1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Dalton

David Erskine Baker, in Companion to the Play-House (1764) 2:Sigs. H5v-H6.



This ingenious Gentleman is, I believe, still living. — He was formerly 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 Manner, in two Letters on that Occasion, written by his afflicted Mother the Countess of Hertford, afterwards Duchess of Somerset, and which have since her Death been published in some of the periodical Papers. — But to return to Dr. Dalton; his Claim to a Mention in this Work is his having alter'd and rendered more fit for dramatic Execution, Milton's admirable Masque at Ludlow Castle, which this Gentleman has considerably extended and rendered dramatical, not only by the Insertion of several 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 stands now on the regular List of our dramatic Entertainments, under the Title of COMUS. Masque. I cannot omit mentioning, to this Gentleman's great Honour, that, during the Run of this Piece, he industriously sought out a Daughter of Milton, whom he heard was not only in very low Circumstances, but of so advanced an Age as to be incapable of providing for herself, and procured her a Benefit from this Play, the Profits of which to her it is said amounted to upwards of one hundred and twenty Pounds.