He was articled as a law clerk in Edinburgh, and his Elegy on Craigmillar Castle (1776) was printed during his clerkship. In 1781 he removed to London to devote himself to literary work, publishing in the same year a volume of Rimes of no great merit, and Scottish Tragic Ballads.
But they also penetrate to waters which may be termed inland, as the Bosporus, where they are known to the French-speaking part of the population as rimes damnees, it being held by the Turks that they are animated by condemned human souls.
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