Bruce, Michael

(1746-1767)
   The "Gentle poet of Lochleven" was born in Kinross-shire, Scotland. His schooling was often interrupted by the need to herd cattle or help his father, a weaver. By the age of fifteen he knew Greek and Latin and his family and neighbors clubbed together to send him to Edinburgh University. In 1766 he took charge of a Burgher school at Forest Hill, near Clackmannan (Burghers were a breakaway from the Presbyterian Church). While there he wrote "Lochleven," a poem recalling his childhood memories. Ill with tuberculosis, he returned home and wrote his "Elegy to Spring" shortly before he died. His birthplace is maintained as a museum by the Michael Bruce Memorial Trust. He also wrote several hymns. There was a dispute about one of his poems, "Ode to the Cuckoo," whether he or John Logan (see entry) wrote it. Eight hymns are credited to him. The most well-known is the rousing "Behold! The Mountain of the Lord," sung to the tune "Glasgow." Some of his other poems: "Ode: To a Fountain," "Sir James the Ross: An Historical Ballad," "The Eagle, Crow, and Shepherd: A Fable," "The Last Day," "Vernal Ode."
   Sources: A Book of Scottish Verse. Maurice Lindsay and R.L. Mackie, eds. St. Martin's Press, 1983. Biography of Michael Bruce. LoveToKnow Online Classic Encyclopedia (http://34.1911encyclopedia.org). Dictionary of National

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

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