1912 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Arbuckle

D. J. O'Donoghue, in Poets of Ireland (1912) 11-12.



JAMES ARBUCKLE. — Snuff, a poem, Glasgow, 1717, 8vo, Edinburgh, 1719, 8vo. Glotta, a poem, Glasgwo, 1721, 8vo.

Edited "Letters and Essays," contributed to Dublin Weekly Journal over signature of "Hibernicus," London, 1729, 8vo, 2 volumes. "Momus Mistaken," a fable, etc. (referring to Dean Swift), Dublin, 1735, folio sheet. [Two satires against him were entitled "Wit upon Crutches," etc. Dublin, 1725, folio sheet; and "The Last Speech and Dying Words of D(ea)n J. A(r)b(uc)kle," author of the Weekly Journal, Dublin (?), 1730 (?), folio sheet.] The name of Arbuckle must have been common in Ireland. Among the subscribers to John Winstanley's poems (q.v.) there were a James Arbuckle, M.D., and a Mr. James Arbuckle. There was a James Arbuckle of a Donaghadee also, who in 1798 married Lady Sophie Jocelyn, daughter of the late Earl of Roden, and was a subscriber from Donaghadee to Hugh Tynan's poems and other volumes of poetry issued by Irish authors. Chalmers, in his "Biographical Dictionary," very cooly states that the poet was born in Glasgow. He was educated at the University there, graduating M.D. in 1724, and while in the town wrote "Glotta," his poem on the Clyde; but he was born in Ireland, and every page of his writings proves him an Irishman. He practically tells us, in the poem just mentioned, that the Lagan (Co. Antrim) was his natal stream. The MS. note prefixed to the British Museum copy of "Glotta" expressly says he was born in Ireland, and died in 1734, aged 34. This, however, must be a mistake, as he was living after that date. Probably 1746 is the correct date, as his funeral sermon was preached in Dublin on January 4, 1747. He projected a translation of Virgil, but did not live to finish it. He addressed lines to Allan Ramsay, and the latter repaid him in verse. After finishing his university studies, he became a schoolmaster in the North of Ireland. One Arbuckle wrote the epilogue to Clancy's "Sharper," 1750. There is a satire on the poet in Smedley's "Gulliveriana," which refers to his editorship of the Dublin Journal. Dr. Thos. Campbell, in his "Philosophical Survey" of the South of Ireland," calls him an Irishman, and dubs him "Doctor." He wrote some notable philosophical essays. See "Mind," vol. viii. 1899, and W. R. Scott's "Life of Francis Hucheson."