Michael Bruce was a weaver's son who with the assistance of his neighbors was educated at Edinburgh University. He taught school briefly before dying of consumption at an early age. Bruce was brought to public notice by a 1779 essay in Henry Mackenzie's journal, The Mirror, that somewhat misleadingly represented the poet as an untutored genius. Bruce's poems were frequently reprinted throughout the nineteenth century; several were claimed by his editor, John Logan.
Poems on several occasions, ed. J Logan. 1770.
The Buchanshire tragedy: or Sir James the Ross. 1776.
Sir James, the Ross, an heroic Scottish ballad. 1796.
Poetical works, ed. Thomas Park. 1808.
Lochleven and other poems, ed. W. Macklevie. 1837.
Poems on several occasions, ed. A. B. Grosart. 1865.
Life and complete works, ed. James Mackenzie. 1914
Life and complete works, ed. J. G. Barnet. 1927.