1845 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Jerome Stone

William Anderson, in Scottish Biographical Dictionary (1845) 706-07.



Jerome Stone, a self-taught scholar and poet, the son of a mariner, was born, in 1727, in the parish of Scoonie, in Fifeshire. His father died when abroad when he was but three years of age, leaving his mother in very straightened circumstances, and he received such common education as the parish school afforded. He was at first nothing more than a travelling chapman or pedlar, but afterwards his love of books induced him to become an itinerant bookseller, that he might have an opportunity of reading. He studied Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and, with scarcely any assistance, made himself proficient in them all. The Professors at St. Andrews having heard of his remarkable acquirements, liberally allowed him free access to their lectures. He attended the Sessions regularly, and soon came to be distinguished among the students for his proficiency in almost every branch of learning. He subsequently obtained the situation of assistant to the Rector of the grammar-school of Dunkeld, and, in three years after, the Rectorship itself. Having acquired a knowledge of the Gaelic language, he was so much charmed with the Gaelic poetry, that he translated several pieces into English, and sent his versions to the Scots Magazine, in which they appeared chiefly during the years 1752, 1755, and 1756. He now commenced a work of great labour and ingenuity, entitled An Enquiry into the Origin of the Nation and Language of the ancient Scots, with Conjectures respecting the primitive State of the Celtic and other European Nations, which he did not live to complete. He died of a fever in 1757, in the thirtieth year of his age, leaving in manuscript an allegory, The Immortality of Authors, which was published after his death, and has often been reprinted.