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Best Famous John Dryden Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous John Dryden poems. This is a select list of the best famous John Dryden poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous John Dryden poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of John Dryden poems.

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Written by John Dryden | |

To the Memory of Mr. Oldham

Farewell, too little, and too lately known,
Whom I began to think and call my own:
For sure our souls were near allied, and thine
Cast in the same poetic mold with mine.
One common note on either lyre did strike, And knaves and fools we both abhorred alike.
To the same goal did both our studies drive; The last set out the soonest did arrive.
Thus Nisus fell upon the slippery place, While his young friend performed and won the race.
O early ripe! to thy abundant store What could advancing age have added more? It might (what nature never gives the young) Have taught the numbers of thy native tongue.
But satire needs not those, and wit will shine Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line: A noble error, and but seldom made, When poets are by too much force betrayed.
Thy generous fruits, though gathered ere their prime, Still showed a quickness, and maturing time But mellows what we write to the dull sweets of rhyme.
Once more, hail and farewell; farewell, thou young, But ah too short, Marcellus of our tongue; Thy brows with ivy, and with laurels bound; But fate and gloomy night encompass thee around.


Written by John Dryden | |

Song From Marriage-A-La-Mode

 Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now,
When passion is decayed?
We loved, and we loved, as long as we could,
Till our love was loved out in us both;
But our marriage is dead when the pleasure is fled:
'Twas pleasure first made it an oath.
If I have pleasures for a friend, And farther love in store, What wrong has he whose joys did end, And who could give no more? 'Tis a madness that he should be jealous of me, Or that I should bar him of another; For all we can gain is to give ourselves pain, When neither can hinder the other.


Written by John Dryden | |

Why Should A Foolish Marriage Vow

 Why should a foolish marriage vow, 
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now
When passion is decay'd?
We lov'd, and we lov'd, as long as we could,
Till our love was lov'd out in us both:
But our marriage is dead, when the pleasure is fled:
'Twas pleasure first made it an oath.
If I have pleasures for a friend, And farther love in store, What wrong has he whose joys did end, And who could give no more? 'Tis a madness that he should be jealous of me, Or that I should bar him of another: For all we can gain is to give our selves pain, When neither can hinder the other.


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Written by John Dryden | |

Happy The Man

 Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul or rain or shine The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power, But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.


Written by John Dryden | |

To The Memory Of Mr Oldham

 Farewell, too little and too lately known,
Whom I began to think and call my own;
For sure our souls were near allied, and thine
Cast in the same poetic mould with mine.
One common note on either lyre did strike, And knaves and fools we both abhorred alike.
To the same goal did both our studies drive; The last set out the soonest did arrive.
Thus Nisus fell upon the slippery place, While his young friend performed and won the race.
O early ripe! to thy abundant store What could advancing age have added more? It might (what Nature never gives the young) Have taught the numbers of thy native tongue.
But satire needs not those, and wit will shine Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line.
A noble error, and but seldom made, When poets are by too much force betrayed.
Thy generous fruits, though gathered ere their prime, Still showed a quickness; and maturing time But mellows what we write to the dull sweets of rhyme.
Once more, hail and farewell! farewell, thou young, But ah too short, Marcellus of our tongue! Thy brows with ivy and with laurels bound; But fate and gloomy night encompass thee around.


Written by John Dryden | |

A Song From The Italian

 (LIMBERHAM: OR, THE KIND KEEPER)

By a dismal cypress lying,
Damon cried, all pale and dying,
Kind is death that ends my pain,
But cruel she I lov'd in vain.
The mossy fountains Murmur my trouble, And hollow mountains My groans redouble: Ev'ry nymph mourns me, Thus while I languish; She only scorns me, Who caus'd my anguish.
No love returning me, but all hope denying; By a dismal cypress lying, Like a swan, so sung he dying: Kind is death that ends my pain, But cruel she I lov'd in vain.


Written by John Dryden | |

Hidden Flame

 Feed a flame within, which so torments me 
That it both pains my heart, and yet contains me: 
'Tis such a pleasing smart, and I so love it, 
That I had rather die than once remove it.
Yet he, for whom I grieve, shall never know it; My tongue does not betray, nor my eyes show it.
Not a sigh, nor a tear, my pain discloses, But they fall silently, like dew on roses.
Thus, to prevent my Love from being cruel, My heart's the sacrifice, as 'tis the fuel; And while I suffer this to give him quiet, My faith rewards my love, though he deny it.
On his eyes will I gaze, and there delight me; While I conceal my love no frown can fright me.
To be more happy I dare not aspire, Nor can I fall more low, mounting no higher.


Written by John Dryden | |

Farewell Ungrateful Traitor!

 Farewell, ungrateful traitor! 
Farewell, my perjur'd swain! 
Let never injur'd woman 
Believe a man again.
The pleasure of possessing Surpasses all expressing, But 'tis too short a blessing, And love too long a pain.
'Tis easy to deceive us In pity of your pain, But when we love, you leave us To rail at you in vain.
Before we have descried it, There is no joy beside it, But she that once has tried it Will never love again.
The passion you pretended Was only to obtain, But once the charm is ended, The charmer you disdain.
Your love by ours we measure Till we have lost our treasure, But dying is a pleasure When living is a pain.


Written by John Dryden | |

An Ode On The Death Of Mr. Henry Purcell

 Late Servant to his Majesty, and 
Organist of the Chapel Royal, and 
of St.
Peter's Westminster I Mark how the Lark and Linnet Sing, With rival Notes They strain their warbling Throats, To welcome in the Spring.
But in the close of Night, When Philomel begins her Heav'nly lay, They cease their mutual spite, Drink in her Music with delight, And list'ning and silent, and silent and list'ning, And list'ning and silent obey.
II So ceas'd the rival Crew when Purcell came, They Sung no more, or only Sung his Fame.
Struck dumb they all admir'd the God-like Man, The God-like Man, Alas, too soon retir'd, As He too late began.
We beg not Hell, our Orpheus to restore, Had He been there, Their Sovereign's fear Had sent Him back before.
The pow'r of Harmony too well they know, He long e'er this had Tun'd their jarring Sphere, And left no Hell below.
III The Heav'nly Choir, who heard his Notes from high, Let down the Scale of Music from the Sky: They handed him along, And all the way He taught, and all the way they Sung.
Ye Brethren of the Lyre, and tuneful Voice, Lament his Lot: but at your own rejoice.
Now live secure and linger out your days, The Gods are pleas'd alone with Purcell's Lays, Nor know to mend their Choice.


Written by John Dryden | |

Song (Sylvia The Fair In The Bloom Of Fifteen)

 Sylvia the fair, in the bloom of fifteen,
Felt an innocent warmth as she lay on the green:
She had heard of a pleasure, and something she guessed
By the towsing and tumbling and touching her breast:
She saw the men eager, but was at a loss
What they meant by their sighing and kissing so close;
By their praying and whining,
And clasping and twining,
And panting and wishing,
And sighing and kissing,
And sighing and kissing so close.
"Ah!" she cried, "ah, for a languishing maid In a country of Christians to die without aid! Not a Whig, or a Tory, or Trimmer at least, Or a Protestant parson, or Catholic priest, To instruct a young virgin that is at a loss What they meant by their sighing and kissing so close; By their praying and whining, And clasping and twining, And panting and wishing, And sighing and kissing, And sighing and kissing so close.
" Cupid in shape of a swain did appear; He saw the sad wound, and in pity drew near; Then showed her his arrow, and bid her not fear, For the pain was no more than a maiden may bear; When the balm was infused, she was not at a loss What they meant by their sighing and kissing so close; By their praying and whining, And clasping and twining, And panting and wishing, And sighing and kissing, And sighing and kissing so close.


Written by John Dryden | |

Song For Saint Cecilias Day 1687

 From Harmony, from heavenly Harmony
 This universal frame began:
 When nature underneath a heap
 Of jarring atoms lay
 And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high,
 Arise, ye more than dead!
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry
In order to their stations leap,
 And Music's power obey.
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.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell? When Jubal struck the chorded shell His listening brethren stood around, And, wondering, on their faces fell To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell Within the hollow of that shell That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell? The trumpet's loud clangour Excites us to arms, With shrill notes of anger And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat Of the thundering drum Cries 'Hark! the foes come; Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat!' The soft complaining flute In dying notes discovers The woes of hopeless lovers, Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling lute.
Sharp violins proclaim Their jealous pangs and desperation, Fury, frantic indignation, Depths of pains, and height of passion For the fair disdainful dame.
But oh! what art can teach, What human voice can reach The sacred organ's praise? Notes inspiring holy love, Notes that wing their heavenly ways To mend the choirs above.
Orpheus could lead the savage race, And trees unrooted left their place Sequacious of the lyre: But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher: When to her Organ vocal breath was given An angel heard, and straight appear'd— Mistaking Earth for Heaven.
Grand Chorus: As from the power of sacred lays The spheres began to move, And sung the great Creator's praise To all the blest above; So when the last and dreadful hour This crumbling pageant shall devour, The trumpet shall be heard on high, The dead shall live, the living die, And music shall untune the sky.


Written by John Dryden | |

Song From An Evenings Love

 After the pangs of a desperate lover,
When day and night I have sighed all in vain,
Ah, what a pleasure it is to discover
In her eyes pity, who causes my pain!

When with unkindness our love at a stand is,
And both have punished ourselves with the pain,
Ah, what a pleasure the touch of her hand is!
Ah, what a pleasure to touch it again!

When the denial comes fainter and fainter,
And her eyes give what her tongue does deny,
Ah, what a trembling I feel when I venture!
Ah, what a trembling does usher my joy!

When, with a sigh, she accords me the blessing,
And her eyes twinkle 'twixt pleasure and pain,
Ah, what a joy 'tis beyond all expressing!
Ah, what a joy to hear 'Shall we again!'


Written by John Dryden | |

Troilus And Cressida

 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,
And though he torment us with cares all the day,
Yet he sweetens, he sweetens our pains in the taking,
There's an hour at the last, there's an hour to repay.
In ev'ry possessing, The ravishing blessing, In ev'ry possessing the fruit of our pain, Poor lovers forget long ages of anguish, Whate'er they have suffer'd and done to obtain; 'Tis a pleasure, a pleasure to sigh and to languish, When we hope, when we hope to be happy again.


Written by John Dryden | |

Your Hay It Is Mowd And Your Corn Is Reapd

 (Comus.
) Your hay it is mow'd, and your corn is reap'd; Your barns will be full, and your hovels heap'd: Come, my boys, come; Come, my boys, come; And merrily roar out Harvest Home.
(Chorus.
) Come, my boys, come; Come, my boys, come; And merrily roar out Harvest Home.
(Man.
) We ha' cheated the parson, we'll cheat him agen, For why should a blockhead ha' one in ten? One in ten, One in ten, For why should a blockhead ha' one in ten? For prating so long like a book-learn'd sot, Till pudding and dumplin burn to pot, Burn to pot, Burn to pot, Till pudding and dumplin burn to pot.
(Chorus.
)Burn to pot, Burn to pot, Till pudding and dumplin burn to pot.
We'll toss off our ale till we canno' stand, And Hoigh for the honour of Old England: Old England, Old England, And Hoigh for the honour of Old England.
(Chorus.
) Old England, Old England, And Hoigh for the honour of Old England.


Written by John Dryden | |

Veni Creator Spiritus

 Creator Spirit, by whose aid
The world's foundations first were laid,
Come, visit ev'ry pious mind;
Come, pour thy joys on human kind;
From sin, and sorrow set us free;
And make thy temples worthy Thee.
O, Source of uncreated Light, The Father's promis'd Paraclete! Thrice Holy Fount, thrice Holy Fire, Our hearts with heav'nly love inspire; Come, and thy Sacred Unction bring To sanctify us, while we sing! Plenteous of grace, descend from high, Rich in thy sev'n-fold energy! Thou strength of his Almighty Hand, Whose pow'r does heav'n and earth command: Proceeding Spirit, our Defence, Who do'st the gift of tongues dispence, And crown'st thy gift with eloquence! Refine and purge our earthly parts; But, oh, inflame and fire our hearts! Our frailties help, our vice control; Submit the senses to the soul; And when rebellious they are grown, Then, lay thy hand, and hold 'em down.
Chase from our minds th' Infernal Foe; And peace, the fruit of love, bestow; And, lest our feet should step astray, Protect, and guide us in the way.
Make us Eternal Truths receive, And practise, all that we believe: Give us thy self, that we may see The Father and the Son, by thee.
Immortal honour, endless fame, Attend th' Almighty Father's name: The Saviour Son be glorified, Who for lost Man's redemption died: And equal adoration be, Eternal Paraclete, to thee.