Allan Ramsay

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Ramsay, Allan,

1685?–1758, Scottish poet. An Edinburgh bookseller, he opened one of the first circulating libraries in Great Britain. The Gentle Shepherd (1725), a pastoral comedy, is his most famous poetic work. He compiled several collections of old Scottish poems and songs and is considered an important figure in the revival of Scottish vernacular poetry that culminated in the work of Robert BurnsBurns, Robert,
1759–96, Scottish poet. Life

The son of a hard-working and intelligent farmer, Burns was the oldest of seven children, all of whom had to help in the work on the farm.
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. His son, Allan Ramsay, 1713–84, was a noted portrait painter. After a successful career in Edinburgh he moved to London in 1767 and became principal painter to George III.


See biography of the elder Ramsay by O. Smeaton (1896); study by B. Martin (1931).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ramsay, Allan


Born Oct. 15, 1686, in Leadhills, Lanarkshire; died Jan. 7, 1758, in Edinburgh. Scottish poet.

Ramsay collected old Scottish poetry. In 1718 he published the narrative poem Chrysts-Kirke on the Greene and between 1718 and 1720 the collection Scots Songs. He also published an anthology of Scottish verse written before 1600, The Evergreen (1724), and a collection of English and Scottish songs, The Tea-table Miscellany (1724–27), which included some verses by Ramsay himself. He wrote the dramatic pastoral The Gentle Shepherd (1725) and the collection Thirty Fables (1730). Ramsay’s poetry, written in the spirit of Scottish folk poetry and in Scottish dialect, influenced R. Burns and R. Fergusson.


Works, vols. 1–3. Edinburgh-London, 1951–61.


Gibson, A. New Light on Allan Ramsay. Belfast, 1927.
Martin, B. Allan Ramsay: A Study of His Life and Works. Cambridge, Mass., 1931.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The essays that follow were the product of a Royal Society of Edinburgh network award on 'Allan Ramsay and Edinburgh in the First Age of Enlightenment' ( awarded from 2015 to 2017 to myself as Principal Investigator with an international and interdisciplinary team.
is the 1720s, and specifically the poetry of Allan Ramsay in that
Dear Editor, While triple Olympic cycling gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy was standing to rapturous applause at Wimbledon's packed centre court, Britain's most dedicated and determined campaigner for cyclists' rights, Allan Ramsay, was sitting alone and distressed over his reprimand by British Cycling.
The Scottish philosopher David Hume, likewise, did not demur at his countryman Allan Ramsay's unflattering portrayal of his droll, heavy and whisky-flushed face.
In Britain, Hardin discusses the rewriting of The Tempest by Davenant and Dryden; the poetry of Milton and Andrew Marvell (echoed in Hardin's title); and Allan Ramsay's The Gentle Shepherd.
Hamilton became closely acquainted with the poet Allan Ramsay, with whom he exchanged "Familiar Epistles" (1719) in verse, after which Robert Burns's similar poetic letters were modeled.
Allan Ramsay, Sr., probably had nothing to do with the founding of the miners' library in Leadhills and George Dempster was never knighted.
(27) Their edition of the proverbs foregrounds Ramsay's involvement with its modified title A collection of Scots proverbs: According to the edition published by Allan Ramsay, (28) and is content for the main part to use much the same entries as Ramsay's first edition, although there are some notable changes.
Union is rich in famous historical figures, such as Daniel Defoe and Queen Anne, as well as our great Scottish poet Allan Ramsay.
If little is said of his contribution to the Scots literary tradition flankcd by William Dunbar and Gavin Douglas on one side and Allan Ramsay at a good distance on the other, it is by design.
This humorous poem in Scots was included by James Watson in his Choice Collection (1706), and its fame was assured when the poet Allan Ramsay called its meter "Standart Habbie" and used it himself in several poems.