Selected Poems

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Courier Corporation, 2002 - Poetry - 92 pages
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The leading English literary figure of the latter half of the 17th century, John Dryden (1631-1700) wrote dramas and critical works, but his reputation stands on his mastery of verse, in particular the heroic couplet. Encompassing political, religious, philosophic, and artistic issues, Dryden's poetry offers rich evidence of his social consciousness. "Annus Mirabilis," a celebration of the tumultuous events of 1666, casts the catastrophic effects of war, plague, and London's Great Fire as a providential gesture, from which the nation would arise, phoenix-like, to greater heights. Other selections in this volume include his great satires "Absalom and Achitophel" and "Mac Flecknoe," along with "Song from Marriage la Mode," "To the Memory of Mr. Oldham," "A Song for St. Cecilia's Day," "Epigram on Milton," and "Alexander's Feast." Dover original selection of poems from standard texts. New Publisher's Note.
  

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Contents

Annus Mirabilis 1666
1
Songs from Marriage a la Mode 1672
50
Mac Flecknoe 1682
77
A Song for St Cecilias Day c 1687
83
Alphabetical Index of Titles and First Lines
92
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About the author (2002)

Born August 9, 1631 into a wealthy Puritan family, John Dryden received an excellent education at Westminster School and Cambridge University. After a brief period in government, he turned his attention almost entirely to writing. Dryden was one of the first English writers to make his living strictly by writing, but this meant he had to cater to popular taste. His long career was astonishingly varied, and he turned his exceptional talents to almost all literary forms. Dryden dominated the entire Restoration period as a poet, playwright, and all-round man of letters. He was the third poet laureate of England. In his old age Dryden was virtually a literary "dictator" in England, with an immense influence on eighteenth-century poetry. His verse form and his brilliant satires became models for other poets, but they could rarely equal his standard. Dryden was also a master of "occasional" poetry - verse written for a specific person or special occasion. Like most poets of his time, Dryden saw poetry as a way of expressing ideas rather than emotions, which makes his poetry seem cool and impersonal to some modern readers. Dryden also wrote numerous plays that helped him make him one of the leading figures in the Restoration theatre. Today, however he is admired more for his influence on other writers than for his own works. He died on April 30, 1700 in London.

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