1883 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Struthers

William Edward Winks, "John Struthers, Poet, Editor, etc." Lives of Illustrious Shoemakers (1883) 243-44.



John Struthers, a Scottish poet, the friend of Sir Walter Scott and Joanna Baillie, followed the trade of a shoemaker for many years after he had begun to gain a literary reputation. He was born at Kilbride in Lanarkshire in 1776, and learned his trade in his own home, for his father was a member of the same craft. Struthers is best known in Scotland as the author of "The Poor Man's Sabbath," a simple, unpretentious poem, which appeared in 1804, and rapidly passed through several editions. His success in this first venture led to the publication of "The Peasant's Death," in 1806; "The Winter's Day," in 1811; "The Plough," in 1816; "The Dechmont," in 1836. He was the editor of a Scottish anthology, called "The Harp of Caledonia," in three volumes, to which his friends Sir Walter Scott and Joanna Baillie "sent voluntary contributions." He wrote a history of Scotland from the Union, 1707 to 1827, by which his reputation was greatly enhanced. A considerable number of the biographies in Chambers's "Lives of Illustrious Scotchmen'' are from his pen. For several years he held the position of press-corrector for Khull, Blackie & Co., of Glasgow. In 1832 he was made librarian in Stirling's Library, which office he held until within a few years of his death in 1853. His poetical works were collected and published by himself in 1850. He is spoken of as an excellent specimen of a shrewd, intelligent, strong-minded Scotchman.