1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mallet, David

MALLET (or Malloch), DAVID (?1705-1765), Scottish poet and dramatist, the son of a Perthshire farmer, was born in that county, probably in 1705. In 1717 he went to the high school at Edinburgh, and some three years later to the university, where he made the friendship of James Thomson, author of The Seasons. As early as 1720 he began to publish short poems in the manner of the period, a number of which appeared during the next few years in collections such as the Edinburgh Miscellany and Allan Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany, in which his ballad “William and Margaret” was published in 1724. For some years from 1723 he was private tutor to the duke of Montrose's sons, with whom he travelled on the Continent in 1727. His real name was Malloch; but this he changed to Mallet in 1724. In 1735 he took the M.A. degree at Oxford. He had already made the friendship of Pope, whose vanity he flattered in a poem on Verbal Criticism, in 1733; and through Pope he became acquainted with Bolingbroke and other Tory politicians, especially those attached to the party of the prince of Wales, who in 1742 appointed Mallet to be his paid secretary. After Pope's death, in 1744, Mallet, at the instigation of Bolingbroke and forgetful of past favours and friendship, vilified the poet's memory, thereby incurring the resentment of Pope's friends. For his services as a party pamphleteer, in which character he published an attack on Admiral Byng, Mallet received from Lord Bute a lucrative sinecure in 1760. He died on the 21st of April 1765. Mallet was a small man, in his younger days something of a dandy and inordinately vain. He was twice married; by his first wife he had a daughter, Dorothy, who married Pietro Paolo Celesia, a Genoese gentleman, and was the author of several poems and plays, notably Almida, produced by Garrick at Drury Lane in 1771.

Mallet's own works included several plays, some of which were produced by Garrick, who was Mallet's personal friend. Eurydice, a tragedy, with prologue and epilogue by Aaron Hill, was produced at Drury Lane in 1731; Mustapha, also a tragedy, had considerable success at the same theatre in 1739; in 1740, in collaboration with Thomson, he produced the masque Alfred, of which he published a new version in 1751, after Thomson's death, claiming it to be almost entirely his own work. This masque is notable as containing the well-known patriotic song, “Rule Britannia,” the authorship of which has been attributed to Mallet, although he allowed it to appear without protest in his lifetime with Thomson's name attached. His other writings include Poems on Several Occasions (1743); Amyntor and Theodora, or the Hermit (1747); another volume of Poems (1762).

In 1759 a collected edition of Mallet's Works was published in three volumes; and in 1857 his Ballads and Songs were edited by F. Dinsdale with notes, and a biographical memoir of the author.