Alexander Ross - Encyclopedia


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ALEXANDER ROSS (1699-1784), Scottish poet, was born on the 13th of April 1699 at Kincardine-O'Neil, Aberdeenshire. He was educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and became tutor to the children of Sir William Forbes of Craigievar. He became in 1732 schoolmaster of Lochlee, Angus, where the rest of his life was spent. He had long been in the habit of writing verse for his own amusement, when in 1768 he published, at the suggestion of James Beattie, The Fortunate Shepherdess. .. to which is (sic) added a few songs. This is a pastoral narrative poem, written in obvious imitation of Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd. Its affectations are chiefly on the surface. The background of shepherd life as known to Ross, and the rather sordid motives of the characters, despite their high-sounding names of Helenore, Rosalind, &c., are depicted with uncompromising truth. He died at Lochlee, and was buried on the 26th of May 1784.

See Helenore, or the Fortunate Shepherdess, edited by John-Longmuir (1866); also H. Walker, Three Centuries of Scottish Literature (1893), ii. 28-34. The bulk of Ross's writings remain in MS.

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