Biography of Janet Hamilton
Janet Hamilton was a nineteenth century Scottish poet.
Was born as Janet Thomson at Carshill, Shotts parish, Lanarkshire, 12 Oct. 1795, the daughter of a shoemaker. In her childhood the family moved to Hamilton, and then to Langloan, in the parish of Old Monkland, Lanarkshire. For a time her parents became farm labourers, and Janet, remaining at home, span and worked at the tambour-frame. Her father at length settled down in business for himself as a shoemaker, and John Hamilton, one of his young workmen, married Janet in 1809. They lived together at Langloan for about sixty years, and had a family of ten children. Having learnt to read as a girl, Janet Hamilton in her early years became familiar with the Bible, with Shakespeare and Milton, with many standard histories, biographies, and essays, and with the poems of Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns. Before she was twenty she had written numerous verses on religious themes, but family cares prevented further composition until she was about fifty-four. Then she began to write essays for a supplement to Cassell's ‘Working Man's Friend,’ as well as poems in English and Scots and reminiscences of village and rural Scotland during her youth. During her last eighteen years she was blind, and her husband and her daughter Marion read to her, while her son James served as her amanuensis. She was visited in those years by many notable people, including a son of Garibaldi, of whom she afterwards spoke with affectionate recollection. She died on 27 Oct. 1873, having never been ‘more than twenty miles from her dwelling.’ A large crowd of people attended her funeral, and a memorial fountain has been placed nearly opposite her cottage.
Hamilton's poems manifest a deep understanding of working-class experience at many levels. Her abilities to articulate the values of a nineteenth-century regional culture now nearly lost to memory merit attention for their humor, public spiritedness, linguistic and social realism, and ability to convey ideals of Victorian Scottish working-class life.
Janet Hamilton's Works:
* Poems and essays of a miscellaneous character on subjects of general interest. 1863 Glasgow
* Poems of purpose and sketches in prose of Scottish peasant life and character in auld lang syne, sketches of local scenes and characters : with a glossary 1865. Glasgow.
* Poems and Ballads. With introductory papers by G. Gilfillan and A. Wallace. 1868. Glasgow
* Poems, essays, and sketches. 1870. Glasgow A compilation of the best of the 1863 and 1865 poetry books.
* Pictures in Prose and Verse; or, Personal recollections of the late Janet Hamilton together with several hitherto unpublished poetic pieces. 1877. Edited by John Young. Glasgow.
Janet Hamilton Poems
The Fruits of The Spirit
Spirit Divine! Eternal! Holy Dove! These sacred fruits are thine,-peace, joy, and love, Even peace with heaven, and peace on earth; a joy
Lines On The Death of My Mother
My Mother! O my Mother! when thy spirit heavenward fled, And thy aged form, in death's embrace, lay on thy lonely bed;
Farewell To The Old Year, 1863
Farewell, old year, 'the bourne' is near, 'Whence traveller ne'er returneth'- Passing away from time for aye, Thy life-light faintly burneth.
The Bloody Bouquet On The Road To Richmo...
Swept the storm of battle by, 'Neath Virginia's glowing sky; Left alone to bleed and die,
A Lay of The Tambour Frame
Bending with straining eyes Over the tambour frame, Never a change in her weary routine- Slave in all but the name.
Tell me not of negro slavery, Of its shackles, stripes, and woes- Shackles stronger, stripes more cruel,
Speak not thus in tones of gladness, For my soul is steeped in sadness; Mournful visions haunt my mind-
Sketches of Village Character In Days
I've aften been thinkin', whan sittin' alane, Blin', dowie, an' cowerin' upon the hearth stane, On places an' faces I ken'd o' langsyne;
The Ballad O' Mary Muiren
The pride o' the clachan, the rose o' the glen, The flower o' oor lasses was Mary Muiren; Sae modest, an' mensefu', an' winsome was she,
Words of Comfort
'Words of Comfort,' they are come, Rich in many a tender token, Weeping love and mothers' woe, Deeply felt and fitly spoken.
A Faithful Mother's Love
Dear child! a faithful mother's love For thee will toil, and watch, and pray; An angel hovering still above Thy couch by night, thy steps by day.
Address To Garibaldi In His Retirement A...
Lone dweller of the stony isle! Dost thou at fortune's caprice smile, Soars thy great mind above thy state, Serene amid the shocks of fate?
Cousin Aggie: A Memory
The seal of sixty summers now, Cousin Aggie, marks thy brow, If beneath Canadian skies Still thou livest. Mayhap thou lies
Grannie's Dream: A True Incident
Beside the winter e'ening fire, A gleg wee lass o' towmonds ten, Sat nestlin' close to Grannie's knee, Upon the cozie clean fire-en'.
O, Bonnie Clyde! a shimmering gleam
Oot owre thy rippling bosom plays,
Whan frae the bricht blue sky o' June
The sun leuks doun on simmer days.
But ne'er did glancin' sunbeams glint,
An' owre thy dancin' waters play
Mair bricht, than whan to 'Bothwell Brig'