"It strikes me, my dear, that religious devotion would be somewhat out of place tonight"

Poet, journalist and novelist, James Hogg was born at Ettrick Forest, Selkirkshire in 1770. He was the fourth son of a poor farmer, and consequently received only a scant education. From 1790-1800 he was a shepherd to a farmer on Douglas Burn, Yarrow. Fortunately, he enjoyed access to books and through their influence he began to write poetry.

His first work of original ballads, The Mountain Bard, appeared in 1807. He continued to work in sheep farming, without success, and in 1810 he moved to Edinburgh, where he concentrated on writing poetry. The Forest Minstrel was published in 1810, and was followed in 1813 by The Queen’s Wake, the work which established him as a poet. This led to his friendship with Byron, Wordsworth, Southey and John Murray, who published an English edition of his work. Hogg joined the editorial board of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine where his contributions were published under the name of the ‘Ettrick Shepherd’. Hogg published mainly poetry for the first forty years of his life.

His main works of fiction are The Three Perils of Man (1822) and its sequel The Three Perils of Women (1823) followed in 1824 by his masterpiece The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. In 1816 he was bequeathed a farm in Yarrow, where he spent most of his time for the rest of his life, combining farming with writing. He died on his farm on 21 November, 1835.


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