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The Scottish Nation

HERD, DAVID, an ingenious collector of Scottish ballad poetry, was born in the parish of St. Cyrus, Kincardineshire, about 1732. It is surmised that he served his apprenticeship to a writer in the country. He afterwards went to Edinburgh, where he was many years clerk to an accountant. He was editor of a Collection of Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, &c., published at Edinburgh, in one volume, in 1769, and in two volumes in 1772. Being extensively conversant with the history and biography of his native country, he occasionally contributed to the periodicals of his time interesting observations on Scottish poetry and antiquities. In the introduction to the ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish border,’ Sir Walter Scott acknowledges himself indebted to Mr. Herd, whom he styles “the editor of the first classical collection of Scottish songs and ballads,” for the use of his manuscripts, containing upwards of ninety songs and ballads, published and unpublished, to which frequent references are made in the notes to that work. He died, unmarried, June 25, 1810, at the advanced age of 78. He had collected a well-stored library of books, which, on being sold after his death, yielded the sum of £255, less twopence. He is said to have had a natural son, an officer in the army, to whom was bequeathed the property he had by his industry and frugality accumulated.

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