A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Mallet, originally Malloch, David
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Mallet, originally Malloch, David
Mallet, originally Malloch, David (1705-1765). -- Poet and miscellaneous writer, ed. at Crieff parish school and the Univ. of Edin., where he became acquainted with James Thomson, and in 1723 went to London as tutor in the family of the Duke of Montrose. In the following year appeared his ballad of William and Margaret, by which he is chiefly remembered, and which made him known to Pope, Young, and others. In 1726 he changed his name to Mallet to make it more pronounceable by Southern tongues. His Excursion, an imitation of Thomson, was pub. in 1728. At the request of the Prince of Wales, whose sec. he had become, he wrote with Thomson a masque, Alfred (1740), in which Rule Britannia first appeared, which, although he claimed the authorship, is now generally attributed to Thomson. He also wrote a Life of Bacon; and on Bolingbroke bequeathing to him his manuscripts and library, he pub. an ed. of his works (1754). On the accession of George III., M. became a zealous supporter of Lord Bute, and was rewarded with a sinecure. In addition to the works above named M. wrote some indifferent dramas, including Eurydice, Mustapha, and Elvira. Dr. Johnson said of him that he was "the only Scotsman whom Scotsmen did not commend."