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date: 13 May 2021

Maxwell, Jameslocked

(1720–1800)
  • J. C. Hadden

Extract

Maxwell, James(1720–1800), ‘Poet in Paisley,’ was born at Auchenback, parish of Mearns, Renfrewshire, on 9 May 1720. At the age of twenty he went to England as a packman, became a weaver, and was at various times clerk, usher, schoolmaster, and stone-breaker. In 1787 he became the recipient of a charity in the gift of the town council of Paisley, which he enjoyed till his death in the spring of 1800 (council records). He was one of the most prolific rhymers of his day, usually designating himself ‘Poet in Paisley,’ and on some of his title-pages adding to his name the letters S.D.P., meant to signify ‘student of divine poetry.’ He rarely rises above doggerel. A bibliography of his works, comprising fifty-two separate publications, is given in Brown's ‘Paisley Poets,’ i. 17–23. His chief works are: 1. ‘Divine Miscellanies,’ Birmingham, 1756. 2. ‘Hymns and Spiritual Songs,’ London, 1759. 3. ‘A new Version of the whole Book of Psalms in Metre,’ Glasgow, 1773, in which he exemplifies his objection to the employment of the organ in church by paraphrasing all references to instrumental music in worship so as to suit his own views. 4. A rhymed autobiography of himself, written in his seventy-sixth year, Paisley, 1795....

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