1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Dyer

Thomas Campbell, in Specimens of the British Poets (1819; 1845) 435.



DYER was the son of a solicitor at Aberglasney, in Caermarthenshire. He was educated at Westminster school, and returned from thence to be instructed in his father's profession; and, having studied the arts of design under a master, was for some time, as he says, an itinerant painter in Wales. Dividing his affections, however, between the sister Muses he indited (1726) his Grongar Hill amidst those excursions. It was published about his twenty-seventh year. He afterward made the tour of Italy in the spirit both of an artist and poet, and, besides studying pictures and prospects, composed a poem on the Ruins of Rome. On his return to England he married a lady of the name of Ensor, a descendent of Shakespeare, retired into the country, and entered into orders. His last preferment was to the living of Kirkely on Bane. The witticism on his Fleece, related by Dr. Johnson, that its author, if he was an old man, would be buried in woolen, has, perhaps, been oftener repeated than any passage in the poem itself.