meant for Charles II, in Pordage's poem of Azaria and Hushai. We are told by the poet, “his father's murtherers he destroyed;” and then he preposterously adds—
Beloved of all for merciful was he, Like God, in the superlative degree.
To say that such a selfish, promise-breaking, impious libertine was “like God, in the superlative degree,” is an outrage against even poetical licence and court flattery.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894