1853 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Delap

John Mitford, in Correspondence of Thomas Gray and William Mason, ed. John Mitford (1853) 75-76n.



Mr. or Dr. Delap was curate in his earlier life to Mason at Aston in 1756. The first entry of his name appears in a marriage 14 Nov. 1756, his last signature in May 1758. In 1759 he was succeeded by Mr. John Wood. His portrait I have seen in the dining-room at Aston rectory, and it is now in Mrs. Alderson's possession. There are some verses of his writing in Bell's Fugitive Poetry, vol. viii. p. 52. He was the author of a tragedy, Hecuba, acted with very indifferent success at Drury Lane Theater in 1762, and "The Captives," which was endured for three nights and then was gathered to its fathers. See Boaden's Life of Kemble, i. p. 325. Baker mentions him and his tragedy in the Biographia Dramatica, vol. 1. p. 121; vol. ii. p. 147; but he only knew that he was a clergyman. Some account of Dr. Delap's person and conversation may be found in Madame D'Arblay's Memoirs, vol. 1. p. 201-229, during a visit he paid to Mrs. Thrale, at Brighthelmstone. See also vol. ii. p. 431-2, &c. In a letter to Dr. Wharton, Gray writes, "Poor Mason is all alone at Aston, for his curate is gone to be tutor to somebody." His preferments and works may be seen in Nichols's Anecdotes, vol. ix. p. 9.