1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Dalton

Isaac Reed, in Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse (1782) 1:165-66.



JOHN DALTON. This gentleman was a native of the county of Cumberland, and born I believe near Whitehaven. He was a member of Queen's-College, Oxford, and took the degree of M.A. May 9, 1734. He afterwards became tutor or governor to the only son of Algernon Seymour, late duke of Somerset, a very hopeful and promising young gentleman, whose death in the bloom of youth and expectation, stands on record in a very affecting manne in two letters on that occasion, written by his afflicted mother the countess of Hertford, afterwards dutchess of Somerset, and which, since her death have been published in Mr. Duncombe's Collection of Letters. On the 4th July, 1750, he was honoured with the degrees of B. and D.D. At the time of his death, which happened 21 July 1763, he was prebendary of Worcester, and rector of St. Mary at Hill. Dr. Dalton's claim to a mention in this work is his having altered, and rendered more fit for dramatic exhibition, Milton's admirable Masque at Ludlow Castle, which he considerably extended not only by the insertion of some songs, and different passages selected from other of Milton's works, but also by the addition of several songs and improvements of his own, so admirably adapted to the manner of the original author of the Masque, as by no means to disgrace the more genuine parts, but on the contrary, must greatly exalt our ideas of Dr. Dalton's poetical abilities. It has moreover had the advantage of being most excellently set to music by Dr. Arne, and is sometimes acted under the title of

Comus. Masque. 8vo. 1738.