IN Part 3 of Dryden’s ‘The Hind and the Panther’, in the midst of a pointed exchange between the Anglican Panther and the Roman Catholic Hind on the subject of religious conversion, the Panther refers to a son of hers who has figured the contest between heaven and earth for the soul as a competition between two magnetic forces, ‘’Twas well alluded by a son of mine, / (I hope to quote him is not to purloin) / Two magnets, heav’n and earth, allure to bliss, / The larger loadstone that, the nearer this: / The weak attraction of the greater fails, / We nodd a-while, but neighbourhood prevails / But when the greater proves the nearer too, / I wonder more your converts come so slow.’1 The soul may be drawn towards the distant bliss of heaven, but in the end the weaker though more proximate pleasures of earth often prevail. Within this figure is half hidden another contest, that between the Anglican and the Roman Catholic faiths for the souls of converts. The general meaning of the passage, in both its parts, is clear enough, but puzzles remain: who is the ‘son’ of the Panther, and what is the Panther quoting, or perhaps purloining? Both questions have long troubled Dryden’s editors. Recently Paul Hammond has offered an answer: the ‘son’ in question is John Smith, fellow of Queens College, Cambridge in the 1640 s and lecturer there in mathematics.2 Smith died in 1652 and his writings, Select Discourses, were published posthumously in 1660 (reprinted in 1673). In these Discourses Hammond discovered a passage that suggests the Panther’s language: a man’s soul is ‘like a piece of Iron between two Loadstones of equal virtue. But when Religion enters into the Soul, it charms all its restless rage and violent appetite, by discovering to it the Universal Fountain-fulness of One Supreme Almighty Goodness’.3 There is, doubtless, some similarity between Smith’s language and Dryden’s, though we should note that loadstones with their powers of magnetic attraction are familiar from a variety of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century works of divinity and science, and indeed something of a sermon commonplace in the seventeenth century. Hammond’s case for the Discourses as the text that the Panther ‘purloins’ rests in part on the similarity of language that we can see above. But why would Dryden have the Panther call the Cambridge mathematician and philosopher of the 1640 s a ‘son of mine’, what polemical or argumentative force would that identification have had in 1687? And why the mocking reference to quoting as purloining? In explaining Dryden’s interest in Smith’s Discourses, Hammond points out that Smith, born in 1618, came from a village in Northamptonshire close to Dryden’s own birthplace, and that Dryden may be making a ‘private allusion’ to this neighbourliness when the Panther says that ‘neighbourhood prevails’.4 And what of Smith as the Anglican stalwart, the Panther’s ‘son of mine’? In 1636 Smith had entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge—the most deeply Puritan of the Cambridge colleges—and in 1644 was brought into Queen’s College, Cambridge by the Earl of Manchester, Oliver Cromwell’s instrument for purging Royalists from the university. Having come into his lectureship in this fashion, and displaying a spirituality close to that of the Quietists, it seems unlikely that anyone would have thought to distinguish Smith as a loyal son of the Anglican Church, if anyone in 1687 would have thought of Smith at all.5 If Dryden’s reference to John Smith were some kind of private allusion, it would have been very private indeed, perhaps only to be enjoyed by the poet himself—not, of course, an impossibility with Dryden. But there is another ‘son of mine’ rather closer to the argumentative and polemical fray that Dryden had entered in 1686 over the conversion to Roman Catholicism of the late king, Charles II, and the late Duchess of York: Edward Stillingfleet, Anglican cleric, controversialist, and particular antagonist of Dryden’s. The controversy began in January of 1686 with the publication of Copies of Two Papers Written by the Late King Charles II. Together with A Copy of a Paper written by the Late Duchess of York. Stillingfleet responded in the spring of 1686 with An Answer To Some Papers, and Dryden entered the fray with a Defence of the Papers published on 30 May where Stillingfleet is sneered at as ‘one who calls himself a Son of the Church of England’.6 With ‘what face’ Dryden asks, ‘can this Son of the Church of England suspect the Integrity of his King?’ (89) Stillingfleet answered the charge in January of 1687 with his Vindication that included an attack on Dryden, particularly over Dryden’s charge of his plagiary. Dryden made the next move in the spring of 1687 in his Preface to ‘The Hind and the Panther’ and in Part 3 of the poem where the Hind taunts the Anglican Panther, ‘Your son was warn’d, and wisely gave it o’re / But he who councell’d him, has paid the score’ (lines 310–311). There is disagreement over the identity of whoever it was who counselled Stillingfleet in the conversion controversy—was it Gilbert Burnet, or some other Anglican controversialist, as Earl Miner suggestions?—but all of Dryden’s editors agree that in line 310 ‘Your son’ is Stillingfleet himself.7 There is a further element to this identification of Stillingfleet as the Anglican ‘son’ who has been purloined, and that is Stillingfleet’s own language in the sermon, Protestant Charity, that he preached and published in 1681. If we are looking for loadstones figured in relation to distance and magnetic force, here is Stillingfleet on the attractive powers of heaven and earth, of spirit and flesh ‘placed as two Loadstones drawing our hearts several ways, the one is much stronger, but at a greater distance; the other hath less force in it self but is much nearer to us, by which means it draws more powerfully the hearts that are already touched with a strong inclination to it’.8 And here again is the passage from ‘The Hind and the Panther’: ’Twas well alluded by a son of mine, (I hope to quote him is not to purloin) Two magnets, heav’n and earth, allure to bliss, The larger loadstone that, the nearer this: The weak attraction of the greater fails, We nodd a-while, but neighbourhood prevails. (lines 366–371) Borrowing the language of Stillingfleet’s sermon, the Panther wryly comments, ‘I hope to quote him is not to purloin’. The word ‘purloin’ catches up Dryden’s accusation from the 1686 Defence of the Papers where he says of Stillingfleet’s arguments against the authenticity of Charles II’s and the Duchess of York’s papers, that the ‘whole body of [Stillingfleet’s] Answer, to this Paper, is in effect a Transcript from the Bishops Preface: He purloyns his Arguments, without altering, sometime, so much as the property of his words. He has quoted him five times only in the Margent, and ought to have quoted him in almost every line of his Pamphlet. In short, if the Master had not eaten, the Man (saving Reverence) could not have vomited’.9 Charges of theft, forgery, and purloining flew back and forth between Dryden and Stillingfleet, and when Stillingfleet responded to Dryden’s accusations in his Vindication, he picked up this very passage (how could he not), ‘I have now done as to matter of Reason and Argument; the third Paper chiefly relates to Matter of Fact: which, if I were mistaken in, even the brisk Defender of it [i.e. John Dryden], doth me that Right, to say, the Bishop of Winchester did mislead me. For the whole Body of my Answer, he saith, is in effect a Transcript from the Bishop’s Preface; that I purloin his Arguments’.10 Dryden had touched a nerve: the Panther’s parenthetical—‘(I hope to quote him is not to purloin)’—echoes the charge of purloining that Dryden had levelled against Stillingfleet in his Defence of the Third Paper; now the charge is renewed not by Dryden (as it were) but by the Panther, that emblem of Stillingfleet’s own Anglican faith, as if the Anglican Church itself were providing this needling reminder of the accusations of plagiary and purloining that Dryden had made against Stillingfleet. Perhaps this a minor point, but correctly identifying that alluding ‘son of mine’ allows us to see how closely Dryden wove his poem out of the materials of political and religious controversy surrounding The Hind and the Panther, and indeed how resourceful altogether he was in making poetry out of controversy. Footnotes 1 The text of The Hind and the Panther is quoted from The Works of John Dryden, ed. H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., et al. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1956–2000), III, ed. Earl Miner (1969), 172. 2 Paul Hammond, ‘A Source for the Image of the Loadstones in Dryden’s ‘The Hind and the Panther’, N&Q, 64 (2017), 457–8. 3 John Smith, Select Discourses (London, 1660), 415. 4 Hammond, ‘Source for the Loadstones’, 458. 5 On Smith and Quietism, see G. R. Evans, The University of Cambridge: A New History (London, 2010), 196. 6 John Dryden, A Defence of the Papers (London, 1686), A2v; the extent of Dryden’s participation in the writing of A Defence has been a point of controversy from its initial publication, but it is clear that Stillingfleet thought of Dryden as its author. 7 The Works of John Dryden, III, 416. 8 Edward Stillingfleet, Protestant Charity (London, 1681), 6–7. 9 John Dryden, A Defence of the Papers (London, 1686), 111. The ‘Master’ in question is George Morley, Bishop of Winchester. 10 Edward Stillingfleet, A Vindication of the Answer (London, 1687), 102. © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: email@example.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Notes and Queries – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 13, 2018
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