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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

1860.

Bickman Bequest.

13

LONDON:
PRINTED BY C. WHITTINGHAM, TOOKS COURT.

MOONL 3246 32

MEMOIR OF BEATTIE,

BY THE

CV. ALEXANDER DYCE.

“ Heard

you

that Hermit's strain from Scotia borne, * For virtue lost, and ruin’d man I mourn ?' Who may forget thee, Beattie ? who supply The tale half-told of Edwin's minstrelsy?”

The Pursuits of Literature.

The subject of this memoir was born on the 25th of October, 1735, at Laurencekirk, in the county of Kincardine, Scotland. His father, James Beattie, who kept a small shop in the village at the same time that he rented a little farm in the neighbourhood, was a man of considerable talents and acquirements:* his mother, too, was distinguished for her abilities. Our author, James, was the youngest of the six children of this respectable pair.

After his father's decease, which happened when he was only seven years old, his mother,

“At his leisure hours he cultivated the muses. A jour. ual kept by him, as well as some specimens of his poetry, are still in the possession of his descendants. This last circumstance is the more worthy of being noticed, as it proves that Dr. Beattie derived his poetical turn from his father.”Bower's Life of Beattie, 1804, p. 2.

b

by means of the emoluments derived from the shop and the farm, was enabled to bring up her family in comfort. In the management of her affairs she was assisted by her eldest son, David, a youth of eighteen, who generously and affectionately relinquished all other pursuits for that of promoting her welfare and happiness, and who appears to have fostered his brothers and sisters with an almost parental care.

James was placed at the parish school of Laurencekirk, which was then in some repute, and of which, about forty years before, Ruddiman, the famous grammarian, had been the master. At this time he had access to few books, except those which the minister of the village (the Rev. Mr. Thomson) kindly lent him, and which he read with avidity. It was then that he first became acquainted with English versification in Ogilby's Virgil. Even then he was known among his schoolfellows by the name of the poet ; and sometimes he would rise from bed, during the night, that he might commit to writing any poetical idea that his fancy had happened to suggest.

In 1749 he began his academical career, at the Marischal College, Aberdeen :* and as his cir

* According to Bower, Beattie was supported at college by the generosity of his brother David, who accompanied him to Aberdeen, when he first quitted Laurencekirk to commence his course at the University. “ The peculiar mode of their conveyance to Aberdeen is a matter of very trifling moment. It may not be unacceptable to some, how

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