1800 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pennecuik

George Chalmers, in Life of Ramsay, Poetical Works (1800; 1877) 1:xli & n.



Our poet, whatever might be the humility of his pretensions, had his maligners and competitors. I greatly suspect that Alexander Pennecuik, citizen of Edinburgh, who was called "that famous and learned poet," wrote The Flight of Religious Piety from Scotland, upon account of RAMSAY'S lewd books. This Alexander Pennecuik must be distinguished from Dr. Alexander Pennecuik, a physician in Tweeddale, who published a topographical description of that pastoral district in 1715, and who was also ambitious of public fame as a poet and topographer. The rival of RAMSAY was a much younger person, who resided in Edinburgh, where he published Streams from Helicon, and other miscellanies, from time to time, while RAMSAY rose into notice notwithstanding his rivalry....

The two Pennecuiks were confounded by the Editor of the Ancient Scotish Poems, 1786 [John Pinkerton]: — "Alexander Pennecuik," says he, "wrote a few Scotish poems of no value, published with his Account of Tweeddale. He is said to have given RAMSAY the plot of the Gentle Shepherd." — [Pref. 136.] The said Editor seems not to have known "the famous Pennecuik, whose undoubted rivality disproves the unauthorized assertion that he gave RAMSAY the plot of the Gentle Shepherd." Alexander Pennecuik, the rival of RAMSAY, was buried in the Greyfriars churchyard on the 28th of November, 1730. — [Record of Mortality.] He is called on the Register "Alexander Pencook, merchant," as RAMSAY was also called by it merchant, because he was a bookseller.