1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Durant Breval

David Erskine Baker, in Companion to the Play-House (1764) 2:Sig C4-C4v.



Capt. John Durant Breval. — This Gentleman was the Son of Dr. Francis Durant Breval, one of the Prebends of Westminster and Rochester. — He received a liberal Education, the early Parts of which he was initiated into at Westminster School. — From thence he went to the University of Cambridge, where he was elected into Trinity College, and obtained a Fellowship, which he kept for some Time; but whether he found a College Life too confined and heavy for his Disposition, which probably had a more versatile Turn, or on what other Account I know not, but he at length quitted the University, and on so doing, attach'd himself to the Charms of a scarlet Coat and Cockade, and obtaining a Lieutenant's Commission, went into the Army. — Whether he met with any Advancement there, or at what Time he died, I have not been able to trace. — However, it is certain, that after the Period of his accepting the Commission, he made the Tour of France and Italy, in the Capacity of a sort of travelling Companion to some young Nobleman, on the Return from which he published his Observations during his Journey, compiled into a Volume in Folio. — He had moreover a poetical Turn, and wrote three of four Poems, which were not esteemed bad once. — He also brought one dramatic Piece on the Stage, but which met with no great Success, entitled The Play's the Plot. C. From it however have been extracted the Substance of two Farces, which succeeded tolerably well, viz. The Mock Princess, and The Strollers. Soon after the Appearance of that doughty Performance of a Club of Wits, called Three Hours after Marriage, which, tho' published with only Mr. Gay's Name to it, was undoubtedly the joint Offspring of that Gentleman, Mr. Pope and Dr. Arbuthnot, and which met with that Condemnation from the Public which it justly merited, Capt. Breval under the assumed Name of Joseph Gay published a Satire on that Piece, entitled The Confederates. A Farce. On which Account Mr. Pope, who never could forgive the least Attempt made against his reigning the unrival'd Sovereign on the Throne of Wit, has introduced this Gentleman into the poetical Pillory the Dunciad, among the various Authors whom he has supposed Devotees of the Goddess of Dullness.