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A collection of thoughts and quotes by John Dryden on poetry, love, plays, writing, revenge, warning, wits, depth, loquacity, fear and satires

43 Great Quotes By John Dryden, England’s First Poet Laureate

Quick Facts

Famous As: poet

Born On: August 9, 1631

Died On: May 12, 1700

Born In: Northamptonshire, England

Died At Age: 68

John Dryden was a famous English poet who was made the first Poet Laureate of England. He also worked as a literary critic, translator and playwright. The flexibility in his forms of writing marked him as a legend of the 17th century. He was one of the greatest poets and often compared to playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Ben Johnson. His mastery in prose, translation and literary criticism was unchallenged by his contemporaries. In his early days he worked with the civil service and wrote his first notable poem ‘Heroic Stanzas’ dedicated to the death of Lord Protector Cromwell. He further wrote poems which reflected his faith in the new government, and wrote poems for the masses which constituted a majority of his income. During the restoration period he got many opportunities to write plays but failed to justify his reputation. He then minimized his work as a playwright and started writing essays, poems and satires. His satires are believed to give a new direction and boomed the reputation of English satires. In his final years, he translated and simplified the classic English literary work for a living. The below collection of John Dryden’s most famous quotes have been excerpted from his writings, poems, satires, essays, plays, prose and thoughts. This collection of quotes by John Dryden is the easiest way to know his level of wisdom and his perspective of life.
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Bold knaves thrive without one grain of sense, But good men starve for want of impudence.

John Dryden

Beware the fury of a patient man.

John Dryden

We first make our habits, then our habits make us.

John Dryden

There is a pleasure sure in being mad which none but madmen know.

John Dryden

Great wits are to madness near allied And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

John Dryden

Better shun the bait, than struggle in the snare.

John Dryden

I am sore wounded but not slain I will lay me down and bleed a while And then rise up to fight again

John Dryden

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.

John Dryden

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; He who would search for pearls, must dive below.

John Dryden

…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

John Dryden

Secret guilt is by silence revealed.

John Dryden

But far more numerous was the herd of such, Who think too little, and who talk too much.

John Dryden

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.

John Dryden

I strongly wish for what I faintly hope; like the daydreams of melancholy men, I think and think in things impossible, yet love to wander in that golden maze.

John Dryden

Love is love's reward.

John Dryden

Dancing is the poetry of the foot.

John Dryden

Look round the habitable world, how few Know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue!

John Dryden

Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide.

John Dryden

Welcome, thou kind deceiver! Thou best of thieves: who, with an easy key, Dost open life, and, unperceived by us, Even steal us from ourselves.

John Dryden

Boldness is a mask for fear, however great.

John Dryden

Let Fortune empty her whole quiver on me, I have a soul that, like an ample shield, Can take in all, and verge enough for more; Fate was not mine, nor am I Fate's: Souls know no conquerors.

John Dryden

Order is the greatest grace

John Dryden

None but the brave deserves the fair.

John Dryden

Night came, but unattended with repose. Alone she came, no sleep their eyes to close. Alone and black she came; no friendly stars arose.

John Dryden

For you may palm upon us new for old: All, as they say, that glitters, is not gold.

John Dryden

In God ’tis glory: And when men aspire, ’Tis but a spark too much of heavenly fire.

John Dryden

None are so busy as the fool and knave.

John Dryden

The winds that never moderation knew, Afraid to blow too much, too faintly blew; Or out of breath with joy, could not enlarge Their straighten'd lungs or conscious of their charge.

John Dryden

Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck.

John Dryden

To die is landing on some distant shore.

John Dryden

Those who write ill, and they who ne'er durst write, Turn critics out of mere revenge and spite.

John Dryden

Love is a passion which kindles honor into noble acts.

John Dryden

Where'e're I go, my Soul shall stay with thee: 'Tis but my Shadow I take away...

John Dryden

Death in itself is nothing; but we fear. To be we know not what, we know not where.

John Dryden

Must I at length the Sword of Justice draw? Oh curst Effects of necessary Law! How ill my Fear they by my Mercy scan, Beware the Fury of a Patient Man.

John Dryden

If others in the same Glass better see 'Tis for Themselves they look, but not for me: For my Salvation must its Doom receive Not from what others, but what I believe.

John Dryden

Whatever is, is in its causes just; But purblind man Sees but a part o' th' chain; the nearest link; His eyes not carrying to that equal beam That poises all above.

John Dryden

Roused by the lash of his own stubborn tail, Our lion now will foreign foes assail.

John Dryden

For whatsoe'er their sufferings were before, That change they covet makes them suffer more. All other errors but disturb a state; But innovation is the blow of fate.

John Dryden

Dreams are but interludes, which fancy makes; When monarch reason sleeps, this mimic wakes.

John Dryden

All things are subject to decay and when fate summons, monarchs must obey.

John Dryden

Whence but from heaven, could men unskilled in arts, In several ages born, in several parts, Weave such agreeing truths? Or how, or why, Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie?

John Dryden

Words are but pictures of our thoughts

John Dryden