ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

(1700-1748)


The son of a clergyman, James Thomson attended Jedburgh Grammar School and Edinburgh University before removing to London in 1725. He worked briefly as a tutor before making his reputation as a poet with The Seasons (1726-30), one of the most popular poems of the century. With David Mallet he wrote a masque, Alfred, which contains Thomson's best-known composition, "Rule Britannia." In the 1730s Thomson was a leading literary figure among the Patriot writers opposing Robert Walpole's Court Whigs.


TEXT RECORDS:

1726Winter. A Poem.
1744[Salute to Spenser in The Seasons.]
1748The Castle of Indolence.
1748The Castle of Indolence. Canto II.
1748The Castle of Indolence: Advertisement.
1748 ca.[Additional Stanza for the Castle of Indolence]

PUBLICATIONS:

Winter: a poem. 1726.
Summer: a poem. 1727.
A poem sacred to the memory of Sir Isaac Newton. 1727.
Spring: a poem. 1728.
Britannia. A poem. 1729.
A poem to the memory of Mr Congreve. 1729.
The tragedy of Sophinisba. 1730.
The seasons. 1730.
Liberty, a poem. 1735-38.
Works. 2 vols, 1736, 1744; 3 vols, 1749
A poem to the memory of the right honourable the Lord Talbot. 1737.
Agamemnon. A tragedy. 1738.
Areopagitica ... with a preface by another hand [Thomson]. 1738.
Edward and Eleonora. A tragedy. 1739.
Alfred: a masque [with David Mallet]. 1740.
Tancred and Sigismunda. A tragedy. 1745.
The castle of indolence: an allegorical poem. 1748.
Coriolanus. A tragedy. 1749.
Poems on several occasions. 1750.
Works, ed. George Lyttelton. 4 vols, 1750.
Works, ed. Patrick Murdoch. 4 vols, 1766.
Works. 3 vols, 1802.
The castle of indolence and other poems, ed. H. D. Roberts. 2 vols, 1906.
Complete poetical works, ed. J. Logie Robertson. 1908.
Letters and documents, ed. Alan D. McKillop. 1958.