1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. David Macbeth Moir

Robert Carruthers, in Chambers's Cyclopaedia of English Literature, 3rd ed. (1876; 1879) 7:53-54.



Under the signature of the Greek letter Delta, David Macbeth Moir (1798-1851) was a large poetical contributor to Blackwood's Magazine. His best pieces are grave and tender, but he also wrote some lively jeux d'esprit, and a humorous Scottish tale, The Autobiography of Mansie Wauch, which was published in one volume in 1828. His other works are: The Legend of Genevieve, with other Tales and Poems, 1824; Outlines of the Ancient History of Medicine, 1831; Domestic Verses, 1843; and Sketches of the Poetical Literature of the Past Half Century, 1851. His Poetical Works, edited by Thomas Aird — who prefixed to the collection an excellent memoir of the poet — were published in two volumes in 1852. Mr Moir practised as a surgeon in his native town of Musselburgh, beloved by all who knew him. Of his poetry, Mr. Aird says: "In Delta's earlier strains there are generally fancy, and feeling, and musical rhythm, but not much thought. His love of poetry, however, never suffered abatement, and as 'a maker,' he was improving to the very last. To unfaded freshness of heart he was improving to the very last. To unfaded freshness of heart he was adding riper thought: such was one of the prime blessings of his pure nature and life. Reserve and patience were what he wanted, in order to be a greater name in song than he is."