1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Glen

James Grant Wilson, in Poetry of Scotland (1876) 2:110-11.



WILLIAM GLEN, the author of Wae's me for Prince Charlie, perhaps the most popular and pathetic of modern Jacobite lyrics, was born at Glasgow, Nov. 14, 1789. His ancestors were for many generations persons of consideration in Renfrewshire. William received a good education, and on the organization of the Glasgow Volunteer Sharpshooters joined the corps as lieutenant. He entered upon a mercantile career, and was for some time a manufacturer in his native city, carrying on prosperous trade with the West Indies, where he resided for several years. In 1814 he was elected a manager of the Merchant's House of Glasgow and a director of the Chamber of Commerce. Soon after he met with several heavy losses, which caused his failure in business, which he never again resumed. His latter days were marked by the poet's too frequent lot — poverty and misfortune. During the last few years of his short life he spent his summers with relations of Mrs. Glen residing at Rainagour, in the parish of Aberfoyle, and received pecuniary assistance from an uncle living in Russia. He died of consumption in his native city, December, 1826, and the Editor's father was one of the few friends of the unfortunate poet who followed his remains to their last resting-place in God's acre.

In 1815 Glen published a small volume of verses, entitled Poems, chiefly Lyrical. The lovers of Scottish minstrelsy will rejoice to learn that a large number of unpublished songs and poems which he left behind him in MS. are soon to be issued, together with a memoir of the bard by the editor the Rev. Dr. Rogers, and a narrative, written by a lady, of the interesting educational work carried on at Aberfoyle for many years by the widow and daughter of Glen.