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by Thomson, not mean, but far inferior to that which he had received from Mallet for Agamemnon. The Epilogue, faid to be written by a friend, was composed in haste by Mallet, in the place of one promised, which was never given. This tragedy was dedicated to the Prince his master. It was acted at Drury Lane in 1739, and was well received, but was never revived.
In 1740, he produced, as has been al. ready mentioned, the masque of Alfred, in conjunction with Thomson.
For some time afterwards he lay at rest. After a long interval, his next work was Amyntor and Theodora (1747), a long story in blank verse; in which it cannot be denied that there is copiousness and elegance of language, vigour of senti
ment, and imagery well adapted to take poffeffion of the fancy. But it is blank verse. The first sale was not great, and it is now lost in forgetfulness.
Mallet, by addrefs or accident, perhaps by his dependance on the Prince, found his way to Bolingbroke; a man whose pride and petulance made his kindness difficult to gain, or keep, and whom Mallet was content to court by an act, which, I hope, was unwillingly performed. When it was found that Pope had clandestinely printed an unauthorised number of the pamphlet called the Patriot King, Boling broke, in a fit of useless fury, resolved to blast his memory, and employed Mallet (1747) as the executioner of his vengeance. Mallet had not virtue, or had not spirit, to re
fuse the office; and was rewarded, not long after, with the legacy of lord Bolingbroke's works.
Many of the political pieces had been written during the opposition to Walpole, and given to Franklin, as he fupposed, in perpetuity. These, among the rest, were claimed by the will. The question was referred to arbitrators; but when they decided against Mallet, he refused to yield to the award; and by the help of Millar the bookseller publifhed all that he could find, but with succefs very much below his expectation.
In 1753, his masque of Britannia was acted at Drury-Lane, and his tragedy of Elvira in 1763; in which year he was
appointed keeper of the book of Entries for ships in the port of London.
In the beginning of the last war, when the nation was exasperated by ill success, he was employed to turn the publick vengeance upon Byng; and wrote a letter of accusation under the character of a Plain Man. The paper was with great industry circulated and dispersed; and he for his seasonable intervention had a considerable pension bestowed upon him, which he retained to his death,
Towards the end of his life he went with his wife to France; but after a while, finding his health declining, he returned alone to England, and died in April 1765.
He was twice married, and by his first wife had several children. One daughter,
who married an Italian of rank named Cilesia, wrote a tragedy called Almida, which was acted at Drury-Lane. His second wife was the daughter of a nobleman's steward, who had a considerable fortune, which she took care to retain in her own hands.
His stature was diminutive, but he was regularly formed; his appearance, till he grew corpulent, was agreeable, and he suffered it to want no recommendation that dress could give it. His conversation was elegant and easy. The rest of his character may, without injury to his memory, sink into silence.
As a writer, he cannot be placed in any high class. There is no species of composition in which he was eminent.