Episodes or Fables, which are interwoven with the main Design; so that they are properly parts of it, though they are also distinct Stories of themselves. In both of these I have made use of the Common Places of Satyr, whether true or false, which are urg’d by the Members of the one Church against the other. At which I hope no reader of either party will be scandaliz’d, because they are not of my invention: but as old, to my knowledge, as the Times of Boccace and Chawcer on the one side, and as those of the Reformation on the other.

The Hind and the Panther.

A Poem, in Three Parts

A MILK 1 white Hind, immortal and unchang’d,
Fed on the lawns and in the forest rang’d;
Without unspotted, innocent within,
She fear’d no danger, for she knew no sin.
Yet had she oft been chas’d with horns and hounds        5
And Scythian shafts; and many winged wounds
Aim’d at her Heart; was often forc’d to fly,
And doom’d to death, though fated not to dy.
  Not so her young; for their unequal line
Was Heroe’s make, half humane, half divine.        10
Their earthly mold obnoxious was to fate,
Th’ immortal part assum’d immortal state.
Of these a slaughtered army lay in bloud,
Extended o’er the Caledonian wood,
Their native walk; whose vocal bloud arose        15
And cry’d for pardon on their perjur’d foes;
Their fate was fruitful, and the sanguin seed,
Endu’d with souls, encreas’d the sacred breed.
So Captive Israel multiply’d in chains,
A numerous Exile; and enjoy’d her pains.        20
With grief and gladness mixt, their mother view’d
Her martyr’d offspring, and their race renew’d;
Their corps to perish, but their kind to last,
So much the deathless plant the dying fruit surpass’d.
  Panting and pensive now she ranged alone,        25
And wander’d in the kingdoms once Her own.
The common Hunt, though from their rage restrain’d
By sov’reign power, her company disdain’d:
Grin’d as They pass’d, and with a glaring eye
Gave gloomy signs of secret enmity.        30
’Tis true, she bounded by, and trip’d so light,
They had not time to take a steady sight,
For truth has such a face and such a meen
As to be lov’d needs only to be seen.
  The bloudy Bear, an Independent beast,        35
Unlick’d to form, in groans her hate express’d.
Among the timorous kind the Quaking Hare
Profess’d neutrality, but would not swear.
Next her, the Buffoon Ape, as Atheists use,
Mimick’d all Sects and had his own to chuse:        40
Still when the Lyon look’d, his knees he bent,
And pay’d at Church a Courtier’s Complement.
The bristl’d Baptist Boar, impure as He,
(But whitn’d with the foam of sanctity)
With fat pollutions fill’d the sacred place        45
And mountains levell’d in his furious race,
So first rebellion founded was in grace.
But, since the mighty ravage which he made
In German Forests, had his guilt betray’d,
With broken tusks, and with a borrow’d name,        50
He shun’d the vengeance, and concealed the shame;
So lurk’d in Sects unseen. With greater guile
False Reynard fed on consecrated spoil;
The graceless beast by Athanasius first
Was chased from Nice; then by Socinus nurs’d.        55
His impious race their blasphemy renew’d,
And natures King through nature’s opticks view’d.
Revers’d they view’d him lessen’d to their eye,
Nor in an Infant could a God descry:
New swarming Sects to this obliquely tend        60
Hence they began, and here they all will end.
  What weight of ancient witness can prevail,
If private reason hold the publick scale?
But, gratious God, how well dost thou provide
For erring judgments an unerring Guide!        65
Thy throne is darkness in th’ abyss of light,
A blaze of glory that forbids the sight;
O teach me to believe Thee thus conceal’d,
And search no farther than Thy self reveal’d;
But her alone for my Directour take        70
Whom Thou hast promis’d never to forsake!
My thoughtless youth was wing’d with vain desires,
My manhood, long misled by wandring fires,
Follow’d false lights; and when their glimps was gone,
My pride struck out new sparkles of her own.        75
Such was I, such by nature still I am,
Be Thine the glory and be mine the shame.
Good life be now my task: my doubts are done,
(What more could fright my faith, than Three in One?)
Can I believe eternal God could lye        80
Disguis’d in mortal mold and infancy?
That the great Maker of the world could dye?
And after that, trust my imperfect sense
Which calls in question his omnipotence?
Can I my reason to my faith compell,        85
And shall my sight, and touch, and taste rebell?
Superiour faculties are set aside,
Shall their subservient organs be my guide?
Then let the moon usurp the rule of day,
And winking tapers shew the sun his way;        90
For what my senses can themselves perceive
I need no revelation to believe.
Can they, who say the Host should be descry’d
By sense, define a body glorify’d?
Impassible, and penetrating parts?        95
Let them declare by what mysterious arts
He shot that body through th’ opposing might
Of bolts and barrs impervious to the light,
And stood before his train confess’d in open sight.
  For since thus wondrously he pass’d, ’tis plain        100
One single place two bodies did contain,
And sure the same Omnipotence as well
Can make one body in more places dwell.
Let reason then at Her own quarry fly,
But how can finite grasp Infinity?        105
  ’Tis urg’d again, that faith did first commence
By miracles, which are appeals to sense,
And thence concluded that our sense must be
The motive still of credibility.
For latter ages must on former wait,        110
And what began belief, must propagate.
  But winnow well this thought, and you shall find,
’Tis light as chaff that flies before the wind.
Were all those wonders wrought by pow’r divine
As means or ends of some more deep design?        115
Most sure as means, whose end was this alone,
To prove the god-head of th’ eternal Son.
God thus asserted: man is to believe
Beyond what Sense and Reason can conceive.
And for mysterious things of faith rely        120
On the Proponent, heaven’s authority.
If then our faith we for our guide admit,
Vain is the farther search of human wit,
As when the building gains a surer stay,
We take th’ unuseful scaffolding away:        125
Reason by sense no more can understand,
The game is play’d into another hand.
Why chuse we then like Bilanders to creep
Along the coast, and land in view to keep,
When safely we may launch into the deep?        130
In the same vessel which our Saviour bore
Himself the pilot, let us leave the shoar,
And with a better guide a better world explore.
Could He his god-head veil with flesh and bloud
And not veil these again to be our food?        135
His grace in both is equal in extent;
The first affords us life, the second nourishment.
And if he can, why all this frantick pain
To construe what his clearest words contain,
And make a riddle what He made so plain?        140
To take up half on trust, and half to try,
Name it not faith, but bungling biggottry.
Both knave and fool the Merchant we may call
To pay great summs and to compound the small.
For who wou’d break with heav’n, and wou’d not break for all?        145
Rest then, my soul, from endless anguish freed;
Nor sciences thy guide, nor sense thy creed.
Faith is the best ensurer of thy bliss;
The Bank above must fail before the venture miss.
But heav’n and heav’n-born faith are far from Thee,        150
Thou first Apostate to Divinity.
Unkennel’d range in thy Polonian Plains;
A fiercer foe the insatiate Wolf remains.
  Too boastful Britain please thyself no more,
That beasts of prey are banish’d from thy shoar;        155
The Bear, the Boar, and every salvage name,
Wild in effect, though in appearance tame,
Lay waste thy woods, destroy thy blissfull bow’r,
And, muzl’d though they seem, the mutes devour.
More haughty than the rest, the wolfish race        160
Appear with belly Gaunt and famish’d face:
Never was so deform’d a beast of Grace.
His ragged tail betwixt his leggs he wears
Close clap’d for shame, but his rough crest he rears,
And pricks up his predestinating ears.        165
His wild disorder’d walk, his hagger’d eyes,
Did all the bestial citizens surprize.
Though fear’d and hated, yet he ruled a while,
As Captain or Companion of the spoil.
Full many a year his hatefull head had been        170
For tribute paid, nor since in Cambria seen:
The last of all the Litter scap’d by chance,
And from Geneva first infested France.
Some Authors thus his Pedigree will trace,
But others write him of an upstart Race:        175
Because of Wickliff’s Brood no mark he brings
But his innate Antipathy to Kings.
These last deduce him from th’ Helvetian kind
Who near the Leman lake his Consort lin’d.
That fi’ry Zuynglius first th’ Affection bred,        180
And meagre Calvin blest the Nuptial Bed.
In Israel some believe him whelp’d long since,
When the proud Sanhedrim oppress’d the Prince, 2
Or, since he will be Jew, derive him higher,
When Corah with his Brethren did conspire,        185
From Moyses Hand the Sov’reign sway to wrest,
And Aaron of his Ephod to devest:
Till opening Earth made way for all to pass,
And cou’d not bear the Burd’n of a class.
The Fox and he came shuffl’d in the Dark,        190
If ever they were stow’d in Noah’s Ark:
Perhaps not made; for all their barking train
The Dog (a common species) will contain.
And some wild currs, who from their masters ran,
Abhorring the supremacy of man,        195
In woods and caves the rebel-race began.
  O happy pair, how well have you encreas’d,
What ills in Church and State have you redress’d!
With Teeth untry’d and rudiments of Claws,
Your first essay was on your native Laws:        200
Those having torn with Ease and trampl’d down,
Your Fangs you fasten’d on the miter’d Crown,
And freed from God and Monarchy your Town.
What though your native kennel still be small
Bounded betwixt a Puddle and a Wall,        205
Yet your Victorious Colonies are sent
Where the North Ocean girds the Continent.
Quickned with fire below, your Monsters Breed,
In Fenny Holland and in fruitful Tweed.
And like the first the last effects to be        210
Drawn to the dreggs of a Democracy.
As, where in Fields the fairy rounds are seen,
A rank sow’r herbage rises on the Green;
So, springing where these mid-night Elves advance,
Rebellion Prints the Foot-steps of the Dance.        215
Such are their Doctrines, such contempt they show
To Heaven above, and to their Prince below,
As none but Traytors and Blasphemers know.
God, like the Tyrant of the Skies is plac’d,
And Kings, like slaves, beneath the Crowd debas’d.        220
So fulsome is their food that Flocks refuse
To bite; and only Dogs for Physick use.
As, where the Lightning runs along the Ground,
No husbandry can heal the blasting Wound,
Nor bladed Grass nor bearded Corn succeeds,        225
But Scales of Scurf, and Putrefaction breeds:
Such Warrs, such Waste, such fiery tracks of Dearth
Their Zeal has left, and such a teemless Earth.
But as the Poisons of the deadliest kind
Are to their own unhappy Coasts confin’d,        230
As only Indian Shades of sight deprive,
And Magick Plants will but in Colchos thrive;
So Presby’try and Pestilential Zeal
Can only flourish in a Common-weal.
  From Celtique Woods is chased the wolfish Crew;        235
But ah! some Pity e’en to Brutes is due,
Their native Walks, methinks, they might enjoy,
Curb’d of their native Malice to destroy.
Of all the Tyrannies on humane kind
The worst is that which Persecutes the mind.        240
Let us but weigh at what offence we strike,
’Tis but because we cannot think alike.
In punishing of this, we overthrow
The Laws of Nations and of Nature too
Beasts are the Subjects of Tyrannick sway,        245
Where still the stronger on the weaker Prey.
Man only of a softer mold is made;
Not for his Fellows ruine, but their Aid.
Created kind, beneficent and free,
The noble Image of the Deity.        250
  One Portion of informing Fire was giv’n
To Brutes, the Inferiour Family of Heav’n:
The Smith Divine, as with a careless Beat,
Struck out the mute Creation at a Heat:
But when arriv’d at last to humane Race,        255
The Godhead took a deep consid’ring space:
And, to distinguish Man from all the rest,
Unlock’d the sacred Treasures of his Breast:
And Mercy mixt with reason did impart,
One to his Head, the other to his Heart:        260
Reason to Rule, but Mercy to forgive:
The first is Law, the last Prerogative.
And like his Mind his outward form appear’d
When issuing Naked to the wondring Herd,
He charm’d their Eyes, and for they lov’d they fear’d.        265
Not arm’d with horns of arbitrary might,
Or Claws to seize their furry spoils in Fight,
Or with increase of Feet t’ o’ertake ’em in their flight.
Of easie shape, and pliant ev’ry way,
Confessing still the softness of his Clay,        270
And kind as Kings upon their Coronation-day:
With open Hands, and with extended space
Of Arms to satisfy a large embrace.
Thus kneaded up with Milk, the new made Man
His Kingdom o’er his Kindred world began:        275
Till Knowledg mis-apply’d, mis-understood,
And pride of Empire sour’d his Balmy Blood.
Then, first rebelling, his own stamp he coins;
The Murth’rer Cain was latent in his Loins;
And Blood began its first and loudest Cry        280
For diff’ring worship of the Deity.
Thus persecution rose, and farther Space
Produc’d the mighty hunter of his Race.
Not so the blessed Pan his flock encreased,
Content to fold ’em from the famish’d Beast:        285
Mild were his laws; the Sheep and harmless Hind
Were never of the persecuting kind.
Such pity now the pious Pastor shows,
Such mercy from the British Lyon flows,
That both provide protection for their foes.        290
  Oh happy Regions, Italy and Spain,
Which never did those monsters entertain!
The Wolfe, the Bear, the Boar, can there advance
No native claim of just inheritance.
And self preserving laws, severe in show,        295
May guard their fences from th’ invading foe.
Where birth has plac’d ’em, let ’em safely share
The common benefit of vital air;
Themselves unharmful, let them live unharm’d;
Their jaws disabl’d, and their claws disarm’d:        300
Here, only in nocturnal howlings bold,
They dare not seize the Hind nor leap the fold.
More pow’rful, and as vigilant as they,
The Lyon awfully forbids the prey.
Their rage repress’d, though pinch’d with famine sore,        305
They stand aloof, and tremble at his roar;
Much is their hunger, but their fear is more.
  These are the chief; to number o’er the rest
And stand, like Adam, naming ev’ry beast,
Were weary work; nor will the Muse describe        310
A slimy-born and sun-begotten Tribe:
Who, far from steeples and their sacred sound,
In fields their sullen conventicles found:
These gross, half animated lumps I leave;
Nor can I think what thoughts they can conceive.        315
But if they think at all, ’tis sure no high’r
Than matter, put in motion, may aspire.
Souls that can scarce ferment their mass of clay;
So drossy, so divisible are They,
As wou’d but serve pure bodies for allay:        320
Such souls as Shards produce, such beetle things
As only buz to heaven with ev’ning wings;
Strike in the dark, offending but by chance,
Such are the blind-fold blows of ignorance.
They know not beings, and but hate a name,        325
To them the Hind and Panther are the same.
  The Panther sure the noblest, next the Hind,
And fairest creature of the spotted kind:
Oh, could her in-born stains be wash’d away,
She were too good to be a beast of Prey!        330
How can I praise, or blame, and not offend,
Or how divide the frailty from the friend?
Her faults and vertues lye so mix’d, that she
Nor wholly stands condemn’d nor wholly free.
Then, like her injured Lyon, let me speak,        335
He cannot bend her, and he would not break.
Unkind already, and estrang’d in part,
The Wolfe begins to share her wandring heart.
Though unpolluted yet with actual ill,
She half commits, who sins but in Her will.        340
If, as our dreaming Platonists report,
There could be spirits of a middle sort,
Too black for heav’n, and yet too white for hell,
Who just dropt half-way done, 3 nor lower fell;
So pois’d, so gently she descends from high,        345
It seems a soft dismission from the skie.
Her house not ancient, whatsoe’er pretence
Her clergy Heraulds make in her defence.
A second century not half-way run
Since the new honours of her blood begun.        350
A Lyon old, obscene, and furious made
By lust, compress’d her mother in a shade.
Then by a left-hand marr’age weds the Dame,
Covering adult’ry with a specious name:
So schism begot; and sacrilege and she,        355
A well-match’d pair, got graceless heresie.
God’s and Kings rebels have the same good cause,
To trample down divine and humane laws:
Both would be call’d Reformers, and their hate,
Alike destructive both to Church and State:        360
The fruit proclaims the plant; a lawless Prince
By luxury reform’d incontinence,
By ruins, charity; by riots abstinence.
Confessions, fasts and penance set aside;
Oh with what ease we follow such a guide!        365
Where souls are starv’d and senses gratify’d!
Where marr’age pleasures midnight pray’r supply,
And mattin bells (a melancholy cry)
Are tun’d to merrier notes, encrease and multiply.
Religion shows a Rosie colour’d face,        370
Not hatter’d out with drudging works of grace;
A down-hill Reformation rolls apace.
What flesh and blood wou’d croud the narrow gate,
Or, till they waste their pamper’d paunches, wait?
All wou’d be happy at the cheapest rate.        375
  Though our lean faith these rigid laws has giv’n,
The full fed Musulman goes fat to heav’n;
For his Arabian Prophet with delights
Of sense, allur’d his eastern Proselytes.
The jolly Luther, reading him, began        380
T’ interpret Scriptures by his Alcoran;
To grub the thorns beneath our tender feet
And make the paths of Paradise more sweet:
Bethought him of a wife, e’er half way gone,
(For ’twas uneasie travailing alone,)        385
And in this masquerade of mirth and love,
Mistook the bliss of heav’n for Bacchanals above.
Sure he presum’d of praise, who came to stock
Th’ etherial pastures with so fair a flock;
Burnish’d, and bat’ning on their food, to show        390
The diligence of carefull herds below.
  Our Panther, though like these she chang’d her head,
Yet, as the mistress of a monarch’s bed,
Her front erect with majesty she bore,
The Crozier wielded and the Miter wore.        395
Her upper part of decent discipline
Shew’d affectation of an ancient line:
And fathers, councils, church and church’s head,
Were on her reverend Phylacteries read.
But what disgrac’d and disavow’d the rest        400
Was Calvin’s brand, that stigmatiz’d the beast.
Thus, like a creature of a double kind,
In her own labyrinth she lives confin’d.
To foreign lands no sound of Her is come,
Humbly content to be despis’d at home.        405
Such is her faith, where good cannot be had,
At least she leaves the refuse of the bad.
Nice in her choice of ill, though not of best,
And least deform’d, because reform’d the least.
In doubtful points betwixt her diff’ring friends,        410
Where one for substance, one for sign contends,
Their contradicting terms she strives to joyn
Sign shall be substance, substance shall be sign.
A real presence all her sons allow,
And yet ’tis flat Idolatry to bow,        415
Because the God-head’s there they know not how.
Her Novices are taught that bread and wine
Are but the visible and outward sign,
Receiv’d by those who in communion joyn.
But th’ inward grace or the thing signify’d,        420
His blood and body who to save us dy’d,
The faithful this thing signify’d receive.
What is’t those faithful then partake or leave?
For what is signify’d and understood,
Is, by her own confession, flesh and blood.        425
Then, by the same acknowledgment, we know
They take the sign, and take the substance too.
The lit’ral sense is hard to flesh and blood,
But nonsense never can be understood.
  Her wild belief on ev’ry wave is tost,        430
But sure no Church can better morals boast.
True to her King her principles are found;
Oh that her practice were but half so sound!
Stedfast in various turns of state she stood,
And seal’d her vow’d affection with her blood;        435
Nor will I meanly tax her constancy,
That int’rest or obligement made the tye,
(Bound to the fate of murdr’d Monarchy:)
(Before the sounding Ax so falls the Vine,
Whose tender branches round the Poplar twine.)        440
She chose her ruin, and resign’d her life,
In death undaunted as an Indian wife:
A rare example: But some souls we see
Grow hard, and stiffen with adversity:
Yet these by fortunes favours are undone,        445
Resolv’d into a baser form they run,
And bore the wind, but cannot bear the sun.
Let this be natures frailty or her fate,
Or Isgrim’s 4 counsel, her new chosen mate;
Still she’s the fairest of the fallen Crew,        450
No mother more indulgent but the true.
  Fierce to her foes, yet fears her force to try,
Because she wants innate auctority;
For how can she constrain them to obey
Who has her self cast off the lawful sway?        455
Rebellion equals all, and those who toil
In common theft, will share the common spoil.
Let her produce the title and the right
Against her old superiours first to fight;
If she reform by Text, ev’n that’s as plain        460
For her own Rebels to reform again.
As long as words a diff’rent sense will bear,
And each may be his own Interpreter,
Our ai’ry faith will no foundation find
The word’s a weathercock for ev’ry wind:        465
The Bear, the Fox, the Wolfe by turns prevail,
The most in pow’r supplies the present gale.
The wretched Panther crys aloud for aid
To church and councils, whom she first betray’d;
No help from Fathers or traditions train        470
Those ancient guides she taught us to disdain.
And by that scripture which she once abus’d
To Reformation, stands herself accus’d.
What bills for breach of laws can she prefer,
Expounding which she owns her self may err?        475
And, after all her winding ways are try’d,
If doubts arise, she slips herself aside
And leaves the private conscience for the guide.
If then that conscience set th’ offender free,
It bars her claim to church auctority.        480
How can she censure, or what crime pretend,
But Scripture may be constru’d to defend?
Ev’n those whom for rebellion she transmits
To civil pow’r, her doctrine first acquits;
Because no disobedience can ensue,        485
Where no submission to a Judge is due;
Each judging for himself, by her consent,
Whom thus absolv’d she sends to punishment.
Suppose the Magistrate revenge her cause,
’Tis only for transgressing humane laws.        490
How answ’ring to its end a church is made,
Whose pow’r is but to counsel and perswade?
O solid rock, on which secure she stands!
Eternal house, not built with mortal hands!
Oh sure defence against th’ infernal gate,        495
A patent during pleasure of the state!
  Thus is the Panther neither lov’d nor fear’d,
A mere mock Queen of a divided Herd;
Whom soon by lawful pow’r she might controll,
Her self a part submitted to the whole.        500
Then, as the Moon who first receives the light
By which she makes our nether regions bright,
So might she shine, reflecting from afar
The rays she borrowed from a better Star:
Big with the beams which from her mother flow        505
And reigning o’er the rising tides below:
Now, mixing with a salvage croud, she goes,
And meanly flatters her invet’rate foes,
Rul’d while she rules, and losing ev’ry hour
Her wretched remnants of precarious pow’r.        510
  One evening, while the cooler shade she sought,
Revolving many a melancholy thought,
Alone she walk’d, and look’d around in vain,
With ruful visage for her vanish’d train:
None of her sylvan subjects made their court;        515
Leveés and coucheés pass’d without resort.
So hardly can Usurpers manage well
Those whom they first instructed to rebel:
More liberty begets desire of more,
The hunger still encreases with the store.        520
Without respect they brush’d along the wood,
Each in his clan, and fill’d with loathsome food,
Ask’d no permission to the neighb’ring flood.
The Panther, full of inward discontent,
Since they wou’d goe, before ’em wisely went:        525
Supplying want of pow’r by drinking first,
As if she gave ’em leave to quench their thirst.
Among the rest, the Hind, with fearful face
Beheld from far the common wat’ring-place,
Nor durst approach; till with an awful roar        530
The sovereign Lyon bad her fear no more.
Encourag’d thus, she brought her younglings nigh,
Watching the motions of her Patron’s eye,
And drank a sober draught; the rest amaz’d
Stood mutely still, and on the stranger gaz’d:        535
Survey’d her part by part, and sought to find
The ten-horn’d monster in the harmless Hind,
Such as the Wolfe and Panther had design’d:
They thought at first they dream’d, for ’twas offence
With them, to question certitude of sense,        540
Their guide in faith; but nearer when they drew,
And had the faultless object full in view,
Lord, how they all admir’d her heav’nly hiew!
Some, who before her fellowship disdain’d,
Scarce, and but scarce, from inborn rage restrain’d,        545
Now frisk’d about her and old kindred feign’d.
Whether for love or int’rest, every sect
Of all the salvage nation shew’d respect:
The Vice-roy Panther could not awe the herd,
The more the company the less they fear’d.        550
The surly Wolfe with secret envy burst,
Yet cou’d not howl, the Hind had seen him first:
But what he durst not speak, the Panther durst.
  For when the herd suffis’d, did late repair
To ferney heaths and to their forest lare,        555
She made a mannerly excuse to stay,
Proffering the Hind to wait her half the way:
That since the Skie was clear, an hour of talk
Might help her to beguile the tedious walk.
With much good-will the motion was embrac’d,        560
To chat a while on their adventures pass’d:
Nor had the grateful Hind so soon forgot
Her friend and fellow-suff’rer in the plot.
Yet wondring how of late she grew estrang’d,
Her forehead cloudy and her count’nance chang’d,        565
She thought this hour th’ occasion would present
To learn her secret cause of discontent,
Which, well she hop’d, might be with ease redress’d,
Considering Her a well-bred civil beast,
And more a Gentlewoman than the rest.        570
After some common talk what rumours ran,
The Lady of the spotted-muff began.
Note 1. Text from the second edition, 1687, except for a few corrections of the stops, where the first edition, which was of the same year, is right, and for a few corrections noted. [back]
Note 2. Vid. Pref. to Heyl. Hist. of Presb. [back]
Note 3. done] i.e. down, which the editors give. [back]
Note 4. The Wolfe. [back]

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