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Thomas Blacklock Biography | Poet

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BLACKLOCK, THOMAS (1721-1791), Scottish poet, the son of a bricklayer, was born at Annan, in Dumfriesshire, in 1721. When not quite six months old he lost his sight by smallpox, and his career is largely interesting as that of one who achieved what he did in spite of blindness. Shortly after his father’s death in 1740, some of Blacklock’s poems began to be handed about among his acquaintances and friends, who arranged for his education at the grammar-school, and subsequently at the university of Edinburgh, where he was a student of divinity. His first volume of Poems was published in 1746. In 1754 he became deputy librarian for the Faculty of Advocates, by the kindness of Hume. He was eventually estranged from Hume, and defended James Beattie’s attack on that philosopher. Blacklock was among the first friends of Burns in Edinburgh, being one of the earliest to recognize his genius. He was in 1762 ordained minister of the church of Kirkcudbright, a position which he soon resigned; in 1767 the degree of doctor in divinity was conferred on him by Marischal College, Aberdeen. He died on the 7th of July 1791.

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