1859 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dugald Moore

William Anderson, in Scottish Nation (1859-66) 7:199-200.



Dugald Moore, a minor self-taught poet, was born in Stockwell-street, Glasgow, in August 1805. His father was a soldier in a Highland regiment, but died early in life, leaving his mother in almost destitute circumstances. While yet a mere child, Dugald was sent to serve as a tobacco-boy in a tobacco-spinning establishment in his native city; an occupation at which very young boys are often employed, at a paltry pittance, before they are big enough to be apprenticed to other trades. He was taught to read chiefly by his mother, and any education which he received at schools was of the most trifling description. As he grew up, he was sent to the establishment of Messr. Lumsden and Son, booksellers, Queen Street, Glasgow, to learn the business of a copper-plate pressman. Here he was much employed in colouring maps. His poetical genius early developed itself, and long before it was suspected by those around him, he had blackened whole quires of paper with his effusions. Dugald found his first patron in his employer, Mr. James Lumsden, afterwards provost of Glasgow, who exerted himself successfully in securing for his first publications a long list of subscribers among the respectable classes of Glasgow. This work was entitled The African and other Poems, and appeared in 1829. In the following year Dugald published another volume, entitled Scenes from the Flood, the Tenth Plague, and other Poems; and in 1831 he produced a volume larger and more elegant than the previous ones, entitled The Bridal Night, the First Poet, and other Poems. The success of these several publications enabled their author to set up as a bookseller and stationer in his native city, where he acquired a good business. Dugald, indeed, may be cited as one of the few poets whose love of the Muses, so far from injuring his business, absolutely established and promoted it. In 1833 he 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. This completes the list of his publications, six in number; but when it is considered that each was of considerable size, and contained a great number of pieces, it will be at once acknowledged that his muse was in no ordinary degree prolific. Most of his productions are marked by strength of conception, copiousness of imagery, and facility of versification. Dugald Moore died, after a short illness, of inflammation, January 2, 1841, while yet in the vigour of manhood. He was never married, but resided all his life with his mother, to whom he was much attached, and whom his exertions had secured in a respectable competency. He was buried in the Necropolis of Glasgow, where a monument was erected to his memory, from a subscription, raised among his personal friends only, to the amount of one hundred pounds.