Tag Archives: John Dryden

“Language most shows a man. Speak that I may see thee.” — Ben Jonson

“O rare Benn Johnson.” — Jonson’s incorrectly-spelled epitaph in Westminster Abbey It’s his birthday today. Ben Jonson did everything. Plays, poems, satires, elegies, epigrams. His talent was wide and flexible. Everything he wrote feels inevitable. However, as Michael Schmidt writes … Continue reading

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“The fault that I acknowledge in myself is to have descended to print anything in verse.” — John Donne

“So difficult and opaque it is, I am not certain what it is I print.” — first publisher of the work of John Donne It’s his birthday today. John Donne (1572-1631) was a poet and an Anglican priest (born a … Continue reading

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“Thy soul was like a Star and dwelt apart” — William Wordsworth on John Milton

Milton was born on this day in 1608. Although he left Oxford without completing his degree, he remained a thinker, a propagandist/pamphleteer, a scholar till the end of his days. The isolated poet, focused on self and personal emotion, would … Continue reading

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“My thoughts bustle along like a Surinam toad, with little toads sprouting out of back, side, and belly, vegetating while it crawls.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge

He looked at his own Soul with a telescope. What seemed all irregular, he saw and shewed to be beautiful Constellations: and he added to the Consciousness hidden worlds within worlds. –Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Notebooks It’s his birthday today. I’ll … Continue reading

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“Sunlight on a broken column.” It’s T.S. Eliot’s birthday.

Poets like William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane both said that they needed to forcibly divorce themselves from Eliot’s influence in order to be able to write. His language and influence had that strong a pull. Too much pull. His … Continue reading

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“united”

Never, I believe, were such talents and such drudgery united. — William Cowper on John Dryden

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National Poetry Month: Geoffrey Chaucer

Merciless Beauté I. CAPTIVITY Your yën two wol slee me sodenly. I may the beauté of hem not sustene, So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene. And but your word wol helen hastily Mt hertes wounde, whyl that hit is … Continue reading

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Admiration

“I admire him, but I love Shakespeare.” — John Dryden on Ben Jonson

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“a perpetual fountain of good sense”

“He is a perpetual fountain of good sense; learned in all sciences; and therefore speaks properly on all subjects. As he knew what to say, so he knows when to leave off; a continence which is practiced by few writers.” … Continue reading

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