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Robert Fergusson
(Statue outside Canonagate Kirk)


Auld Reekie

The Farmer's Ingle

The Daft Days


Often called Scotland's fogotten poet, it was Robert Fergusson who was the inspiration for Robert Burns to become a poet and he was much admired amongst his contemporary 18th century writers.

Born near the Royal Mile, the son of a Aberdeenshire solicitor's clerk, the young Fergusson was priviledged and bright enough to attended St. Andrews Univeristy, although his father's sudden death meant he had to give up his studies before graduating.

He took a mundane job in the Commissary Office as a clerk to help to support his mother and sister. To find an escape from the drugery of copying legal documents he began writing poetry and so began his brief career as a poet.

His first poem was published in 1771 and his last was in 1773. He died tragically young at only 24 years old.

Having being known to enjoy a drink or two, he had a fall down a flight of stairs and he received a knock to the head which renderened him insane. He spent his last days penniless in squalid conditions at Edinburgh Bedlam Mental Asylum and died 17th October 1774.

Fergusson left a total of 83 poems, 33 in Scot's dialect and 50 in English.

He was buried in an unmarked grave in Canongate Kirkyard. On discovering this, Robert Burns commissioned and paid for a gravestone so there would be a permanent place to remember him and had inscribed on the back.

"By special grant of the managers to
Robert Burns who erected this stone this burial place is to remain for ever sacred to the memory of
Robert Fergusson."

Later Robert Louis Stevenson maintained the headstone and, after it had being damaged, paid for its repair.




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