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The Scottish Nation

DUDGEON, WILLIAM, a minor song-writer, was born at Tyninghame village, East Lothian, about the year 1753. His father, Mr. John Dudgeon, occupied a farm there, on the property of the earl of Haddington. His mother, whose maiden name was Ainslie, was the aunt of Mr. Robert Ainslie, writer to the signet, the friend of Burns. Along with John Rennie, the celebrated civil engineer, he was taught by a Mr. Gibson, mathematical teacher, Dunbar, afterwards of Perth, who considered Rennie and Dudgeon the two best scholars he ever had. Having been bred to agricultural pursuits, his father placed him in an extensive farm in the neighbourhood of Dunse, upon a lease of thirty years. To this farm, a large portion of which was in a state of nature, he gave the name of Primrose Hill, and he lived to improve it in a high degree. He was the author of the song, ‘The maid that tends the goats,’ which at one period was very popular. He wrote various other pieces, although it is not known that any of them were ever printed. He also excelled as a painter and musician. Mr. Dudgeon died 28th October 21813, and lies buried in the churchyard of Prestonkirk. Burns, the poet, when on his Border tour in May 1787, in company with his friend Mr. Ainslie, above mentioned, visited Berrywell, near Dunse, the residence of the father of Mr. Ainslie, who was land steward to Lord Douglas in Berwickshire. Here the subject of this notice was introduced to Burns, who made the following observation in his journal: – “Mr. Dudgeon, a poet at times – a worthy remarkable character – natural penetration – a great deal of information, some genius, and extreme modesty.”

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