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John Dryden (1631-1700) was an English poet of the late 17th century during Cromwell and King Charles II. He was a playwright, translator, and is most famous for his play titled “All for Love.” Dryden also translated works of Chaucer, Virgil and Ovid.

John Dryden was born into a rural but well-off family in Aldwincle, Northumpsonshire on August 9, 1631. He was educated at Westminster School in London and Cambridge University, where he enjoyed studying science as well as the arts. While he was still a child, the English Civil War was fought. Dryden’s family supported Oliver Cromwell, who won the struggle to overthrow King Charles I and make England a republic. Dryden was more concerned that the country should have a stable government than with who was in charge. When he was 28, he produced his first important poem, Heroic Stanzas on the Death of Cromwell. It was a celebration of Cromwell’s life, who had died the previous year after ruling the country since the end of the war.

During Cromwell’s dictatorship many theatres were closed. A year later Dryden welcomed the return of a new king, Charles II, and the end of the republic with his poem Astraea Redux, praising the new king, in 1660. John Dryden was a contemporary of John Milton, and along with him, Dryden worked as a civil servant, as an administrator during the Restoration.

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

“All things are subject to decay and when fate summons, monarchs must obey.”

“Death in itself is nothing; but we fear to be we know not what, we know not where.”

“Forgiveness to the injured does belong; but they ne’er pardon who have done wrong.”

“Go miser go, for money sell your soul. Trade wares for wares and trudge from pole to pole, So others may say when you are dead and gone. See what a vast estate he left his son.”

“God never made His work for man to mend.”

“He who would search for pearls must dive below.”

“If you be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams – the more they are condensed the deeper they burn.”

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”

“Look around the inhabited world; how few know their own good, or knowing it, pursue.”

“Seek not to know what must not be reveal, for joy only flows where fate is most concealed. A busy person would find their sorrows much more; if future fortunes were known before!”

“The sooner you treat your son as a man, the sooner he will be one.”

“Time, place, and action may with pains be wrought, but genius must be born; and never can be taught.”

“Words are but pictures of our thoughts.”

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