1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Knox

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 2:453.



William Knox, a young poet of considerable talent, who died in Edinburgh in 1825, aged thirty-six, was author of The Lonely Hearth; Songs of Israel; The Harp of Zion, &c. Sir Walter Scott thus mentions Knox in his diary: — "His father was a respectable yeoman, and he himself succeeding to good farms under the Duke of Buccleuch, became too soon his own master, and plunged into dissipation and ruin. His talent then showed itself in a fine strain of pensive poetry." Knox spent his latter years in Edinburgh, under his father's roof, and, amidst all his errors, was ever admirably faithful to the domestic affections — a kind and respectful son, and an attached brother. He experienced on several occasions substantial proofs of that generosity of Scott towards his less fortunate brethren, which might have redeemed his infinite superiority in Envy's own bosom. It was also remarkable of Knox, that, from the force of early impressions of piety, he was able, in the very midst of the most deplorable dissipation, to command his mind at intervals to the composition of verses alive with sacred fire, and breathing of Scriptural simplicity and tenderness.