1868 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Motherwell

Emily Taylor, in Memories of Contemporary Poets; with Selections from their Writings (1868) 289.



The delightful poem of this writer, "Jeanie Morrison," cannot be dismissed without a special word. I remember how it first caught my attention, reading it then in a newspaper, and feeling that, whoever the author might be, it had the simple genuine character, which never can be simulated, of true poetry. Afterwards I learnt something of the man and his history — learnt that he had been admired and enquired after by Sir Walter Scott, and that his knowledge of Scotch minstrel lore was very considerable. He was obliged to earn a living by somewhat uncongenial employments, but pursued them creditably for the too short period of his life, which terminated at the age of thirty-eight. With the little girl, Jeanie Morrison, his school mate, he never, it would appear, renewed personal acquaintance from the time he parted with her, at eleven years of age. There are other songs and poems also of Motherwell's quite worthy of note, published in a separate volume. I can give but one specimen.