The Works of John Dryden: Prose: The History of the League, 1684 - Vol. XVIII

The Works of John Dryden: Prose: The History of the League, 1684 - Vol. XVIII

The Works of John Dryden: Prose: The History of the League, 1684 - Vol. XVIII

The Works of John Dryden: Prose: The History of the League, 1684 - Vol. XVIII

Synopsis

This volume contains Dryden's 1684 translation of Louis Maimbourg's "The History of the League," a work relating to the religious wars of France in the preceding century, and which Dryden used as a commentary on the religious persecutions of his own time in England.

Excerpt

Sir,

France, which being well united, as we now behold it, under the Glorious Reign of your Majesty, might give law to all the World; was upon the point of self Destruction, by the division which was rais’d in it by two fatal Leagues of Rebels: the one in the middle, and the other towards the latter end of the last Age.

Heresie produc’d the first, against the true Religion: Ambition under the Masque of Zeal gave birth to the second, with 10 pretence of maintaining what the other wou’d have ruin’d: and both of them, though implacable Enemies to each other, yet agreed in this, that each of them at divers times, set up the Standard of Rebellion against our Kings.

The crimes of the former I have set forth in the History of Calvinism, which made that impious League in France, against the Lord and his Anointed; and I discover the Wickedness of the latter in this Work, which I present to your Majesty, as the fruit of my exact Obedience to those commands with which you have been pleas’d to honour me. I have endeavour’d to perform 20 them, with so much the greater satisfaction to my self, because I believ’d that in reading this History, the falsehood of some advantages which the Leaguers and Huguenots have ascrib’d to themselves, may be easily discern’d: These by boasting as they frequently do, even at this day, that they set the Crown on the Head of King Henry the Fourth; those that their League was the cause of his conversion. I hope the world will soon be disabus’d of those mistakes; and that it will be clearly seen, that they were the Catholiques of the Royal Party, who next under God, produc’d those two effects, so advantageous to France. We 30 are owing for neither of them to those two unhappy Leagues, which were the most dangerous Enemies to the prosperity of

14–15 the History of Calvinism] the History of Calvinism O.

23 discern’d:] ∼. O.

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