‘Thy wars brought nothing about’: Dryden's Critique of Military Heroism

Winn, James A.
October 2006
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2006, Vol. 21 Issue 2, p364
Academic Journal
After the Revolution of 1688, Dryden frequently seized opportunities to criticize usurpation, conscription, standing armies, and the belief that warfare might actually achieve its goals. Yet the distaste for war expressed in his late works is not merely a matter of his Jacobite opposition to William's continental wars. Despite his dutiful gestures in support of Charles II's two disastrous naval wars with the Dutch, a healthy skepticism about warfare and a deep distaste for violence were present in Dryden's mind from the beginning of his career to the end. His poems often avoid direct treatment of battles, preferring mythical, baroque imagery that makes warfare aesthetic, and his rhetoric in praise of James II as a military leader is undermined by ironies and odd allusions. His doubt that war could ultimately bring anything about was broad and general, contrasting strongly with his firm belief in the efficacy of art, especially poetry.


Related Articles

  • POPE'S BOLINGBROKE AND DRYDEN'S `HAPPY MAN'. Clingham, G. J. // Notes & Queries;Mar1989, Vol. 36 Issue 1, p56 

    The article explores the relationship between poet Alexander Pope and English poet critic and playwright John Dryden. Pope's poetic indebtedness to Dryden is a well-explored subject. Pope testifies to Dryden's influence on his poetry as early as the letter to English dramatist William Wycherley....

  • Dryden and Baroque Chamber Music. Sperrin, Dan // Oswald Review;Fall2014, Vol. 16, p17 

    The article presents a critique of English poet John Dryden's "An Ode, On the Death of Henry Purcell" which reveals baroque chamber music in imitation of Purcell's musical compositions, a rare work of poetry. Dryden's harmonic technique to combine verse and tonality together makes his lyrical...

  • Why Are They Saying These Terrible Things about John Dryden? The Uses of Gossip and Scandal. Zwicker, Steven N. // Essays in Criticism;Apr2014, Vol. 64 Issue 2, p158 

    The article focuses on the uses of gossip and scandal to say terrible things about English poet John Dryden. It was in 1686 that gossip about religious instability and rumours of Dryden's quest for place started to circulate widely. According to the article, the rumours that were circulated...

  • Dryden: Poet or Translator? Rosslyn, Felicity // Translation & Literature;2001, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p21 

    The article discusses the contradictory political, social, and religious views of English poet John Dryden. It is said that at different times Dryden supported both the revolutionary leader Oliver Cromwell and English King Charles I, was both Puritan and Roman Catholic, and both used coarse...

  • A Collection of Poems and Charles Tooke. Batt, Jennifer // Notes & Queries;Sep2011, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p394 

    The article discusses the 1716 edition of the poetry collection "A Collection of Poems," which contains a poem by unknown poet Charles Tooke along with poems by prominent authors such as John Dryden, the Earl of Roscommon, Charles Sedley, and George Etherege. The author traces the origins of the...

  • The Cost of John Dryden's Catholicism. Berry, Bryan // Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture;Spring2009, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p144 

    The article focuses on the obstacles encountered by John Dryden,an English poet, in his writing profession. Dyrden received the punishments imposed by the new government to Catholics because his literary style includes the Catholic faith. This cost him to pay double tax while it affected the...

  • The Later Seventeenth Century: 1. Poetry. Pickard, Claire // Year's Work in English Studies;2004, Vol. 83, p470 

    This section discusses published works about English poetry during the late seventeenth century. James Grantham Turner's From Revolution to Restoration in English Literary Culture arguably provides the most concise survey in 2002 of the writing of the late seventeenth century. While discussing...

  • DRYDEN'S ADVICE TO DANBY. Clayton, Ronald // Notes & Queries;Dec1989, Vol. 36 Issue 4, p447 

    This article focuses on English poet laureate John Dryden's work. Dryden dedicated his "All for Love," to Thomas, Earl of Danby. In the dedicatory epistle Dryden used the opportunity not only to laud Danby and his statesmanship but also to write a personal testament on government in general and...

  • 'Love Divine, All Loves Excelling'. BRINGLE, MARY LOUISE // Presbyterians Today;Nov2013, Vol. 103 Issue 10, p4 

    The article discusses the song "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," which was used by English poet Charles Wesley as a hymn celebrating the love of Jesus Christ for the world he came, and will come again, to redeem. The song was earlier used by English writer John Dryden in an opera titled "King...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics