Finlay, John

Finlay, John
   Scottish poet, born of humble parents at Glasgow. Educated in one of the academies at Glasgow and at Glasgow University, he proved to be a distinguished student, thought to border on genius. In 1802 he published Wallace, or the Vale of Ellerslie, and Other Poems, with a second edition with some additions in 1804. In 1808 he published Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads, Chiefly Ancient, with Explanatory Notes and a Glossary; Sir Walter Scott greatly admired the beauty of the Scottish ballads. He also published an edition of Robert Blair's The Grave, wrote a life of Cervantes, and superintended an edition of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. His life was cut short by a sudden illness at Moffat, where he is buried. At his death he was collecting materials for a continuation of Warton's History of Poetry (1774-1781).
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Historical Perspective for Moffat (Dumfries and Galloway) ( The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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