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With Life, Critical Dissertation, and
REV. GEORGE GILFILLAN.
JAMES NICHOL, 9 NORTH BANK STREET.
LONDON: JAMES NISBET AND CO.
DUBLIN: W. ROBERTSON.
THE LIFE OF JOHN DRYDEN.
John DRYDEN was born on the 9th of August 1631, at a place variously denominated Aldwincle, or Oldwincle, All Saints; or at Oldwincle, St Peter's, in Northamptonshire. The name Dryden or Driden, is from the North. There are Drydens still in the town of Scotland where we now write; and the poet's ancestors lived in the county of Cumberland. One of them, named John, removed from a place called Staffhill, to Northamptonshire, where he succeeded to the estate of Canons-Ashby, by marriage with the daughter of Sir John Cope. John Dryden was a schoolmaster, a Puritan, and honoured, it is said, with the friendship of the celebrated Erasmus, after whom he named his son, who succeeded to the estate of Canons-Ashby, and, besides becoming a sheriff of the county of Northamptonshire, was created a knight under James I. Sir Erasmus had three sons, the third of whom, also an Erasmus, became the father of our poet. His mother was Mary, the daughter of the Rev. Henry Pickering, whose father, a zealous Puritan, had been one of the marked victims in the Gunpowder Plot. Dryden thus had connexions both on his father's and mother's side with that party, by deriding, defaming, and opposing which he afterwards gained much of his poetical glory.
The poet was the eldest of fourteen children—four sons and ten daughters. The honour of his birth is claimed, as already stated, by two parishes, that of Oldwincle, All Saints, and that of Oldwincle, St Peter's, as Homer's was of old by seven