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JOHN DRYDEN, Eq;

JOHN

OHN DRYDEN, Efq; was defcended of a worthy family in Huntington fhire, often serving as Representatives for that County, and Son of Erafmus Dryden of Tichmarsh, in Northamptonshire, third Son of Sir Erafmus Dryden of Canons Afhby, in the fame County, Baronet. He was born at Aldwinckle, near Oundle, in that County, August 9, 1631, and educated in Weftminfter School under Dr. Richard Busby, being one of the King's Scholars upon the Royal Foundation, as he tells us himself in an adver tisement prefix'd to his translation of the Third Satire of Perfius, where he observes, that he had tranflated that Satire, while he was at that School, for a Thursday Night's Exercife; and, in 1649, wrote a Poem upon the death of the Lord Haftings, in which he display'd a luxuriant, tho' incorrect imagination, in a very harsh turn of Verfification. The year following he was elected a Scholar of Trinity College in Cambridge. But we know little of him from that time till the death of the Protector Oliver Cromwell, upon which he wrote Heroic Stanza's, full of the highest compliments to the memory of a man, of whom he afterwards declar'd the greatest deteftation. At the Restoration he wrote a Poem upon that fubject under the title of Aftræa redux, and a Panygeric to the King on his Coronation the fame year, and, on New Year's Day 1662, prefented a Poem to Lord Chancellor Hyde. In 1665, he wrote a Poem to the Duchefs of York on the victory gain'd by the Duke against the Hollanders; and the year following he publish'd his Annus Mirabilis, an Hiftorical Poem. In

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1668,

1668, upon the death of Sir William Davenant, he was made Poet Laureat, and the fame year publish❜ð his Effay of Dramatic Poesy. The year following his Comedy, call'd The Wild Gallant, was acted at the Theatre Royal; after which he wrote a great number of other Dramatic Performances, which are generally thought the moft faulty of his Works, and the greateft defects of them are owing chiefly, perhaps, to his conforming himself to the popular tafte, fince he owns himself, that he never wrote any thing to please himself, but Anthony and Cleopatra. His faults, in this refpect, were ridicul'd with great pleafantry, in 1671, in the Rehearsal, written by the Duke of Buckingham, with the affiftance of Dr. Thomas Sprat his Chaplain, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, Mr. Martin Clifford, Mafter of the Charter-Houfe, and Mr. Samuel Butler, Author of Hudibras. His Conqueft of Granada was likewise criticis'd upon by Mr. Elkanah Settle, who, tho' a moft contemptible Poet, yet, for many years, was Mr. Dryden's Rival upon the Stage. In the latter end of the year 1679, an Effay on Satire being dispers'd in manuscript, containing many grofs reflections upon the Duchefs of Portsmouth, and the witty but profligate Earl of Rochefter, and they fufpecting Mr. Dryden to be the Author of it, he was feverely chaftis'd by three men, hir'd for that purpofe, at Will's Coffee-Houfe in Covent-Garden. In 1680, he publish'd a tranflation of Ovid's Epiftles into English Verse by several hands, feveral of which Epiftles were done by himfelf; and he wrote the Preface to it; and the year following publish'd his Abfalom and Achitophel, written at the defire of King Charles II. in which having expos'd the character of the Duke of Buckingham, under the character of Zimri, it occafion'd a ftory, that his Grace took his revenge of him by

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