1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Wilson

James Grant Wilson, in Poetry of Scotland (1876) 1:418.



Hearing of a proposed discussion at an Edinburgh debating society, composed of the city literati, as to "whether have the exertions of Allan Ramsay or Robert Fergusson done more honour to Scottish poetry?" he borrowed the poems of the latter poet, and, by doubling his labours with the obnoxious shuttle, procured the means of defraying his travelling expenses to Edinburgh. Arriving there in season for the debate in the Forum, he repeated a poem which he had prepared entitled The Laurel Disputed. The audience did not agree with him in his preference for Fergusson, but the merits of his performance gained him many friends — among others, Dr. Anderson, for whose periodical of the Bee he became a contributor.