Thomas Campbell (1777)
It was on this date, July 27, 1777, the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell was born in Glasgow. Once destined for the ministry and the law, he studied at Glasgow and Edinburgh and became life-long friends with Walter Scott. In 1799 Campbell published a poem called “Pleasures of Hope” that drew wide praise. After his marriage in 1803, Campbell settled in London and produced other poems of note, many with a military theme, such as “Ye Mariners of England” and “Lochiel’s Warning.”
As most poets do, Campbell wavered between Theism and Agnosticism. He did not believe in a future life, and his poem “Hallowed Ground” contains a surprisingly skeptical opening stanza:
What’s hallowed ground? Has earth a clod
Its maker meant not should be trod
By man, the image of his God
Erect and free,
Unscourged by Superstition’s rod
To bow the knees?
Originally published July 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.