Buchanan, Dugald (DNB00)

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BUCHANAN, DUGALD (1716–1768), Gaelic poet, was born at the mill of Ardoch in the valley of Strathtyre and parish of Balquihidder, Perthshire, in 1716. After conducting a small school in a hamlet in his native county, he procured, in 1755, the situation of schoolmaster and catechist at Kinloch Rannoch in the parish of Fortingale, on the establishment of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge in Scotland. His accurate acquaintance with the Gaelic language enabled him to render essential service to the Rev. James Stewart of Killin in translating the New Testament. He died on 2 July 1768, and was interred at Little Leny in the parish of Callander, the burial-place of the Buchanans of Leny and Cambusmore.

His ‘Laoidhibh Spioradail’ (Spiritual Hymns) were first published in 1767, and– have been often reprinted in Gaelic. They have been translated into English by A. McGregor (Glasgow, 1849, 12mo), and by L. Maclean (Edinburgh, 1884, 8vo). An English translation of his ‘Day of Judgment,’ by J. Sinclair, appeared at Aberdeen in 1880, 8vo.

Reid says that Buchanan's poetical genius was of the first order, and that he may be called ‘the Cowper of the highlands.’ His poems are admitted to be equal to any in the Gaelic language for style, matter, and the harmony of their versification. ‘Latha a'Bhreitheanis’ (The Day of Judgment), ‘An Claigeann’ (The Skull), ‘Am Bruadar’ (The Dream), and ‘An Geamhradh’ (The Winter) are the most celebrated, and are read with enthusiasm by all highlanders.

Besides his ‘Hymns’ Buchanan left a ‘Diary,’ which was published at Edinburgh in 1836, with a memoir of the author prefixed.

[Memoir prefixed to Diary; Beatha agus Iompachadh Dhùgaill Bochannain (Edinb. 1844); Reid's Bibl. Scoto-Celtica, 63; Mackenzie's Sar-Obair nam Bard Gaelach (1872), 167–81; Rogers's Modern Scottish Minstrel, i. 323; Rogers's Monuments and Monumental Inscriptions in Scotland, ii. 151.]

T. C.