1899 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

David Carey

George Hay, in History of Arbroath to the Present Time (1899) 457-58.



David Carey was a poet and novelist of character and standing similar to Balfour. He was born in 1782 in Arbroath, where his father was a thread manufacturer. Having completed his school education, he entered in his father's office; but his taste for literature soonled him to Edinburgh, where he obtained employment from Mr. Constable. After a brief stay in the northern capital, he went to London; and when he was only about twenty years of age he became connected with its periodical press. In 1802 he published "Pleasures of Nature; or, The Charms of Rural Life, and other Poems"; in 1803, "The Reign of Fancy, a Poem"; in 1804, "Lyric Tales." Carey was an able writer on the Whig side of politics, and his party offered him, as a reward for his services of this nature, a situation at the Cape of Good Hope. He declined the offer; but on the Whigs soon after going out of office, he showed himself true to them by publishing a trenchant satire on their successors. It is entitled "Ins and Outs; or, The State of Parties. By Chrononhotonthologos." The adoption of this nom de plume might lead to the inference that Carey was of the family of H. Carey, the English dramatist who wrote the mock tragedy bearing this name; but perhaps it was only identity of name, not family relationship, which led him so to style himself on the title of his satire. About the date of the publication of "Ins and Outs," Carey published "Secrets of the Castle," a novel, and "Poems, chiefly Amatory." He removed to Inverness in 1807 to edit the Inverness Journal, and he remained there about five years. While he was in the North, he became impressed with its scenery and traditions, as appears from most of his subsequent works: — "Craig Phadrig; Visions of Sensibility, with Legendary Tales, and Occasional Pieces, and Historical Notes" — a work which was dedicated to Lord Seafield, as "a tribute chiefly of gratitude for the kindness and hospitality of his Highland friends and neighbours." "Craig Phadrig" was followed by "Picturesque Scenes; or, A Guide to the Highlands"; "The Lord of the Desert, Sketches of Scenery, Foreign and Domestic Odes, and other Poems"; and "Lochiel, or the Field of Culloden," a novel. In 1812, Carey, having removed from Inverness, conducted the Boston Gazette. He afterwards returned to London, and made a short visit to Paris. One of the fruits of his sojourn in the French capital was "Life in Paris," a curious and rare book. Feeling ill, he returned to his father's house in Arbroath, and died there on 4th October 1824, in the forty-second year of his age.

The father of the poet, novelist, and political satirist, David Carey, sen., was also an author. He wrote "Thoughts on the Principal Articles of the Christian Religion," which was published in 1822.