1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Fergusson

Allan Cunningham, in Songs of Scotland, Ancient and Modern (1825) 3:298-99.



The first time I ever saw his poems, their perusal was accompanied by an anecdote of the author too characteristic not to be true. "He was a strange lad," said my friend, "and as wild as a poet ought to be. One day, in Dumfries, I saw a pale young man in an odd cap and a flannel jacket, staring at the crowds, who were staring at him. Some said he was mad, some said he was winning a wager, and some said he was a poet — This last conjecture was right; — it was Robert Fergusson, who, from some idle vaunt, or for some foolish wager, undertook to walk from Edinburgh to Dumfries in that strange dress, and performed the undertaking."