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John Dryden

Critic, Playwright, Translator and first Poet Laureate
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John Dryden's maternal grandfather was rector of All Saints, Aldwincle near Thrapston, where he was born in 1631. He grew up in Tichmarsh and was later educated as a King's Scholar at Westminster School. His first published poem makes reference to the execution of King Charles I in 1649.

In 1688 he was appointed Britain's first Poet Lauriate

After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Dryden quickly became known as a leading poet and literary critic. His historical epic "Annus Mirabilis", decribes the English defeat of the Dutch naval fleet and the Great Fire of London in 1666. He also became a playwright, his best known drama being the comedy "Marriage à la Mode" (1673). He is also known for his translations of the classics; his "The Works of Virgil" was published in 1697.

As a supporter of James II, Dryden fell out of royal favour after the "Glorious Revolution" and the succession of William and Mary.

John Dryden died in 1700, leaving The George Inn at Northampton to trustees, to form a school for the children of the poor of the town. This became John Dryden's School, later The Orange School.

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There is also an article on Wikipedia »

John Dryden

John Dryden
by John Michael Wright, 1668