Happy the Man

925 WordsOct 31, 20124 Pages
“Happy The Man” by John Dryden John Dryden was born on 9 August in 1631 in a small town in Northamptonshire, England, the eldest of 14 children, was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden. Walter Scott called him "Glorious John."[1] He was made Poet Laureate in 1668. As a humanist public school, Westminster maintained a curriculum which trained pupils in the art of rhetoric and the presentation of arguments for both sides of a given issue. This is a skill which would remain with Dryden and influence his later writing and thinking, as much of it displays these…show more content…
Notice how all of the end-of-couplet rhymes are end-stopped. Notice, besides that, how all of the lines are end-stopped. Compare this to Thomas Middleton’s Verse of just a generation or so before. They make Middleton look like an Allen Ginsberg. Notice also, especially with Dryden, how you can extract any one of his couplets and they will more or less make a complete syntactical unit. One tender Sigh of hers to see me languish, Will more than pay the price of my past anguish: The verse is regular Iambic Pentameter with some variant, trochaic first feet. Don’t be fooled by the following line, which some might read as follows: I can die |with her,|| but not live | without her: Here’s how Dryden means us to read it: I can | die with | her, but | not live | without her: When reading poetry, especially, from this period, always try to read with the meter. The last thing to notice about Dryden’s poem is that, despite the tightly laced poetry, this poem is about sex, sex, sex. The meter itself! Every single line ending is a feminine ending – a sort of metrical double entendre. Every rhyme of the poem is a feminine rhyme (otherwise known as a multiple rhyme) – en-deavor/leave her; please us/seize us. It is chalk full of pornographic double-entendres. Don’t be fooled by the straight-laced formality of the poetry from this period. Some

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