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  VI:
Supplement
148LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
1

  Mitchell, Joseph, [note] was “one of a club of small wits who, about 1719, published (at Edinburgh) a very
POETS — SUPPLEMENT.149
poor miscellany, to which Dr. Young, [note] the author of the Night Thoughts, prefixed a copy of verses.” Mr. Ramsay of Ochtertyre. [note] He came afterwards to London, and was patronized by the Earl of Stair [note] and Sir Robert Walpole; [note] by the latter so particularly, that he got the name of “Sir Robert Walpole's poet.” He might have become affluent, but giving himself up to dissipation, lived in a state of constant distress. “The Fatal Extravagance,” a Tragedy, which was originally acted and published in Mitchell's name, was written by Aaron Hill, [note] and made a present of by him to Mitchell, in order that, with the profits of it, he might relieve himself from some pecuniary difficulty. Mitchell was ingenuous enough to be himself the first to undeceive the public. The “Highland Fair,” a ballad opera, brought out in 1731, was his own composition, and is in a better vein of humour than any of his other pieces. Among Burns' MSS. there was found a memorandum, stating that “Pinky House” was “by J. Mitchell. ” “He seems,” says Cibber, [note] “to have been a poet of the third rate.” Of his critical judgement there is a curious anecdote recorded. As soon as Thomson published his Winter, he presented a copy to Mitchell, who gave him his opinion of it in the following couplet;

“Beauties and faults so thick lie scatter'd here,
Those I could read, if these were not so near.”
2

Thomson replied—

“Why all not faults, injurious Mitchell! why
Appears one beauty to thy blasted eye?
150LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Damnation worse than thine, if worse can be,
Is all I ask, and all I want from thee.”
3

On a friend's remarking to Thomson that the expression of blasted eye would look like a personal reflection, as Mitchell really had that misfortune, he made an awkward change of the epithet into blasting. A collection of Mitchell's poems, in two volumes, was published in 1729.