William Edmondstoune Aytoun

(1813 - 1865 / Scotland)

William Edmondstoune Aytoun
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Aytoun was the only son of a prosperous Edinburgh family. The fierce Jacobitism and love of ballads of his mother, Joan Keir Aytoun, had a lasting influence upon Aytoun's own political and literary preferences. His father, Roger Aytoun, was a leading writer to the Signet; this was a superior order of solicitors peculiar to Scotland, among whose privileges was that of appearing before the Court of Sessions, the supreme civil court of the kingdom. Roger Aytoun planned William's education carefully, preparing him with a private tutor for three years before sending him to the newly opened Edinburgh Academy in 1824 and to Edinburgh University in 1828. The university curriculum was basically ... more »

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Best Poem of William Edmondstoune Aytoun

The Execution Of Montrose

COME hither, Evan Cameron!
Come, stand beside my knee:
I hear the river roaring down
Towards the wintry sea.
There ’s shouting on the mountain-side,
There ’s war within the blast;
Old faces look upon me,
Old forms go trooping past:
I hear the pibroch wailing
Amidst the din of fight,
And my dim spirit wakes again
Upon the verge of night.

’T was I that led the Highland host
Through wild Lochaber’s snows,
What time the plaided clans came down
To battle with Montrose.
I ’ve told thee how the Southrons fell ...

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