Dancer, John (DNB00)

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DANCER, JOHN (fl. 1675), translator and dramatist, lived for some time in Dublin, where two of his dramatic translations were performed with some success at the Theatre Royal. To the Duke of Ormonde and to the duke's children, Thomas, earl of Ossory, and Lady Mary Cavendish, he dedicated his books, and in 1673 he wrote that he owed to the duke ‘all I have and all I am.’ It is probable that he was in Ormonde's service while he was lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Langbaine groundlessly credits him with the alternative name of Dauncy, and identifies him with one John Dauncy, who was a voluminous translator living at the same time. But John Dancer and John Dauncy [q. v.] were clearly two persons. Dancer's two translated plays—the one from Corneille and the other from Quinault—are in rhyming couplets. The original verse at the close of the translation of Tasso's ‘Amintas’ is ‘writ in imitation of Mr. Cowley's “Mistris”’ (Langbaine). Dancer's works are as follows: 1. ‘Aminta, the Famous Pastoral [by Tasso], translated into English verse, with divers Ingenious Poems,’ London, 1660. 2. ‘Nicomede, a tragicomedy translated out of the French of Monsieur Corneille, as it was acted at the Theatre Royal, Dublin,’ London, 1671. This was published by Francis Kirkman ‘in the author's absence,’ and dedicated by Kirkman to Thomas, earl of Ossory. To the play Kirkman added a valuable appendix—‘A true, perfect, and exact Catalogue of all the Comedies, Tragedies, Tragicomedies, Pastorals, Masques, and Interludes that were ever yet printed and published till this present year 1671.’ 3. ‘Judgment on Alexander and Cæsar, and also on Seneca, Plutarch, and Petronius,’ from the French of Renaud Rapin, London 1672. 4. ‘The Comparison of Plato and Aristotle, with the Opinions of the Fathers on their Doctrine, and some Christian Reflections,’ from the French, London 1673; dedicated to James, duke of Ormonde. 5. ‘Mercury Gallant, containing many true and pleasant relations of what hath passed at Paris from January 1st 1672 till the king's departure thence,’ from the French, London 1673; dedicated to George Bowerman. 6. ‘Agrippa, King of Alba, or the False Tiberinus. As it was several times acted with great applause before the Duke of Ormonde, L.L. of Ireland, at the Theatre Royal in Dublin; from the French of Monsieur Quinault,’ London 1675; dedicated to Ormonde's daughter Mary.

[Langbaine's Account, 97, with Oldys's notes in Brit. Mus. copy, C. 45 d. 14; Hunter's Chorus Vatum in Addit. MS. 24489, f. 173; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L. L.