1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Andrew Macdonald

Anonymous, Obituary in Gentleman's Magazine 60 (August, September 1790) 770, 857.



At his lodgings in Kentish-town, Mr. Andrew M'Donald, author of the tragedy of Vimonda, represented last season at the Haymarket Theatre, and of many lively, satirical, and humorous compositions, which have appeared under the signature of Matthew Bramble. He possessed a brilliant and fertile imagination, an original turn of humour, and a mind abundantly stored with scientific and classical knowledge. He was deeply conversant with the best authors of antiquity, and very well acquainted with the writings of the English poets, particularly Shakspeare, of whose works he never spoke without the enthusiasm of admiration. In his temper he was remarkably placid and unoffending, though capable of every manly emotion. For want of connexions in this kingdom, and proper opportunity to force his talents into notice, he struggled with great distress, and in the 33d year of his life fell a victim to a lingering infirmity, which may, perhaps, be more imputable to the hardships of his condition than to any constitutional defect. He has left a wife and infant daughter in a state of extreme indigence....

The late Mr. Andrew M'Donald was born at Leith, and his original name was Donald, which he altered upon coming to London. His father was a very worthy, honest man, by trade a gardener, well remembered at this day by many of the inhabitants of the port (George Donald by name). From principle a friend to the Stuart family, the father soon introduced his son to Bishop Forbes, of Leith, a gentleman whose abilities and integrity were only equalled by his warm attachment to an unfortunate family. Young Donald discovered early to the Bishop a genius above mediocrity; and the Bishop contributed, both by advice and assistance, to procure him a liberal education. Retaining the prejudices of his father, Mr. Donald first took charge of an unqualified chapel at Glasgow; an appointment which he soon afterwards resigned, and with it all predilection for the old interest. In that city he made his maiden essay in the Novel style, by the publication of The Independent.