1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Dyer

Samuel Jackson Pratt, in Cabinet of Poetry (1808) 4:263-64.



JOHN DYER was born in 1700, at Aberglasney in Caermethenshire, where his father, a man of property and professional talents, as a lawyer, resided. He was the second son; and being sent to Westminster-school, continued there, till he was articled to his father, who dying soon after, and Dyer being averse to the study of law, and attached to painting, put himself under the direction of Richardson, a man of eminence, but better known by his writings than his pictures.

He afterwards became an itinerant painter in the principality, and mingling poetry with the sister art, produced Grongar Hill, the most popular of all his compositions.

Dyer afterwards travelled into Italy for improvement, where he conceived the idea of his Ruins of Rome, which was published in 1740. Ill health, and probably the want of success as a painter, determined him to take orders; and having married a Miss Enser of Warwickshire, he obtained the living of Coningsby in Leicestershire, where he settled. He afterwards procured one or two other small pieces of preferment; but never any thing of consequence.

His Fleece, the largest and most elaborate of his poems, and on which he seems to have prided himself the most, appeared in 1757. It was coldly received, and has never excited that attention which its real merits deserve.