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Mickle, William Julius

MICKLE, WILLIAM JULIUS (1735-1788), Scottish poet, son of the minister of Langholm, Dumfries-shire, was born on the 28th of September 1735. He was educated at the Edinburgh high school, and in hjs fifteenth year entered business as a brewer. His father purchased the business, and on his death William Mickle became the owner; but he neglected his affairs, devoting his time to literature, and before long became bankrupt. In 1763 he went to London, where in 1765 he published "a poem in the manner of Spenser " called the Concubine ( afterwards Syr Martyn); was appointed corrector to the Clarendon Press, and translated the Lusiad of Camoens into heroic couplets (specimen published 1771, whole work, 1775). So great was the repute of this translation' that when Mickle appointed secretary to Commodore Johnstone visited Lisbon in 1779, the king of Portugal gave him a public reception. On his return to London he was appointed one of the agents responsible for the distribution of prize-money, and this employment, in addition to the sums brought him by his translation of the Lusiad, placed him in comfortable circumstances.

It has been suggested that the Scottish poem " There's nae luck aboot the hoose " was Mickle's. It is more likely, however, that Jean Adams was the author. Scott read and admired Mickle's poems in his youth, and founded Kenilworth on his ballad of Cumnor Hall, which appeared in Thomas Evans's Old Ballads . . . with some of Modern Date (1784).

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

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