1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

David Mallet

James Grant Wilson, in Poetry of Scotland (1876) 1:164.



When Gibbon the historian was dismissed from Oxford for embracing Popery he took refuge in Mallet's house, and was rather scandalized, he says, than reclaimed by the philosophy of his host.... When Pope published his Essay on Man, but concealed the authorship, Mallet entering one day, Pope asked him what there was new. Mallet told him that the newest piece was something called an Essay on Man, which he had inspected, and seeing the utter inability of the author, who had neither skill in writing nor knowledge of the subject, had tossed it away; whereupon the little poet, who has been said to have resembled an interrogation point, to punish Mallet's self-conceit, told him he wrote it.