Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Dryden, John (1631-1700), an English poet (the "glorious John" of Claud Halcro in Sir Walter Scott's Pirate, was born of an ancient family in Northamptonshire. He was a King's scholar at

Westminster under the famous Dr. Busby, and a scholar of King's College, Cambridge. He came to London, and was secretary to his cousin, Sir Gilbert Pickering, and was a favourite of Cromwell, whose death gave occasion for his Heroic Stanzas. At the Restoration he became a King's man and wrote Astrcea Redux. In 1661 he produced his first play, Duke of Guise, and in 1663 The Wild Gallant, which was not a success. In the same year he married Lady Elizabeth Howard, and collaborated with Sir Robert Howard to produce the Indian Queen - a tragedy on Montezuma, in heroic verse. This was followed by the Indian Emperor, which won great admiration. His Annus Mirahilis commemorates the year 1666, and in 1668 appeared his Essay on Dramatic Poetry, as well as The Maiden Queen. In 1670 he helped Sir William Davenant (q.v.) to produce a new version of Shakespeare's Tempest. He was appointed Poet Laureate and Court historiographer. He produced many pieces for the stage, and in 1681 appeared Absalom and Achitophel (Monmouth and Shaftesbury). In the Medal he attacked sedition, and in Mac Flechnoe satirised his brother poet Shadwell. Having become a Catholic in 1685 he wrote The Hind and the Panther, in defence of his new religion. He lost his offices at the Revolution, and it was in the following years that he did some of his best work. He translated (with Congreve) Juvenal, Persius, and the AEneid (1697). Alexander's Feast, and his Fables, which may be called translations of Boccaccio and Chaucer, are of this period. A keen satirist and writer of good prose and vigorous verse, he had a great influence upon his time. He was huried in Westminster Abbey. Scott wrote a good life of him in ISIS, and Prof. Saintsbury has done so since.