Tennant, William

(1784-1848)
   Scottish poet from Anstruther Easter, Fifeshire, who was lame in both feet and used crutches from childhood. He was at St. Andrews University from 1799 to 1800 and taught himself Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, and Persian. He helped form the Anstruther Musomanik Society, the aim of which was to spin rhymes; Sir Walter Scott was pleased to be admitted as a member. From 1813 to 1819 he was schoolmaster, and from 1819 to 1834 he taught classical and Oriental languages at Dollar Academy, Clackmannanshire. From 1834 until ill health forced his retirement in 1848, he was professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages at St. Mary's College, St. Andrews. He died unmarried and was buried at Anstruther. The poem "Anster Fair" (1812)-based on the ballad of "Maggie Lauder"-brought Tennant instant greatness. To the Scottish Christian Herald of 1836-1837 he contributed five "Hebrew Idylls." He edited the Poems of Allan Ramsay, with a prefatory biography (1819). Some of his poems: "Papistry Storm'd," "Epitaph on David Barclay," "Tammy Little," "The Tangiers Giant," "Ode to Peace (1814)," "The Winter Day," "The Thane of Fife" (thane is a minor Scottish noble).
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Significant and Famous Scots (http://www.electricscotland.com/history/men/tennant_william.htm). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The New Oxford Book of Romantic Period Verse. Jerome J. McGann. Oxford University Press, 1993. The New Penguin Book of Scottish Verse. Robert Crawford and Mick Imlah, eds. Penguin Books, 2000. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

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

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  • TENNANT, WILLIAM —    a minor Scottish poet, born at Anstruther, Fife; was educated at St. Andrews, and after a short experience of business life betook himself to teaching in 1813, filling posts at Dunino, Lasswade, and Dollar; his most notable poem, Anster Fair… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Tennant, William — (1784 1848)    Poet and scholar, a cripple from his birth, was b. at Anstruther (commonly called Anster) in Fife. As a youth he was clerk to his brother, a corn merchant, but devoted his leisure to the study of languages, and the literature of… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

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