1855 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dugald Moore

Charles Rogers, in Modern Scottish Minstrel (1855-57) 4:147-48.



A poet of remarkable ingenuity and power, Dugald Moore was born in Stockwell Street, Glasgow, in 1805. His father, who was a private soldier in one of the Highland regiments, died early in life, leaving his mother in circumstances of poverty. From his mother's private tuition, he received the whole amount of his juvenile education. When a child he was sent to serve as a tobacco-boy for a small pittance of wages, and as a youth was received into the copper-printing branch of the establishment of Messrs James Lumsden and Son, booksellers, Queen Street. He very early began to write verses, and some of his compositions having attracted the notice of Mr Lumsden, senior, that benevolent gentleman afforded him every encouragement in the prosecution of his literary tastes. Through Mr Lumsden's personal exertions in procuring subscribers, he was enabled to lay before the public in 1829 a volume of poems entitled The African, a Tale and other Poems. Of this work a second edition was required in the following year, when he likewise gave to the world a second volume, with the title Scenes from the Flood; the Tenth Plague, and other Poems. The Bridal Night, and other Poems, a volume somewhat larger than its predecessors, appeared from his pen in 1831. The profits of these publications enabled him to commence on his own account as a bookseller and stationer in the city. His shop, No. 96 Queen Street, became the rendezvous of men of letters, and many of the influential families gave its occupant the benefit of their custom.

In 1833, Moore published The Bard of the North, a series of Poetical Tales, illustrative of Highland Scenery and Character; in 1835, The Hour of Retribution, and other Poems; and in 1839, The Devoted One, and other Poems. He died unmarried, after a brief illness, on the 2d January 1841, in his thirty-sixth year, leaving a competency for the support of his aged mother. Buried in the Necropolis of the city, a massive monument, surmounted by a bust, has been raised by his personal friends in tribute to his memory. Though slightly known to fame, Moore is entitled to rank among the most gifted of the modern national poets. Possessed of a vigorous conception, a lofty fancy, intense energy of feeling, and remarkable powers of versification, his poetry is everywhere impressed with the most decided indications of genius. He has chosen the grandest subjects, which he has adorned with the richest illustration, and an imagery copious and sublime. Had he occupied his Muse with themes less exalted, he might have enjoyed a wider temporary popularity; as it is, his poems will find admirers in future times.