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Towards the end of his life he went with his wife to France1; 22 but after a while, finding his health declining, he returned alone to England, and died in April, 17652.

He was twice married, and by his first wife had several 23 children. One daughter, who married an Italian of rank named Cilesia 3, wrote a tragedy called Almida, which was acted at Drury-Lane. His second wife was the daughter of a nobleman's steward, who had a considerable fortune, which she took care to retain in her own hands 5.

His stature was diminutive, but he was regularly formed; his 24 appearance, till he grew corpulent, was agreeable, and he suffered it to want no recommendation that dress could give it. His

against Byng at the instigation of the ministry, and was equally ready to write for him, provided he found his account in it." Boswell's Johnson, ii. 128.

Smollett, in The Adventures of an Atom, says of Byng:-'Authors were enlisted to defame him in public writings.' Works, 1901, xii. 278. He does not mention Mallet by name.


Cunningham (iii. 370) publishes a MS. letter of his dated Paris, Dec. 16, 1764, which shows that 'his last dirty job' was in the Hamilton and Douglas case [Boswell's Johnson, ii. 50, 229, v. 353].'


2 April 21, David Mallet, Esq., well known in the republic of letters.' Gent. Mag. 1765, p. 199.

Chesterfield wrote on April 22, 1765 Mallet died two days ago of a diarrhoea, which he had carried with him to France, and brought back again hither.' Letters to his Son, iv. 224.


Gibbon, who met her at Genoa in 1764, recorded:-'La tyrannie de sa belle-mère l'avait jetée entre les bras de M. Celesia, alors Envoyé de Gênes en l'Angleterre, qui l'a épousée.' Misc. Works, i. 180.

4 Gibbon wrote on Jan. 15, 1771, that Almida' was received last Saturday with great and deserved applause.' Corres. i. 124.

According to Murphy (Life of Garrick, p. 310), it was to Mrs. Barry's inimitable acting that the piece owed its brilliant success during a run of twelve nights.'

In an attack on the play in Gent. Mag. 1771, p. 128, it is said that 'Mrs. Barry rises like perfection out of Chaos.'

5 Oct. 7, 1742. David Mallet, Esq., Under-Secretary to the Pr. of Wales, to Miss Lucy Elstob with 10,000l. Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 546.

Mrs. Piozzi, in a marginal note on The Tatler, No. 63 [ed. 1789, ii. 130], described her as a famous wit and an infidel.'


'She was not destitute of wit or learning,' writes Gibbon, Memoirs, p. 115. He called on her in Paris in 1777. 'She received me with a shriek of joy and a close embrace. ... I found her exactly the same talkative, positive, passionate, conceited creature as we knew her twenty years ago. She raved with her usual indiscretion and fury of Gods, Kings, and Ministers, the perfections of her favourites and the vice or folly of every person she disliked.' Corres. i. 315. For her disconcerting Hume see Boswell's Johnson, ii. 8 n.


'Every shilling of her fortune Mrs. Mallet settled upon herself; but then she took all imaginable care that Mr. Mallet should appear like a gentleman of distinction; she always purchased everything that he wore. His favourite dress was a suit of black velvet.' T. DAVIES, Life of Garrick, ii. 48.

'JOHNSON. Mallet was the prettiest drest puppet about town, and always kept good company.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 174.

conversation was elegant and easy'. The rest of his character may, without injury to his memory, sink into silence".


As a writer he cannot be placed in any high class. There is no species of composition in which he was eminent. His Dramas had their day, a short day, and are forgotten3: his blank verse seems to my ear the echo of Thomson. His Life of Bacon is known as it is appended to Bacon's volumes, but is no longer mentioned. His works are such as a writer, bustling in the world, shewing himself in publick, and emerging occasionally from time to time into notice, might keep alive by his personal influence; but which, conveying little information and giving no great pleasure, must soon give way, as the succession of things produces new topicks of conversation and other modes of amusement *.

According to Steevens Johnson said: 'I have seldom met with a man whose colloquial ability exceeded that of Mallet.' John. Misc. ii. 320.


2 Gibbon tells how, on his mother's death, his father frequented the Mallets' house. 'The poet's conversation (we may trust Dr. Johnson, an unforgiving enemy)was easy and elegant. Their society soothed and occupied his grief; and as they both thought with freedom on the subjects of religion and government, they successfully laboured to correct the prejudices of his education.' Gibbon's Autos. p. 379.

There was nothing, I believe, personal in Johnson's enmity. With Pope he might have said :'Ask you what provocation I have had?

The strong antipathy of good to
Epil. Sat. ii. 197.
When Gibbon avowed himself a
Roman Catholic his father carried

him to Mallet's house; 'by whose philosophy,' he writes, "I was rather scandalised than reclaimed.' Memoirs, p. 82.

Wedderburne wrote to Hume from Paris on Oct. 28, 1764:-'From the knowledge I have of Mallet I feel an unaccountable propensity to believe the contrary of what he tells me.' Letters of Eminent Persons to Hume, 1849, p. III.



Gibbon, in 1791, described him as the author of some forgotten poems and plays.' Autos. p. 300. Boswell writes under date of April 29, 1773: The character of Mallet having been introduced, and spoken of slightingly by Goldsmith; JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, Mallet had talents enough to keep his literary reputation alive as long as he himself lived; and that, let me tell you, is a good deal."' Boswell's Johnson, ii. 233. Literary is not in Johnson's Dictionary.




[ARK AKENSIDE was born on the ninth of November, 1 1721, at Newcastle upon Tyne. His father, Mark, was a butcher of the Presbyterian sect; his mother's name was Mary Lumsden. He received the first part of his education at the grammar-school of Newcastle 3, and was afterwards instructed by Mr. Wilson, who kept a private academy.

At the age of eighteen he was sent to Edinburgh that he 2 might qualify himself for the office of a dissenting minister, and received some assistance from the fund which the Dissenters employ in educating young men of scanty fortune. But a wider view of the world opened other scenes and prompted other hopes he determined to study physick, and repaid that contribution, which, being received for a different purpose, he justly thought it dishonourable to retain.

Whether, when he resolved not to be a dissenting minister, he 3 ceased to be a Dissenter, I know not. He certainly retained an unnecessary and outrageous zeal for what he called and thought liberty 5-a zeal which sometimes disguises from the world, and not

' Johnson in this Life follows closely the Life in Biog. Brit. 1778, i. 103.

2 6 A halt in Akenside's gait was occasioned, when a boy, by the falling of a cleaver from his father's stall.' Gent. Mag. 1777, p. 384.

3 Lord Stowell and the Earl of Eldon were at the same school about a quarter of a century later.

The Principal of Mansfield College informs me that 'at, or soon after, the Revolution a "Fund Board" was founded; from it grants were made to students to help them to proceed to a Continental or Scotch university, or even to find education at home.'

5 Johnson at first wrote 'a furious and outrageous zeal,' &c. Boswell's Johnson, iv. 56. For Lyttelton's

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rarely from the mind which it possesses, an envious desire of plundering wealth or degrading greatness; and of which the immediate tendency is innovation and anarchy, an impetuous eagerness to subvert and confound, with very little care what shall be established.

Akenside was one of those poets who have felt very early the motions of genius, and one of those students who have very early stored their memories with sentiments and images. Many of his performances were produced in his youth'; and his greatest work, The Pleasures of Imagination, appeared in 17442. I have heard Dodsley, by whom it was published, relate that when the copy was offered him the price demanded for it, which was an hundred and twenty pounds 3, being such as he was not inclined to give precipitately, he carried the work to Pope, who, having looked into it, advised him not to make a niggardly offer; for 'this was no every-day writer.'


In 1741 he went to Leyden in pursuit of medical knowledge *; and three years afterwards (May 16, 1744) became doctor of physick, having, according to the custom of the Dutch Universities, published a thesis, or dissertation. The subject which he chose was The Original and Growth of the Human Fœtus, in which he is said to have departed, with great judgement, from the opinion then established, and to have delivered that which has been since confirmed and received.


Akenside was a young man, warm with every notion that by nature or accident had been connected with the sound of liberty,

Poets, Preface, p. 5. For the change in politics of Dyson and Akenside see Dyce, p. 52.

In Biog. Brit. i. 105, instances are given of the suppression of some republican sentiments in a later edition of his early poems.

' Verses by him appeared in Gent. Mag. 1737, pp. 244, 309, 441; 1738, P. 427; 1739, P. 544. See Dyce, Preface, p. 2.

2 Gent. Mag. 1744, p. 56, price 4s. The title was borrowed from Addison. Ante, ADDISON, 80. It was published anonymously. According to Johnson Richard Rolt 'went over to Ireland, published an edition of it, and put his own name to it. Upon the fame of this he lived for several

months, being entertained at the best tables as "the ingenious Mr. Rolt." Boswell's Johnson, i. 359.

3 According to Nichols, guineas. Swift, Works, 1803, xviii. 320 n. Dodsley made a good bargain; 'the demand for several successive republications was so quick' as not to give the poet time in any of the intervals to complete the whole of his corrections.' Eng. Poets, lxiii. 201.

He went there in the spring of 1744. Dyce, p. 16. Goldsmith went ten years later as a student of medicine. Forster's Goldsmith, 1871, i. 54%

5 De Ortu et Incremento Foetus humani. Biog. Brit. i. 104.

and by an excentricity which such dispositions do not easily avoid, a lover of contradiction, and no friend to any thing established. He adopted Shaftesbury's foolish assertion of the efficacy of ridicule for the discovery of truth'. For this he was attacked by Warburton 2, and defended by Dyson 3: Warburton afterwards reprinted his remarks at the end of his dedication to the Freethinkers *.

The result of all the arguments which have been produced in 7 a long and eager discussion of this idle question may easily be collected. If ridicule be applied to any position as the test of truth, it will then become a question whether such ridicule be just; and this can only be decided by the application of truth as the test of ridicule 5. Two men fearing, one a real and the other a fancied danger, will be for a while equally exposed to the inevitable consequences of cowardice, contemptuous censure, and ludicrous representation; and the true state of both cases must be known before it can be decided whose terror is rational and whose is ridiculous, who is to be pitied and who to be despised. Both are for a while equally exposed to laughter, but both are not therefore equally contemptible".

In the revisal of his poem, though he died before he had 8 finished it, he omitted the lines which had given occasion to Warburton's objections 8.

Akenside, who in a note in Eng. Poets, lxiii. 287, calls Shaftesbury 'the noble restorer of ancient philosophy,' adopts his assertion in a note on p. 301. For this assertion see Shaftesbury's Characteristics, 1714, i. 61, 73; John. Misc. i. 452 n. See also Cunningham's Lives of the Poets, iii. 387, for an examination of this question by Akenside in a letter.

2 In Remarks on Several Occasional Reflections, 1744, Preface, p. 1.

3 Johnson refers to An Epistle to Mr. Warburton, occasioned by his Treatment of the Author of the Pleasures of the Imagination. Gent. Mag. 1744, p. 288.I am inclined to believe,' writes Dyce (p. 14),' that the greater part of it was composed by Akenside.'

4 It was published as a postscript to vols. i and ii of The Divine Legation, 1766. Dyce, p. 66. Akenside replied by publishing a satire on

Warburton's edition of Pope's Works, entitled An Ode to Thomas Edwards (Eng. Poets, lxiv. 92), with an account of Warburton's letter to Concanen (ante, POPE, 186). Biog. Brit, i. 104.

5 When Johnson chose,' writes Murphy, 'by apt illustration to place the argument of his adversary in a ludicrous light, one was almost inclined to think ridicule the test of truth.' John. Misc. i. 452.

'Cheats can seldom stand long against laughter.' Ante, BUTLER, 48.

This last sentence is not in the first edition.

? [In the three editions of the Lives published in Johnson's lifetime:which he died before he had finished.']

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8 Post, AKENSIDE, 20. The lines remained the same (with one or two corrections), though transferred from Bk. iii. 259-77 to Bk. ii. 523-41.

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