Astraea Redux

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Astraea Redux, written by John Dryden in 1660, is a full-blown royalist panegyric in which Dryden welcomes the new regime of King Charles II. It is a vivid emotional display that overshadows the cautious Heroique Stanzas that Dryden composed for Oliver Cromwell’s death. In the former, Dryden apologizes for his allegiance with the Cromwellian government, and Dryden was later excused by Samuel Johnson for his change in allegiance when he wrote, ‘if he changed, he changed with the nation.’

The period between Cromwell and the Restoration is illustrated as a time of chaos in Astraea, and Charles is greeted as a restorer of peace. In the traditional form of the panegyric, Charles is praised for qualities which it is hoped he will attain as much as for those he already possesses, and Dryden recommends that Charles adopt a policy of toleration.

As well as hinting that Dryden was looking for a royal patron, this poem is one which best demonstrates Dryden's lifelong commitment to peace and political stability.

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia defines Astraea Redux as 'the name given to an era which piques itself on the return of the reign of justice to the earth.'

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