Thomas Campbell

1777-1844

 

Thomas Campbell is buried in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, London, England.

Poets' Corner

Campbell was born in Glasgow, the youngest of eleven children. He was educated at Glasgow Grammar School and at Glasgow University (1791-1795).

In 1799 he published The Pleasures of Hope which proved to be an instant success with the public. However, his second collection Gertrude of Wyoming didn't appear until 1809. Throughout his life Campbell was plagued by fears that he would not live up to his early poetic achievements. He was also lacked organisational skills and wrote slowly.

In 1803 he married his cousin Matilda Sinclair and the couple had two sons. Tragically his second son died of scarlet fever in 1810 and his first developed mental health problems. In 1828 Matilda also pre-deceased him.

In 1819 Campbell finally published his important critical study Specimens of the British Poets - a work which took over fifteen years to reach completion.

Thomas Campbell

Campbell also played a major role in the founding of the University of London. In recognition of his services, he was elected Lord Rector of Glasgow University on three occasions; the third time in preference to Sir Walter Scott.

Campbell was not particularly popular with his contemporaries. Carlyle once said of him: "There is a smirk on his face which would befit a shop-man or an auctioneer...his talk is small, contemptuous and shallow."

Campbell is chiefly remembered today for his skilful lyrical war poems such as Ye Mariners of England and HohenLinden.  

He died in Boulogne, France on 15th June, 1844.

Ye Mariners of England
That guard our native seas!
Whose flag has braved, a thousand years,
The battle and the breeze!

from Ye Mariners of England (complete poem)

 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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