John Dryden Poems

John Dryden was an English poet and translator. He was appointed as England’s first Poet Laureate in 1668 and was crucial to the literary world during the Restoration period in England. His work was factual in nature, and he attempted to express himself in a clear manner.

Portrait of Zimri

by John Dryden

‘Portrait of Zimri’ by John Dryden is a political satire that showcases how people in power can be consumed by hollow and pretentious self interest.

This poem, which is part of a much bigger heroic epic, 'Absalom and Achitophel' is definitely one of Dryden's best satires. Here he has written a political commentary about erstwhile England, which is one of the best Neo-classical poetry.

Some of their chiefs were princes of the land:

In the first rank of these did Zimri stand:

A man so various, that he seem'd to be

Not one, but all Mankind's Epitome.



by John Dryden

‘Dreams’ by John Henry Dryden presents a vivid illustration of the ways in which dreams are steeped in paradox and irrationality.

This a beautiful poem by John Dryden that speculates on the universally ambiguous nature of dreams. One that highlights how his commitment to lucid instruction informed his verses with a certain clarity. It's easy to see why this poem by Dryden has remained one of the many that still rings true to readers centuries after his death.

Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes;

When monarch Reason sleeps, this mimic wakes:

Compounds a medley of disjointed things,

A mob of cobblers, and a court of kings:

Can life be a blessing

by John Dryden

‘Can life be a blessing’ by John Henry Dryden is a poem devoted to arguing the necessity of love despite the inevitable pain it might cause.

This poem by John Dryden highlights the poet's skill in creating verse that is effectively poignant even when it's not the centerpiece of the greater body of work it's contained within. After all, despite being a small part of Dryden's rework of the drama 'Troilus And Cressida,' it still is a profoundly affecting poem about love's perceived limitations and endurance.

Can life be a blessing,

Or worth the possessing,

Can life be a blessing if love were away?

Ah no! though our love all night keep us waking,

To the Memory of Mr. Oldham

by John Dryden

John Dryden mourns the premature death of Mr. Oldham, celebrating his talent and reflecting on the fleeting nature of life.

This piece is a good representation of John Dryden's poems. It exhibits many characteristics commonly found in his works, such as the exploration of human emotions, the use of classical allusions, the skillful use of language and poetic techniques, and the blending of personal reflection with universal themes. Additionally, the elegiac tone and the emphasis on the power of poetry align with Dryden's overall poetic style.

Farewell, too little and too lately known,

Whom I began to think and call my own;

For sure our souls were near ally'd; and thine

Cast in the same poetic mould with mine.

A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day

by John Dryden

‘A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day’ is a well-known poem of John Dryden, written on the occasion of Saint Cecilia’s Day (22nd November 1687). It praises the power of music and the patron St. Cecilia in an awe-inspiring tone.

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