William Wilkie, the "Scottish Homer," was the son of a small farmer. He was educated at Edinburgh University, though upon taking his degree he returned to farming before becoming minister of Ratho, in which position he attracted the patronage to become professor of natural philosophy at St. Andrews University (1759). Wilkie's Epigoniad (1757), a modern attempt at epic poetry, was praised by David Hume and condemned by about everyone else. Wilkie's rustic habits and eccentricities attracted the notice of his contemporaries and Robert Fergusson wrote a fine elegy for his former teacher.
The epigoniad: a poem. 1757, 1769.
Fables in verse. 1768.
Dante's Divina commedia, the inferno, translated. 1866.