' HIND AND THE The, by Dryden (1687), is an elabOrtite `piece of theo logical controversy and satire in heroic coup lets. The poet, recently converted to Catholi cism, represents his hew faith as the milk-white itemortal hind, the Church of EnglandĽ as the panther, the atheists as the ape, the Baptists as the boar, the Presbyterians as the Wolf, '-the Quakers as the hare and King James as the lion. His original intention had been to con ciliate the Church of England and to persuade it to make common cause with the Catholics against the Dissenters, who are roughly handled in the early part of the poem; but shortly be fore the completion of the work the king by a declaration for liberty of conscience made a bid for the support of Dissenters against the Established Church, which left the poet in something of a predicament. In the last divi sion of his piece he abandons his conciliatory tone and turns upon the Established clergy in his fable of the doves with bitter and abusive satire, directed with special sharpness at Gilbert Burnet, who is presented as the buzzard. Dry
den's eminence, his change of faith, his posi tion as royal apologist, the multitude of his adversaries and the critical posture of public affairs all combined to give to the publication of his carefully barbed and envenomed satire the effect of an attack of hornets. The poem went through three editions in the first year, and provoked numerous replies, notably Prior and Montague's 'The Hind and the Panther transversed to the Story of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse.' In .the somewhat con fusing and difficult allegory there are fine pas sages of genuine piety and a sincere plea for tolerance and liberty of conscience. For further commentary consult Johnson, 'Lives of the Scott, 'Dryden' (in the Scott Saintbury edition of Dryden's works), and W. H. Williams' edition of 'The Hind and the Panther> (1900).