1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

David Irving, in Lives of the Scottish Poets (1804) 2:489.



His principal models of composition were Ramsay and Fergusson. In his letter to Dr. Moore, he remarks that he had nearly abandoned poetry, when in his twenty-third year having become acquainted with the works of Fergusson, he "strung a-new his wildly-sounding lyre with emulating vigour." Of classical learning he was totally destitute; and it is not apparent that he was much indebted to his knowledge of the French language. With the best English writers he was however sufficiently conversant: he read them with avidity, and for the most part with wonderful discernment.