Author: John Dryden
Pages: 388 pages
Published: August 1st 2008
Excerpt from All for Love and the Spanish Fryar
In 1660, when Charles II was restored to his father's throne, Dryden celebrated his return with a laudatory poem in heroic coup lets, Astraa Redux. If he changed, says Johnson, he changed with the nation. This was followed by two similar pieces, To His Sacred Majesty on His Coronation, 1661, and To tbc Lord Cban eel/or Hyde, 1662. In 1663 his first play, Tbc Wild Gallant, was acted, but failed. T be Ritval Ladies, probably in the same year, was more successful. During these years Dryden gained prestige rapidly. He was made a member of the Royal Society, he became intimate with Sir Robert Howard, a courtier and playwright, son to the Earl of Berkshire, and in 1663 he married Lady Elizabeth Howard, the Earl's youngest daughter. In 1664 Pepys records (feb. 3) seeing at the Rose (afterwards Will's) coffee-house, Dryden the poet (i knew at Cambridge) and all the wits of the town. His play T be Indian Emperor, 1 665, was a sequel to Howard's Indian Queen, of which Dryden had been part author. In 1667 he published a nar rative and descriptive poem of considerable power, Annus Mirabilis, describing two notable events of the previous year, the Great Fire and the naval victory over the Dutch. His Essay of Dramatic Poesy, 1668, in dialogue form, defends the use of rhymed verse in tragedy, a practice which Howard had censured. About this time Dryden con tracted to provide the King's Theatre with three plays a year, a rate of production which he failed to attain. He wrote in all twenty-eight plays, including an adaptation of T be T empest, 1667; T be Conquest of Granada, in two parts, 1670 Amboyna, 1673, designed to ex asperate England against the Dutch; T be State of Innocence, 1677, not acted, dramatized from Paradise Lost; All for Love, 1678; T railas and Cressida, adapted from Shakespeare, 1679 Tbc Spanisb Fryar, 1681; Don Sebastian, 1690 and his last play, Lo've Tri umpbant, 1694. With All for Lofve be abandoned rhyme and re turned to blank verse for tragedy.