Restoration The The term Restoration

refers to the restoration of royal rule to England and the period that followed, roughly 1660 through 1700. After tremendous political and religious upheaval with a focus on the supposed divine right of kings to rule, Charles I was executed in 1649. His beheading drove his son and successor, along with loyal Royalists, to live in exile. The Protectorate headed by the Puritan oliver Cromwell assumed power, and the Commonwealth was born. When Cromwell's son, Richard, assumed control of Parliament and the country at his father's death, the Commonwealth suffered an upheaval, civil war broke out, and the period labeled the Interregnum ended in 1660. Political forces removed the Cromwell faction, and Charles II returned to England from France to assume power. The cheerful king's return proved crucial to both drama and poetry, as the sober and repressive Cromwell group had outlawed and restricted into nonexistence most creative expression. While occasional and religious poetry supportive of Cromwellian control was encouraged, any anti-Cromwellian expression could result in punishment including imprisonment and death. For the most part an amiable monarch, Charles II enjoyed entertainment and supported it not only with his presence, but also with funds. A fan of bawdy drama, often enhanced with sexually explicit poetry, the king championed the return of all levels of creative expression.

Theaters reopened and dramatic portrayals encouraged sexual and social freedom. Imbued with a new energy, poetry flourished, first in the extremes seen in libertine poetry, such as that by John Wilmot, second earl of Rochester. Disasters within a decade of Charles Il's taking power, the plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666, also affected artistic expression, which often reflected the social and political atmosphere of its day. London enjoyed a rebirth after the destruction of disease and flame, resulting in increased financial prosperity for those involved in trade and colonialism. However, it also produced an increasing separation of the wealthy from the poor, firmly supporting class division in England and subsequent government corruption. England's tumultuous relationship with Ireland and Scotland also affected poets, both Royalist sympathizers and nonsym-pathizers, of all three countries. British poets reflecting Restoration events and social and religious mores included Andrew Marvell; Abraham Cowley; Richard Crashaw; John Cleveland; John Milton; Katherine Philips; Margaret Cavendish, duchess of Newcastle; John Dryden; Thomas Otway; Aphra Behn; Anne Killi-grew; Sarah Egerton; Sir Charles Sedley; Alexander PoPE, and JoNATHAN SWIFT.

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