Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > Dryden > Death of Charles II and Accession of James II: Threnodia Augustalis and Britannia Rediviva
  Didactic Poetry: Religio Laici Conversion to the Church of Rome  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

I. Dryden.

§ 26. Death of Charles II and Accession of James II: Threnodia Augustalis and Britannia Rediviva.


When, early in 1685, Charles II died, Dryden honoured his memory with a Pindaric ode, Threnodia Augustalis, to which the poet gave a semi-official character by describing himself as “servant to his late Majesty and to the present King.” The ode, which has some fine turns, without altogether escaping bathos, treats a not very promising subject (which baffled Otway 94 ) with Dryden’s usual skill in the selection of qualities warranting praise; the inequalities of the metre, on which Scott wittily dwells, are less violent than those to be found in the far more celebrated Alexander’s Feast. Dryden’s other effort as poet laureate, Britannia Rediviva: a Poem on the Prince born on the 10th of June, 1688, is written in the couplet of which he was master; but the occasion—for surely never was the news of a royal birth received as was that of the prince to be known in later years as the Old Pretender—could not be met without artificiality of tone.   66

Note 94. See his Windsor Castle, and The Beginning of a Pastoral on the Death of his late Majesty. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Didactic Poetry: Religio Laici Conversion to the Church of Rome  
 
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