Poems on Affairs of State, 1703

Description

As this book reveals, the political turbulence of the 17th century had a significant impact on literature and readers’ tastes.

The quick succession of the Civil War, the execution of King Charles I, the austere Interregnum and the ascension of pleasure-seeking King Charles II created a social environment in which the reverence surrounding the monarchy had lessened, while, at the same time, popular interest in the workings of state had increased. This created an audience for literature that lampooned, satirised and exposed the activities of public institutions and political players. Poems on Affairs of State brings together some of the best known and most outrageous satires of the latter half of the 17th and early 18th centuries.

What are the poems about?

Poems on Affairs of State is concerned with all manner of subjects, including war, religion and party politics, as well as royal mistresses and literary rivalries. Personal attacks were common, and it was as much a prominent man or woman’s politics as their personal life that came under fire from satirists.

Who wrote verse-satires?

Verse-satires can be attributed to almost all of the major literary figures of the Restoration and early 18th century. However, satires were usually printed or circulated in manuscript form without any authorial attribution because of the severe legal penalties attached to creating or sharing seditious material. In 1681 Stephen College – a populist writer of satirical verses and ballads condemning King Charles II – was executed for treason on the grounds of his poetry.

In this volume there are poems by (and about) John Dryden, John Wilmot Earl of Rochester and Aphra Behn.

Which poems are digitised here?

  • ‘The Female Laureat’ by an unnamed poet, about Aphra Behn (pp. 146–48).
  • ‘Signior Dildoe’ attributed to John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (pp. 108–91).
  • ‘The Encouragement’, attributed to Rochester (p. 191).
  • ‘A Satyr by the Lord Rochester, which King Charles took out of his Pocket’ by Rochester (pp. 192–94).
  • ‘King James to Himself’, attributed to John Dryden (pp. 215–16).
  • ‘On the Duke of Bucks’, attributed to Dryden (pp. 216–18).
  • To Mr Dryden, upon his declaring himself a Roman Catholick’, thought to be by John Toland (pp. 221–23).
  • ‘A Description of Mr Dryden's Funeral’ by an unknown poet (pp. 229–35).
  • ‘The British Muse: or Tyranny expos’d. A Satyr, Occasion’d by all the Fulsome and Lying Poems and Elegies, that have been written on the Death of the Late King James’ by John Tutchin (pp. 387–95).

Full title:
[Poems on Affairs of State, etc. vol. 2.]
Published:
1703
Format:
Book / Octavo
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
1608/343.

Full catalogue details

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