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Dryden, John


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


John Dryden (1631–1700) was a poet and translator whose most significant achievements were his translations from Greek and Latin poetry. He was a convert to Roman Catholicism, and a prominent supporter of the Stuart dynasty. Dryden was brought up in Northamptonshire. From 1644, he attended Westminster School as a king's scholar, where he was taught by Richard Busby (who was also responsible for the early education of Robert Hooke, John Locke, and Christopher Wren). While still at Westminster he contributed an elegy to Lachrymae musarum (1650), a volume of elegies mourning the death of Henry, Lord Hastings; Dryden's contribution displays a broad range of classical reference and looks back to the metaphysical poets. In 1650 he moved to Trinity College, Cambridge, and took his degree in 1654. Thereafter, he seems to have entered the service of the Protectorate, probably securing a post through his cousin, Sir Gilbert Pickering, who was lord chamberlain in Cromwell's administration. When Cromwell died in 1658, Dryden walked in the procession (the official record tells us) alongside Andrew Marvell and John Milton, as one of the secretaries for the Latin and French tongues. Dryden's first major poem was an elegy on Oliver Cromwell. His ‘Heroique stanzas’ (printed 1659), ‘Consecrated to the Glorious Memory’ of the lord protector, were intended for publication alongside poems by Andrew ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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