Dryden was the most important poet between Milton and Pope. Though he began as a supporter of Cromwell's Protectorate, he celebrated the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 in "Astræa Redux," the first in a long series of Royalist panegyrics, including "Annus Mirabilis" (1667) and "Absalom and Achitophel" (1681). He also wrote some of the most successful plays of the Restoration era, including the heroic tragedies The Conquest of Granada (1670) and All for Love (1677). He was rewarded for his Royalist sympathies with the Poet Laureateship, but lost the post at the accession of William and Mary in 1689.
Dryden was also author of important literary criticism, including An Essay of Dramatic Poesy, and translator of Virgil's Aeneid; he is also credited with translating Plutarch's Lives (though in fact he only supervised the translation). He was named a fellow of the Royal Society in 1663. His own life was written by Samuel Johnson.