Значение слова DRYDEN в Литературной энциклопедии


JOHN (1631-1700).-Poet, dramatist, and satirist, was _b._ at Aldwincle Rectory, Northamptonshire. His _f._, from whom he inherited a small estate, was Erasmus, 3rd _s._ of Sir Erasmus Driden; his mother was Mary Pickering, also of good family; both families belonged to the Puritan side in politics and religion. He was _ed._ at Westminster School and Trinity Coll., Camb., and thereafter, in 1657, came to London. While at coll. he had written some not very successful verse. His _Heroic Stanzas on the Death of Oliver Cromwell_ (1658) was his first considerable poem. It was followed, in 1660, by _Astraea Redux_, in honour of the Restoration. The interval of 18 months had been crowded with events, and though much has been written against his apparent change of opinion, it is fair to remember that the whole cast of his mind led him to be a supporter of _de facto_ authority. In 1663 he _m._ Lady Elizabeth Howard, _dau._ of the Earl of Berkshire. The Restoration introduced a revival of the drama in its most debased form, and for many years D. was a prolific playwright, but though his vigorous powers enabled him to work effectively in this department, as in every other in which he engaged, it was not his natural line, and happily his fame does not rest upon his plays, which are deeply stained with the immorality of the age. His first effort, _The Wild Gallant_ (1663), was a failure; his next, _The Rival Ladies_, a tragi-comedy, established his reputation, and among his other dramas may be mentioned _The Indian Queene_, _Amboyna_ (1673), _Tyrannic Love_ (1669), _Almanzar and Almahide_ (ridiculed in Buckingham's _Rehearsal_) (1670), _Arungzebe_ (1675), _All for Love_ (an adaptation of Shakespeare's _Antony and Cleopatra_) (1678). During the great plague, 1665, D. left London, and lived with his father-in-law at Charleton. On his return he _pub._ his first poem of real power, _Annus Mirabilis_, of which the subjects were the great fire, and the Dutch War. In 1668 appeared his _Essay on Dramatic Poetry_ in the form of a dialogue, fine alike as criticism and as prose. Two years later (1670) he became Poet Laureate and Historiographer Royal with a pension of L300 a year. D. was now in prosperous circumstances, having received a portion with his wife, and besides the salaries of his appointments, and his profits from literature, holding a valuable share in the King's play-house. In 1671 G. Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, produced his _Rehearsal_, in ridicule of the overdone heroics of the prevailing drama, and satirising D. as Mr. Bayes. To this D. made no immediate reply, but bided his time. The next years were devoted to the drama. But by this time public affairs were assuming a critical aspect. A large section of the nation was becoming alarmed at the prospect of the succession of the Duke of York, and a restoration of popery, and Shaftesbury was supposed to be promoting the claims of the Duke of Monmouth. And now D. showed; his full powers. The first part of _Absalom and Achitophel_ appeared in 1681, in which Charles figures as "David," Shaftesbury as "Achitophel," Monmouth as "Absalom," Buckingham as "Zimri," in the short but crushing delineation of whom the attack of the _Rehearsal_ was requited in the most ample measure. The effect; of the poem was tremendous. Nevertheless the indictment against Shaftesbury for high treason was ignored by the Grand Jury at the Old Bailey, and in honour of the event a medal was struck, which gave a title to D.'s next stroke. His _Medal_ was issued in 1682. The success of these wonderful poems raised a storm round D. Replies were forthcoming in Elkanah Settle's _Absalom and Achitophel Transposed_, and Pordage's _Azaria and Hushai_. These compositions, especially Pordage's, were comparatively moderate. Far otherwise was Shadwell's _Medal of John Bayes_, one of the most brutal and indecent pieces in the language. D.'s revenge-and an ample one-was the publication of _MacFlecknoe_, a satire in which all his opponents, but especially Shadwell, were held up to the loathing and ridicule of succeeding ages, and others had conferred, upon them an immortality which, however unenviable, no efforts of their own could have secured for them. Its immediate effect was to crush and silence all his assailants. The following year, 1683, saw the publication of _Religio Laici_ (the religion of a layman). In 1686 D. joined the Church of Rome, for which he has by some been blamed for time-serving of the basest kind. On the other hand his consistency and conscientiousness have by others been as strongly maintained. The change, which was announced by the publication, in 1687 of _The Hind and the Panther, a Defence of the Roman Church_, at all events did not bring with it any worldly advantages. It was parodied by C. Montague and Prior in the _Town and Country Mouse_. At the Revolution D. was deprived of all his pensions and appointments, including the Laureateship, in which he was succeeded by his old enemy Shadwell. His latter years were passed in comparative poverty, although the Earl of Dorset and other old friends contributed by their liberality to lighten his cares. In these circumstances he turned again to the drama, which, however, was no longer what it had been as a source of income. To this period belong _Don Sebastian_, and his last play, _Love Triumphant_. A new mine, however, was beginning to be opened up in the demand for translations which had arisen. This gave D. a new opportunity, and he produced, in addition to translations from Juvenal and Perseus, his famous "Virgil" (1697). About the same time appeared _The Ode for St. Cecilia's Day_, and _Alexander's Feast_, and in 1700, the year of his death, the _Fables_, largely adaptations from Chaucer and Boccaccio. In his own line, that of argument, satire, and declamation, D. is without a rival in our literature: he had little creative imagination and no pathos. His dramas, which in bulk are the greatest part of his work, add almost nothing to his fame; in them he was meeting a public demand, not following the native bent of his genius. In his satires, and in such poems as _Alexander's Feast_, he rises to the highest point of his powers in a verse swift and heart-stirring. In prose his style is clear, strong, and nervous. He seems to have been almost insensible to the beauty of Nature. SUMMARY.-_B._ 1631, _ed._ Westminster and Camb., became prolific playwright, _pub._ _Annus Mirabilis_ _c._ 1666, Poet Laureate 1667, _pub._ _Absalom and Achitophel_ (part 1) 1681, _Medal_ 1682, _MacFlecknoe_ 1682, _Religio Laici_ 1683, joined Church of Rome 1686, _pub._ _Hind and Panther_ 1687, deprived of offices and pensions at Revolution 1688, _pub._ translations including "Virgil" 1697, _St. Cecilia's Day_ and _Alexander's Feast_ _c._ 1697, and _Fables_ 1700, when he _d._ Sir W. Scott's ed. with _Life_ 1808, re-edited in 18 vols. by Prof. Saintsbury (1883-93); Aldine ed. (5 vols., 1892), Johnson's _Lives of the Poets_, etc.

Литературная энциклопедия.