Thomas Campbell

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Thomas Campbell

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Thomas Campbell, poet, was born in Glasgow and educated at the Grammar School and University of his home city. After a brief period as a tutor in Mull, where he learned to love highland scenery, he went to Edinburgh to study law and there began to do miscellaneous literary work for the publishers Mundell & Co. He first gained fame by producing in 1799, at the age of twenty one, his principal poem 'The Pleasures of Hope'. His other longer poems are 'Gertrude of Wyoming' (1809), 'O'Connor's Child' (1809) and 'Theodoric' (1824). During a tour of the continent (1800-1801) Campbell produced some of his best known minor works and war lyrics such as 'Ye Mariners of England'. In addition to poems and lyrics, he also wrote various compilations, including Annals of Great Britain, covering part of the reign of George III and was a distinguished critic. From 1820 to 1830 he was editor of the New Monthly Magazine. After his marriage in 1803, Campbell settled in London, and in 1805 was granted a government pension for life. Around 1824 Campbell began agitating for a London University, the ideal for which was drawn from his visits to the continent, and he was one of the founders of University College. His interest in education as well as his eminence as an author were recognised by the students of Glasgow University, who elected him Lord Rector three times in succession between 1826-1829, the third time over no less a rival than his friend Sir Walter Scott. Campbell was also a great believer in the right of freedom and was a strong supporter of the Polish cause all his adult life. He died in Boulogne and is buried in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner.


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