Like John Milton in Animadversions upon The Remonstrants Defence, against Smectymnuus (1641), but using a different text, Henry More applies the Shepheardes Calender to contemporary clerical matters.
Henry More to Lady Conway: "They [the printers] are now upon my Apologia wherein I answer to those great Objections our fierce friends of Cambridge thought they had against my Mystery of Godlinesse" 24 May 1664, in Conway Letters (1930) 223.
This passage is briefly mentioned by Joseph Beaumont in Some Observations upon the Apologie of Dr. Henry More for his Mystery of Godliness (1665): "I presume he found himself at very good leisure: for he gives us good store of verses out of Spencer, wherein he saith, he describes the effect of the extirpation of Episcopacy, upon the Presbyters themselves" in Wells, Spenser Allusions (1972) 257.
This section is missing on microforms.
Mr. Chishull, a bookseller reported "for twenty years together, after the return of King Charles II, the Mystery of Godliness and Dr. Moore's other works ruled all the booksellers in London" Allibone, Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1882) 2:1361.
My observation of Passages in the late great change of affairs in this Nation has given mee too great occasion to surmise so, and made me look upon Spencer as a Prophet as well as a Poet, in his second Eclogue, he has so lively set down the effects of the extirpation of Episcopacy upon the Presbyters themselves, when once that great shelter of Church-Government was removed. For when the Lord of the Field had cut down the aged and sacred Oak, having been complained to by the busie Briar that had a minde to domineer alone, pretending forsooth that the spreading Oak hindered his tender growth, keeping off the light of the Sun, and spoiling his beautiful Flowers with dropping of his hoary moss upon them; the Briar wanting this shelter against greater storms was utterly born down by the next Winterly weather, and troden into the dirt by Beasts. His condition is so lively described in the Poet, that I have thought it worth transcribing. . . .