1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Hugh Blair

David Rivers, Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 1:56-57.



Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in the University of Edinburgh. A gentleman who enjoys a very distinguished reptutation in the literary world. He early engaged himself in the controversy respecting Ossian's poems, and became the avowed champion of Mr. Macpherson. In 1762, he published a quarto pamphlet entitled, A critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian. The principal source, however, of his reputation, is a Collection of Sermons, in four volumes, octavo, which have been produced in single volumes, the first of which made its appearance in 1777. These discourses have experienced a success unparalleled in the annals of pulpit eloquence: and it is superfluous to add ours to the general testimony in favour of their sentimental beauty, manly reasoning, and grace of composition. The two last volumes procured their author a pension from her Majesty. In 1782, Dr. Blair published Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, in two volumes, quarto, which have since been frequently reprinted in three volumes, octavo. These lectures have been very generally read and approved, though they perhaps claim admiration rather for judicious arrangement and elegance of composition, than for originality. He has also published a single Sermon preached before the governors of a public charity.