17th Century Poets

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 1 John Milton

John Milton
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 9, 1608
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheapside, London, England
Died: November 8, 1674

John Milton was an English poet whose epic poem Paradise Lost is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of literature. Milton's other celebrated work Areopagitica is counted among history's most impassioned and influential defenses of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. John Milton’s works have influenced other prominent writers, such as Thomas Hardy and George Eliot.

 2 John Donne

John Donne
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 22, 1572
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 31, 1631
English metaphysical poet John Donne is best known for his touch of sensuality and spirituality in his poems. One of his best-known poems is The Canonization. He had also worked on Latin translations, elegies, sermons, and epigrams. He was known for his reckless lifestyle, that affected his financial status. 

 3 William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: April 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, England
Died: April 23, 1616

English playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He is also often called England's national poet. Many of his works have been translated into other languages and his plays continue to be produced till day. Popular during his lifetime, he acquired an iconic status after his death.

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 4 Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 31, 1621
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Winestead, England
Died: August 16, 1678

 5 Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift
Famous As: Satirist & Author of 'Gulliver's Travels',' A Tale of a Tub' and 'A Modest Proposal'
Birthdate: November 30, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745

Eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and pamphleteer Jonathan Swift is remembered for his iconic works such as A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. One of the world’s greatest satirists, he gave rise to the deadpan Swiftian style. He had also been the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 6 Moliere

Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: January 15, 1622
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rue Saint Honoré, Paris, France
Died: February 17, 1673

Moliere was a French poet, playwright, and actor. Considered one of the greatest French-language writers of all time, Moliere's plays are often performed at the Comédie-Française and have been translated into several languages. Moliere had a huge impact on the French language and is widely regarded as the creator of modern French comedy.

 7 Juana Inés de la Cruz

Juana Inés de la Cruz
Famous As: Early feminist author and philosopher who studied everything around her and argued forcefully that all women should be allowed to do the same
Birthdate: November 12, 1648
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nepantla de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mexico
Died: April 17, 1695

Mexican nun Juana Inés de la Cruz was one of the finest authors of the Latin American colonial era. Initially the lady-in-waiting of Mexico’s viceroy, she later took her vows. She built a huge library and penned masterpieces such as the poem Primero sueño and the religious drama El divino Narciso.

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 8 John Dryden

John Dryden
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 9, 1631
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, England
Died: May 12, 1700

 9 Basho

Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1644 AD
Birthplace: Iga Province
Died: November 28, 1694

Basho was a Japanese poet of the Edo period. Regarded as the greatest master of haiku, Basho's poetry is read all over the world; many of his works have been translated into English. Such is his popularity that in 1979 a crater on planet Mercury was named after him by the International Astronomical Union.

 10 John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester
Famous As: Poet, Writer, Playwright
Birthdate: April 1, 1647
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ditchley
Died: July 26, 1680

 11 Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: July 10, 1640
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Canterbury, England
Died: April 16, 1689

 12 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 15, 1689
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 21, 1762

 13 Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 20, 1612
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Northampton, England
Died: September 16, 1672

 14 Jean Racine

Jean Racine
Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: December 22, 1639
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: La Ferté-Milon, Kingdom of France
Died: April 21, 1699

 15 Joseph Addison

Joseph Addison
Famous As: Essayist & Poet
Birthdate: May 1, 1672
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milston, United Kingdom
Died: June 17, 1719
Best known for his articles in the iconic 18th-century periodicals The Tatler and The Spectator, English essayist Joseph Addison had a lifelong collaboration with Richard Steele. Educated at Oxford, he excelled in Latin and classics. A prominent Whig, he mostly wrote on the social and cultural trends of his time.

 16 Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine
Famous As: Fabulist
Birthdate: July 8, 1621
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Château-Thierry, Champagne, France
Died: April 13, 1695

Seventeenth-century French author Jean de La Fontaine is best remembered for his Fables. Initially a forest inspector, he later attended the salons of aristocratic patrons, where he met scholars, authors, and philosophers. Though he faced royal opposition, he was eventually made a part of the French Academy.

 17 Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: July 17, 1674
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Southampton, Kingdom of England
Died: November 25, 1748

 18 Thomas Nashe

Thomas Nashe
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: October 31, 1567
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Died: 1601 AD

 19 Tukaram

Famous As: Saint, Poet
Birthdate: 1608 AD
Birthplace: Dehu, Near Pune, India
Died: 1650 AD

Marathi poet Sant Tukaram was one of the pillars of the Bhakti movement of Maharashtra. It is believed he began writing abhangas, or religious poetry, after being visited by Vitthal, an avatar of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna, in a dream. He is revered by the Varkari sampradaya.

 20 John Gay

John Gay
Famous As: Dramatist & Poet
Birthdate: June 30, 1685
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Barnstaple
Died: December 4, 1732

 21 Lope de Vega

Lope de Vega
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 25, 1562
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: August 27, 1635

Spanish Baroque dramatist Lope de Vega was one of the most significant figures of the Spanish Golden Age. He had initially aspired to be a priest but abandoned his plans after falling in love with a married woman. He is best remembered for works such as The Dog in the Manger.

 22 Emilia Lanier

Emilia Lanier
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 31, 1569
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bishopsgate, London, England
Died: March 31, 1645

 23 Francesco Redi

Francesco Redi
Famous As: Physician, naturalist, biologist and poet
Birthdate: February 18, 1626
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Arezzo, Italy
Died: March 1, 1697

Called the founder of experimental biology and father of modern parasitology, Italian physician, biologist, naturalist and poet Francesco Redi did the first major experiment to challenge spontaneous generation. His book Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl'insetti includes most of his famous experiments, while his poem book Bacco in Toscana is counted among the finest works of 17th-century Italian poetry.   

 24 Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana

Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 17, 1556
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Delhi, Mughal empire
Died: October 1, 1627

Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana was an Indian poet who served in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar. He was counted among the Navaratnas, Akbar's nine important ministers. Rahim is best remembered for his couplets and books on astrology.

 25 Francisco de Quevedo

Francisco de Quevedo
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 14, 1580
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 8, 1645

Spanish nobleman, politician and writer Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas, KOS of the Baroque era is counted among the most prominent writers of Spain's Golden Age. Quevedo adhered to the conceptismo style compared to his lifelong rival, Luis de Góngora’s culteranismo style. His notable works include the picaresque novel El Buscón and the satirical prose Los Sueños.

 26 William Congreve

William Congreve
Famous As: Playwright, Poet, Writer, Translator
Birthdate: January 24, 1670
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leeds
Died: January 19, 1729

 27 George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 30, 1628
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 16, 1687

 28 James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose

James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 25, 1612
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: May 21, 1650

Known as The Great Montrose, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose was not just a Scottish nobleman and military leader but also a talented poet. He won many battles for Charles I but was defeated in the Battle of Carbisdale, following which he was hanged to death in the Edinburgh marketplace.

 29 Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 14, 1613
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Strensham, England
Died: September 25, 1680

 30 François Fénelon

François Fénelon
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: August 6, 1651
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sainte-Mondane, France
Died: January 7, 1715

François Fénelon was a French writer, poet, theologian, and Catholic archbishop. He is best remembered for his book The Adventures of Telemachus, which was published in 1699. François Fénelon also served as a tutor of Louis, Duke of Burgundy, guiding the character formation of Louis, Grand Dauphin's eldest son.

 31 John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby

John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby
Famous As: Former Lord Privy Seal
Birthdate: September 8, 1647
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 24, 1721

 32 John Lyly

John Lyly
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1553 AD
Birthplace: Kent, England
Died: October 31, 1606

 33 Tommaso Campanella

Tommaso Campanella
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 5, 1568
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stilo, Italy
Died: May 21, 1639

Tommaso Campanella was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, astrologer, and poet. His heterodox views often brought him into conflict with the authorities, and he was imprisoned for several years. In prison, he wrote The City of the Sun, a utopia describing an egalitarian theocratic society. He also defended astronomer Galileo Galilei in his first trial. 

 34 Mary Sidney

Mary Sidney
Famous As: Countess
Birthdate: October 27, 1561
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tickenhill Palace, Bewdley, Worcs, England
Died: September 25, 1621

 35 Henry Vaughan

Henry Vaughan
Famous As: Physician, Economist, Poet, Writer
Birthdate: April 17, 1621
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brecknockshire
Died: April 23, 1695

Anglo-Welsh metaphysical poet Henry Vaughan was a major literary figure of the Commonwealth period and is best remembered for Silex Scintillans. While he initially studied law, the Civil War disrupted his studies and he was called back home to serve Sir Marmaduke Lloyd. He was also a practicing physician.

 36 Constanzo Beschi

Constanzo Beschi
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: November 8, 1680
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy
Died: February 4, 1747

 37 Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Famous As: Dramatist, poet, writer and knight of the Order of Santiago
Birthdate: January 17, 1600
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: May 25, 1681

One of the most significant Baroque playwrights of the Spanish Golden Age, Pedro Calderon de la Barca had penned iconic dramas such as Life Is a Dream and many religious plays and operas, too. Many of his works reflected the issues of a dysfunctional family, probably inspired by his own life.

 38 Samarth Ramdas

Samarth Ramdas
Famous As: Former Indian Marathi Hindu saint, philosopher, poet, writer and spiritual master
Birthdate: 1608 AD
Birthplace: Maharashtra, India
Died: 1681 AD

Samarth Ramdas was an Indian saint, poet, writer, philosopher, and spiritual master. He worked towards resurrecting the Hindu culture after it was impaired by several foreign invasions in India. He also worked towards promoting and preserving the Maratha culture. He also supported the participation of women in social and religious work, which was uncommon at that time.

 39 Michael Drayton

Michael Drayton
Famous As: Poet Who Came to Prominence in the Elizabethan Era
Birthdate: 1563 AD
Birthplace: Hartshill, England
Died: December 23, 1631

 40 Khushal Khan Khattak

Khushal Khan Khattak
Famous As: Former Poet known for ashto poetry, Pashtun nationalism
Birthdate: 1613 AD
Birthplace: Akora Khattak, Pakistan
Died: February 19, 1689

Khushal Khan Khattak, or Khushal Baba, is revered for his pioneering contributions to Pashto literature. Tagged as the national poet of Afghanistan, he penned iconic works such as Bāznāma and Fazlnāma. Though he spent his whole career serving the Mughals, he later led a revolt against them.

 41 Mary Astell

Mary Astell
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, Feminist
Birthdate: November 12, 1666
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne
Died: May 11, 1731

 42 Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: November 1, 1636
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 13, 1711

 43 Thomas Campion

Thomas Campion
Famous As: Famous for Writing Over a Hundred Lute Songs, Masques for Dancing
Birthdate: February 12, 1567
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 1, 1620

 44 Angelus Silesius

Angelus Silesius
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: December 1, 1624
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: June 9, 1677
Born in Silesia, 17th-century mystic and religious poet Johannes Scheffler, better known as Angelus Silesius, is best remembered as the author of The Cherubic Wanderer. He had initially been the court physician of the duke of Oels but later became a Roman Catholic priest. He urged German Protestants to adopt Catholicism.

 45 Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 9, 1617
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Woolwich, London, England
Died: 1657 AD

 46 Tirso de Molina

Tirso de Molina
Famous As: Known for writing The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest, the play from which the popular character of Don Juan originates
Birthdate: March 24, 1583
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: February 20, 1648

Spanish Baroque dramatist, poet and Roman Catholic monk Tirso de Molina is best known for writing the play The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest which first introduced the legendary fictional character of Don Juan. Other notable works of Molina includes the comedy sitcom Don Gil of the green tights and the trilogy of The Santa Juana.

 47 Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke

Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 3, 1554
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beauchamp Court, England
Died: September 30, 1628

 48 Thomas Traherne

Thomas Traherne
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 10, 1636
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hereford, England
Died: September 27, 1674

 49 Francesca Caccini

Francesca Caccini
Famous As: Composer & Singer
Birthdate: September 18, 1587
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: 1641 AD

Francesca Caccini was an Italian composer, poet, lutenist, singer, and music teacher. She is best remembered for La liberazione di Ruggiero, her only surviving stage work, which is regarded as the oldest opera composed by a woman. Although little of her music has survived the test of time, Francesca Caccini was known to be a prolific composer.

 50 Luis de Góngora

Luis de Góngora
Famous As: Spanish Baroque lyric poet and Catholic priest
Birthdate: July 11, 1561
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Córdoba, Spain
Died: May 24, 1627

Spanish Baroque poet Luis de Góngora created his own style known as Gongorismo. Born to a judge, he initially used his father’s library to gain knowledge. His works such as Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea and Soledades were criticized by many for their complex style and obscurity.