1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Hogg

Anonymous, "James Hogg" Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction 5 (2 April 1825) 219.



JAMES HOGG, better known by the name of the "Ettrick Shepherd," is a peasant poet of great talent, although at the age of twenty he could neither read nor write. He passed a youth of poverty and hardship, but it was the youth of a lonely shepherd, among the most beautiful pastoral valleys in the world. His haunts were among scenes

The most remote and inaccessible
By shepherds trod.

Living for years in this solitude, he unconsciously formed friendships with the springs, the brooks, the caves, the hills, and with all the more fleeting and faithless pageantry of the sky, that to him came in the place of those human affections, from whose indulgence he was debarred by the necessities that kept him aloof from the cottage fire, and up among the mists on the mountain top. For many years, he seldom saw "the human face divine," except on the sabbath morn, when he came down from the mountains to renew his weekly store of provender.

To this youth of romantic seclusion, we may ascribe the fertility of his mind in images of external nature; images which are dear to him for the recollections which they bring, for the restoration of his early life. These images he has at all times a delight in pouring out, and in all his descriptions there are lines of light, or strokes of darkness, that at once convince us that the sunshine, or the shadow, has travelled before the poet's eyes.

Mr. Hogg is the author of several volumes of poems, of which his Queen's Wake is his best production: he has also written two novels, entitled the Perils of Man, and the Perils of Woman. The Confessions of a Justified Sinner, is also from his pen.