1755 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

David Mallet

Sarah Scott, in undated letter, 1755 ca.; Gentleman's Magazine 75 (March 1805) 219.



Mr. Mallet, whom you enquire after, is a Scotchman, a little genius, and a small Poet, but great in conceit. He wrote Mustapha, Alfred, The Hermit, some more dramatic and poetical works, and Lord Bacon's Life. He was one of the men to whom the Duchess of Marlborough bequeathed 500 on condition of writing the Duke's Life, and the legacy and trouble are now doubled; Glover and the other person having given the attempt up to him. He, likewise, was in the list of geniuses to whom the late Prince of Wales gave 100 per annum. He lived near lord Bolingbroke; has but a small fortune; and is so obnoxious to most people, especially to those about the Court, that I suppose he thought him more likely than any other to publish his works without amputation, as he would scarcely have any interest to bias him; this, and the desire of giving him the profit I imagine, influenced lord B. when he left his writings to him, for he had no esteem for his capacity. This Mallet married the youngest Miss Elstob, daughter to the late lord Carlisle's steward, perhaps you may have seen her at Ripon, — an odious conceited pedant....