Dryden, John (16311700)

Dryden, John, a celebrated English poet, “glorious John,” born in Northamptonshire, of a good family of Puritan principles; educated at Westminster School and Cambridge; his first poetic production of any merit was a set of “heroic stanzas” on the death of Cromwell; at the Restoration he changed sides and wrote a poem which he called “Astræa Redux” in praise of the event, which was ere long followed by his “Annus Mirabilis,” in commemoration of the year 1666, which revealed at once the poet and the royalist, and gained him the appointment of poet-laureate, prior to which and afterwards he produced a succession of plays for the stage, which won him great popularity, after which he turned his mind to political affairs and assumed the role of political satirist by production of his “Absalom and Achitophel,” intended to expose the schemes of Shaftesbury, represented as Achitophel and Monmouth as Absalom, to oust the Duke of York from the succession to the throne; on the accession of James II. he became a Roman Catholic, and wrote “The Hind and the Panther,” characterised by Stopford Brooke as “a model of melodious reasoning in behalf of the milk-white hind of the Church of Rome,” and really the most powerful thing of the kind in the language; at the Revolution he was deprived of his posts, but it was after that event he executed his translation of Virgil, and produced his celebrated odes and “Fables” (16311700).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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