- James Hogg (1770-1835)
The Ettrick Shepherd
Born at Ettrick, Selkirkshire, in the Scottish Border country, Hogg was the son of a shepherd. He received a scanty education but at the age of 16 he was inspired to write poetry by hearing a reading of "The Gentle Shepherd" written by Allan Ramsay (1686-1758). His poetical life was further developed by a connection with Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Hogg supplied Scott with a number of ballads for his "Border Minstrelsy" collection.
But it was not until 1807, when a volume poems entitled "The Mountain Bard" was published that he earned any recognition. It is interesting to note that he published a practical guide to the care of sheep in the same year! But the money earned from his published works were soon lost in unprofitable farming.
He published "The Queen's Wake" in 1813, a series of ballads supposedly recited before Mary Queen of Scots at a competition of Scottish bards. This earned Hogg some recognition outside of the Borders as it possessed some real merit, showing a strong if rather fantastic imagination.
Hogg spent the latter half of his life partly in Edinburgh and partly at a farm at Altrive in Yarrow in the Borders. The farm had been given to him by the duke of Buccleuch.
Hogg was a prolific writer in both verse and prose. Some of his better known poems include "The Poetic Mirror", "Bonny Kilmeny" and Good Night, An' Joy Be Wi Ye A' plus the lyrics of a number of songs such as "To the Skylark", "When the Kye Comes Home" and Cam' ye by Athol?.
Hogg died on his farm at Altrive on 21 November, 1835.
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