The Popish Plot

by John Dryden

John DrydenReligious

The inhabitants of old Jerusalem
Were Jebusites, the town so called from them;
And theirs the native right —
But when the chosen people grew more strong,
The rightful cause at length became the wrong;
And every loss the men of Jebus bore,
They still were thought God's enemies the more.
Thus worn or weakened, well or ill content,
Submit they must to David's government:
Impoverished and deprived of all command,
Their taxes doubled as they lost their land;
And what was harder yet to flesh and blood,
Their Gods disgraced, and burned like common wood. . . .
. . . From hence began the Plot, the nation's curse
Bad in itself, but represented worse;
Raised in extremes, and in extremes decried;
With oaths affirmed, with dying vows denied;
Not weighed nor winnowed by the multitude;
But swallowed in the mass, unchewed and crude.
Some truth there was, but dashed and brewed with lies,
To please the fools and puzzle all the wise,
Succeeding times did equal folly call,
Believing nothing or believing all.

Last updated October 12, 2022