The son of a clerk, Robert Fergusson was born in Edinburgh where he studied at the High School, and afterwards at St. Andrews (1765-68). He rejected a career in the clergy, finding employment as a law clerk. Fergusson's poems in the Scots dialect attracted universal admiration before his career was cut short by a head injury. The poet died in a public asylum, believed to be insane. Most of his poems first appeared in Walter Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, or Edinburgh Amusement (1768-73).
1772An Eclogue, to the Memory of Dr. William Wilkie.
1772Damon to his Friends. A Ballad.
1772The Simile: a Pastoral.
1773A Drink Eclogue.
1773A Poem to the Memory of John Cunningham.
1773Mutual Complaint of Plainstanes and Causey, in their Mother-tongue.
1773Tea. A Poem.
1773The Farmer's Ingle.
1773The Ghaists: a Kirk-yard Eclogue.
Poems on various subjects. 1779.
Poems, ed. James Gray. 1821.
Works, ed. A. B. Grosart. 1879.
Poetical works, ed. Matthew P. McDiarmid. 2 vols, 1954-56.