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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Hamilton of Gilbertfield, William (1665? — 1751)

A minor Scots poet, remembered mainly because of his song 'Willie was a Wanton Wag', which appeared in Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany, and the mock elegy 'The last Dying Words of Bonny Heck'.

Hamilton, born at Ladyland, Ayrshire, was the 2nd son of Captain William Hamilton. The poet entered the army, saw service on the Continent, then spent the remainder of his life as a country gentleman, living first at Gilbertfield in Lanarkshire, and afterwards, at Latvick on the other side of Dechmont Hill. He became friendly with Allan Ramsay, and the 2 poets exchanged their 'Familiar Epistles'. Hamilton's Epistles showed considerable dexterity in the handling of the standard Habbie stanza. Indeed, Burns in his 'Epistle to William Simoson', mentions Ramsay, Gilbertfield and Fergusson, as the poets in whose company he hoped to 'speel' the braes of fame.

In 1722, Hamilton published an abridged and modernised versionof Blind Harry's Wallace, which, though in every sense an artistic failure, aroused Burns's boyhood interest and enthusiasm and, as he recorded in the Autobiographical Letter: 'poured a Scottish prejudice in my veins which will boil along there till the flood gates of life shut in eternal rest.'

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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