Volume IV  Issue 1 February - March 1999 free

John Dunton  



by John Dunton

(An Afterward by Michael L. Dunton)

FAIN would the Graver here my Picture place,
But I myself have drawn my truer face:
Reader, behold my Visage in my Book;`
My true Idea most exactly took.
My very soul may naked here be seen,

Both what I was, and what I should have been.
The Graver’s skill my pen and thoughts supply;
They know the best, my Physiognomy,
And best can draw the lines which inward lie.
On murther’d brass-plate when some Author lies,
If not already so, ‘t is two to one he dies.
Thus slain and butcher’d lies the fam’d De Foe;
‘T is too unkind to serve the poor Dunton so.
Thus brazen lines the recreant Fuller bear;
‘T is double glaz’d, for brass was Nature there.
My Book’s my Picture; there’s my living face;
And speaking tears the image of my case.
My soul undress’d stands there in open view;
By Nature, sinful; by Devotion, new.
There all the Shifting Scenes of life appear;
There stand my blushing Errors. Ah, beware!
Dear-bought experience you may cheaply share.
The vast terraqueous Globe I’ve rambled o’er,
But in myself retir’d discovere’d more.
You, whose great Characters I here present,
Be witness that Dunton does repent,
And here does stand in sheets for punishment.
But, since so many Pictures I have shewn,
Mine ( by a privilege) should be unknown.
‘T is handsome men may tell those fops they curse,
Their pretty phiz is join’d unto their verse.
I love to know the inside of a man,
Let who will gaze o’ th’ Shadow of him then.
For sometimes does a very dolt appear,
In shew, a very learn’d Philosopher.
But, since grav’d Pictures please the eyes of men,
Perhaps I’ll fit them when I write again.
But now my Speaking Picture must relate
All those fine things describ’d in copper-plate.
It also speaks to shew the child unborn
What I would be would my past age return.
Athens ( for ages past) I did revive;
Could I lost years restore, just thus I’d live.
Had I the choice of flesh and blood again,
I ne’er would stand to plot behind the scene,
But bravely act the man I should have been.
But, though I weep and mourn for what’s amiss,
With tears that represent my Inward Phiz;
Yet could old Time unweave my sins and age
(That I might live just as I here engage),
My love to my dear Wife, and to my Friend,
I neither do repent, nor need amend.
But for those Errors I do here confess,
I would so mend and alter all the Press,
That both my Person, and my Picture too,
Should now no longer live incognito.
Thus does my Speaking Picture conquer Death,|
‘T was but a dead face, Art could here bequeath,
Look on the following Leaves, and see me breathe.
Nor could the Limner draw my Picture here,
For Ego non sum Ego, that is clear;
And none can draw what is, and is not here.
But when I live the same, by acting new,
Then to be known, I’ll put my face in view.
Dissected thus, I stand a living Martyr grown.
Come, read my Errors, and reform your own.

John Dunton

For more information about the man, writer, and bookseller, John Dunton (1659 - 1733), refer to articles written in this newspaper [June-July 1997] as well as at the John Dunton Homepage.

The above "word painting" was written by John Dunton in 1705 prior to the time that the included portrait was actually engraved.

The text was transcribed from a 1969 reprint of an 1818 publication entitled "The Life and Errors of John Dunton".

Although out of print, copies can be found in circulation.  I found my copy at a local used book store but also saw one on the Internet.

The average person (myself included :) will tend to find his writing laborious to read.  This is mainly due to time period specific word definitions, slang, and social reference points that all have to be looked up to understand the prose.

I find his writing quite good, witty, and very direct.  As a man, I believe that I would have enjoyed conversing with him.

Michael Dunton

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Born on January 7, to Andrew and Jeanne Dunton, and joining brother Matthew,   Sarah Jessica.  Submitted by proud Grandpa Millard G. Dunton.

Published --  David Dunton of Jersey City, NJ writes:

"I wanted to let you know I'm doing my part to spread the Dunton name -- I got a book deal for my idea about what husbands or partners can do to help the pregnant person in their life, and it's getting published this week. What You Can Do for Her When She's Expecting, by David Dunton, illustrations by Harry Trumbore; the publisher is Renaissance Books, and if you want to find it at a store and they (gasp!) don't have it, the ISBN is 1-58063-055-3. It's a little trade paperback, priced at $9.95. All the on-line 'Webstores' are offering it too, and at a discount. And if all else fails, the publisher will sell you a copy directly if you call 800-452-5589."

Dunton Businesses -- This will be a new section.  If you have a new venture (or an old established one for that matter) that is not offensive in nature, email us and tell us about it.  We may feature it in an upcoming issue.

The Victory Seed Company - Owned by Mike & Denise Dunton is online at http://www.VictorySeeds.com offering high quality, open-pollinated and heirloom (non-hybrid) vegetable, herb, and flower seeds.

Family-related Resources Available

Last month I referred to a body of work that has been made available by The Westport (Maine) Community Association.   For those Dunton cousins who have common ancestry with Timothy Dunton, a pioneer of Westport, Maine, this book will be of interest.  "Family Records of Westport", by Bea Harriman, has been printed in softcover and comb-bound, and offered at the price of $23 plus $2 to cover book rate shipping.  The check should be made out to The Westport Community Association, c/o Phyllis Siebert, 42 West Shore Road, Westport, Maine  04578.  You can email Phyllis at  bhchef1@gwi.net for more details.

"Life On The Farm"

Being a brief regular accounting of the events from life on the Victor Hugo Dunton farmstead in Oregon

It has been a really interesting Winter so far.  I would generally classify it as mild.  For the maritime Pacific Northwest, it has probably been a bit wetter and colder than usual, but very tolerable so far.

We had one bout with temperatures in the teens, but other than the extra work mentioned in the last newsletter, we only had one above ground faucet pipe freeze and rupture.

I have written in the past about time (or the lack there of) and that I tend to stretch it very thin.  My genealogical work will be again taking a back burner to several other projects that are a bit more immediate in need.

We have decided to create and operate a new business entity that the whole family can help with and that can be run from our farm.  As mentioned above, we have created The Victory Seed Company.

We are specializing in non-hybrid or open-pollinated and heirloom seed varieties.  Please visit us at:


 Victory Seed Company

It is getting really close to the time when we start plants for transplanting after the last frost and we are busy trying to figure out or goals and objectives for this gardening year.

Please continue to send your family updates and news articles . . . I will try and keep those things up to date.  Please forgive me if I am a bit slow at replying to email.  It is not because I don't care.

 Mike Dunton - 1/31/99 -- Edited 2/28/99

If you have an interesting story that you'd like to share, PLEASE submit it.

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