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The Scottish Nation
Alves


ALVES, a surname derived from a parish in Elginshire of that name.

ALVES, ROBERT, a minor poet, was born at Elgin in 1745, and studied at Aberdeen, where he took his degrees of philosophy in 1766. His poetical talents gained him the friendship of Dr. Beattie and other gentlemen of literary tastes. He afterwards became parish schoolmaster at Deskford, and in 1773 removed to Banff. In 1779 he went to Edinburgh, where he maintained himself by teaching the classics. He is said to have left Banff on account of a disappointment in love. In 1782 he published a volume of poems, which attracted little notice. In 1789 appeared another of his works, entitled ‘Edinburgh, a poem, in two parts, and the Weeping Bard, in sixteen cantos,’ which were not without merit. He died on the 1st of January 1794, leaving a laborious work in the press, entitled ‘Sketches of a History of Literature,’ which was afterwards published. (Campbell’s History of Scottish Poetry.) The works of Alves are:

Poems. Edin. 1782, 8vo.
Edinburgh, a Poem; also the Weeping Bard. Edin. 1789, 8vo.
Sketches of the History of Literature, containing Lives and Characters of the most eminent writers in different Languages, ancient and modern, with Critical Remarks on their works, together with several Literary Essays; to which is prefixed, a short biographical account of the Author. Edin. 1794, 8vo. Edin. 1795, 8vo.
Banks of Esk, and other Poems. Edin. 1801, 12mo.

ALVES, ROBERT (1745-94), Scotch poet and prose writer, was born at Elgin on 11 Dec. 1745. His father's circumstances were humble, but as u boy of promise he was placed at the Elgin grammar school, where he made such good use of his opportunities that when sent to Aberdeen be took at Marischal College the highest- bursary of the year in which he competed. An Elegy on Time,- written while he was at Aberdeen, procured him the friendship of Dr. Beattie, then one of the professors of Marischal College. On leaving Aberdeen Alves was successively master of a Banffshire parish school and tutor in the family of a gentleman who offered him a living in the Kirk of Scotland. But be preferred the head-mastership, with lower stipend, of the Banff grammar school, which he held from 1773 until 1779, when, on the failure of his suit to a young lady of beauty and fortune, lie migrated to Edinburgh. There he taught the classics and several modem languages, occasionally translating and compiling for the Edinburgh booksellers. lit 1780 appeared his 'Ode to Britannia ... on occasion of our late success,' in which the gallantry of Scotch officers during the campaign in the Carolinas against the revolted American colonists was sung with patriotic enthusiasm. In 1782 lie I published u volume of ‘Poems,’ and in 1789 ‘Edinburgh, a poem in two parts,’ a lively performance describing the topography and social aspects of the Scottish capital, together with the ‘Weeping Bard, a poem in sixteen cantos,’ much of which is plaintively autobiographical. Alves died suddenly on 1 June 1794, while seeing through the press the work which appeared in the same year as ‘Sketches of the History of Literature, containing Lives and Characters of the most eminent Writers in different languages, ancient and modem, and critical remarks on their works. Together with several Literary Essays.’ The volume displays acuteness and a reading creditably wide, but neither the powers nor the attainments of the writer were sufficient for the task which he had undertaken. Lord Gardenstone, a literary Scotch judge, seems to have superintended its issue from the press, and he contributed to it several critical observations.

 


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