John Dryden

John Dryden  (1631-1700)
John Dryden (1631-1700)

John Dryden was a major poet  Born on August 9, 1631,  Aldwincle, United Kingdom, dramatist and critic of the neoclassic school during the Restoration period. Born of Puritan stock at  Aldwinkle in Northamptonshire, he was educated at Westminster school. While at school in 1649 he published an elegy ‘Upon the death of Lord Hastings’. In 1654 he took his BA degree from Trinity College, Cambridge. Later he was elected to the Royal Society. He became Poet Laureate in 1668 and was involved in literary controversies and had close contact with many public figures of the period.

Variety is the keynote of Dryden’s corpus: plays, odes, lyrics, satires, topical poems, translations from the classics and literary criticism. all for Love is his best-known play; it is a reworking of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopartra in the framework of a heroic tragedy. His satires on public figures of his time are Mac Flecknoe, The Medal Absalom and Achitophel. They represent his genius and his achievment. Dr Johnson said of Dryden.

Perhaps no nation ever produced a writer that enriched his language with such variety of models. what was said of Rome, adorned by Augustus, may be applied by an easy metaphor to metaphor to English poetry embellished by Dryden, ‘he found it brick, and left it marble.