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BRITISH POETS AND DRAMATISTS CONTEM

PORARY WITH DRYDEN.

MRS. APHRA BEHN, 1640–1689.
SAMUEL BUTLER, 1612–1680.
WILLIAM CONGREVE, 1670–1729.
ABRAHAM COWLEY, 1618–1667.
SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT, 1605–1687.
SIR JOHN DENHAM, 1615-1669.
(JOHN DRYDEN, 1631-1700.)
SIR GEORGE ETHEREGE, 1635(?)–1691.
GEORGE FARQUHAR, 1678–1707.
ROBERT HERRICK, 1591-1674.
THOMAS KEN, Bishop of Bath, 1637-1710.
NATHANIEL LEE, 1655(?)–1692.
COLONEL RICHARD LOVELACE, 1618–1658.
ANDREW MARVELL, 1621-1678.
JOHN MILTON, 1608–1674.
CHARLES MONTAGUE, Earl of Halifax, 1661-1715.
JOHN OLDHAM, 1653–1683.
THOMAS OTWAY, 1651-1685.
MATTHEW PRIOR, 1664-1721.
THOMAS SHADWELL, 1640–1692.
THOMAS SOUTHERNE, 1660-1746.
THOMAS SPRAT, 1636–1713.
SIR JOHN VANBRUGH, 1666(?)–1726.
HENRY VAUGHAN, 1621-1695.
EDMUND WALLER, 1605–1687.
JOHN WILMOT, Earl of Rochester, 1647(?)–1680.
GEORGE WITHER, 1588-1667.
WILLIAM WYCHERLY, 1640–1715.

REFERENCES FOR STUDY OF DRYDEN.

DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON. John Dryden. (Lives of English Poets ;

Vol. II., 1783.) SIR WALTER SCOTT. Life of John Dryden. (Vol. I. of Scott's Edi

tion of Dryden's works, 18 vols., 1821.) REV. John MITFORD. Life of John Dryden. (Vol. I. of Dryden in

British Poets.) THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY. Essay on John Dryden. G. SAINTSBURY. Dryden. (English Men of Letters series.) JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL. Dryden. (Among my Books.) H. TAINE. Dryden. (IIistory of English Literature, chap. xl.) D. Masson. Dryden and Literature of the Restoration. THOMAS R. LOUNSBURY. Studies in Chaucer; Vol. III. KATE A. SANBORN. Dryden. (Home Pictures of English Poets.)

8

JOHN DRYDEN.

(1631-1700.)

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

Our knowledge of John Dryden is very scanty, despite the number of his published works. None of his contemporaries wrote his life; and the allusions and stories that they have left are largely those arising in an unfriendly way, and little to be trusted.

He was born of good Puritan stock at the parsonage of Oldwinkle All Saints, Northamptonshire, Aug. 9, 1631. His parents were Erasmus, third son of Sir Erasmus Dryden (or Driden), Baronet of Canons Ashby, and Mary Pickering Dryden, cousin of Gilbert Pickering, afterward made a councillor by Cromwell, and knighted. He received a king's scholarship at Westminster school, and was under the celebrated Dr. Busby, a teacher equally famous for his high character, scholarship, and free use of the birch, who taught and thrashed a majority of the future bishops and other leading men of the times. With him were educated Locke, the philosopher, and South, the divine and author. He early developed ability in classical translation, and left his first published effort in the shape of one of the ninety-eight elegies called out, according to the fashion of the times, upon the death of Lord Henry

Hastings, an esteemed young nobleman of high learning. This, . from the very loftiness of its attempts, shows literary promise, but nothing more than that.

In 1050 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, on a Westminster scholarship. He is said to have been disciplined for insubordination towards the vice-master, and to have been involved in trouble with a nobleman's son, upon whom he probably indulged his natural disposition for satire. He obtained the degree of B.A. in 1654, but owing to the high fee required did not receive M.A. until it came in honorary form in 1668, through a dispensation of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the king's request.

The death of his father in 1654 caused him to leave to take possession of his inheritance, two-thirds of a small estate, and worth some sixty pounds a year. The other third was for the poet's mother during her life, and came to him in 1676.

Though he had not obtained a fellowship, he returned to Cambridge for three years' further study, during which time we know little of him, and have nothing from his pen save an epistle praising a volume of religious verse by his friend John Hoddesdon, and a rhymed letter, we can call it hardly more than that, to an admired cousin, Honor Driden, which she preserved with pride.

Although he studied at Cambridge nearly seven years, his writings show none of the regard for his university that we might expect from so thorough an Englishman, while he freely praises Oxford. In a prologue he says :

“Oxford to him a dearer name shall be

Than his own mother university ;
Thebes did his green unknowing youth engage,
He chooses Athens in his riper age.

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