1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Tobias Smollett

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 191.



Better known as a novelist than as a poet, Smollett (1721-1771), a native of Cardross, in Scotland, was educated at Dumbarton, and thence proceeded to Glasgow to study medicine. Literature and history, however, became his passion. At eighteen he wrote a tragedy, entitled The Regicide. It never got possession of the stage. In 1741 he sailed as a surgeon's mate in a ship of the line in the expedition to Carthegena, which he describes in Roderick Random. Having quitted the service, he resided for a time in Jamaica, where he fell in love with Miss Lascelles, whom he married in 1747. He wrote, in 1746, The Tears of Scotland, his principal poem. After passing some time in France and Italy, he established himself as a physician at Bath. His health declining, he took up his residence at Leghorn, in Italy, where he died, aged fifty.