(See Absalom and Achitophel.)
Achitophel was David's
traitorous counsellor, who deserted to Absalom; but his advice being
disregarded, he hanged himself (2 Samuel xv.). The Achitophel of Dryden's
satire was the Earl of Shaftesbury:
Of these (the rebels) the false Achitophel was first;
A name to all succeeding ages curst;
For close designs and crooked counsels fit;
Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit;
Restless, unfixed in principles and place;
In power unpleased, impatient in disgrace.
—Absalom and Achitophel, Part i. 150–5.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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