1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Dalton

Thomas Sanderson, in "Ode to the Genius of Cumberland" 1794; Original Poems (1800) 84, 226-27n.



DALTON was thine! who, in the Muse's lays,
Sung KESWICK'S hanging woods and mountains wild,
Its lake's pellucid stream,
Its sweet romantic vales, where FANCY'S child
Dwells with enraptur'd gaze,
As the bright TEMPE of the Poet's dream!

JOHN DALTON was born in 1709, at Dean, in Cumberland; was educated at Queen's College, Oxford, where he took the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and became Tutor to the Lord BEAUCHAMP. He died in 1763, at Worcester, where he was Prebendary. Dr. DALTON was a man of learning and genius. He did not write much; but what pieces he wrote are excellent in their kind. He is the author of a beautiful, descriptive poem, addressed to two Ladies on their visiting the coal-mines at Whitehaven; and wrote some other verses descriptive of the vale of Keswick and its neighbourhood. He adapted, in 1750, MILTON'S Masque of Comus to the stage, when it was represented at Drury-lane Theatre, for the benefit of ELIZABETH FOSTER, MILTON'S Grand-daughter, who was then struggling with old age and poverty. The sum raised upon the occasion did not amount to more than 130 of which Dr. NEWTON, and TONSON the bookseller, contributed a considerable part. The prologue, which was well calculated to excite veneration for MILTON, and compassion for his Grand-daughter, was spoken by GARRICK, and written by Dr. JOHNSON; who also, about the same time, and to promote the same benevolent purpose, wrote an admirable Address in LAUDER'S Essay on MILTON, from which some writers have inferred, particularly the author of the "Memoirs of THOMAS HOLLIS, Esq." that he assisted LAUDER in his infamous attempt to pluck the laurels from the brow of MILTON. There is nothing, however, in LAUDER'S book, either in its style or execution, on which a charge of this nature can possibly be grounded: in every page it discovers folly and weakness, much malignity, and little penetration; and its forgeries are so glaring, that it requires but common reading and common observation to detect them.