1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Wilson

William Clarke and Robert Shelton Mackenzie, in The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the most eminent Persons who have flourished in Great Britain (1832-34) 3:585.



JOHN WILSON, was born in the north of England about 1786; and being sent to complete his education at Magdalen College, Oxford, he gained the Newdigate prize for poetry, in 1806. After having graduated B.A. in 1807, and M.A. in 1810, he went to reside on his estate, near the Lake of Windermere, and there cultivated the muses with no ordinary devotion. In 1812, he published, at Edinburgh, his celebrated Isle of Palms, and other poems; a volume that at once placed him by the side of some of our most elegant modern poets. He was, some time after, appointed professor of moral philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, an office he still holds; and, in 1818, appeared his City of the Plague. He is, however, less celebrated for his poetry than for his connexion with Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, of which he is one of the most distinguished writers. Professor Wilson is a man of great learning and ability, possessing considerable judgment and powerful discrimination as a critic, and the information of a scholar with the taste and imagination of a poet. He is said to possess equal powers of mind and body; to use the single-stick with as much vigour as he does his pen; and to be fond of field sports, and the exercises of boxing and fencing.