Knox, William

(1789-1825)
   Scottish Border poet, born at Firth, in the parish of Lilliesleaf, Roxburghshire. His education was at the elementary level and he ran his own farm at Langholm, Dumfriesshire. According to Sir Walter Scott, Knox did not handle the responsibility of being his own master and ruined his prospects by overindulgence. In 1820 the family settled in Edinburgh, where Knox became a journalist and was befriended by Sir Walter Scott, who frequently helped him financially. He died at Edinburgh of paralysis and was buried in New Calton Cemetery, Edinburgh. Knox published The Lonely Hearth, and Other Poems, 1818; The Songs of Israel, 1824, which contained the poem "Morality" (based on Job 3 and Ecclesiastes 1); and The Harp of Zion, 1825. A legend is that President Abraham Lincoln liked Knox's "Mortality" and was reading it on the day of his assassination. A complete edition of Knox's poems was published in 1847.
   Sources: Americans Who Came from Scotland (http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/Libraries/History_Sphere/Americanlinks/edinburgh.html). Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. For the poem "Mortality," see (http://www.a.ghinn.btinternet.co.uk/mortalit.htm). Oldpoetry (www.oldpoetry.com). The Best Loved Poems of the American People. Hazel Felleman, ed. Doubleday, 1936. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org).

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

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