En: James Thomson

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James Thomson

Source: Scottish Rite Freemasonry NMJ


(1700-1748) Scottish poet. He went to London in 1725 as tutor to Thomas Hamilton, who became the 7th Earl of Haddington. Was introduced to Pope, Arbuthnot and Gay. He published the blank-verse poems Winter, Summer, Spring; Autumn and then brought them together as The Seasons (1726-30). This was the first time that description of nature had been given the leading place and it paved the way for the emotional treatment of nature by the romantic poets.

He was author of the dramas Sophonisba, Agamemnon, and Edward and Eleanora. Pensioned in 1738 by the Prince of Wales after dedicating his poem, Liberty, to the prince. He joined David Mallet in writing The Masque of Alfred in 1740, which contained the song Rule Britannia, with music by T. A. Arne.

In 1745 he produced Tancred and Sigismunda., the most successful of his dramas. His allegorical poem, The Castle of Indolence (1748) is generally considered to be his masterpiece. He was initiated at a lodge held at Old Man's Coffee House, Charing Cross Road, London in 1737.

He is also recorded as a member of Caledonian Lodge, Scotland. On June 24, 1819, Kelso Lodge, with deputations from other adjacent lodges, laid the foundation stone of a monument to be erected to the memory of Thomson at Fernyhill, in the parish of Ednam, Scotland.