Augustine: How John Dryden read his Milton
How John Dryden read his Milton: The State
of Innocence reconsidered
Matthew C. Augustine
This essay begins with an unlikely scene, a pre-production panel sponsored
by Legendary Pictures held at the 2011 San Diego International Comic
Convention. Featured are director Alex Proyas, of The Crow and Dark
City fame, and the actor Bradley Cooper, then making his turn from the
B-list to perennial Oscar contender. At hand is the official announcement
of a long-rumoured big-budget adaptation of John Milton’s biblical epic
The comte de Mirabeau and the works of
John Milton and Catharine Macaulay
The case of the comte de Mirabeau is typical of the more general picture of the
influence of British models and ideas during the French Revolution. For the most
part, historians have either ignored or downplayed the British influences upon
him. Even W. B. Fryer, who devoted an entire article to the subject of Mirabeau’s
trip to England in the winter of 1784–85, concluded that: ‘English influence did
not become a major factor on Mirabeau’s political career’.1 This verdict
For educated poets and readers in the Renaissance, classical literature was as familiar and accessible as the work of their compatriots and contemporaries – often more so. Their creative response to it was not a matter of dry scholarship or inert imitation, but rather of engagement in an ancient and lively conversation which was still unfolding, both in the modern languages and in new Latin verse. This volume seeks to recapture that sense of intimacy and immediacy, as scholars from both sides of the modern disciplinary divide come together to eavesdrop on the conversations conducted through allusion and intertextual play in works from Petrarch to Milton and beyond, and offer their perspectives on the intermingling of ancient and modern strains in the reception of the classical past and its poetry. The essays include illuminating discussions of Ariosto, Du Bellay, Spenser, Marlowe, the anonymous drama Caesars Revenge, Shakespeare and Marvell, and look forward to the grand retrospect of Shelley’s ‘Adonais’. Together, they help us to understand how poets across the ages have thought about their relation to their predecessors, and about their own contributions to what Shelley would call ‘that great poem, which all poets… have built up since the beginning of the world’.
editions of Microcosmus would appear to have been
published without Heylyn’s overview, but their publication simultaneously
with his controversial writings for the government presents a strangely
schizophrenic ﬁgure. It would not be until the 1650s that Heylyn would expound
a more systematic and coherent ideology, but even then (as we shall see) his
position was not always entirely consistent.
1 Lake, ‘Laudian style’; P. Lake, ‘The Laudians and argument from authority’ in B. Y.
Kunze and D. D. Brautigam (eds), Court, Country and Culture (Rochester NY, 1992);
arguing his case in person, Heylyn was still exercising a decisive inﬂuence
over the outward face of the Laudian church as late as the spring of 1640.
1 Nottingham University Library, Clifton Correspondence MS 309. I am grateful to Julia
Merritt for this reference.
2 BL, Add. MS 46885A, fol. 39v.
3 Bodl., MS Top. Oxon. C.378, p. 283. I am grateful to Ken Fincham for this reference.
4 Ibid., p. 247.
5 Milton, ‘Creation’, p. 176; Walter Balcanquahall, The Honour of Christian Churches (1633);
Bodl., Tanner MS 68, fol. 45; A. Milton, ‘The Laudian moment: conformist
World and Thomas Mills’s The Catalogue of Honour (1613). Heylyn often fails
to provide citations for his most frequently used sources, whereas he usually provides
proper references for Latin classical adages or passages from Josephus. Some borrowings from historians such as Camden are hidden altogether (e.g. ER, I, p. 2).
39 ER, I, pp. 66, 77, 249.
40 E.g. ibid., I, pp. 13, 16–17, 20, 95–6, 144–5.
41 HQA, ii. p. 8; Milton, Catholic and Reformed, p. 313. Heylyn was not alone in using
Harpsﬁeld: Fuller also admitted using him (Appeal, i. p. 37).
restoration of altars in the
1630s’, HJ, 44 (2001), pp. 919–40; A. Milton, Catholic and Reformed (Cambridge, 1995).
8 P. Lake, The Boxmaker’s Revenge (Manchester, 2001), ch. 11, esp. p. 304; J. F. Merritt,
‘Puritans, Laudians and the phenomenon of church building in Jacobean London’,
HJ, 41 (1998), pp. 936–60.
9 P. Lake, ‘The Laudian style’ in K. Fincham (ed.), The Early Stuart Church, 1603–1642
10 CE, p. 11.
11 J. Peacey, Politicians and Pamphleteers: Propaganda during the English Civil Wars and
Interregnum (Aldershot, 2004), esp. pp. 273, 288.
12 Nevertheless, it
Religion and politics in Heylyn’s career and writings
body of the clergy, if necessary (EV,
i. pp. 80–1).
26 CA, pp. 301–2; Trott, ‘Prelude’, p. 240.
27 Thorndike, Discourse, pp. 338–9.
28 For a useful partial summary see CA, p. 51.
29 A. Milton, ‘ “Anglicanism” by stealth: the career and inﬂuence of John Overall’ in
K. Fincham and P. Lake (eds), Religious Politics in post-Reformation England (Woodbridge,
30 HQA, ii. pp. 8, 9, 12.
31 Contrast D. MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: a Life (New Haven CT, 1996).
32 HQA, ii. pp. 21–3.
33 See above, pp. 179, 206– 8; HQA, iii. pp. 90–2.
34 See above, pp. 178, 188n.167; CA, pp