"The Right Divine Of Kings To Govern Wrong"

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Context: In Book IV of the poem, Pope shows the Goddess of Dulness coming, as he puts it, "to destroy Order and Science, and to substitute the Kingdom of the Dull upon earth." About the goddess cluster many persons, who are vain, tasteless half-wits and pretenders to wit and wisdom. Representatives of the schools come forward to tell the goddess they help her cause by never permitting the door of learning to stand open very wide. They say, "We ply the memory, we load the Brain,/ Bind rebel wit, and double chain on chain." Dulness is quite pleased and says she wishes some pedant might rule the nation as well as his fellows rule the schools. She wishes for "Some gentle James, to bless the land again," the satire being aimed at the pedantry of James I, The goddess continues:

"For sure if Dulness sees a grateful day,
'Tis in the shade of arbitrary sway.
O! if my sons may learn one earthly thing,
Teach but that one, sufficient for a King;
That which my priests, and mine alone, maintain,
Which, as it dies, or lives, we fall, or reign":
. . .
"The right divine of Kings to govern wrong."

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

"Poetic Justice"


"Universal Darkness Buries All"