1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. James De La Cour

James Gee, in European Magazine 32 (December 1797) 65-66.



Sir, the Account of Mr. De la Cour in your Magazine for July [November], page 301, is very correct, for I once knew him personally, and testify the truth of what has been said of him in respect of his private life. It has been said, that "great wits are allied to madness," and it has often proved so. — I remember often seeing him in a morning, walking with the officers of the main guard (near the Exchange at Cork), to and fro in the front of the line, in his canonical habit, i.e. gown and band, which he generally wore, although I never knew that he had any benefice, or that he ever preached in any of the Churches at Cork. He wore his hat cocked after the then clerical mode, and a dark brown flowing curled wig, which I do not remember ever to have seen powdered. He was, as you say, generally called the mad Parson; but by the vulgar, Mr. Dallycote. He was of French extraction; and, if I remember right, had used to write his name De la Court. His evenings were generally spent at the Blakeney Tavern, among young thoughtless military officers, opulent merchants' sons, and other Cork bucks. About 1757 he was desired to compose some lines as an inscription for a new sign of General Blakeney, on which was the day of the month and year that the General was born in; they are as follow:

Courage was born this day, with Blakeney bred,
The Bay shall never wither on his head.
DE LA COURT.

But such lines as these can confer no credit on their author: the less therefore said about them the better.

There was another quondam Parson at Cork the same time is the above, the Rev. Marmaduke Dallas. Whether he too was a poet, I do not now remember; but I believe he was silenced or suspended by Bishop Browne, for celebrating a marriage illegally. I remember as I was once going to Carrigrohane Church (two miles from Cork) one Sunday morning, I overtook the old Gentleman, who was on foot as well as myself, and had some discourse with him; during which, some shewy Gentlemen padded us on horseback. Mr. Dallas made some observations on high and low life, and said, that "provided all was right within, people on foot were as well off as those that rode." The city of Cork in those days had many eccentric characters, both in genteel life as well as among the vulgar, and I make no doubt the case is the same now.

And if I am not mistaken, A. Murphy, Esq. James Barry, Esq. and General Carleton, were natives of that ancient and flourishing city, the fourth, for population and extent in the British dominions.