1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dennis

Isaac Reed, in Dodsley, Collection of Poems (1782) 4:326n.



John Dennis the celebrated critic, in the latter part of his life, by extravagance and inattention fell into poverty and distress. At the age of near 77 he became blind and overwhelmed with debts. In this deplorable situation his misery excited the compassion of Mr. Thomson and some other gentlemen, who procured for him a benefit at the theatre in the Hay-market Dec. 18, 1733. The play was the Provoked Husband: on this occasion Mr. Pope wrote a Prologue, which was spoken by Mr. Cibber, junior. The exhibition produced near 100 but the old man survived it a very short time, dying on the 6th of January 1733-4. A writer of Mr. Dennis's Life, printed in 8vo, 1734, asserts these verses ["Dennis to Mr. Thomson, who had procured him a Benefit-Night"] to have been the production of Mr. Savage.