Dalling and Bulwer, William Henry Lytton Earle Bulwer, 1st Lord (1801–1872). — Elder brother of Lord Lytton (q.v.), and a distinguished diplomatist. He represented England at Madrid, Washington (where he concluded the Bulwer–Clayton Treaty), Florence, Bucharest, and Constantinople, and was raised to the peerage in 1871. He was the author of a number of books of travel and biography, including An Autumn in Greece (1826), a Life of Byron (1835), Historical Characters (1868–70), and an unfinished life of Lord Palmerston.
Dampier, William (1652–1715). — Discoverer and buccaneer, born near Yeovil. After various seafaring adventures, and leading a semi-piratical life, he was in 1688 marooned on Nicobar Island, but escaped to Acheen, returned to England in 1691. He published his Voyage Round the World (1697), and A Discourse of Winds (1699). He was then employed by government on a voyage of survey and discovery (1699–1700), in the course of which he explored the north-west coast of Australia and the coasts of New Guinea and New Britain. In 1701 he was wrecked upon Ascension Island, from which he was rescued by an East Indiaman. He was afterwards court-martialled for cruelty, and wrote an angry but unconvincing vindication. His Voyage is written in a style plain and homely, but is perspicuous and interesting.
Dana, Richard Henry (1787–1879). — Novelist and critic, born at Cambridge, Mass., was called to the Bar in 1817. Among his novels are Tom Thornton and Paul Felton, both somewhat violent and improbable tales, and his poems, which are better, include The Buccaneer (1827), and The Dying Raven. He is, however, stronger as a critic than as a writer. He wrote largely in The North American Review, and for a time conducted a paper, The Idle Man, which contains some of his best work.
Dana, Richard Henry, Jr. (1815–1882). — Miscellaneous writer, son of the above, ed. at Harvard, but on his eyesight giving way shipped as a common sailor, and gave his experiences in Two Years before the Mast (1840). Called to the Bar in 1840, he became an authority on maritime law. Other books by him are The Seaman’s Friend (1841), and Vacation Voyage to Cuba (1859).
Daniel, Samuel (1562–1619). — Poet, son of a music master, was born near Taunton, and ed. at Oxford, but did not graduate. He attached himself to the Court as a kind of voluntary laureate, and in the reign of James I. was appointed “Inspector of the children of the Queen’s revels,” and a groom of the Queen’s chamber. He is said to have enjoyed the friendship of Shakespeare and Marlowe, but was “at jealousies” with Ben Jonson. In his later years he retired to a farm which he owned in Somerset, where he died D. bears the title of the “well-languaged,” his style is clear and flowing, with a remarkably modern note, but is lacking in energy and fire, and is thus apt to become tedious. His works include sonnets, epistles, masques, and dramas. The most important of them is The History of the Civil Wars between York and Lancaster in 8 books, published in 1604. His Epistles are generally considered his best work, and his sonnets have had some modern admirers. Among his poems may be mentioned the Complaynt of Rosamund, Tethys Festival (1610), and Hymen’s Triumph (1615), a masque, and Musophilus, a defence of learning, Defence of Rhyme (1602).
Darley, George (1795–1846). — Poet, novelist, and critic, born at Dublin, and ed. at Trinity College there, he early decided to follow a literary career, and went to London, where he brought out his first poem, Errors of Ecstasie (1822). He also wrote for the London Magazine, under the pseudonym of John Lacy. In it appeared his best story, Lilian of the Vale. Various other books followed, including Sylvia, or The May Queen, a poem (1827). Thereafter he joined the Athenæum, in which he showed himself a severe critic. He was also a dramatist and a profound student of old English plays, editing those of Beaumont and Fletcher in 1840. So deeply was he imbued with the spirit of the 17th century that his poem, “It is not beauty I desire,” was included by F.T. Palgrave in the first ed. of his Golden Treasury as an anonymous lyric of that age. He was also a mathematician of considerable talent, and published some treatises on the subject. D. fell into nervous depression and died in 1846.
Darwin, Charles Robert (1809–1882). — Naturalist, son of a physician, and grandson of Dr. Erasmus D. (q.v.), and of Josiah Wedgwood, the famous potter, was born and was at school at Shrewsbury. In 1825 he went to Edinburgh to study medicine, but was more taken up with marine zoology than with the regular curriculum. After two years he proceeded to Cambridge, where he grad. in 1831, continuing, however, his independent studies in natural history. In the same year came the opportunity of his life, his appointment to accompany the Beagle as naturalist on a survey of South America. To this voyage, which extended over nearly five years, he attributed the first real training of his mind, and after his return published an account of it, Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle (1840). After spending a few years in London arranging his collections and writing his Journal, he removed to Down, a retired village near the Weald of Kent, where, in a house surrounded by a large garden, his whole remaining life was passed in the patient building up, from accurate observations, of his theory of Evolution, which created a new epoch in science and in thought generally. His industry was marvellous, especially when it is remembered that he suffered from chronic bad health. After devoting some time to geology, specially to coral reefs, and exhausting the subject of barnacles, he took up the development of his favourite question, the transformation of species. In these earlier years of residence at Down he published The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs (1842), and two works on the geology of volcanic islands, and of South America. After he had given much time and profound thought to the question of evolution by natural selection, and had written out his notes on the subject, he received in 1858 from Mr. A.R. Wallace (q.v.) a manuscript showing that he also had reached independently a theory of the origin of species similar to his own. This circumstance created a situation of considerable delicacy and difficulty, which was ultimately got over by the two discoverers presenting a joint paper, On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties, and On the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. The publication in 1859 of The Origin of Species gave D. an acknowledged place among the greatest men of science, and the controversies which, along with other of his works, it raised, helped to carry his name all over the civilised world. Among his numerous subsequent writings may be mentioned The Fertilisation of Orchids (1862), Variation of Plants and Animals under Domestication (1868), The Descent of Man, and Selection in relation to Sex (1871), The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), Insectivorous Plants (1875), Climbing Plants (1875), Different Forms of Flowers (1877), The Power of Movement in Plants (1880), and The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms (1881). D., with a modesty which was one of his chief characteristics, disclaimed for himself the possession of any remarkable talents except “an unusual power of noticing things which easily escape attention, and of observing them carefully.” In addition, however, to this peculiar insight, he had a singular reverence for truth and fact, enormous industry, and great self-abnegation: and his kindliness, modesty, and magnanimity attracted the affection of all who knew him.
Life and Letters, by his son, F. Darwin, 3 vols., 1887; C. Darwin and the Theory of Natural Selection. E.B. Poulton, 1896; various short Lives by Grant Allen and others.
Darwin, Erasmus (1731–1802). — Poet, physician, and scientist, was born at Elston, Notts, and ed. at Cambridge and at Edinburgh, where he took his degree of M.D. He ultimately settled in Lichfield as a physician, and attained a high professional reputation, so much so that he was offered, but declined, the appointment of physician to George III. In 1778 he formed a botanical garden, and in 1789 published his first poem, The Loves of the Plants, followed in 1792 by The Economy of Vegetation, which combined form The Botanic Garden. Another poem, The Temple of Nature, was published posthumously. He also wrote various scientific works in prose. The poems of D., though popular in their day, are now little read. Written in polished and sonorous verse, they glitter with startling similes and ingenious, though often forced, analogies, but have little true poetry or human interest.
Dasent, Sir George Webbe (1817–1896). — Scandinavian scholar, born in the island of St. Vincent, of which his father was Attorney-general, ed. at Westminster School, King’s College, London, and Oxford, he entered the diplomatic service, and was for several years Sec. to the British Embassy at Stockholm, where he became interested in Scandinavian literature and mythology. Returning to England he was appointed Assistant Ed. of The Times (1845–1870). In 1852 he was called to the Bar, and in the following year was appointed Prof. of English Literature and Modern History at King’s College, London, an office which he held for 13 years. He was knighted in 1876. His principal writings have to do with Scandinavian language, mythology, and folk-lore, and include an Icelandic Grammar, The Prose or Younger Edda (1842), Popular Tales from the Norse (1859), The Saga of Burnt Njal (1861), and The Story of Gisli the Outlaw (1866), mostly translated from the Norwegian of Asbjörnsen. He also translated the Orkney and Hacon Sagas for the Rolls Series, and wrote four novels, Annals of an Eventful Life, Three to One, Half a Life, and The Vikings of the Baltic. His style is pointed and clear.
Davenant, or D’avenant, Sir William (1606–1668). — Poet and dramatist, was born at Oxford, where his father kept an inn, which Shakespeare was in the habit of visiting. This had some influence on the future poet, who claimed to be Shakespeare’s natural son. D., ed. at Lincoln College, was afterwards in the service of Lord Brooke, became involved in the troubles of the Civil War, in which he took the Royalist side, and was imprisoned in the Tower, escaped to France, and after returning was, in 1643, knighted. Later D. was employed on various missions by the King and Queen, was again in the Tower from 1650 to 1652, when he published his poem Gondibert. He is said to have owed his release to the interposition of Milton. In 1656 he practically founded the English Opera by his Siege of Rhodes (1656). In 1659 he was again imprisoned, but after the Restoration he seems to have enjoyed prosperity and Royal favour, and established a theatre, where he was the first habitually to introduce female players and movable scenery. D. wrote 25 dramatic pieces, among which are Albovine, King of the Lombards (1629), Platonick Lovers (1636), The Wits (1633), Unfortunate Lovers (1643), Love and Honour (1649). None of them are now read; and the same may be said of Gondibert, considered a masterpiece by contemporaries. D. succeeded Ben Jonson as Poet Laureate, and collaborated with Dryden in altering (and debasing) The Tempest. He collected his miscellaneous verse under the title of Madagascar. He is said to have had the satisfaction of repaying in kind the good offices of Milton when the latter was in danger in 1660. He joined with Waller and others in founding the classical school of English poetry.
Davidson, John (1837–1909). — Poet and playwright, born at Barrhead, Renfrewshire, son of a Dissenting minister, entered the chemical department of a sugar refinery in Greenock in his 13th year, returning after one year to school as a pupil teacher. He was afterwards engaged in teaching at various places, and having taken to literature went in 1890 to London. He achieved a reputation as a writer of poems and plays of marked individuality and vivid realism. His poems include In a Music Hall (1891), Fleet Street Eclogues (1893), Baptist Lake (1894), New Ballads (1896), The Last Ballad (1898), The Triumph of Mammon (1907), and among his plays are Bruce (1886), Smith: a Tragic Farce (1888), Godfrida (1898). D. disappeared on March 27, 1909, under circumstances which left little doubt that under the influence of mental depression he had committed suicide. Among his papers was found the MS. of a new work, Fleet Street Poems, with a letter containing the words, “This will be my last book.” His body was discovered a few months later.
Davies, John (1565?-1618). — Called “the Welsh Poet,” was a writing-master, wrote very copiously and rather tediously on theological and philosophical themes. His works include Mirum in Modum, Microcosmus (1602), and The Picture of a Happy Man (1612). Wit’s Bedlam (1617), and many epigrams on his contemporaries which have some historical interest.
Davies, Sir John (1569–1626). — Lawyer and poet, son of a lawyer at Westbury, Wiltshire, was ed. at Winchester and Oxford, and became a barrister of the Middle Temple, 1595. He was a member successively of the English and Irish Houses of Commons, and held various legal offices. In literature he is known as the writer of two poems, Orchestra: a Poem of Dancing (1594), and Nosce Teipsum (Know Thyself), in two elegies (1) Of Humane Knowledge (2) Of the Immortality of the Soul. The poem consists of quatrains, each containing a complete and compactly expressed thought. It was published in 1599. D. was also the author of treatises on law and politics.
Davis, or Davys, John (1550?-1605). — Navigator, known as D. of Sandridge to distinguish him from another of the same name. He was one of the most enterprising of the Elizabethan sailors, who devoted themselves to the discovery of the North-west Passage. Davis Strait was discovered by, and named after, him. He made many voyages, in the last of which he met his death at the hands of a Japanese pirate. He was the author of a book, now very scarce, The World’s Hydrographical Description, and he also wrote a work on practical navigation, The Seaman’s Secrets, which had great repute.
Davis, Thomas Osborne (1814–1845). — Poet, born at Mallow, ed. at Trinity College, Dublin, and called to the Irish Bar 1838. He was one of the founders of The Nation newspaper, and of the Young Ireland party. He wrote some stirring patriotic ballads, originally contributed to The Nation, and afterwards republished as Spirit of the Nation, also a memoir of Curran the great Irish lawyer and orator, prefixed to an ed. of his speeches; and he had formed many literary plans which were brought to naught by his untimely death.
Davy, Sir Humphrey (1778–1829). — Chemist and man of letters, son of a wood-carver, was born at Penzance. He early showed an enthusiasm for natural science, and continued to pursue his studies when apprenticed in 1795 to a surgeon. He became specially interested in chemistry, to which in 1797 he began more exclusively to devote himself. Thereafter he assisted Dr. Beddoes in his laboratory at Bristol, and entered upon his brilliant course of chemical discovery. His Researches, Chemical, and Philosophical (1799), led to his appointment as Director of the Chemical Laboratory at the Royal Institution, where he also delivered courses of scientific lectures with extraordinary popularity. Thereafter his life was a succession of scientific triumphs and honours. His great discovery was that of the metallic bases of the earths and alkalis. He also discovered various metals, including sodium, calcium, and magnesium. In 1812 he was knighted, and married a wealthy widow. Thereafter he investigated volcanic action and fire-damp, and invented the safety lamp. In 1818 he was created a baronet, and in 1820 became Pres. of the Royal Society, to which he communicated his discoveries in electro-magnetism. In addition to his scientific writings, which include Elements of Agricultural Chemistry (1813), and Chemical Agencies of Electricity, he wrote Salmonia, or Days of Fly Fishing (1828), somewhat modelled upon Walton, and Consolations in Travel (1830), dialogues on ethical and religious questions. D. sustained an apoplectic seizure in 1826, after which his health was much impaired, and after twice wintering in Italy, he died at Geneva, where he received a public funeral. Though not attached to any Church, D. was a sincerely religious man, strongly opposed to materialism and scepticism. He holds a foremost place among scientific discoverers.
Day, John (born 1574). — Dramatist, son of a Norfolk yeoman, was at Cambridge, 1592–3. It is only since 1881 that his works have been identified. He collaborated with Dekker and others in plays, and was the author of The Isle of Gulls (1606), Law Trickes (1608), and Humour out of Breath (1608), also of an allegorical masque, The Parliament of Bees.
Day, Thomas (1748–1789). — Miscellaneous writer, was born in London, ed. at the Charterhouse and at Oxford, and called to the Bar 1775, but having inherited in infancy an independence, he did not practise. He became a disciple of Rousseau in his social views, and endeavoured to put them in practice in combination with better morality. He was a benevolent eccentric, and used his income, which was increased by his marriage with an heiress, in schemes of social reform as he understood it. He is chiefly remembered as the author of the once universally-read History of Sandford and Merton.
Defoe, Daniel (1661?-1731). — Journalist and novelist, son of a butcher in St. Giles, where he was born His father being a Dissenter, he was ed. at a Dissenting coll. at Newington with the view of becoming a Presbyterian minister. He joined the army of Monmouth, and on its defeat was fortunate enough to escape punishment. In 1688 he joined William III. Before settling down to his career as a political writer, D. had been engaged in various enterprises as a hosier, a merchant-adventurer to Spain and Portugal, and a brickmaker, all of which proved so unsuccessful that he had to fly from his creditors. Having become known to the government as an effective writer, and employed by them, he was appointed Accountant in the Glass–Duty Office, 1659–1699. Among his more important political writings are an Essay on Projects (1698), and The True-born Englishman (1701), which had a remarkable success. In 1702 appeared The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, written in a strain of grave irony which was, unfortunately for the author, misunderstood, and led to his being fined, imprisoned, and put in the pillory, which suggested his Hymns to the Pillory (1704). Notwithstanding the disfavour with the government which these disasters implied, D.’s knowledge of commercial affairs and practical ability were recognised by his being sent in 1706 to Scotland to aid in the Union negotiations. In the same year Jure Divino, a satire, followed by a History of the Union (1709), and The Wars of Charles XII. (1715). Further misunderstandings and disappointments in connection with political matters led to his giving up this line of activity, and, fortunately for posterity, taking to fiction. The first and greatest of his novels, Robinson Crusoe, appeared in 1719, and its sequel (of greatly inferior interest) in 1720. These were followed by Captain Singleton (1720), Moll Flanders, Colonel Jacque, and Journal of the Plague Year (1722), Memoirs of a Cavalier (1724), A New Voyage Round the World (1725), and Captain Carlton (1728). Among his miscellaneous works are Political History of the Devil (1726), System of Magic (1727), The Complete English Tradesman (1727), and The Review, a paper which he ed. In all he published, including pamphlets, etc., about 250 works. All D.’s writings are distinguished by a clear, nervous style, and his works of fiction by a minute verisimilitude and naturalness of incident which has never been equalled except perhaps by Swift, whose genius his, in some other respects, resembled. The only description of his personal appearance is given in an advertisement intended to lead to his apprehension, and runs, “A middle-sized, spare man about forty years old, of a brown complexion, and dark brown-coloured hair, but wears a wig; a hooked nose, a sharp chin, grey eyes, and a large mole near his mouth.” His mind was a peculiar amalgam of imagination and matter-of-fact, seeing strongly and clearly what he did see, but little conscious, apparently, of what lay outside his purview.
Lives by Chalmers (1786), H. Morley (1889), T. Wright (1894), and others; shorter works by Lamb, Hazlitt, L. Stephens, and Prof. Minto, Bohn’s British Classics, etc.
Dekker, Thomas (1570?-1641?). — Dramatist and miscellaneous writer, was born in London. Few details of D.’s life have come down to us, though he was a well-known writer in his day, and is believed to have written or contributed to over 20 dramas. He collaborated at various times with several of his fellow-dramatists, including Ben Jonson. Ultimately Jonson quarrelled with Marston and D., satirising them in The Poetaster (1601), to which D. replied in Satiromastix (1602). D.’s best play is Old Fortunatus (1606), others are The Shoemaker’s Holiday (1600), Honest Whore (1604), Roaring Girl (1611), The Virgin Martyr (1622) (with Massinger), and The Witch of Edmonton (1658) (with Ford and Rowley), History of Sir Thomas Wyat, Westward Ho, and Northward Ho, all with Webster. His prose writings include The Gull’s Hornbook (1609), The Seven Deadly Sins of London, and The Belman of London (1608), satirical works which give interesting glimpses of the life of his time. His life appears to have been a somewhat chequered one, alternating between revelry and want. He is one of the most poetical of the older dramatists. Lamb said he “had poetry enough for anything.”
De Lolme, John Louis (1740?-1807). — Political writer, born at Geneva, has a place in English literature for his well-known work, The Constitution of England, written in French, and translated into English in 1775. He also wrote a comparison of the English Government with that of Sweden, a History of the Flagellants (1777), and The British Empire in Europe (1787). He came to England in 1769, lived in great poverty, and having inherited a small fortune, returned to his native place in 1775.
Deloney, Thomas (1543–1600). — Novelist and balladist, appears to have worked as a silk-weaver in Norwich, but was in London by 1586, and in the course of the next 10 years is known to have written about 50 ballads, some of which involved him in trouble, and caused him to lie perdue for a time. It is only recently that his more important work as a novelist, in which he ranks with Greene and Nash, has received attention. He appears to have turned to this new field of effort when his original one was closed to him for the time. Less under the influence of Lyly and other preceding writers than Greene, he is more natural, simple, and direct, and writes of middle-class citizens and tradesmen with a light and pleasant humour. Of his novels, Thomas of Reading is in honour of clothiers, Jack of Newbury celebrates weaving, and The Gentle Craft is dedicated to the praise of shoemakers. He “dy’d poorely,” but was “honestly buried.”
De Morgan, Augustus (1806–1871). — Mathematician, born in India, and ed. at Cambridge, was one of the most brilliant of English mathematicians. He is mentioned here in virtue of his Budget of Paradoxes, a series of papers originally published in The Athenæum, in which mathematical fallacies are discussed with sparkling wit, and the keenest logic.
Denham, Sir John (1615–1669). — Poet, son of the Chief Baron of Exchequer in Ireland, was born in Dublin, and ed. at Oxford He began his literary career with a tragedy, The Sophy (1641), which seldom rises above mediocrity. His poem, Cooper’s Hill (1642), is the work by which he is remembered. It is the first example in English of a poem devoted to local description. D. received extravagant praise from Johnson; but the place now assigned him is a much more humble one. His verse is smooth, clear, and agreeable, and occasionally a thought is expressed with remarkable terseness and force. In his earlier years D. suffered for his Royalism; but after the Restoration enjoyed prosperity. He, however, made an unhappy marriage, and his last years were clouded by insanity. He was an architect by profession, coming between Inigo Jones and Wren as King’s Surveyor.
Dennis, John (1657–1734). — Critic, etc., son of a saddler, was born in London, and ed. at Harrow and Caius College, Cambridge, from the latter of which he was expelled for stabbing a fellow-student, and transferred himself to Trinity Hall. He attached himself to the Whigs, in whose interest he wrote several bitter and vituperative pamphlets. His attempts at play-writing were failures; and he then devoted himself chiefly to criticising the works of his contemporaries. In this line, while showing some acuteness, he aroused much enmity by his ill-temper and jealousy. Unfortunately for him, some of those whom he attacked, such as Pope and Swift, had the power of conferring upon him an unenviable immortality. Embalmed in The Dunciad, his name has attained a fame which no work of his own could have given it. Of Milton, however, he showed a true appreciation. Among his works are Rinaldo and Armida (1699), Appius and Virginia (1709), Reflections Critical and Satirical (1711), and Three Letters on Shakespeare. He died in straitened circumstances.
De Quincey, Thomas (1785–1859). — Essayist and miscellaneous writer, son of a merchant in Manchester, was born there. The aristocratic “De” was assumed by himself, his father, whom he lost while he was still a child, having been known by the name of Quincey, and he claimed descent from a Norman family. His Autobiographic Sketches give a vivid picture of his early years at the family residence of Greenheys, and show him as a highly imaginative and over-sensitive child, suffering hard things at the hands of a tyrannical elder brother. He was ed. first at home, then at Bath Grammar School, next at a private school at Winkfield, Wilts, and in 1801 he was sent to the Manchester Grammar School, from which he ran away, and for some time rambled in Wales on a small allowance made to him by his mother. Tiring of this, he went to London in the end of 1802, where he led the strange Bohemian life related in The Confessions. His friends, thinking it high time to interfere, sent him in 1803 to Oxford, which did not, however, preclude occasional brief interludes in London, on one of which he made his first acquaintance with opium, which was to play so prominent and disastrous a part in his future life. In 1807 he became acquainted with Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Southey, and soon afterwards with C. Lamb. During the years 1807–9 he paid various visits to the Lakes, and in the latter year he settled at Townend, Grasmere, where Wordsworth had previously lived. Here he pursued his studies, becoming gradually more and more enslaved by opium, until in 1813 he was taking from 8000 to 12,000 drops daily. John Wilson (Christopher North), who was then living at Elleray, had become his friend, and brought him to Edinburgh occasionally, which ended in his passing the latter part of his life in that city. His marriage to Margaret Simpson, daughter of a farmer, took place in 1816. Up to this time he had written nothing, but had been steeping his mind in German metaphysics, and out-of-the-way learning of various kinds; but in 1819 he sketched out Prolegomena of all future Systems of Political Economy, which, however, was never finished. In the same year he acted as ed. of the Westmoreland Gazette. His true literary career began in 1821 with the publication in the London Magazine of The Confessions of an English Opium–Eater. Thereafter he produced a long series of articles, some of them almost on the scale of books, in Blackwood’s and Tait’s magazines, the Edinburgh Literary Gazette, and Hogg’s Instructor. These included Murder considered as one of the Fine Arts (1827), and in his later and more important period, Suspiria De Profundis (1845), The Spanish Military Nun (1847), The English Mail–Coach, and Vision of Sudden Death (1849). In 1853 he began a collected ed. of his works, which was the main occupation of his later years. He had in 1830 brought his family to Edinburgh, which, except for two years, 1841–43, when he lived in Glasgow, was his home till his death in 1859, and in 1837, on his wife’s death, he placed them in the neighbouring village of Lasswade, while he lived in solitude, moving about from one dingy lodging to another.
De Q. stands among the great masters of style in the language. In his greatest passages, as in the Vision of Sudden Death and the Dream Fugue, the cadence of his elaborately piled-up sentences falls like cathedral music, or gives an abiding expression to the fleeting pictures of his most gorgeous dreams. His character unfortunately bore no correspondence to his intellectual endowments. His moral system had in fact been shattered by indulgence in opium. His appearance and manners have been thus described: “A short and fragile, but well-proportioned frame; a shapely and compact head; a face beaming with intellectual light, with rare, almost feminine beauty of feature and complexion; a fascinating courtesy of manner, and a fulness, swiftness, and elegance of silvery speech.” His own works give very detailed information regarding himself. See also Page’s Thomas De Quincey: his Life and Writings (1879), Prof. Masson’s De Quincey (English Men of Letters). Collected Writings (14 vols. 1889–90).
Dermody, Thomas (1775–1802). — Poet, born at Ennis, showed great capacity for learning, but fell into idle and dissipated habits, and threw away his opportunities. He published two books of poems, which after his death were collected as The Harp of Erin.
De Vere, Aubrey Thomas (1814–1902). — Poet, son of Sir Aubrey de V., himself a poet, was born in Co. Limerick, and ed. at Trinity College, Dublin. In early life he became acquainted with Wordsworth, by whom he was greatly influenced. On the religious and ecclesiastical side he passed under the influence of Newman and Manning, and in 1851 was received into the Church of Rome. He was the author of many vols. of poetry, including The Waldenses (1842), The Search for Proserpine (1843), etc. In 1861 he began a series of poems on Irish subjects, Inisfail, The Infant Bridal, Irish Odes, etc. His interest in Ireland and its people led him to write prose works, including English Misrule and Irish Misdeeds (1848); and to criticism he contributed Essays chiefly on Poetry (1887). His last work was his Recollections (1897). His poetry is characterised by lofty ethical tone, imaginative power, and grave stateliness of expression.
Dibdin, Charles (1745–1814). — Dramatist and song writer, born at Southampton, began his literary career at 16 with a drama, The Shepherd’s Artifice. His fame, however, rests on his sea songs, which are unrivalled, and include Tom Bowling, Poor Jack, and Blow High Blow Low. He is said to have written over 1200 of these, besides many dramatic pieces and two novels, Hannah Hewitt (1792), and The Younger Brother (1793), and a History of the Stage (1795).
Dickens, Charles (1812–1870). — Novelist, born at Landport, near Portsmouth, where his father was a clerk in the Navy Pay–Office. The hardships and mortifications of his early life, his want of regular schooling, and his miserable time in the blacking factory, which form the basis of the early chapters of David Copperfield, are largely accounted for by the fact that his father was to a considerable extent the prototype of the immortal Mr. Micawber; but partly by his being a delicate and sensitive child, unusually susceptible to suffering both in body and mind. He had, however, much time for reading, and had access to the older novelists, Fielding, Smollett, and others. A kindly relation also took him frequently to the theatre, where he acquired his life-long interest in, and love of, the stage. After a few years’ residence in Chatham, the family removed to London, and soon thereafter his father became an inmate of the Marshalsea, in which by-and-by the whole family joined him, a passage in his life which furnishes the material for parts of Little Dorrit. This period of family obscuration happily lasted but a short time: the elder D. managed to satisfy his creditors, and soon after retired from his official duties on a pension. About the same time D. had two years of continuous schooling, and shortly afterwards he entered a law office. His leisure he devoted to reading and learning shorthand, in which he became very expert. He then acted as parliamentary reporter, first for The True Sun, and from 1835 for the Morning Chronicle. Meanwhile he had been contributing to the Monthly Magazine and the Evening Chronicle the papers which, in 1836, appeared in a collected form as Sketches by Boz; and he had also produced one or two comic burlettas. In the same year he married Miss Ann* Hogarth; and in the following year occurred the opportunity of his life. He was asked by Chapman and Hall to write the letterpress for a series of sporting plates to be done by Robert Seymour who, however, died shortly after, and was succeeded by Hablot Browne (Phiz), who became the illustrator of most of D.’s novels. In the hands of D. the original plan was entirely altered, and became the Pickwick Papers which, appearing in monthly parts during 1837–39, took the country by storm. Simultaneously Oliver Twist was coming out in Bentley’s Miscellany. Thenceforward D.’s literary career was a continued success, and the almost yearly publication of his works constituted the main events of his life. Nicholas Nickleby appeared in serial form 1838–39. Next year he projected Master Humphrey’s Clock, intended to be a series of miscellaneous stories and sketches. It was, however, soon abandoned, The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge taking its place. The latter, dealing with the Gordon Riots, is, with the partial exception of the Tale of Two Cities, the author’s only excursion into the historical novel. In 1841 D. went to America, and was received with great enthusiasm, which, however, the publication of American Notes considerably damped, and the appearance of Martin Chuzzlewit in 1843, with its caustic criticisms of certain features of American life, converted into extreme, though temporary, unpopularity. The first of the Christmas books — the Christmas Carol — appeared in 1843, and in the following year D. went to Italy, where at Genoa he wrote The Chimes, followed by The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man. In January, 1846, he was appointed first ed. of The Daily News, but resigned in a few weeks. The same year he went to Switzerland, and while there wrote Dombey and Son, which was published in 1848, and was immediately followed by his masterpiece, David Copperfield (1849–50). Shortly before this he had become manager of a theatrical company, which performed in the provinces, and he had in 1849 started his magazine, Household Words. Bleak House appeared in 1852–53, Hard Times in 1854, and Little Dorrit 1856–57. In 1856 he bought Gadshill Place, which, in 1860, became his permanent home. In 1858 he began his public readings from his works, which, while eminently successful from a financial point of view, from the nervous strain which they entailed, gradually broke down his constitution, and hastened his death. In the same year he separated from his wife, and consequent upon the controversy which arose thereupon he brought Household Words to an end, and started All the Year Round, in which appeared A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1860–61). Our Mutual Friend came out in numbers (1864–65). D. was now in the full tide of his readings, and decided to give a course of them in America. Thither accordingly he went in the end of 1867, returning in the following May. He had a magnificent reception, and his profits amounted to £20,000; but the effect on his health was such that he was obliged, on medical advice, finally to abandon all appearances of the kind. In 1869 he began his last work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which was interrupted by his death from an apoplectic seizure on June 8, 1870.
One of D.’s most marked characteristics is the extraordinary wealth of his invention as exhibited in the number and variety of the characters introduced into his novels. Another, especially, of course, in his entire works, is his boundless flow of animal spirits. Others are his marvellous keenness of observation and his descriptive power. And the English race may well, with Thackeray, be “grateful for the innocent laughter, and the sweet and unsullied pages which the author of David Copperfield gives to [its] children.” On the other hand, his faults are obvious, a tendency to caricature, a mannerism that often tires, and almost disgusts, fun often forced, and pathos not seldom degenerating into mawkishness. But at his best how rich and genial is the humour, how tender often the pathos. And when all deductions are made, he had the laughter and tears of the English-speaking world at command for a full generation while he lived, and that his spell still works is proved by a continuous succession of new editions.
Summary. — Born 1812, parliamentary reporter c. 1835, published Sketches by Boz 1836, Pickwick 1837–39, and his other novels almost continuously until his death, visited America 1841, started Household Words 1849, and All the Year Round 1858, when also he began his public readings, visiting America again in 1867, died 1870.
Life by John Foster (1872), Letters ed. by Miss Hogarth (1880–82). Numerous Lives and Monographs by Sala, F.T. Marzials (Great Writers Series), A.W. Ward (Men of Letters Series), F.G. Kitton, G.K. Chesterton, etc.
* In fact Dickens married Catherine Hogarth, not Ann. Cousin is in error here. ED.
Digby, Sir Kenelm (1603–1665). — Miscellaneous writer, born near Newport Pagnell, son of Sir Everard D., one of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators, was ed. at Oxford, travelled much, and was engaged in sea-fighting. Brought up first as a Romanist, then as a Protestant, he in 1636 joined the Church of Rome. During the Civil War he was active on the side of the King, and on the fall of his cause was for a time banished. He was the author of several books on religious and quasi-scientific subjects, including one on the Choice of a Religion, on the Immortality of the Soul, Observations on Spenser’s Faery Queen, and a criticism on Sir T. Browne’s Religio Medici. He also wrote a Discourse on Vegetation, and one On the Cure of Wounds by means of a sympathetic powder which he imagined he had discovered.
Dilke, Charles Wentworth (1789–1864). — Critic and writer on literature, served for many years in the Navy Pay–Office, on retiring from which he devoted himself to literary pursuits. He had in 1814–16 made a continuation of Dodsley’s Collection of English Plays, and in 1829 he became part proprietor and ed. of The Athenæum, the influence of which he greatly extended. In 1846 he resigned the editorship, and assumed that of The Daily News, but contributed to The Athenæum his famous papers on Pope, Burke, Junius, etc., and shed much new light on his subjects. His grandson, the present Sir C.W. Dilke, published these writings in 1875 under the title, Papers of a Critic.
Disraeli, B., (see Beaconsfield).
D’israeli, Isaac (1766–1848). — Miscellaneous writer, was descended from a Jewish family which had been settled first in Spain, and afterwards at Venice. Ed. at Amsterdam and Leyden, he devoted himself to literature, producing a number of interesting works of considerable value, including Curiosities of Literature, in 3 series (1791–1823), Dissertation on Anecdotes (1793), Calamities of Authors (1812), Amenities of Literature (1841); also works dealing with the lives of James I. and Charles I. D. was latterly blind. He was the father of Benjamin D., Earl of Beaconsfield (q.v.).
Dixon, Richard Watson (1833–1900). — Historian and poet, son of Dr. James D., a well-known Wesleyan minister and historian of Methodism, ed. at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, and Oxford, took Anglican orders, was Second Master at Carlisle School, Vicar of Hayton and Warkworth, and Canon of Carlisle. He published 7 vols. of poetry, but is best known for his History of the Church of England from the Abolition of Roman Jurisdiction (1877–1900).
Dixon, William Hepworth (1821–1879). — Historian and traveller, born near Manchester, went to London in 1846, and became connected with The Daily News, for which he wrote articles on social and prison reform. In 1850 he published John Howard and the Prison World of Europe, which had a wide circulation, and about the same time he wrote a Life of Peace (1851), in answer to Macaulay’s onslaught. Lives of Admiral Blake and Lord Bacon followed, which received somewhat severe criticisms at the hands of competent authorities. D. was ed. of The Athenæum, 1853–69, and wrote many books of travel, including The Holy Land (1865), New America (1867), and Free Russia (1870). His later historical works include Her Majesty’s Tower, and The History of Two Queens (Catherine of Arragon and Anne Boleyn). Though a diligent student of original authorities, and sometimes successful in throwing fresh light on his subjects, D. was not always accurate, and thus laid himself open to criticism; and his book, Spiritual Wives, treating of Mormonism, was so adversely criticised as to lead to an action. He wrote, however, in a fresh and interesting style. He was one of the founders of the Palestine Exploration Fund, and was a member of the first School Board for London (1870). He was called to the Bar in 1854, but never practised.
Dobell, Sydney Thompson (1824–1874). — Poet, born at Cranbrook, Kent, son of a wine-merchant, who removed to Cheltenham, where most of the poet’s life was passed. His youth was precocious (he was engaged at 15 and married at 20). In 1850 his first work, The Roman, appeared, and had great popularity. Balder, Part I. (1854), Sonnets on the War, jointly with Alexander Smith (q.v.) (1855), and England in Time of War (1856) followed. His later years were passed in Scotland and abroad in search of health, which, however, was damaged by a fall while exploring some ruins at Pozzuoli. D.’s poems exhibit fancy and brilliancy of diction, but want simplicity, and sometimes run into grandiloquence and other faults of the so-called spasmodic school to which he belonged.
Dodd, William (1729–1777). — Divine and forger, ed. at Cambridge, became a popular preacher in London, and a Royal Chaplain, but, acquiring expensive habits, got involved in hopeless difficulties, from which he endeavoured to escape first by an attempted simoniacal transaction, for which he was disgraced, and then by forging a bond for £4200, for which, according to the then existing law, he was hanged. Great efforts were made to obtain a commutation of the sentence, and Dr. Johnson wrote one of the petitions, but on D.’s book, Thoughts in Prison, appearing posthumously, he remarked that “a man who has been canting all his days may cant to the last.” D. was the author of a collection of Beauties of Shakespeare, Reflections on Death, and a translation of the Hymns of Callimachus.
Doddridge, Philip (1702–1751). — Nonconformist divine and writer of religious books and hymns, born in London, and ed. for the ministry at a theological institution at Kibworth, became minister first at Market Harborough, and afterwards at Northampton, where he also acted as head of a theological academy. D., who was a man of amiable and joyous character, as well as an accomplished scholar, composed many standard books of religion, of which the best known is The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul (1745). In 1736 he received the degree of D.D. from Aberdeen. He died at Lisbon, whither he had gone in search of health. Several of his hymns, e.g., Ye Servants of the Lord, O Happy Day, and O God of Bethel, are universally used by English-speaking Christians, and have been translated into various languages.
Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge (“Lewis Carroll”) (1832–1898). — Mathematician and writer of books for children, son of a clergyman at Daresbury, Cheshire, was ed. at Rugby and Oxford After taking orders he was appointed lecturer on mathematics, on which subject he published several valuable treatises. His fame rests, however, on his books for children, full of ingenuity and delightful humour, of which Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and its sequel, Through the Looking-glass, are the best.
Dodsley, Robert (1703–1764). — Poet, dramatist, and bookseller, born near Mansfield, and apprenticed to a stocking-weaver, but not liking this employment, he ran away and became a footman. While thus engaged he produced The Muse in Livery (1732). This was followed by The Toy Shop, a drama, which brought him under the notice of Pope, who befriended him, and assisted him in starting business as a bookseller. In this he became eminently successful, and acted as publisher for Pope, Johnson, and Akenside. He projected and published The Annual Register, and made a collection of Old English Plays, also of Poems by Several Hands in 6 vols. In addition to the original works above mentioned he wrote various plays and poems, including The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green (1741), and Cleone (1758).
Donne, John (1573–1631). — Poet and divine, son of a wealthy ironmonger in London, where he was born Brought up as a Roman Catholic, he was sent to Oxford and Cambridge, and afterwards entered Lincoln’s Inn with a view to the law. Here he studied the points of controversy between Romanists and Protestants, with the result that he joined the Church of England. The next two years were somewhat changeful, including travels on the Continent, service as a private secretary, and a clandestine marriage with the niece of his patron, which led to dismissal and imprisonment, followed by reconciliation. On the suggestion of James I., who approved of Pseudo–Martyr (1610), a book against Rome which he had written, he took orders, and after executing a mission to Bohemia, he was, in 1621, made Dean of St. Paul’s. D. had great popularity as a preacher. His works consist of elegies, satires, epigrams, and religious pieces, in which, amid many conceits and much that is artificial, frigid, and worse, there is likewise much poetry and imagination of a high order. Perhaps the best of his works is An Anatomy of the World (1611), an elegy. Others are Epithalamium (1613), Progress of the Soul (1601), and Divine Poems. Collections of his poems appeared in 1633 and 1649. He exercised a strong influence on literature for over half a century after his death; to him we owe the unnatural style of conceits and overstrained efforts after originality of the succeeding age.
Doran, John (1807–1878). — Miscellaneous writer, of Irish parentage, wrote a number of works dealing with the lighter phases of manners, antiquities, and social history, often bearing punning titles, e.g., Table Traits with Something on Them (1854), and Knights and their Days. He also wrote Lives of the Queens of England of the House of Hanover (1855), and A History of Court Fools (1858), and ed. Horace Walpole’s Journal of the Reign of George III. His books contain much curious and out-of-the-way information. D. was for a short time ed. of The Athenæum.
Dorset, Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of (1638–1706). — Poet, was one of the dissolute and witty courtiers of Charles II., and a friend of Sir C. Sedley (q.v.), in whose orgies he participated. He was, however, a patron of literature, and a benefactor of Dryden in his later and less prosperous years. He wrote a few satires and songs, among the latter being the well-known, To all you Ladies now on Land. As might be expected, his writings are characterised by the prevailing indelicacy of the time.
Dorset, Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of, and Lord Buckhurst (1536–1608). — Poet and statesman, was born at Buckhurst, Sussex, the only son of Sir Richard S., and ed. at Oxford and Cambridge He studied law at the Inner Temple, and while there wrote, in conjunction with Thomas Norton, Ferren and Porrex or Gerboduc (1561–2), the first regular English tragedy. A little later he planned The Mirror for Magistrates, which was to have been a series of narratives of distinguished Englishmen, somewhat on the model of Boccaccio’s Falls of Princes. Finding the plan too large, he handed it over to others — seven poets in all being engaged upon it — and himself contributed two poems only, one on Buckingham, the confederate, and afterwards the victim, of Richard III., and an Induction or introduction, which constitute nearly the whole value of the work. In these poems S. becomes the connecting link between Chaucer and Spenser. They are distinguished by strong invention and imaginative power, and a stately and sombre grandeur of style. S. played a prominent part in the history of his time, and held many high offices, including those of Lord Steward and Lord Treasurer, the latter of which he held from 1599 till his death. It fell to him to announce to Mary Queen of Scots the sentence of death.
Douce, Francis (1757–1834). — Antiquary, born in London, was for some time in the British Museum. He published Illustrations of Shakespeare (1807), and a dissertation on The Dance of Death (1833).
Douglas, Gavin (1474?-1522). — Poet, 3rd son of the 5th Earl of Angus, was born about 1474, and ed. at St. Andrews for the Church. Promotion came early, and he was in 1501 made Provost of St. Giles, Edinburgh, and in 1514 Abbot of Aberbrothock, and Archbishop of St. Andrews. But the times were troublous, and he had hardly received these latter preferments when he was deprived of them. He was, however, named Bishop of Dunkeld in 1514 and, after some difficulty, and undergoing imprisonment, was confirmed in the see. In 1520 he was again driven forth, and two years later died of the plague in London. His principal poems are The Palace of Honour (1501), and King Hart, both allegorical; but his great achievement was his translation of the Æneid in ten-syllabled metre, the first translation into English of a classical work. D.’s language is more archaic than that of some of his predecessors, his rhythm is rough and unequal, but he had fire, and a power of vivid description, and his allegories are ingenious and felicitous.
College ed. of works by John Small, LL.D., 4 vols., 1874.
Doyle, Sir Francis Hastings (1810–1888). — Poet, belonged to a military family which produced several distinguished officers, including his father, who bore the same name. He was born near Tadcaster, Yorkshire, and ed. at Eton and Oxford Studying law he was called to the Bar in 1837, and afterwards held various high fiscal appointments, becoming in 1869 Commissioner of Customs. In 1834 he published Miscellaneous Verses, followed by Two Destinies (1844), Oedipus, King of Thebes (1849), and Return of the Guards (1866). He was elected in 1867 Prof. of Poetry at Oxford D.’s best work is his ballads, which include The Red Thread of Honour, The Private of the Buffs, and The Loss of the Birkenhead. In his longer poems his genuine poetical feeling was not equalled by his power of expression, and much of his poetry is commonplace.
Drake, Joseph Rodman (1795–1820). — Poet, born at New York, studied medicine, died of consumption. He collaborated with F. Halleck in the Croaker Papers, and wrote “The Culprit Fay” and “The American Flag.”
Draper, John William (1811–1882). — Historian, born at St. Helen’s, Lancashire, emigrated to Virginia, and was a prof. in the University of New York. He wrote History of the American Civil War (1867–70), History of the Intellectual Development of Europe (1863), and History of the Conflict between Science and Religion (1874), besides treatises on various branches of science.
Drayton, Michael (1563–1631). — Poet, born in Warwickshire, was in early life page to a gentleman, and was possibly at Cambridge or Oxford His earliest poem, The Harmonie of the Church, was destroyed. His next was The Shepherd’s Garland (1593), afterwards reprinted as Eclogues. Three historical poems, Gaveston (1593), Matilda (1594), and Robert, Duke of Normandie (1596) followed, and he then appears to have collaborated with Dekker, Webster, and others in dramatic work. His magnum opus, however, was Polyolbion (1613?), a topographical description of England in twelve-syllabled verse, full of antiquarian and historical details, so accurate as to make the work an authority on such matters. The rushing verse is full of vigour and gusto. Other poems of D. are The Wars of the Barons (1603), England’s Heroical Epistles (1598) (being imaginary letters between Royal lovers such as Henry II. and Rosamund), Poems, Lyric and Heroic (1606) (including the fine ballad of “Agincourt”), Nymphidia, his most graceful work, Muses Elizium, and Idea’s Mirrour, a collection of sonnets, Idea being the name of the lady to whom they were addressed. Though often heavy, D. had the true poetic gift, had passages of grandeur, and sang the praises of England with the heart of a patriot.
Drummond, Henry (1851–1897). — Theological and scientific writer, born at Stirling, and ed. at Edinburgh, he studied for the ministry of the Free Church. Having a decided scientific bent he gave himself specially to the study of geology, and made a scientific tour in the Rocky Mountains with Sir A. Geikie. Some years later he undertook a geological exploration of Lake Nyassa and the neighbouring country for the African Lakes Corporation, and brought home a valuable Report. He also published Tropical Africa, a vivid account of his travels. He became much associated with the American evangelist, D.L. Moody, and became an extremely effective speaker on religious subjects, devoting himself specially to young men. His chief contribution to literature was his Natural Law in the Spiritual World, which had extraordinary popularity. The Ascent of Man was less successful. D. was a man of great personal fascination, and wrote in an interesting and suggestive manner, but his reasoning in his scientific works was by no means unassailable.
Drummond, William (1585–1649). — Poet, was descended from a very ancient family, and through Annabella D., Queen of Robert III., related to the Royal House. Ed. at Edinburgh University, he studied law on the Continent, but succeeding in 1610 to his paternal estate of Hawthornden, he devoted himself to poetry. Tears on the Death of Meliades (Prince Henry) appeared in 1613, and in 1616 Poems, Amorous, Funerall, Divine, etc. His finest poem, Forth Feasting (1617), is addressed to James VI. on his revisiting Scotland. D. was also a prose-writer, and composed a History of the Five Jameses, Kings of Scotland from 1423–1524, and The Cypress Grove, a meditation on death. He was also a mechanical genius, and patented 16 inventions. D., though a Scotsman, wrote in the classical English of the day, and was the friend of his principal literary contemporaries, notably of Ben Jonson, who visited him at Hawthornden, on which occasion D. preserved notes of his conversations, not always flattering. For this he has received much blame, but it must be remembered that he did not published them. As a poet he belonged to the school of Spenser. His verse is sweet, flowing, and harmonious. He excelled as a writer of sonnets, one of which, on John the Baptist, has a suggestion of Milton.
Life by Prof. Masson (1873), Three Centuries of Scottish Literature, Walker, 1893. Maitland Club ed. of Poems (1832).
Dryden, John (1631–1700). — Poet, dramatist, and satirist, was born at Aldwincle Rectory, Northamptonshire. His father, from whom he inherited a small estate, was Erasmus, 3rd son of Sir Erasmus Driden; his mother was Mary Pickering, also of good family; both families belonged to the Puritan side in politics and religion. He was ed. at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, and thereafter, in 1657, came to London. While at coll. he had written some not very successful verse. His Heroic Stanzas on the Death of Oliver Cromwell (1658) was his first considerable poem. It was followed, in 1660, by Astræa Redux, in honour of the Restoration. The interval of 18 months had been crowded with events, and though much has been written against his apparent change of opinion, it is fair to remember that the whole cast of his mind led him to be a supporter of de facto authority. In 1663 he married Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl of Berkshire. The Restoration introduced a revival of the drama in its most debased form, and for many years D. was a prolific playwright, but though his vigorous powers enabled him to work effectively in this department, as in every other in which he engaged, it was not his natural line, and happily his fame does not rest upon his plays, which are deeply stained with the immorality of the age. His first effort, The Wild Gallant (1663), was a failure; his next, The Rival Ladies, a tragi-comedy, established his reputation, and among his other dramas may be mentioned The Indian Queene, Amboyna (1673), Tyrannic Love (1669), Almanzar and Almahide (ridiculed in Buckingham’s Rehearsal) (1670), Arungzebe (1675), All for Love (an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra) (1678). During the great plague, 1665, D. left London, and lived with his father-inlaw at Charleton. On his return he published his first poem of real power, Annus Mirabilis, of which the subjects were the great fire, and the Dutch War. In 1668 appeared his Essay on Dramatic Poetry in the form of a dialogue, fine alike as criticism and as prose. Two years later (1670) he became Poet Laureate and Historiographer Royal with a pension of £300 a year. D. was now in prosperous circumstances, having received a portion with his wife, and besides the salaries of his appointments, and his profits from literature, holding a valuable share in the King’s play-house. In 1671 G. Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, produced his Rehearsal, in ridicule of the overdone heroics of the prevailing drama, and satirising D. as Mr. Bayes. To this D. made no immediate reply, but bided his time. The next years were devoted to the drama. But by this time public affairs were assuming a critical aspect. A large section of the nation was becoming alarmed at the prospect of the succession of the Duke of York, and a restoration of popery, and Shaftesbury was supposed to be promoting the claims of the Duke of Monmouth. And now D. showed; his full powers. The first part of Absalom and Achitophel appeared in 1681, in which Charles figures as “David,” Shaftesbury as “Achitophel,” Monmouth as “Absalom,” Buckingham as “Zimri,” in the short but crushing delineation of whom the attack of the Rehearsal was requited in the most ample measure. The effect; of the poem was tremendous. Nevertheless the indictment against Shaftesbury for high treason was ignored by the Grand Jury at the Old Bailey, and in honour of the event a medal was struck, which gave a title to D.’s next stroke. His Medal was issued in 1682. The success of these wonderful poems raised a storm round D. Replies were forthcoming in Elkanah Settle’s Absalom and Achitophel Transposed, and Pordage’s Azaria and Hushai. These compositions, especially Pordage’s, were comparatively moderate. Far otherwise was Shadwell’s Medal of John Bayes, one of the most brutal and indecent pieces in the language. D.’s revenge — and an ample one — was the publication of MacFlecknoe, a satire in which all his opponents, but especially Shadwell, were held up to the loathing and ridicule of succeeding ages, and others had conferred, upon them an immortality which, however unenviable, no efforts of their own could have secured for them. Its immediate effect was to crush and silence all his assailants. The following year, 1683, saw the publication of Religio Laici (the religion of a layman). In 1686 D. joined the Church of Rome, for which he has by some been blamed for time-serving of the basest kind. On the other hand his consistency and conscientiousness have by others been as strongly maintained. The change, which was announced by the publication, in 1687 of The Hind and the Panther, a Defence of the Roman Church, at all events did not bring with it any worldly advantages. It was parodied by C. Montague and Prior in the Town and Country Mouse. At the Revolution D. was deprived of all his pensions and appointments, including the Laureateship, in which he was succeeded by his old enemy Shadwell. His latter years were passed in comparative poverty, although the Earl of Dorset and other old friends contributed by their liberality to lighten his cares. In these circumstances he turned again to the drama, which, however, was no longer what it had been as a source of income. To this period belong Don Sebastian, and his last play, Love Triumphant. A new mine, however, was beginning to be opened up in the demand for translations which had arisen. This gave D. a new opportunity, and he produced, in addition to translations from Juvenal and Perseus, his famous “Virgil” (1697). About the same time appeared The Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, and Alexander’s Feast, and in 1700, the year of his death, the Fables, largely adaptations from Chaucer and Boccaccio. In his own line, that of argument, satire, and declamation, D. is without a rival in our literature: he had little creative imagination and no pathos. His dramas, which in bulk are the greatest part of his work, add almost nothing to his fame; in them he was meeting a public demand, not following the native bent of his genius. In his satires, and in such poems as Alexander’s Feast, he rises to the highest point of his powers in a verse swift and heart-stirring. In prose his style is clear, strong, and nervous. He seems to have been almost insensible to the beauty of Nature.
Summary. — Born 1631, ed. Westminster and Cambridge, became prolific playwright, published Annus Mirabilis c. 1666, Poet Laureate 1667, published Absalom and Achitophel (part 1) 1681, Medal 1682, MacFlecknoe 1682, Religio Laici 1683, joined Church of Rome 1686, published Hind and Panther 1687, deprived of offices and pensions at Revolution 1688, published translations including “Virgil” 1697, St. Cecilia’s Day and Alexander’s Feast c. 1697, and Fables 1700, when he died
Sir W. Scott’s ed. with Life 1808, re-edited in 18 vols. by Prof. Saintsbury (1883–93); Aldine ed. (5 vols., 1892), Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, etc.
Duff, Sir Mountstuart E. Grant (1829–1906). — Miscellaneous writer, was M.P. for the Elgin Burghs, and Lieut.-Governor of Madras. He published Studies of European Politics, books on Sir H. Maine, Lord de Tabley, and Renan, and a series of Notes from a Diary, perhaps his most interesting work.
Dufferin, Helen Selena (Sheridan), Countess of (1807–1867). — Eldest daughter of Tom S., grand-daughter of Richard Brinsley S. (q.v.), and sister of Mrs. Norton (q.v.). She and her two sisters were known as “the three Graces,” the third being the Duchess of Somerset. She shared in the family talent, and wrote a good deal of verse, her best known piece being perhaps The Lament of the Irish Emigrant, beginning “I’m sittin’ on the stile, Mary.” She also wrote Lispings from Low Latitudes, or Extracts from the Journal of the Hon. Impulsia Gushington, Finesse, or a Busy Day at Messina, etc.
Duffy, Sir Charles Gavan (1816–1903). — Poet, born in Monaghan, early took to journalism, and became one of the founders of the Nature newspaper, and one of the leaders of the Young Ireland movement. Thereafter he went to Australia, where he became a leading politician, and rose to be Premier of Victoria. His later years were spent chiefly on the Continent. He did much to stimulate in Ireland a taste for the national history and literature, started The Library of Ireland, and made a collection, The Ballad Poetry of Ireland, which was a great success. He also published an autobiography, My Life in Two Hemispheres.
Dugdale, Sir William (1605–1686). — Herald and antiquary, was born at Coleshill, Warwickshire, and ed. at Coventry School. From early youth he showed a strong bent towards heraldic and antiquarian studies, which led to his appointment, in 1638, as a Pursuivant-extraordinary, from which he rose to be Garter–King-at-Arms. In 1655, jointly with Roger Dodsworth, he brought out the first vol. of Monasticon Anglicanum (the second following in 1661, and the third in 1673), containing the charters of the ancient monasteries. In 1656 he published the Antiquities of Warwickshire, which maintains a high place among county histories, and in 1666 Origines Judiciales. His great work, The Baronage of England, appeared in 1675–6. Other works were a History of Imbanking and Drayning, and a History of St. Paul’s Cathedral. All D.’s writings are monuments of learning and patient investigation.
Du Maurier, George Louis Palmella Busson (1834–1896). — Artist and novelist, born and ed. in Paris, in 1864 succeeded John Leech on the staff of Punch. His three novels, Peter Ibbetson (1891), Trilby (1894), and The Martian (1896), originally appeared in Harper’s Magazine.
Dunbar, William (1465?-1530?). — Poet, is believed to have been born in Lothian, and ed. at St. Andrews, and in his earlier days he was a Franciscan friar. Thereafter he appears to have been employed by James IV. in some Court and political matters. His chief poems are The Thrissil and the Rois (The Thistle and the Rose) (1503), The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins, a powerful satire, The Golden Targe, an allegory, and The Lament for the Makaris (poets) (c. 1507). In all these there is a vein of true poetry. In his allegorical poems he follows Chaucer in his setting, and is thus more or less imitative and conventional: in his satirical pieces, and in the Lament, he takes a bolder flight and shows his native power. His comic poems are somewhat gross. The date and circumstances of his death are uncertain, some holding that he fell at Flodden, others that he was alive so late as 1530. Other works are The Merle and The Nightingale, and the Flyting (scolding) of Dunbar and Kennedy. Mr. Gosse calls D. “the largest figure in English literature between Chaucer and Spenser.” He has bright strength, swiftness, humour, and pathos, and his descriptive touch is vivid and full of colour.
Dunlop, John Colin (c. 1785–1842). — Historian, son of a Lord Provost of Glasgow, where and at Edinburgh he was ed., was called to the Bar in 1807, and became Sheriff of Renfrewshire. He wrote a History of Fiction (1814), a History of Roman Literature to the Augustan Age (1823–28), and Memoirs of Spain during the Reigns of Philip IV. and Charles II. (1834). He also made translations from the Latin Anthology.
Duns, Scotus Johannes (1265?-1308?). — Schoolman. The dates of his birth and death and the place of his birth are alike doubtful. He may have been at Oxford, is said to have been a regent or prof. at Paris, and was a Franciscan. He was a man of extraordinary learning, and received the sobriquet of Doctor Subtilis. Among his many works on logic and theology are a philosophic grammar, and a work on metaphysics, De Rerum Principio (of the beginning of things). His great opponent was Thomas Aquinas, and schoolmen of the day were divided into Scotists and Thomists, or realists and nominalists.
D’urfey, Thomas (1653–1723). — Dramatist and song-writer, was a well-known man-about-town, a companion of Charles II., and lived on to the reign of George I. His plays are now forgotten, and he is best known in connection with a collection of songs entitled, Pills to Purge Melancholy. Addison describes him as a “diverting companion,” and “a cheerful, honest, good-natured man.” His writings are nevertheless extremely gross. His plays include Siege of Memphis (1676), Madame Fickle (1677), Virtuous Wife (1680), and The Campaigners (1698).
Dwight, Timothy (1752–1817). — Theologian and poet, born at Northampton, Mass., was a grandson of Jonathan Edwards, became a Congregationalist minister, Prof. of Divinity, and latterly Pres. of Yale. His works include, besides theological treatises and sermons, the following poems, America (1772), The Conquest of Canaan (1785), and The Triumph of Infidelity, a satire, admired in their day, but now unreadable.
Dyce, Alexander (1798–1869). — Scholar and critic, son of Lieut.-General Alexander D., was born in Edinburgh, and ed. there and at Oxford He took orders, and for a short time served in two country curacies. Then, leaving the Church and settling in London, he betook himself to his life-work of ed. the English dramatists. His first work, Specimens of British Poetesses, appeared in 1825; and thereafter at various intervals ed. of Collins’s Poems, and the dramatic works of Peele, Middleton, Beaumont and Fletcher, Marlowe, Greene, Webster, and others. His great ed. of Shakespeare in 9 vols. appeared in 1857. He also ed. various works for the Camden Society, and published Table Talk of Samuel Rogers. All D.’s work is marked by varied and accurate learning, minute research, and solid judgment.
Dyer, Sir Edward (1545?-1607). — Poet, born at Sharpham Park, Somerset, and ed. at Oxford, was introduced to the Court by the Earl of Leicester, and sent on a mission to Denmark, 1589. He was in 1596 made Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, and knighted. In his own day he had a reputation for his elegies among such judges as Sidney and Puttenham. For a long time there was doubt as to what poems were to be attributed to him, but about a dozen pieces have now been apparently identified as his. The best known is that on contentment beginning, “My mind to me a kingdom is.”
Dyer, John (1700–1758). — Poet, was born in Caermarthenshire. In his early years he studied painting, but finding that he was not likely to attain a satisfactory measure of success, entered the Church. He has a definite, if a modest, place in literature as the author of three poems, Grongar Hill (1727), The Ruins of Rome (1740), and The Fleece (1757). The first of these is the best, and the best known, and contains much true natural description; but all have passages of considerable poetical merit, delicacy and precision of phrase being their most noticeable characteristic. Wordsworth had a high opinion of D. as a poet, and addressed a sonnet to him.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:53