Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 February 2024

John Dryden 1631–1700
English poet, critic, and dramatist 

  1. Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
    And thin partitions do their bounds divide.
    Absalom and Achitophel (1681) pt. 1, l. 163
  2. All empire is no more than power in trust.
    Absalom and Achitophel (1681) pt. 1, l. 411; see Disraeli
  3. But far more numerous was the herd of such
    Who think too little and who talk too much.
    Absalom and Achitophel (1681) pt. 1, l. 533
  4. A man so various that he seemed to be
    Not one, but all mankind's epitome.
    Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong;
    Was everything by starts, and nothing long.
    Absalom and Achitophel (1681) pt. 1, l. 545
  5. Nor is the people's judgement always true:
    The most may err as grossly as the few.
    Absalom and Achitophel (1681) pt. 1, l. 781
  6. Never was patriot yet, but was a fool.
    Absalom and Achitophel (1681) pt. 1, l. 968
  7. Beware the fury of a patient man.
    Absalom and Achitophel (1681) pt. 1, l. 1005
  8. None but the brave deserves the fair.
    Alexander's Feast (1697) l. 7
  9. Sweet is pleasure after pain.
    Alexander's Feast (1697) l. 60
  10. Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
    He who would search for pearls must dive below.
    All for Love (1678) prologue
  11. Men are but children of a larger growth;
    Our appetites as apt to change as theirs,
    And full as craving too, and full as vain.
    All for Love (1678) act 4, sc. 1; see Chesterfield
  12. By viewing nature, nature's handmaid art,
    Makes mighty things from small beginnings grow.
    Annus Mirabilis (1667) st. 155
  13. I am as free as nature first made man,
    Ere the base laws of servitude began,
    When wild in woods the noble savage ran.
    The Conquest of Granada (1670) pt. 1, act 1, sc. 1
  14. The wise, for cure, on exercise depend;
    God never made his work, for man to mend.
    Epistle ‘To my honoured kinsman John Driden’ (1700) l. 92
  15. And love's the noblest frailty of the mind.
    The Indian Emperor (1665) act 2, sc. 2
  16. Fairest Isle, all isles excelling.
    King Arthur (1691) act 5 ‘Song of Venus’; see Wesley
  17. All human things are subject to decay,
    And, when fate summons, monarchs must obey.
    MacFlecknoe (1682) l. 1
  18. The rest to some faint meaning make pretence,
    But Shadwell never deviates into sense.
    MacFlecknoe (1682) l. 19
  19. From harmony, from heavenly harmony
    This universal frame began:
    From harmony to harmony
    Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
    The diapason closing full in Man.
    A Song for St Cecilia's Day (1687) st. 1
  20. What passion cannot Music raise and quell?
    A Song for St Cecilia's Day (1687) st. 2
  21. The soft complaining flute.
    A Song for St Cecilia's Day (1687) st. 4
  22. The trumpet shall be heard on high,
    The dead shall live, the living die,
    And Music shall untune the sky.
    A Song for St Cecilia's Day (1687) ‘Grand Chorus’
  23. There is a pleasure sure,
    In being mad, which none but madmen know!
    The Spanish Friar (1681) act 1, sc. 1
  24. Happy the man, and happy he alone,
    He, who can call to-day his own:
    He who, secure within, can say,
    Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
    translation of Horace Odes bk. 3, no. 29; see Smith
  25. Not Heaven itself upon the past has power;
    But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.
    translation of Horace Odes bk. 3, no. 29
  26. She knows her man, and when you rant and swear,
    Can draw you to her with a single hair.
    translation of Persius Satires no. 5, l. 246
  27. Arms, and the man I sing.
    translation of Virgil Aeneid (Aeneis, 1697) bk. 1, l. 1; see Virgil
  28. We must beat the iron while it is hot, but we may polish it at leisure.
    Aeneis (1697) dedication
  29. The famous rules, which the French call Des Trois Unitez, or, the Three Unities, which ought to be observed in every regular play; namely, of Time, Place, and Action.
    An Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668)
  30. A thing well said will be wit in all languages.
    An Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668)
  31. He needed not the spectacles of books to read Nature: he looked inwards, and found her there.
    An Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668)
  32. 'Tis sufficient to say, according to the proverb, that here is God's plenty.
    Fables Ancient and Modern (1700) preface
  33. Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet.
    Samuel Johnson Lives of the English Poets (1779–81) ‘Dryden’