1898 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Fergusson

Alexander B. Grosart, in Robert Fergusson (1898) 159.



My claim, therefore, for Robert Fergusson, as I have all along stated, is a modest but a definite one. He is to be gratefully remembered for what his vernacular poems did for Robert Burns; for what he did in the nick of time in asserting the worth of our mother-tongue; for his naturalness, directness, veracity, simplicity, raciness, humour, sweetness, melody; for his felicitous packing into lines and couplets sound common sense; for his penetrative perception that the man and not "braid claith" or wealth is "the man for a' that;" for his patriotic love of country and civil and religious freedom; and for the perfectness — with only superficial scratches rather than material flaws — of at least thirteen of his vernacular poems, and for sustaining the proud tradition and continuity of Scottish song.