Lives of
Scottish Poets
edited by
DAVID HILL RADCLIFFE

Center for Applied Technologies
in the Humanities


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Literary Chronicle
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Notes and Queries
Gibson and Laing
Halkett and Laing
Scottish Notes & Queries

Part I. (Volume I.)
Front-matter
James the First
Thomas the Rhymer
John Barbour
Andrew Wyntoun
Gavin Douglas
Allan Ramsay
William Meston
John Home
James Beattie
Robert Burns

Part II. (Volume I.)
Front-matter
James the Fifth
William Dunbar
Sir James Inglis
Henry the Minstrel
Sir David Lyndsay
Alexander Barclay
Alexander Montgomerie
William Alexander
William Drummond
James Thomson
John Oswald

Part III. (Volume II.)
Front-matter
James the Sixth
Sir Richard Maitland
Arthur Johnston
Hamilton of Bangour
Hamilton of Gilbertfield
Samuel Colvil
Alexander Ross
John Armstrong
John Ogilvie
James Macpherson
Charles Salmon

Part IV. (Volume II.)
Front-matter
Alexander Hume
John Bellenden
Mark Alexander Boyd
Ninian Paterson
William Wilkie
Robert Fergusson
William Julius Mickle
Alexander Geddes
James Grahame

Part V. (Volume III.)
Front-matter
Robert Henryson
Alexander Scott
Walter Kennedy
John Ogilby
Alexander Pennecuik
Alexander Cunningham
David Mallet
William Falconer
Francis Garden
Robert Blair
James Moor
James Graeme
Caleb Whitefoord
James Grainger
Hector Macneill
John Wilson

Part VI. (Volume III.)
Front-matter
Robert Kerr
Richard Lord Maitland
Thomas Hamilton
Charles Hamilton
Michael Bruce
Thomas Blacklock
John Logan
Andrew Macdonald
James Mercer

Appendix. (Volume III.)
James I
Allan Ramsay
John Home
Robert Burns
William Drummond
Robert Fergusson
Alexander Scott
John Wilson
Index
Corrections

Part  III:
HAMILTON OF GILBERTFIELD
98LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
HAMILTON OF GILBERTFIELD.

1

The name of Hamilton of Gilbertfield [note] has suffered in celebrity from its similarity to that of a greater poet; but, if not illustrated by works of such merit as those of Hamilton of Bangour, it is connected with productions of too much merit to justify a slight regard. A writer, whose strains could inspire an Allan Ramsay with emulation, could not have been of a class doomed to he forgotten. Oblivion will be kind to him on this account alone, as Sir Walter Raleigh [note] beautifully tells us she has been to the adorer of Laura;

2

Mr. Hamilton, of Gilbertfleld, was the son of Hamilton of Ladylands. He entered the army early in life; but, after considerable service, returned to his paternal home with no higher rank than that of a lieu-


* Raleigh [note] must of course he presumed to express somewhat hyperbolically his opinion of the Italian poet. The line occurs, I believe, in a set of verses in commendation of some very inferior poet, on whose appearance Oblivion is said to have performed this service for Petrarch. A. S.
POETS — HAMILTON OF GILBERTFIELD.99
tenant. His time was now divided between the sports of the field, the cultivation of several valued friendships with men of genius and taste, and the occasional production of some effusion of his own, in which the gentleman and the poet were alike conspicuous. His intimacy with the author of the Gentle Shepherd,
[note] three of his Epistles to whom are to be found in the common editions of Ramsay's works, commenced in an admiration, on Ramsay's part, of some pieces which had found their way into circulation from Hamilton's pen.

When I begoud first to con verse,
And cou'd your “Ardry whins” rehearse,
Where bony Heck ran fast and fierce,
It warm'd my breast;
Then emulation did me pierce,
Whilk since near ceast.
May I be licket wi' a bittle,
Gin of your numbers I think little,
Ye're never ragget, shan, nor kittle,
But blyth and gabby;
And bit the spirit to a tittle
Of standart Habby.
3

Towards the close of his life, Hamilton resided at Letterick, in the county of Lanark, and there he died at a very advanced age in 1751.

4

His principal productions are to be found in Watson's Choice Collection of Scots Poems. [note] One of these, an Elegy on Habbie Simpson, the piper of Kilbarchan, [note]
100LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
records a very poetic circumstance in the ancient manners of our country.

“———wha will cause our shearers shear?
Wha will bend up the brags of weir.”
5

It appears, that, in former times, it was the custom for a piper to play behind the reapers while at work; and to the poetical enthusiasm thus excited and kept alive, we are probably indebted for many of those airs and songs which have given Scotland so unrivalled a celebrity, while the authors of them remain as unknown as if they had never existed.

6

In 1722, Mr. Hamilton published an abridgement, in modern Scottish, of Henry the Minstrel's Life of Wallace; but it has not added any thing to his fame. Dr. Irving [note] has only recorded the general opinion, when he says, that it was “an injudicious and useless work.”

C. H.