1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hamilton of Bangour

Alexander Campbell, in Introduction to the History of Poetry in Scotland (1798) 194-95.



Hamilton of Bangour was born in 17—. Educated on the lap of ease, and affluence, he very early shewed a propensity to polite learning. We find him so early as 1719 the correspondent of Ramsay, when he was a lieutenant in Lord Hyndford's regiment; and again, embellishing the Gentle Shepherd of his friend, with a complimentary set of verses presented to the Countess of Eglington in 1720 soon after it was first printed.

Propitious here, and, as thou hear'st, approve
The GENTLE SHEPHERD'S tender tale of love.
Learn from these scenes what warm and glowing fires,
Inflame the breast that real love inspires,
Delighted read of ardours, sighs, and tears;
All that a lover hopes, and all he fears;
Hence too, what passions in his bosom rise,
What dawning gladness sparkles in his eyes,
When first the fair is bounteous to relent,
And blushing beauteous, smiles the kind consent.
Love's passion here in each extreme is shown,
In Charlot's smile, or in Maria's frown.

It is a matter of real regret, that so little is recorded of this accomplished, and amiable man; and that little, so indistinctly set down, as rather to mislead, than inform. It is said, he was twice married. By his first Lady, the daughter of Sir James Hall Bart. he had a son, an only child, who succeeded him in his estate on the event of his death, which took place at Lyons where he had gone for the recovery of his health, on the 25th of March 1754. His body was brought hence to Scotland, and laid in the Abbey church of Holy rood-house.

The poems of Hamilton, both in the Scotish, and English dialects, are sterling compositions. They have their faults, and many too; but to compensate for those, they possess beauties, that balance the exceptionable part, and greatly preponderate on the side of excellence.