Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/253

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JAMES MOOR, LL.D. 47


scattered even with profusion ; and almost every stanza displays the vivacity of the author's mind. In this, as well as in his other productions, Montgomery's illustrations are very frequently and very happily drawn from the most familiar objects ; and he often applies proverbial expressions in a very pointed and

pleasing mrfrmer. The genuine explanation of the allegory may

perhaps be, that virtue, though of very hard attainment, ought to be preferred to vice : virtue is represented by the cherry, a refreshing fruit, growing upon a tall tree, and that tree rising from a formidable precipice ; vice is represented by the sloe, a fruit which may easily be plucked, but is bitter to the taste."

" The Cherry and the Slae" has longer retained popularity than any other poetical composition of the reign of James VI. It continued to be occasionally printed, for popular use, till a recent period ; and in 1822, this, as well as the other poetical works of Montgomery, appeared in a very handsome edition, under the superintendence of Mr David Laing. Dr Irving contributed to the publication a biographical preface, from which we have chiefly derived the pre- sent memoir.

MOOR, JAMES, LL.D., an eminent Greek scholar, was the son of Mr Ro- bert Muir, schoolmaster in Glasgow ; a person of considerable learning, and of such unwearied industry, that, being too poor to purchase Newton's Principia, he copied the whole book with his own hand. The subject of this notice en- tered the university of Glasgow in 1725, and distinguished himself by great industry and capacity as a student After finishing his academical course, and taking the degree of M. A., with considerable applause, he taught a school for some time in Glasgow. This situation he seems to have abandoned, in order to become tutor to the earls of Selkirk and Errol, in which capacity he travelled abroad. He was afterwards in the family of the earl of Kilmarnock ; and on the burning of Dean Castle, which took place in his absence, lost a considerable stock of books, which he had employed himself in collecting for his own use. Without the knowledge of the earl, Moor instructed lord Boyd in Greek, so that the young nobleman was able to surprise his father one day by reading, at his tutor's desire, one of the odes of Anacreon. In 1742, he was appointed librarian to the university of Glasgow ; and in July, 1746, became professor of Greek in the same institution, the earl of Selkirk advancing him .600, in order to purchase the resignation of the preceding incumbent. On the con- demnation of his patron, the earl of Kilmarnock, for his concern in the insur- rection of 1745, Moor, who was of opposite politics, made a journey to London, for the purpose of making interest with the ministers for his lordship's pardon ; an enterprise honourable to- his feelings, however unsuccessful.

Moor was a useful professor, and, besides his academical duties, conferred some benefits on the literary world by his publications. In company with pro- fessor Muirhead, he superintended, at the request of the university, a very splendid edition of Homer, published by the Foulises of Glasgow. He also edited their Herodotus, and was of service in several of their other publications. Some essays, read by him before the Literary Society [of Glasgow], of which he was a constituent member, were collected and published, in Svo, in 1759. In 1766, he published " A Vindication of Virgil from the charge of Puerility, im- puted to him by Dr Pearce," 12mo. His principal work, however, was his Grammar of the Greek Language, which has ever since bee very extensively used in schools. He collected a large and valuable library, and selected a cabinet of medals, which the university afterwards purchased. In 1761, he was appointed vice-rector of the college, by the earl of Errol, the lord rector, who, under the designation of lord Boyd, had formerly been his pupil. In 1763, he applied to the universit for the degree of Doctor of Laws, which was granted