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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Warton, Thomas (1728 — 90)

Son of the Vicar of Basingstoke, he graduated at Trinity College Oxford, and became a fellow. He also entered the Church and held various livings, but did not take his clerical duties very seriously. In 1757, he became Professor of Poetry at Oxford, a post he held for ten years. In 1785, he became Camden Professor of History and Poet Laureate. In this latter capacity, he wrote an Ode beginning:
"When freedom nursed he native fire
In ancient Greece and ruled the lyre,
He bards, disdainful, from the tyrants brow,
The tinsel gifts of flattery tore
But paid to guiltless power their willing vow..."

for 4th June 1786, George III's birthday. This prompted Burns to write 'A Dream'. Warton is best known now for the first three volumes of his History of English Poetry (which he never completed), and his critical edition of Milton's early works. His verse appealed to a considerable audience in his day. Woodsworth, Coleridge, Hazlitt, and Charles Lamb have all gone on record with favourable encomiums. But nowadays we might be more inclined to agree with Christopher North, who said of Warton that 'the gods had made him poetical, but not a poet'.

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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

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...