1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Wilkie

Alexander Campbell, in Introduction to the History of Poetry in Scotland (1798) 230.



WILLIAM WILKIE, D. D. the distinguished author of the EPIGONIAD, an epic poem of singular merit, was born on the 5th October, 1721, in the parish of Dalmeny, about ten miles west of Edinburgh, in Linlithgowshire, and died where he had resided the last thirteen years of his life, as Professor of Natural Philosophy, in the university of St. Andrews, on the 10th October, 1771, aged 51 years and 5 five days. To that of an able teacher, he joined the professions of an agriculturalist and a poet; moreover, he was a diligent preacher of the gospel, and while exercising the functions of a clergyman, he neither neglected the occupation of the plough, nor the inspiration of the muse. "His Epigoniad (says Dr. Anderson) had he written nothing else, is sufficient to entitle him to an honourable rank among the poets of our nation, with whom he is now associated. It is a legitimate epic poem, of the same species of composition with the Iliad and the Aeneid, which is universally allowed to be, of all poetical works, the most dignified, and at the same time, the most difficult in execution."