1781 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Bruce

Otho, in "On Michael Bruce, and his Poems" Gentleman's Magazine 51 (November 1781) 499.



I had the pleasure, Mr. Urban, some years ago, of perusing the little poetical volume which it appears gave occasion to those affecting and well-written anecdotes, communicated in The Mirror. As its contents and character are but little known, at least on this side the Tweed, the following particulars, from memory, may serve to gratify curiosity, and assist enquiry. It is a thin duodecimo, printed, I think, at Edinburgh in 1769, probably by subscription, as the copies, I was told, are only to be met with in private hands. The pieces of which it is composed are chiefly rural and descriptive; one in particular, intituled, "Lochlevin," of considerable length, and a few of a moral and elegiac kind. As I write from memory, I cannot specify the titles of the pieces, nor point out the particular expressions of a tender fancy, and a benevolent mind, which struck me on a transient reading. My recollection is still less equal to an analysis of the sentiments and imagery of any particular poem. All I retain is, the general impression of an amiable simplicity and elegance, free from levity, and the affectation of an inflated diction, so common in juvenile productions, which seemed to characterise the contents of the agreeable little Miscellany. Of Michael Bruce I could obtain no particulars, but that he was of Kinrossshire, that he received an academical education at St. Andrews, and was intended for the church.