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it contains nothing very striking or difficult, he has been envied the reputation; and plagiarism has been boldly charged, but never proved.

Not long afterwards he published the Excurfion (1728); a defultory and capricious view of fuch fcenes of Nature as his fancy led him, or his knowledge enabled him, to defcribe. It is not devoid of poetical fpirit. Many of the images are ftriking, and many of the paragraphs are elegant. The cast of diction feems to be copied from Thomson, whose Seasons were then in their full blossom of reputation. He has Thomion's beauties and his faults.

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His poem on Verbal Criticism (1733) was written to pay court to Pope, on a fubject which he either did not understand or willingly mifreprefented; and is little more than an improvement, or rather ex- panfion, of a fragment which Pope printed in a Miscellany long before he engrafted it into a regular poem. There is in this piece more pertnefs than wit, and more confidence than knowledge. The verfification

is tolerable, nor can criticifm allow it a higher praise.

His first tragedy was Eurydice, acted at Drury-Lane in 1731; of which I know not the reception nor the merit, but have heard it mentioned as a mean performance. He was not then too high to accept a Prologue and Epilogue from Aaron Hill, neither of which can be much commended.

Having cleared his tongue from his native pronunciation fo as to be no longer distinguished as a Scot, he feems inclined to difencumber himself from all adherences of his original, and took upon him to change his name from Scotch Malloch to English Mallet, without any imaginable reason of preference which the eye or car can discover. What other proofs he gave of disrespect to his native country I know not; but it was remarked of him, that he was the only Scot whom Scotchmen did not commend.

About this time Pope, whom he vifited familiarly, published his Essay on Man, but

concealed

concealed the author; and when Mallet entered one day, Pope asked him flightly what there was new. Mallet told him, that the newest piece was fomething called an Effay on Man, which he had infpected idly; and feeing the utter inability of the author, who had neither skill in writing nor knowledge of his subject, had toffed it away. Pope, to punish his felf-conceit, told him the fecret.

A new edition of the works of Bacon being prepared (1740) for the prefs, Mallet was employed to prefix a Life, which he has written with elegance, perhaps with some affectation; but with fo much more knowledge of history than of science, that when he afterwards undertook the Life of Marlborough, Warburton remarked, that he might perhaps forget that Marlborough was a general, as he had forgotten that Bacon was a philofopher.

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When the Prince of Wales was driven from the palace, and, fetting himself at the head of the oppofition, kept a separate Court, he endeavoured to encrease his popularity by the

the patronage of literature, and made Mallet his under-fecretary, with a falary of two hundred pounds a year: Thomfon likewise had a penfion; and they were affociated in the compofition of the Mafque of Alfred, which in its original state was played at Cliefden in 1740; it was afterwards almost wholly changed by Mallet, and brought upon the stage at Drury-Lane in 1751, but with no great fuccefs.

Mallet, in a familiar converfation with Garrick, difcourfing of the diligence which he was then exerting upon the Life of Marlborough, let him know that in the feries of great men, quickly to be exhibited, he should find a nich for the hero of the theatre. Garrick profeffed to wonder by what artifice he could be introduced; but Mallet let him know, that, by a dexterous anticipation, he should fix him in a confpicuous place. "Mr. Mallet," fays Garrick, in his gratitude of exultation, "have you left off "to write for the ftage?" Mallet then confeffed that he had a drama in his hands. Garrick promifed to act it; and Alfred was produced.

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The long retardation of the Life of the duke of Marlborough fhews, with strong conviction, how little confidence can be placed in pofthumous renown. When he died, it was foon determined that his story should be delivered to pofterity; and the papers fuppofed to contain the neceffary information were delivered to the lord Molefworth, who had been his favourite in Flanders. When Molefworth died, the fame papers were transferred with the fame defign to Sir Richard Steele, who in fome of his exigences put them in pawn. They then remained with the old dutchefs, who in her will affigned the task to Glover and Mallet, with a reward of a thousand pounds, and a prohibition to infert any verfes. Glover rejected, I suppose, with disdain the legacy, and devolved the whole work upon. Mallet; who had from the late duke of Marlborough a penfion to promote his industry, and who talked of the difcoveries which he made; but left not, when he died, any hiftorical labours behind him.

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