1871 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Motherwell

S. C. Hall, "William Motherwell" in A Book of Memories: Great Men and Women of the Age, from personal Acquaintance (1871) 395-96.



WILLIAM MOTHERWELL died in 1835, at the early age of thirty-eight. In his later years he was editor of the Glasgow Courier, but some time before his death he collected his poems, and they may safely be classed among the most touching and beautiful that Scotland has produced. He is chiefly known and valued, however, as one of the best collectors of remains of ancient Scottish ballads; to the rich store he added much of value: some of them, no doubt, were touched up by his own pen. He was gentle in look, in manner, and in mind; one of those who loved to commune with the great spirits gone from earth; his luxuries were the songs they wrote, and a "scrap" from old tradition was to him a rare delicacy. I had but little intercourse with him, yet enough to appreciate the gentle and lovable nature of the man.