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Thomas Campbell,
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the charm was complete. Thus the love of poetry became a part of his very being.

The master of the Grammar School, Mr. Allison, a teacher of the Ruddiman stamp, soon discovered in this interesting boy the rich quality of the materials he had to work upon, and employed every means to give them a classical turn and polish. The fruit of this cultivation soon began to shew itself. Young Campbell was ambitious to excel, was soon at the head of his class, and became a general favourite with his schoolfellows. The father, who was 67 at the birth of his son, had long since completed his threescore and ten, and it was his pleasure and pride to assist the young genius in all his tasks. “It must have been a picture in itself, of no little beauty and interest, to see the venerable Nestor stooping over the versions and directing the studies of the future Tyrtæus.” Every distinction at school imparted cheerfulness to the family circle, and the dux returned every morning to his class with renewed ardour for knowledge. But close application told on his delicate frame, and he fell seriously ill. Country air was recommended, and he was removed to a cottage on the banks of the Cart, and confided to the care of an aged webster and his wife. Here he was left to run wild among the fields, chasing butterflies, gathering flowers, and gazing on the blue hills that encircle Glasgow to the south. They are often referred to in the poetry of his later days.

                “Ye field-flowers! the gardens eclipse you, ’tis true,
                Yet, wildings of nature, I doat upon you,
                        For ye waft me to summers of old,
                When the earth teemed around me with faery delight,
                And when daisies and buttercups gladdened my sight,
                        Like treasures of silver and gold.”

Nor was the youthful poet without his adventures. Stone battles were at this time among the rough diversions of Glasgow schoolboys. Campbell was led into taking part in an expedition against the boys of Shettleston in the east. He paid dearly for the frolic. His party was vanquished, and he, the youngest of the company and consequently the last in retreat, got so sorely pelted that he could not walk home, and had to be carried to his father‘s house, now removed to Charlotte Street, near the Green. In future he confined himself to Homer’s descriptions of battles, where there were all the sublimity and fire without such risks as he had run from the Shettleston infantry.

From the Grammar School Campbell went to the old College in the High Street, now the site of the College Station of the North British Railway. His career was a brilliant one. He excelled in making spirited versions from the Greek and Latin poets, and in place of the usual prose essays prescribed in the logic and philosophy classes, he handed in metrical versions which attracted attention. One of these, entitled “An Essay on the Origin of Evil,” was printed, and gave him great local celebrity. It was quoted by the professors and discussed by the students over their oysters at Lucky M’Alpine’s in the Trongate. Another poem of his, entitled “A Description of the Distribution of Prizes in the Common Hall of the University on the 1st May, 1793,” brings to mind faded images of College life, such as it was, 50 years ago, in the ancient halls occupied by the University for upwards of 400 years previous to its removal to its present site on Gilmorehill in 1870.

Campbell’s essays at the early age of 14, 15, and 16 were wonderful productions both in prose and poetry. His Greek translations from Euripides, Aristophanes, Æschylus, and others, are said to have contained all the freshness and


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