Pitcairne, Archibald, M.D. [note] After the death of this celebrated physician, Ruddiman
[note] published a small volume entitled, “Selecta
Poëmata Archibaldi Pitcairnii et aliorum, &c.” The
publication was intended to refute a remark of Peter Burman,
[note] in his preface to his edition of Buchanan's
History, that the Latin Muses appeared to have deserted Scotland.
“But,” says Lord Woodhouselee, [note]
“the very attempt affords a demonstration of the truth of the proposition it was
meant to disprove, for the poems of Pitcairne comprise almost all
are of any merit in the volume; and even these, from the nature of
their subjects,—temporary political satire, (against the Revolution,) the
commemoration of local incidents, or allusions to private characters,—have none of
the requisites to found either a general or a permanent reputation.”—
Dr. Pitcairne wrote also a comedy called “The Assembly,” which was printed at London, in
1722. Mr. G. Chalmers [note] says it is “personal
and political, sarcastic and prophane, and never could have been acted on any
stage.” A pleasing specimen of his poetical powers occurs in Donaldson's [note]
collection, but is there said to be the work of “Walter Denestone,” a
nom-de-guerre which Dr. P. was in the habit of using. It is
Lamiarum Vestestus; a poem on the king and queen of Fairy.” It is in two
versions, Latin and English, and is in the following pleasing and fanciful strain.
|156||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
| No sooner was their King attyr'd, |
As never Prince had been,
But, as in duty was requir'd,
They next array their Queen.
| Of shining thread shut from the sun, |
And twisted into line,
On the light wheel of fortune spun,
Was made her smock so fine.
| Her gown was very colour'd fair; |
The rainbow gave the dip;
Perfumed by an amber air,
Breath'd from a Virgin's lip, &c.