Political Satire in English Poetry

9781458894489: Political Satire in English Poetry
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1910 edition. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER IV THE SATIRIC AGE The first eighteen years of Charles IPs reign saw a gradually increasing discontent; but the subjects of complaint were not yet unified. There was mismanagement, there was corruption, there were absolutist and papistical tendencies; but Charles adroitly tided over the moments of exceptional strain, although at the cost of some concessions even to the Pension Parliament. But a widespread anger was rising in the nation, and these partial irritations were precipitated into a wholesale indignation by the fable of the Popish Plot. The people had been worked up into a justifiable state of chronic suspicion by the halfknown events of the reign. There was an obvious movement in France, coupled with obscure intrigues in England, to enforce a universal Catholicism. So it is little wonder that an inventive knave was found to make his profit out of the public credulity. Out of this gruesome episode, with its sordid villainy, the two great English parties sprang. The fear of Popery was bound to lead to an attempt to exclude the Duke of York, an avowed Papist, from the succession to his brother. The Country-party took up the question with a will; the Court and Church and the warmer loyalists resisted. Whig and Tory, in fact, if not in name, had appeared; and the future Whigs had obtained a leader of political genius in the person of the ex-Roundhead, ex-Cabal-minister, Shaftesbury. One of the first necessities for the Countryparty was to work up popular feeling against the Roman Catholics, and an instrument to this end was found in John Oldham (1654-83) with his Satires against the Jesuits. Oldham, like some other devout men, was a converted rake; and, still young, retained in virtue, perhaps, the reckless heat of...

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