1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Tennant

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 367.



Tennant (1784-1848) was a native of Anstruther, Scotland, who, while filling the situation of clerk in a mercantile house, studied ancient and modern literature, and taught himself Hebrew. He is known in literature by his mock-heroic poem of Anster Fair (1812), written in the ottava-rima stanza, afterward adopted by Frere and Byron. The subject was the marriage of Maggie Lauder, the famous heroine of Scottish song. The poem was praised by Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review; and several editions of it were published. After struggling with poverty till 1834, Tennant received the appointment of Professor of Oriental Languages in St. Mary's College. In 1845 he published Hebrew Dramas, founded on Incidents in Bible History. A memoir of his life and writings appeared in 1861.