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Sunday, 16 November 2008

Michael Bruce Kinnesswood Perthshire Scotland

Michael Bruce, (1746-67). Poet. He was born on 27th March 1746 in Kinnesswood, Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland. The son of a weaver, Alexander Bruce; from his father he gained an early knowledge of the songs and stories of the folk tradition, as well as a grounding in the teaching of the Secessionist Church. After an education at the village school, he matriculated at the University of Edinburgh in 1762 and later became a teacher in the village of Gairney Bridge, where the Secessionist Church had been founded in 1721 by Ebenezer Erskine. In 1766 Bruce studied for the ministry and attended the Burger Synod Theological Hall in Kinross. He taught again at the end of
that year at Forest Mill near Tillicoultry, but illness forced him to return home early in the following year. He died of consumption on 5th ]uly l767. Although most of Bruce's poetry is juvenile his 'Elegy to Spring', a melancholy lament for his own early death, is worthy of attention. He also improved a number of paraphrases, including the stirring Paraphrase 18 of Isiah 2. 2-6. After Bruce's death his college friend John Logan collected his poems for publication in 1770. In later years he claimed that Bruce's best-known poem, 'Ode to the Cuckoo', was his own, and for a time controversy surrounded the authorship of the poem, which was popular for the clarity of its language and the bittersweet sadness of its imagery.
Works: Poems on Several Occasions (1770); The Buchanshire Tragedy (1776); Sir James the Ross (1805); Lochleven (1822); An Elegy to Spring (1833).

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