Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/126

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496 JOHN MACDIARMID.


sentiment, as he expresses it, of gratitude. At what time this took place has not been stated by his biographer; 1 but it is impossible, from the account given by that individual, to resist the impression that it was almost half a lifetime af- ter his engagement at the Airds. His wife proved totally unworthy of his af- fections, and, by driving him for relief to the bottle, caused his death under the most miserable circumstances about the year 1798. This succession of events appears from Mr Gillespie's narrative, to have been rapid : hence it is allowable to conjecture, that at least twenty years must have elapsed between his parting with Miss M'Ghie, and his unhappy union to another. If such was the case, we can hardly see how the most ardent impressions of youth could have been maintained at such a distance, and under the continued depression of circum- stances on the part of the gentleman, which is acknowledged by the bio- grapher, and which must have tended so much to make sick the hearts of both parties.

A letter from Virginia from an early friend of the poet, gave the following particulars respecting his death : ' That perceiving his end drawing near, and wishing to die in peace, away from his own wretched walls, he mounted a sorry palfrey, and rode some distance to the house of a friend. So much was he de- bilitated that scarcely could he alight in the court and walk into the house. Afterwards, however, he revived a little, and enjoyed some hours of that vivacity which was peculiar to him. But this was but the last faint gleams of a setting sun ; for on the third day after his arrival at the house of his friend, he breathed his last. He now lies buried near Fredericksburg, under the shade of two palm trees ; but not a stone is there on which to write, ' Mary, weep no more for me.' "

The wretched woman to whom he had been united made no inquiries after her husband for more than a month afterwards, when she sent for his horse, which had been previously sold to defray the expenses of the funeral.

Lowe is said to have been a very handsome man, of quick and lively appre- hension, and very agreeable as a companion. His reputation as a poet has the strange peculiarity of resting on one small ballad. That, however, has melody, pathos, and imagery, of no common character, and will probably be always reckoned among the happiest small pieces in the English language. Some fragments of his other compositions are given in Cromec's Kemains ; but they do not rise one step above the cold second-rate pastoral epics of the period.


M


MACDIARMID, JOHN, a 'miscellaneous writer, was born in the year 1779. He was the son of the Rev. Mr Macdiarmid, minister of Weem, in Perthshire. After studying at the universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews, arid acting for some time as tutor to a gentleman's family, he proceeded, in 1801, to London, for the purpose of prosecuting a literary career. He soon obtained lucrative employment as a writer in periodical works, and became editor of the St James' Chronicle, a newspaper in which some of the first scholars and wits of former years were accustomed to employ their pens. On the renewal of the war with France, in 1802-3, the attention of Mr Macdiarmid was attracted to the system of national defence which had been adopted, and he forsook his other employ-

1 The Rev. Mr Gillespie, minister of Kelso, in Cromec's Remains of Nithsdale and Gal- lovray Song.