David Mallet (Malloch ) ~ Poet and Songwriter

David Mallet (Malloch): Born near Crieff around 1705, David Mallet, a farmer’s son rose from being janitor of Edinburgh High School to an acclaimed poet and songwriter; though a less than successful playwright. He attended St. Andrews University whence he became a tutor (1720) and gained employment as such to the children of the Duke of Montrose (1723 to 1731). During this time in London, he anglicized his name from the Scottish Malloch to Mallet. Amongst his body of work are the poems:

William and Margaret (1723)

The Excursion (1728)

The (tragedies) plays:

Eurydice (1731)

Mutapha (1739)

Alfred, a Masque (1740)

Elvira (1763)

From Alfred, a Masque, which David Mallet co-wrote with another Scottish poet James Thomson (1700-48) came the song Rule Britannia.

Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame,All their attempts to bend thee downWill but arouse thy generous flame;But work their woe, and thy renown.

Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves:Britons never will be slaves.

(sung to a variation for piano by Beethoven WOO 79)

His writing can be found in Ballads and Songs by Dinsdale (1857), a book which also includes a biography of James Mallet. In 1754, James Mallet also edited and published the works of the English statesman and polemicist, Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751). James Mallet died in 1765.

Note: A masque is a courtly show or pageant that includes music, acting, dancing and singing often set with an elaborate staging.