Nicoll, Robert

(1814-1837)
   Scottish poet, born in Auchtergaven, about halfway between Perth and Dunkeld. The son of a farmer in reduced circumstances, his formal education was scant. At sixteen he was apprenticed to a grocer and wine merchant in Perth, and by hard work he saved enough to enable his mother to open a shop. His indentures were cancelled owing to illhealth, but in 1836 he was appointed editor of the Leeds Times. His strength was so sapped by the enthusiasm for his new task that in 1837 he resigned and returned to Scotland, where he died a few months later. His songs and poems in the Scottish dialect with their simplicity, truth to nature, ardent feeling, pathos, and humor are reckoned to be far superior to his attempts to write in "correct English." That Scotland lost a poet at such a young age is tragedy, for it might have had another Robert Burns. Some of his poems: "The Grave of Burns," "The Heather of Scotland," "The Herd Lassie," "The Hero," "The Making O' The Hay," "The Mossy Stane," "The Puir Folk," "We Are Brethren A'," "We Are Lowly."
   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). Hay in Art: Hay Poets Born in the Early Nineteenth Century (http://www.hayinart.com/001405.html\#nicoll). Poems of Robert Nicol. Second edition: with numerous additions. Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1842. Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (http://library.stanford.edu). 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 Home Book of Modern Verse. Burton Egbert Stevenson, ed. Henry Holt, 1953. The Poorhouse Fugitives: Self-Taught Poets and Poetry in Victorian Britain. Brian Maidment, ed. Carcanet, 1987.

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

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