Thomas Blacklock

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Thomas Blacklock (November 10, 1721–July 7, 1791) was a Scottish poet.

He was born near Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, of humble parentage, and lost his sight as a result of smallpox when six months old. He began to write poetry at the age of 12, and studied for the Church. He was appointed Minister of Kirkcudbright, but was objected to by the parishioners on account of his blindness, and gave up the presentation on receiving an annuity.

During the 1750s he was sponsored by the empiricist philosopher David Hume[1]

He then retired to Edinburgh, where he became a tutor. He published some miscellaneous poems, which are now forgotten, and is chiefly remembered for having written a letter to Robert Burns, which had the effect of dissuading him from going to the West Indies. He was made D.D. in 1767 from the University of Aberdeen (Marischal College).

He died in Edinburgh.

Blacklock is commemorated by a pub in West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, named The Blind Poet, on whose walls a number of Blacklock's poems appear.


This article incorporates public domain text from: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London, J.M. Dent & sons; New York, E.P. Dutton.

Julian, John (June, 1907). A Dictionary of Hymnology. London: John Murray, 144. 

[Scotland]. Significant Scots - Thomas Blacklock. Retrieved on 2007-01-30.

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