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People & Organisations
Poet Laureate College

Dryden, John, 1631-1700

  • GB-2014-WSA-00567
  • Person
  • 1631-1700

DRYDEN, JOHN, son of Erasmus Dryden, Titchmarsh, Northants., and Mary, dau. of Rev. Henry Pickering, Rector of Aldwincle All Saints, Northants.; b. 19 Aug 1631; adm.; KS; wrote while a KS an elegy on the death of Lord Hastings, published by R. B. in Lachrymae Musarum, 1649; elected head to Trinity Coll. Cambridge 1650, adm. pens. 18 May 1650, scholar 2 Oct 1650; “walled” for a fortnight and not allowed to go outside the college “excepting for sermons” Jul 1652, for disobedience to the Vice-Master (W. W. Rouse Ball, Cambridge Papers, 218-9); forfeited scholarship by non-residence and thus ineligible for a Fellowship; BA 1653/4; MA Lambeth 17 Jun 1668; mourned Cromwell’s death in Heroic Stanzas 1658; celebrated the Restoration in Astraea Redux 1660, and Charles II’s Coronation in a Panegyric 1661; one of original Fellows of Royal Society 20 May 1663; author, Annus Mirabilis 1667; Poet Laureate and Historiographer 18 Aug 1670 - 11 Dec 1688; Sir Martin Mar-All, one of his most successful plays, was produced in 1667, Aurungzebe, his finest rhymed tragedy, in 1675, and All for Love, his finest play, in 1678; his Absalom and Achitophel was published in 1681; defended Anglicanism in Religio Laici, 1682; Collector of Customs, Port of London 17 Dec 1683; a Roman Catholic convert 1686; author, The Hind and the Panther, 1687; translations by him of Juvenal and Persius were published in 1693, and of Livy in 1697; wrote Alexander’s Feast 1697 [check] and Fables Ancient and Modern, 1700; his complete works, with a life by Sir Walter Scott, were published in 1808; in a note to the third satire of Persius Dryden wrote “I remember I translated this satire when I was a King’s Scholar at Westminster School, for a Thurday-night exercise; and believe, that it, and many others of my exercises of the nature in English verse, are still in the hands of my learned master the Rev. Dr. Busby” (Works, xiii, 230); Dryden refers to Busby’s excessive use of the rod in a letter to Charles Montagu (ibid., xviii, 159-60) and to the curious custom of “custos” in Hall in a letter to Busby (ibid., xviii, 98); Dryden’s “form” was long preserved up School; m. 1 Dec 1663 Lady Elizabeth Howard, eldest dau. of Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Effingham; d. 1 May 1700. His body lay in state at the College of Physicians for ten days, and he was buried in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey. DNB.

Rowe, Nicholas, 1674-1718

  • GB-2014-WSA-01215
  • Person
  • 1674-1718

ROWE, NICHOLAS, son of John Rowe, Lanerton, Devon, Serjeant at Law, and Elizabeth, dau. of Jasper Edwards (qv); bapt. 30 Jun 1674; adm.; KS 1688; left 1691; adm. Middle Temple 4 Aug 1691, called to bar 22 May 1696; abandoned law for writing for the stage; his play Ambitious Stepmother was performed at Lincoln’s Inn Fields 1700, Tamerlane in 1702 and The Fair Penitent in 1703; edited Shakespeare’s works, 1709; Under-Secretary to Secretary of State for Scotland Feb 1709 – Jul 1711; Poet Laureate from 1 Aug 1715; Secretary of Presentations, Chancery, from 5 May 1718; his verse translation of Lucan’s Pharsalia was published just after his death; a collected edition of his plays and occasional poems appeared in 1727; m. 1st, Antonia, dau. of Anthony Parsons, Auditor of the Revenue; m. 2nd, 1717 Anne, dau. of Joseph Devenish, Buckham, Dorset; d. 6 Dec 1718. Buried Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey. DNB.