Scott, Andrew (DNB00)

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SCOTT, ANDREW (1757–1839), Scottish poet, son of John Scott, day labourer, and Rachel Briggs, was born at Bowden, Roxburghshire, on 19 April 1757. Scantily educated, he was for some time a cowherd, and then a farm-servant. At the age of nineteen he enlisted, and served with his regiment in the American war of independence. After the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, 19 Oct. 1781, he was for some time a prisoner of war in Long Island, returning to Scotland subsequently to the peace of 4 Jan. 1784. Being discharged, Scott settled at Bowden as a farm labourer, acting also as church officer for several years before his death, which occurred on 22 May 1839. He was married and had five children. His portrait was painted by George Watson (1767–1837) [q. v.] of Edinburgh.

Stimulated in boyhood by the ‘Gentle Shepherd,’ Scott was all through his military career a persistent versifier, and entertained his comrades with original songs. Sir Walter Scott, Lockhart, and others befriended and encouraged him. A manuscript volume of his lyrics was lost by his commanding officer, to whom the author had entrusted it; but, although he could reproduce only two numbers of the collection, his resources were not exhausted. Continuing to versify, he at length acted on the recommendation of the Bowden parish minister, and published a volume of lyrics in 1805 (2nd edit. 1808). In 1811 he issued ‘Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect,’ and two further volumes of a similar character in 1821 and 1826 respectively. If somewhat defective in form, Scott's lyrics display observation, descriptive facility, and quick appreciation of the picturesque features of Scottish rural life and character.

[Autobiographical Sketch prefixed to 1808 volume; Rogers's Modern Scottish Minstrel; Goodfellow's Border Biography.]

T. B.