James Beattie Poems

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James Beattie
Professor James Beattie (October 25, 1735, Laurencekirk—August 18, 1803, Aberdeen) was a Scottish scholar and writer. He was born the son of a shopkeeper and small farmer at Laurencekirk in the Mearns, and educated at Aberdeen University. In 1760, he was appointed a professor of moral philosophy there as a result of the interest of his intimate friend, Robert Arbuthnot of Haddo. In the following year he published a volume of poems, The Judgment of Paris (1765), which attracted attention. The two works, however, which brought him most fame were: His Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770), intended as an answer to David Hume, which had great immediate success, and led to an introduction to the King, a pension of £200, and the degree of LL.D. from Oxford; and his poem of The Minstrel, of which the first book was published in 1771 and the second in 1774, and which constitutes his true title to remembrance, winning him the praise of Samuel Johnson. It contains much beautiful descriptive writing. The Essay on Truth and his other philosophical works are now forgotten. Beattie underwent much domestic sorrow in the death of his wife and two promising sons, which broke down his own health and spirits. Original Poems and Translations (1760) The Judgement of Paris (1765) Poems on Several Subjects (1766) An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770) The Minstrel; or, The Progress of Genius (1771/2) two volumes Essays, on the nature and immutability of truth in opposition to sophistry and scepticism. On poetry and music as they affect the mind. On laughter and ludicrous composition. On the utility of classical learning (1776) Essays on Poetry (1778) Scoticisms, Arranged in Alphabetical Order, Designed to Correct Improprieties of Speech and Writing (1779); Poems on several occasions (1780) Dissertations Moral and Critical (1783) The Evidence of the Christian Religion Briefly and Plainly Stated (1786) 2 vols. The theory of language. Part I. Of the origin and general nature of speech. Part II. Of universal grammar (1788) Elements of Moral Science (1790-1793) two volumes The Poetical Works of James Beattie (1831) edited by A. Dyce The poetical works of Beattie, Blair, and Falconer (1868) edited by Charles Cowden Clarke James Beattie's Day-Book, 1773-1778 (1948) edited by R. S. Walker James Beattie's Diary (1948) edited by R. S. Walker

the minstrel; or, the progress of genius
Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar!... [read poem]
the stories
I was unfaithful to you last week.
Thought I tried to be true
to the beautiful vagaries... [read poem]
the sudden light and the trees
My neighbor was a biker, a pusher, a dog
and wife beater.
In bad dreams I killed him
... [read poem]
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