James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

August 9


By Craven Langstroth Betts (1853–1941)

John Dryden, born August 9, 1631.

THERE sits he with the wits around his chair,

Sipping his cordial or his cup of tea;

Fair primed with aphorisms choice or free,

The “glorious John,” who trimmed to every air!

The biggest brawn on the arena there,

He shook the town with vauntings, then on knee

Bartered his birthright for a huckster’s fee,

And thrust his muse aneath a lordling’s care.

Still he wrought valiant service; none that day

Might bide the baited gladiator’s blows;

His ponderous truncheon crushed the foe at bay;

How grand to watch him on McFlecnoe close!

The drums resound, the trumpets loudly bray

As down the age that lordly galleon goes!