Fergusson, Robert,1750–74, Scottish poet, b. Edinburgh. He was a precursor of Robert Burns, who proclaimed his debt to Fergusson's Poems (1773). After careers in the clergy and in medicine, he worked as a public official and periodical contributor. Graphic and amusing pictures of life among the Edinburgh poor are found in his best poems—"The Farmer's Ingle," "Leith Races," and "Auld Reekie."
See his works (ed. by M. P. McDiarmid, 1954–56); study by A. H. MacLaine (1965).
Born Sept. 15, 1750, in Edinburgh; died there Oct. 16, 1774. Scottish poet.
Fergusson, who graduated from St. Andrews University, wrote in both English and Scottish Gaelic. He played a conspicuous part in the attempt of Scottish intellectuals of his day to revive their native language as a literary medium. His poems, known for their humor, unaffectedness, picturesque folk scenes, and festive color, exercised a marked influence on R. Burns. Among them are “Leith Races,” “The Farmer’s Ingle,” “The Daft Days,” and “Address to the Tron Kirk Bell.”
WORKSThe Poems of Robert Fergusson, vols. 1–2. Edinburgh–London, 1954–56.
The Unpublished Poems of Robert Fergusson. Edinburgh, 1955.