Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/278

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


address to the king at Hamilton, on his progress through the country in 1617, which is embodied in the collection entitled, " The Muse's Welcome." Such productions of his earlier years as have been preserved are chiefly amatory poems in English, very much in the manner of the contemporary poets of the neighbouring kingdom, and rivalling them in force and delicacy of sentiment. Sir William seems to have afterwards addicted himself to serious poetry. In 1628, he published a translation, in English Sapphics, of Boyd of Trochrig's beautiful Latin poem, " Hecatombe Christiana ;" and in the succeeding year produced his " Trve Crucifixe for Trve Catholickes," Edinburgh, 12mo. ; in- tended as an exposure of the prime object of Romish idolatry. By far the larger portion of his writings remain in manuscript.

Like his contemporary, Druminond of Hawthornden, Mure seems to have de- lighted in a quiet country life. A taste for building and rural embellishment is discoverable in the family of Rowallan at a period when decorations of this nature were but little regarded in Scotland : and in these refinements Sir Wil- liam fell nothing behind, if he did not greatly surpass the slowly advancing spirit of his time ; besides planting and other ameliorations, he made various additions to the family mansion, and " reformed the whole house exceed- ingly."

At the commencement of the religious troubles, Sir William Mure, though in several of his poems he appears as paying his court to royalty, took an interest in the popular cause ; and, in the first army raised against the king, commanded a company in the Ayrshire regiment. He was a member of the parliament, or rather convention of 1643, by which the Solemn League and Covenant was ratified with England ; and, in the beginning of the ensuing year, accompanied the troops which, in terms of that famous treaty, were despatched to the aid of the parliamentary cause. After a variety of services during the spring of 1644, he was present, and wounded, in the decisive battle of Long Marston- moor, July 2nd. In the succeeding month, he was engaged at the storming of Newcastle, where, for some time, in consequence of the superior officer's being disabled, he had the command of the regiment. Whether this was the last campaign of the poet, or whether he remained with the army till its return, af- ter the rendition of the king, in 1647, is not known. No farther material notice of him occurs, except that, on the revision of Roos's Psalms by the General Assembly in 1650, a version by Mure of Rowallan is spoken of as em- ployed by the committee for the improvement of the other. Sir William died in 1657. Various specimens of his compositions may be found in a small volume entitled, " Ancient Ballads and Songs, chiefly from tradition, manu- scripts, and scarce works, with biographical and illustrative notices, including original poetry, by Thomas Lyle : London," 1 827 ; to which we have been in- debted for the materials of this article.

MURRAY, ALEXANDER, D. D., an eminent philologist, was born, October 22, 1775, at Dunkitterick, on the water of Palneur, in the Stewartry of Kirkcud- bright. He was the son of a shepherd, or pastoral farm-servant, named Robert Murray, who was in the seventieth year of his age at the time of the birth of this distinguished member of his family. Young Murray was born in too hum- ble circumstances, and reared in too secluded a district, to have the advantage of early instruction at school. When he had attained his sixth year, his father pur- chased for him a copy of the Shorter Catechism ; a work prefaced, in Scottish editions, by the alphabet in its various forms, and a few exercises in monosyl- lables. The good shepherd, however, thought this little volume (the cost of which is only one penny) too valuable for common use : it was accordingly locked carefully aside, and the father taught his child the letters, by scribbling