A man so various, that he seemed to be Not one, but all mankind's epitome. Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong; Was everything by starts, and nothing long: But in the course of one revolving moon Was chemist, fiddler, statesman and buffoon.
John Dryden (1631–1700), British poet, dramatist, critic. Absalom and Achitophel, pt. 1, l. 545-50 (1681).
Describing Zimri, who in the poem represents George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. A Privy Councillor and favorite of Charles II, the flamboyant Villiers had himself parodied Dryden in his comedy, The Rehearsal (1671). In 1978, Labour prime minister James Callaghan had quoted these words to tease Margaret Thatcher—then leader of the Conservative opposition—who had been trained as a chemist.