Home  »  Volume VIII: English THE AGE OF DRYDEN  »  § 7. Advices to a Painter

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

III. Political and Ecclesiastical Satire

§ 7. Advices to a Painter

A most effective weapon for decrying opponents was the character, which, indeed, formed an essential part of the Biblical narrative. One of the wittiest was written by the duke of Buckingham, in his Advice to a Painter, against his rival Arlington; one of the loftiest is Shaftesbury’s Farewell, a kind of inimical epitaph on the whig leader’s death in Holland (“What! A republic air, and yet so quick a grave?”). Shadwell has the disgrace of unsurpassed virulence in his Medal of John Bayes (1682), which drew upon him a heavy punishment from the quondam friend whom he lampooned. The most cutting, perhaps, was the sham Panegyric on King William by the hon. J. H[oward?]. Nor should The Man of no Honour, where James II’s subservient courtiers are assailed, be forgotten. An argumentative style is to be discerned in the description of the views of The Impartial Trimmer, which, in fact, is a whig manifesto of 1682, and where real knowledge and a weighty personality seem to transpire. Thus, the gap is bridged to the unadulterated argument which is to be found in the earlier tory Poem on the Right of Succession or in Pordage’s spiritless attack on persecution, The Medal Revers’d (1682).