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James Thomson


1700 - 1748

Poet and dramatist. Thomson was born at Ednam (near Kelso), the son of a clergyman. He was educated in Jedburgh and at the University of Edinburgh. Thomson moved to London in 1725. Shortly thereafter he began writing his remarkable poetic cycle The Seasons, but is perhaps better known for writing the patriotic song Rule Britannia, with David Mallet (1705-65). Thomson also wrote extensively for the stage, including tragedies such as Sophonisba (1730), Agamemnon (1738), Tancred and Sigismunda (1745). Having met Frederick, Prince of Wales, and dedicated his poem Liberty (1736) to him, Thomson was granted a pension of £100 annually and later served as Surveyor General of the Leeward Islands.

He died in London and is buried in St. Mary's Parish Church in Richmond. He is remembered by a statue in Westminster Abbey and a memorial on the outskirts of Kelso.


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