Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/131

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DUNCAN MACINTYRE. 501


volume, both written by a different person ; Mr Macfarlane, then became re- conciled to Mr Evans, and added a fourth volume. Mr Macfarlane at one time edited the Morning Chronicle. He was also engaged, it is said, in the pre- paration of the Poems of Ossian, some of which he afterwards translated into Latin verse. He had an essay upon the authenticity of those celebrated pro- ductions in the press, when he was crushed to death in one of the mobs which distinguished the election contest for Westminster, between Sir Francis Burdett and Mr Mainwaring, August 8, 1804. In 1797, Mr Macfarlane published " An Address to the People of Great Britain, on the present Fortune and fu- ture Prospect of Public Affairs," by which it appears that he had now become more attached to the government than he had formerly been. In 1801, he published an English translation of Buchanan's celebrated tract, " De Jure Kegni," prefaced with two disputations, in which there is much curious anti- quarian and historical matter.

MACINTYRE, DUNCAN, one of the best of the modern Highland poets, was born in Druimlaiquhart, in the district of Glenorchy, Argyleshire, on the 20th March, 1724. He was the child of poor parents, and never received the slightest tincture of school learning. He was engaged in the civil war of 1745, but on the loyal side. Local and family ties made him a member of the large force which Argyleshire sent forth on that occasion to support the government, and he fought at the battle of Falkirk under the command of colonel Campbell of Carahin. It is not to be inferred on this account that he had any antipathy to the cause in which so many of his countrymen were engaged. He was involved in the disgraceful retreat of the king's troops, in which he lost his sword, circumstances which gave him no small degree of mortification, as he has himself shown by the clever song which he wrote upon the occasion. At what period of his life he commenced the composition of poetry, is not known. His only models in the art must have been those legendary verses of various kinds and ages, which the Highlanders used to recite by the winter fire-side, and hand down from one generation to another, by oral communication. 1 Of the gram- matical principles of language, he must have been completely ignorant ; his knowledge would be confined in a great measure to the objects of his own High- land vale, and to the Scriptural lore which he would hear occasionally expounded in the parish church. He possessed, however, the genuine talent of the poet not only that natural eloquence which supplies imagery and suggests incident and allusion, but that felicitous power of expression, which from its being alike found in the untutored Burns and the refined Horace, ought to be considered as much a native gift as any other. This poor Highlander the reader cannot conceive any man poorer in the goods of fortune is said to exhibit in his poetry a purity and aptitude of diction, and a harmony of versification, such as are not surpassed in the poetry of any age or country. He may not only, in- deed, be introduced here as a Scotsman who has earned a respectable fame, but he might be instanced, in works more expressly devoted to the consider- ation of the intellectual powers of men, as a singular specimen of original and brilliant talent, altogether unfavoured by direct instruction, and going content- edly side by side for a long life with a character of the most simple and un- worldly kind.

Being an excellent marksman, Duncan or, as he was generally styled by his country men, -Donacha Ban, (fair-haired Duncan) was appointed forester to the earl of Breadalbane in Coire-Cheathaich and Bein Dourain, and thereafter to the duke of Argyle, in Buachill-Gie. In 1768, a volume of his poems was

1 There was not a printed book in the Gaelic language which contained any sort of poetry except the Psalms, until Alexander Macdonald published his Gaelic Songs in 1751.