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Mr. Collins's first production is added here from The Poetical Calendar:



'Cease, fair Aurelia, cease to mourn;
Lament not Hannah's happy state;
You may be happy in your turn,
And seize the treasure you regret.
'With Love united Hymen stands,
And softly whispers to your charms;
"Meet but your lover in my bands,
You'll find your sister in his arms."

Vol. xii. p. 108. It is not by Collins, but by Dr. Swan, as I have shown in Johnson's Letters, ii. 130.

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For his first production' see ante,


OHN DYER, of whom I have no other account to give than 1 his own letters, published with Hughes's Correspondence2, and the notes added by the editor, have afforded me, was born in 1700, the second son of Robert Dyer of Aberglasney, in Caermarthenshire, a solicitor of great capacity and note3.

He passed through Westminster-school under the care of 2 Dr. Freind, and was then called home to be instructed in his father's profession. But his father died soon, and he took no delight in the study of the law, but, having always amused himself with drawing, resolved to turn painter, and became pupil to Mr. Richardson 5, an artist then of high reputation, but now better known by his books than by his pictures.

Having studied awhile under his master he became, as he tells 3 his friend, an itinerant painter, and wandered about South Wales and the parts adjacent; but he mingled poetry with painting, and about 1727 printed Grongar Hill' in Lewis's Miscellany 8. Being, probably, unsatisfied with his own proficiency he, like 4

''A mezzotinto from Reynolds's portrait of Samuel Dyer [ante, WATTS, 25] has been copied for the Lives of the Poets, as if it were the portrait of John Dyer.' Prior's Malone, p. 423.


Correspondence of John Hughes, edited by John Duncombe, 3 vols. 2nd ed. 1773. See ante, HUGHES, 17.

3 Ib. iii. 61. He was born 'rather in 1698 or 1699. Cunningham's Lives of the Poets, iii. 289.

Freind was Head Master from 1711 to 1733. Sargeaunt's Westminster School, p. 268.

'Let Freind affect to speak as Terence

spoke.' The Dunciad, iv. 223. Swift wrote to Atterbury, Dean of Westminster, on Aug. 3, 1713:—'I envy Dr. Freind that he has you for his inspector; and I envy you for having such a person in your district, and whom you love so well. Shall not I have liberty to be sometimes a

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Ante, COWLEY, 3; POPE, 239. Hughes Corr. iii. 60. Savage wrote some lines To Mr. John Dyer, A Painter. Eng. Poets, xli. 244. 7 Ib. lviii. 109.


Johnson said of some fine lines to Pope, quoted in Boswell's Johnson, iv. 307-'They were written by one Lewis, who was either under-master or an usher of Westminster School, and published a Miscellany in which Grongar Hill first came out.' Malone adds in a note that Lewis's Miscellany was printed in 1726. 'Grongar Hill was first printed in Savage's Miscellanies [ante, SAVAGE, 60] as an Ode, and was reprinted in the same year in Lewis's Miscellany, in the form it now bears.' See Appendix S.


other painters, travelled to Italy, and coming back in 1740 published The Ruins of Rome'.

If his poem was written soon after his return he did not make much use of his acquisitions in painting, whatever they might be; for decline of health and love of study determined him to the church. He therefore entered into orders, and, it seems, married about the same time a lady of the name of Ensor, 'whose grandmother,' says he, 'was a Shakespeare, descended from a brother of everybody's Shakespeare'; by her, in 1756, he had a son and three daughters living.

6 His ecclesiastical provision was a long time but slender. His first patron, Mr. Harper, gave him, in 1741, Calthorp3 in Leicestershire of eighty pounds a year, on which he lived ten years, and then exchanged it for Belchford in Lincolnshire of seventy-five. His condition now began to mend. In 1751, Sir John Heathcote gave him Coningsby, of one hundred and forty pounds a year; and in 1755 the Chancellor added Kirkby, of one hundred and ten. He complains that the repair of the house at Coningsby, and other expences, took away the profit'.



In 1757 he published The Fleece, his greatest poetical work, of which I will not suppress a ludicrous story. Dodsley' the bookseller was one day mentioning it to a critical visiter, with more expectation of success than the other could easily admit. In the conversation the author's age was asked, and being

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represented as advanced in life, 'He will,' said the critick, 'be buried in woollen '.'

He did not indeed long survive that publication, nor long 8 enjoy the increase of his preferments, for in 1758 he died 2.

Dyer is not a poet of bulk or dignity sufficient to require an 9 elaborate criticism. Grongar Hill3 is the happiest of his productions; it is not indeed very accurately written, but the scenes which it displays are so pleasing, the images which they raise so welcome to the mind, and the reflections of the writer so consonant to the general sense or experience of mankind, that when it is once read it will be read again.

The idea of The Ruins of Rome strikes more but pleases less, 10 and the title raises greater expectation than the performance gratifies. Some passages, however, are conceived with the mind of a poet, as when in the neighbourhood of dilapidating edifices he says, 'At dead of night

The hermit oft, 'midst his orisons*, hears

Aghast the voice of Time disparting towers.'

Of The Fleece, which never became popular, and is now 11 universally neglected, I can say little that is likely to recall it to attention. The woolcomber and the poet appear to me such

''The statute of Charles II, which prescribes a dress for the dead, who are all ordered to be buried in woollen, is a law consistent with public liberty, for it encourages the staple trade, on which in great measure depends the universal good of the nation.' BLACKSTONE, Com. 1775, i. 126.

Burke said of Lord Chatham, who was swathed in flannel owing to the gout:-'Like a true obeyer of the laws, he will be buried in woollen.' Burke's Corres. ii. 201.

Odious! in woollen! 'twould a Saint provoke ! [cissa spoke).' (Were the last words that poor NarPOPE, Moral Essays, i. 246. 2 July 24, 1758. Cunningham's Lives of the Poets, iii. 291. His death is not in Gent. Mag.


3 Eng. Poets, lviii. 109.

In the original

'The pilgrim oft At dead of night, mid his oraison hears,' &c.

The Ruins of Rome, 1740, p. 3.

Johnson gives both orison and oraison in his Dictionary.

Gray, after reading in 1748 Dodsley's Misc.,in which were reprinted Grongar Hill and The Ruins of Rome (ed. 1758, i. 214, 220), wrote to Walpole:

Mr. Dyer (here you will despise me highly) has more of poetry in his imagination than almost any of our number; but rough and injudicious.' Letters, i. 183.

'A beautiful instance of the modifying and investive power of imagination may be seen in that noble passage of Dyer's Ruins of Rome where the poet hears the voice of Time.' WORDSWORTH, Memoirs, ii. 477.

5 Horace Walpole wrote on Feb. 3, 1760:-'I think Mr. Dyer's Fleece a very insipid poem. His Ruins of Rome had great picturesque spirit, and his Grongar Hill was beautiful. His Fleece I could never get through.' Letters, iii. 284.


discordant natures, that an attempt to bring them together is to 'couple the serpent with the fowl. When Dyer, whose mind was not unpoetical, has done his utmost by interesting his reader in our native commodity, by interspersing rural imagery and incidental digressions, by cloathing small images in great words, and by all the writer's arts of delusion, the meanness naturally adhering, and the irreverence habitually annexed to trade and manufacture, sink him under insuperable oppression; and the disgust which blank verse 3, encumbering and encumbered, superadds to an unpleasing subject, soon repels the reader, however willing to be pleased.

Let me, however, honestly report whatever may counterbalance this weight of censure. I have been told that Akenside, who,

''Sed non ut placidis coeant immitia,

non ut

Serpentes avibus geminentur, tigri-
bus agni.'

HORACE, Ars Poet. 1. 12.
It is not clear why' the woolcomber
and the poet' are of more discordant
natures than the cattle-breeder and
the poet, whom Virgil brought_to-
gether in the Georgics. Dyer has
described the
'Spacious airy downs and gentle hills,
With grass and thyme o'erspread,
and clover wild.'

Eng. Poets, lviii. 138. He has described too the countries where wool is grown, the valleys where it is spun into thread and woven, and the trade whereby it is distributed over the world.

'No common pleasure warms the generous mind,

When it beholds the labours of the

How widely round the globe they
are dispers'd,

From little tenements by wood or

Through many a slender path, how

As rills to rivers broad, they speed

their way
To public roads...


and thence explore Through every navigable wave the


That laps the green earth round.’

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The bait of avarice, which, with felon fraud,

For its own wanton mouth from thousands steal.' Ib. p. 143.

The poet keeps to the law in his 'felon fraud.' See Blackstone's Com. iv. 154. These laws,' writes Adam Smith, 'may be said to be all written in blood.' Wealth of Nations, 1811, iii. 9.

Shenstone, too, upholds the woollen industry:

'Ah! what avails the timorous lambs to guard,

Though nightly cares with daily labours join,

If foreign sloth obtain the rich reward,

If Gallia's craft the ponderous fleece purloin?'

Elegy xviii, Eng. Poets, lix. 53. Ante, MILTON, 275.

3 Ib. p. 208.

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