« PreviousContinue »
With Life, Critical Dissertation, and
REV. GEORGE GILFILL A N.
D. APPLETON & CO., BROADWAY.
EDINBURGH: JAMES NICHIOL.
THE LIFE OF JAMES THOMSON,
INCLUDING A CRITICISM ON HIS POETRY.
JAMES THOMSON, the great author of the “Seasons," was the eldest son of the Rev. Thomas Thomson, minister of the parish of Ednam, Roxburghshire, and was born there on the 11th of September 1700. His father was of good birth, and seems to have been a man of excellent character and respectable talents. His mother was Beatrix Trotter, daughter and heiress to Mr Trotter of Fogo, a small estate in the neighbourhood of Greenlaw, Berwickshire. The year after the Poet's birth his father was translated to Southdean, near Jedburgh. Thomson was thus from his birth fortunately situated in point of scenery. He was brought up near the banks of the Tweed, the Teviot, and the Jed, in the neighbourhood of the ancient ruins of Jedburgh, Dryburgh, Kelso, and Melrose, and with the blue Cheviots bounding the horizon. It was a country, not only of beautiful landscapes, but teeming with romantic memories, and echoing with the songs afterwards destined to form the “Minstrelsy of the Border.” It was fit that Thomson, the finest describer of the sublimer glories of nature, should be born, and that Scott, the best painter of its more picturesque aspects, should be buried, in the centre of Scotland's richest and most varied scenery. Indeed, the Earl of Buchan assures us that it was in Dryburgh Abbey (where now the mighty minstrel slumbers) that Thomson first tuned his "Doric reed."