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Page 167

CHAPTER VIII
PURITANS AND CAVALIERS II

I think, according to my little skill,
To my own mother Church submitting still,
That many have been saved, and many may,
Who never heard this question brought in play.
The unlettered Christian, who believes in gross,
Plods on to Heaven and ne'er is at a loss ;
For the strait gate would be made straiter yet,
Were none admitted there but men of wit.

Only a few years later Dryden became a member of the Roman Catholic Church and wrote The Hind and the Panther, wherein the milk white hind represents the Church of Rome ; the panther, beautiful but spotted, the church he had abandoned. Dryden could write witty lines, but his sense of humour was not strong enough to save him from the absurdity of setting two of the beasts of the field into theological argument. Still, here were the same excellencies as in the Religio Laici, the same grace and vigour. The poem deserved applause and won it.
Dryden translated the AEneid and other works. He wrote two beautiful odes for St
Cecilia's Day. In the second, known as Alex ander's Feast, are many lines of the sort that stay in the memory, such as :

None but the brave deserves the fair.
Sweet is pleasure after pain.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble ;
Honour but an empty bubble.

Dryden's prose is of great value because of its clear, bracing style and general excellence. He wrote much criticism, not only in his Essay of Dramatic Poesy, but in the prefaces to his various plays ; and criticism, apart from stray paragraphs, was something almost new in English

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