Campbell, Thomas

Campbell, Thomas
   Poet, was the youngest s. of Alexander C., a merchant in Glasgow, where he was b. After leaving the Univ. of that city, where he gained some distinction by his translations from the Greek, and acting for some time as a tutor, he went to Edin. to study law, in which, however, he did not make much progress, but gained fame by producing in 1799, at the age of 21, his principal poem, The Pleasures of Hope. In spite of some of the faults of youth, the vigour of thought and description, and power of versification displayed in the poem, as well as its noble feeling for liberty, made it a marvellous performance for so young a man. His other larger poems are Gertrude of Wyoming (1809), O'Connor's Child, and Theodric (1824). It is not, however, for these that he will be chiefly remembered, but for his patriotic and war lyrics, Ye Mariners of England, Hohenlinden, and The Battle of the Baltic, which are imperishable. C. was also distinguished as a critic, and his Specimens of the British Poets (1819) is prefaced by an essay which is an important contribution to criticism. C. resided in London from 1803 until the year of his death, which took place at Boulogne, whither he had repaired in search of health. In addition to the works mentioned he wrote various compilations, including Annals of Great Britain, covering part of the reign of George III. In 1805 he received a Government pension, and he was Lord Rector of Glasgow Univ. 1826-29. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
   Life and Letters, Beattie (1840); Poems, Aldine ed. (1875, new, 1890).

Short biographical dictionary of English literature . . 2011.

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