John Dryden

Rees-Mogg’s Ironical Tweet About Freedom and How Dryden Predicted Lockdown 350 Years Ago

Johnson tweeted this today:

Then Jacob Rees Mogg quote re-tweeted his boss:

My reply:

It’s fair to say, commenters were not impressed considering how freedom has been removed by this government. But it’s odd and intensely ironic that Rees Mogg should quote John Dryden, who seems to have seen the downfall of Britain (Albion) coming 350 years ago. His poetic opera Albion and Albanius is uncannily prophetic:

Mercury Descends.
Merc.
Thou glorious Fabrick! stand for ever, stand:
Well Worthy Thou to entertain
The God of Traffique, and of Gain!
To draw the Concourse of the Land,
And Wealth of all the Main.
But where the shoales of Merchants meeting?
Welcome to their Friends repeating,
Busie Bargaines deafer sound!
Tongues Confus’d of every Nation?
Nothing here but Desolation,
Mournful silence reignes around.


Aug.
O Hermes! pity me!
I was, while Heav’n did smile,
The Queen of all this Isle,
Europes Pride,
And Albions Bride;
But gone my Plighted Lord! ah, gone is Hee!
O Hermes! pity mee!

Dryden describes the ill which afflicts the nation following Albion’s departure:

Then Zeal and Common-wealth infest
My Land again;
The fumes of madness that possest
The Peoples giddy Brain
,

Once more disturb the Nations rest,
And dye Rebellion in a deeper Stain.

Will they at length awake the sleeping Sword,
And force revenge from their offended Lord?
How long, yee Gods, how long
Can Royal patience bear
Th’Insults and wrong
Of Mad-mens jealousies, and causeless fear?

Dryden makes plain the lament for a lost nation:

See a Sacred King uncrown’d,
See your Offspring, Albion, bound:
The gifts you gave with lavish hand,
Are all bestow’d in vain:

Extended Empire on the Land,
Unbounded o’er the Main.

Acacia.
Empire o’er the Land and Main,
Heav’n that gave can take again;
But a mind that’s truly brave,
Stands despising,
Storms arising,
And can ne’er be made a Slave.

Albion.
Unhelpt I am, who pity’d the distress’d,
And none oppressing, am by all oppress’d;
Betray’d, forsaken, and of hope bereft:

Then he identifies those who have brought the country to this unhappy pass:

Enter Tyranny, Democracy, represented by Men, attended by Asebia, Zelota, Women.
Tyran.
Ha, ha, ’tis what so long I wish’d and vow’d,
Our Plots and delusions,
Have wrought such confusions,
That the Monarch’s a Slave to the Crowd.

Democ.
A Design we fomented,

Tyr.
By Hell it was new!

Dem.
A false Plot invented,

Tyr.
To cover a true.

Democ.
First with promis’d faith we flatter’d,

Tyr.
Then jealousies and fears we scatter’d.

Asebia.
We never valu’d right and wrong,
But as they serv’d our cause;

Zelot.
Our Business was to please the throng,
And Court their wild applause:

Asebia.
For this we brib’d the Lawyers Tongue,
And then destroy’d the Law’s.

Chor.
For this, &c.

Tyran.
To make him safe, we made his Friends our Prey;

Dem.
To make him great we scorn’d his Royal sway,

Tyran.
And to confirm his Crown, we took his Heir away.


23
Dem.
T’encrease his store,
We kept him poor:

Tyran.
And when to wants we had betray’d him,
To keep him low,
Pronounc’d a Foe,
Who e’re presum’d to aid him.

Asebia.
But you forget the noblest part,
And Masterpiece of all your Art,
You told him he was sick at Heart.

Zelot.
And when you could not work belief
In Albion of th’imagin’d grief;
Your perjur’d vouchers in a Breath,
Made Oath that he was sick to Death;
And then five hundred Quacks of skill
Resolv’d t’was fit he should be ill.

Pay particular attention to the bold. How uncannily accurate and prophetic is that? How odd that a modern politician, a member of a supposedly ‘conservative’ and ‘democratically’ elected government which has subjected the nation to a medico-fascist tyranny for nearly a year, destroying society and the economy in the process, should quote Dryden in defence of freedom! How uncannily prophetic that Dryden should identify both democracy and tyranny as the enemies of Albion, actively conspiring one with the other, to destroy the nation.