1871 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Pringle

S. C. Hall, in A Book of Memories: Great Men and Women of the Age, from personal Acquaintance (1871) 330.



In 1817 — a memorable year for letters — was commenced the publication of Blackwood's Magazine, so inseparably linked with the name of Wilson from its birth to his death. The Edinburgh Review was then in its prime. To that work Wilson contributed one article — his first and his last — a review of Byron; but the Tories were a powerful party in Edinburgh, and some of them resolved that the Whigs should not have it "all their own way."

One of two who suggested the idea to Mr. William Blackwood, an enterprising publisher in Edinburgh, was THOMAS PRINGLE, "a pleasant poet," who afterwards emigrated to South Africa, from which he subsequently returned, and became editor of the Friendship's Offering, one of the annuals, published first by Lupton Relfe, a bookseller in Cornhill, and afterwards by Smith and Elder.

I knew Pringle somewhat intimately. He was a kindly and courteous gentleman, with limited literary power, but with much taste and feeling for literature and for art. What was his occupation at the Cape I cannot say. He could not have been an "effective settler," for he was lame — so lame, indeed, as to be compelled to use a crutch. His politics got him into "a scrape" with the authorities at Cape Town. He was compelled to quit the colony, and strove to exist as an author in London, where not long afterwards he died. Those who desire to know more of him may read his "Narrative of a Residence in South Africa." I published some of his stray pieces and poems in the British Magazine, a work I then conducted. They were never, I believe, collected.