John Dryden

1631–1700
John  Dryden

Born in Northamptonshire into a political Puritan family, poet, playwright, and critic John Dryden was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Dryden’s poetry, often shaped by heroic couplets, is steeped in classical and scientific references even as it is grounded in the political landscape of his time. Upon Charles II’s return to power in 1660, Dryden published “Astraea Redux,” a long poem in heroic couplets welcoming the king, the first of many public poems in support of the monarchy. He was appointed poet laureate in 1668, and royal historiographer in 1670.