James Beattie

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Professor James Beattie (October 25, 1735, LaurencekirkAugust 18, 1803, Aberdeen) was a Scottish scholar and writer.


  • When squint-eyed Slander plies the unhallow'd tongue,
    From poison'd maw when Treason weaves his line,
    And Muse apostate (infamy to song!)
    Grovels, low muttering, at Sedition's shrine.
    • The Judgment of Paris (1765), stanza 109.

The Minstrel (1771)

  • Ah, who can tell how hard it is to climb
    The steep where Fame’s proud temple shines afar?
    • Book i. Stanza 1.
  • Zealous, yet modest; innocent, though free;
    Patient of toil, serene amidst alarms;
    Inflexible in faith, invincible in arms.
    • Book i. Stanza 11.
  • Old age comes on apace to ravage all the clime.
    • Book i. Stanza 25.
  • Mine be the breezy hill that skirts the down,
    Where a green grassy turf is all I crave,
    With here and there a violet bestrewn,
    Fast by a brook or fountain’s murmuring wave;
    And many an evening sun shine sweetly on my grave!
    • Book ii. Stanza 17.

The Hermit

  • At the close of the day when the hamlet is still,
    And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
    When naught but the torrent is heard on the hill,
    And naught but the nightingale’s song in the grove.
  • He thought as a sage, though he felt as a man.
  • But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn?
    Oh when shall it dawn on the night of the grave?
  • By the glare of false science betray’d,
    That leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind.
  • And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb.
  • 'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;
    I mourn, but you woodlands I mourn not for you!
    For spring is returning your charms to restore,
    Perfumed with fresh fragrance and glittering with dew.
    Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn,
    Kind nature the embryo blossom shall save;
    But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn?
  • Ah! when shall it dawn on the night of the grave!"

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