1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Beattie

Robert Alves, in Sketches of a History of Literature (1794) 176-77.



Dr. James Beattie was born at Laurence-kirk in the Mearns. Upon the publication of his first poems, his genius became known, and he was soon after advanced to a professorship in the university of Aberdeen. Besides poems, he is author of several treatises, particularly the Essay on Poetry and Music as they affect the mind; the one on Ludicrous Writing; the Essay on Truth against the Sceptics, for which he received the royal pension; and the late Essays on Memory and Imagination; with an excellent and ingenious Theory on Language.

The Doctor seems to entertain too mean an opinion of his earlier poetical pieces, as being juvenile and incorrect. They, however, possess many fine passages, bearing marks of that sweet and sublime genius, that afterwards shone so brightly in the Minstrel.