Religio Laici, Or a Layman's Faith


Religio Laici, Or A Layman's Faith (1682) is a poem by John Dryden, published as a premise to his subsequent The Hind and the Panther (1687), a final outcome of his conversion to Roman Catholicism.[1]

The poet argues for the credibility of the Christian religion and against Deism, and for the Anglican Church against that of Rome.[2]


These are the last couplets of the poem (vv. 451-455):[3]

Thus have I made my own opinions clear:
Yet neither praise expect, nor censure fear:
And this unpolish'd, rugged verse, I chose;
fittest for discourse, and nearest prose:
For, while from sacred truth I do not swerve,
Tom Sternhold's, or Tom Shadwell's rhymes will serve.[4]
  1. ^ Complete facsimile in Googlebooks. Cf. also facsimile reproduction of 1682 ed., J. Dryden, Religio Laici, Or, a Laymans Faith a Poem. (1682), EEBO Editions (2010).
  2. ^ S. N. Zwicker, The Cambridge Companion to John Dryden, Cambridge University Press (2004).
  3. ^ As extracted from "The Poetical Works of John Dryden, Volume 1 by John Dryden", Project Gutenberg, in the public domain.
  4. ^ English courtier Thomas Sternhold (1500–1549) was the principal author of the first English metrical version of the Psalms, originally attached to the Prayer-Book and which first appeared in 1549. Their popularity was due more to the subject matter than to their poetic style. Thomas Shadwell (1642-1692) was an English poet and playwright who was appointed poet laureate in 1689. Cf. also Luminarium on John Dryden's poems.
External links
  • Online edition at The Literature Network

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