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Macneill, Hector

MACNEILL, HECTOR (1746-1818), Scottish poet, was born near Roslin, Midlothian, on the 22nd of October 1746, the son of an impoverished army captain. He went to Bristol as a clerk at the age of fourteen, and soon afterwards was despatched to the West Indies. From 1780 to 1786 he acted as assistant secretary on board the flagships of Admiral Geary and Sir Richard Bickerton (1727-1792). Most of his later life was spent in Scotland, and it was in the house of a friend at Stirling that he wrote most of his songs and his Scotland's Skaith, or the History of Will and Jean (1795), a narrative poem intended to show the deteriorating influences of whisky and pothouse politics. A sequel, The Waes of War, appeared next year. In 1800 he published The Memoirs of Charles Macpherson, Esq., a novel understood to be a narrative of his own hardships and adventures. A complete edition of the poems he wished to own appeared in 181 2. His songs " Mary of Castlecary," " Come under my plaidy," " My boy Tammy," " O tell me how for to woo," " I lo'ed ne'er a lassie but ane," " The plaid amang the hether," and " Jeanie's black e'e," are notable for their sweetness and simplicity. He died at Edinburgh on the 15th of March 1818.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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