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The Scottish Nation

COUPER, WILLIAM, a learned prelate, the son of a merchant at Edinburgh, was born in that city in 1566, and studied at the university of St. Andrews. Going young to England, he was engaged for about a year as an assistant teacher to a Mr. Guthrie, who kept a school at Hoddensden, in Hertfordshire. He subsequently visited London, where he was hospitably received by the famous Hugh Broughton, who assisted him in his theological studies. At the age of nineteen he returned to Edinburgh, was licensed to preach in 1586, and in 1587 was ordained minister of the parish of Bothkennar in Stirlingshire. In 1592 he was removed to Perth, where he continued for nineteen years. In 1608, he was appointed by the General Assembly one of the commissioners to go to London to give advice to his majesty regarding the suppression of papistical superstition, and while at court was sent by the king to deal with Mr. Andrew Melville, then a prisoner in the Tower, but he failed in making any impression on that champion of presbyterianism. He was at one time much opposed to episcopacy, and in 1606 he wrote a letter to the bishop of Dunblane against the course he had taken in accepting a bishopric. Nevertheless his views changed, and in 1613, he was appointed bishop of Galloway, and dean of the Chapel-Royal, by James the Sixth. He died at his residence in the Canongate of Edinburgh, February 15, 1619. His body was interred in the Greyfriars’ churchyard of Edinburgh. His character, not in his favour, but much the reverse, is drawn at length by Calderwood in his History of the kirk of Scotland (vol. vii. page 349). His works are:

      The Anatomy of a Christian man. Lond. 1611, 4to.

      Three treatises concerning Christ. Lond. 1612, 8vo.

      The Holy Alphabet of Zion’s Scholars; by was of Commentary on the cxix. Psalm. Lond. 1613, fol.

      Good News from Canaan; or, An Exposition of David’s Penitential Psalm, after he had gone in unto Bathsheba. Lond. 1613, 8vo.

      A Mirror of Mercy; or, The Prodigal’s Conversion expounded. Lond. 1614, 8vo.

      Dikailogie; containing a just defence of his former apology against David Hume. Lond. 1614, 4to.

      Sermon on Titus ii. 7, 8. Lond. 1616, 8vo.

      Two Sermons on Psalm cxxi. 8. and Psalm lxxxviii. 17. Lond. 1618, 4to.

      The Triumph of the Christian; in three treatises. Edin. 1632. 12mo.

      Works; to which is added, A Commentary on the Revelations, never before published. Lond. 1623, 1629, 1726, fol.

COUPER, ROBERT, M.D., a minor poet of some merit, was born at the farm-house of Balsier (of which his father was tenant), parish of Sorbie, Wigtonshire, 22d September, 1750. In 1769 he entered as a student at the university of Glasgow, and studied at first for the Church of Scotland, but his parents having died, and left him little or nothing, he accepted of an office as tutor in a family in the state of Virginia, America. On the breaking out of the American revolution he returned to Scotland in 1776. He now studied medicine at the college of Glasgow, and on passing as surgeon, he began to practise at Newton-Stewart, in his native county. On the recommendation of Dr. Hamilton, professor of midwifery, Glasgow, to the duke of Gordon, he settled in Fochabers in Banffshire, in 1788, as physician to his grace. He obtained the degree of M.D. from the college of Glasgow, and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 1804 he published at Inverness two volumes of ‘Poetry, chiefly in the Scottish language,’ which he dedicated to Jane, duchess of Gordon. He was the author of a very beautiful song, ‘Red gleams the sun,’ inserted in his works under the title of ‘Kinrara,’ tune, Niel Gow. He wrote some other lyrical pieces; one of which, written “to a beautiful old Highland air,” called ‘Geordy again,’ is inserted in Campbell’s ‘Albyn’s Anthology,’ vol. ii. p. 23. The author states that he wrote this song at the request of Lady Georgiana Gordon, afterwards duchess of Bedford, and that it alludes “to her noble brother (the marquis of Huntly), then with his regiment in Holland.” Dr. Couper left Fochabers in 1806, and died at Wigton, on the 18th January 1818. Dr. Thomas Murray, the author of the ‘Literary History of Galloway,’ communicated a short notice of Dr. Couper to Mr. David Laing for his Illustrative Notes to Stenhouse’s Johnson’s ‘Scots musical Museum,’ to which we have been indebted for these particulars.

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