1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Alves

Joseph Robertson, in Lives of Scottish Poets (1821-22) 6:91-92.



ROBERT ALVES was born at Elgin in 1745. He was educated at Aberdeen, and, in 1766, took the degree of M.A. He was designed for the church, but, from want of patronage or of talents sufficiently popular, sunk into the situation of a parochial teacher, first at Deskford, and afterwards at Banff. In 1779, he removed to Edinburgh, where he subsisted for several years by teaching the Greek, Latin, French, and Italian languages. In 1782, he sent to the London Press a volume of Miscellaneous Poems, which met with such success as encouraged him to produce a second in 1789, entitled, Edinburgh, a poem, in two parts; also, the Weeping Bard, in sixteen cantos. In these works much genius is not to be discovered; but they bear the impression of a cultivated mind, and much poetical susceptibility. The author complains of a "wayward fate;" and it is not to be estimated how far that may have cramped his efforts to excel. In 1784, he began a work, entitled, Sketches of a History of Literature, and it was in the press when he died, on the 1st of January, 1794. It was afterwards published by his friend, the late Dr. Alexander Chapman. The plan of this work is excellent, but it is extremely inaccurate in its details.