The leading English literary figure of the latter half of the 17th century, John Dryden (1631–1700) wrote dramas and critical works, but his reputation stands on his mastery of verse, in particular the heroic couplet. Encompassing political, religious, philosophic, and artistic issues, Dryden's poetry offers rich evidence of his social consciousness. “Annus Mirabilis,” a celebration of the tumultuous events of 1666, casts the catastrophic effects of war, plague, and London's Great Fire as a providential gesture, from which the nation would arise, phoenix-like, to greater heights. Other selections in this volume include his great satires «Absalom and Achitophel” and "Mac Flecknoe,” along with «Song from Marriage à la Mode,” «To the Memory of Mr. Oldham,” “A Song for St. Cecilia's Day,” «Epigram on Milton,” and "Alexander's Feast.” Dover original selection of poems from standard texts. New Publisher's Note.