Open main menu


GRAEME, JAMES (1749–1772), poet, born 15 Dec. 1749, at Carnwath in Lanarkshire,was fourth and youngest son of William Graeme, a farmer of the middle class. As a child he was delicate, and his parents educated him for the ministry. After being taught to read in a dame's school, he was sent to the grammar schools of Carnwath, Libberton, and Lanark. In 1767 he went to Edinburgh University, where he studied for three years. His friend and biographer, Robert Anderson (1750-1830) [q. v.], says that he excelled in classical learning, and made a special study of metaphysics, besides reading widely in general literature. In 1769 he was presented to a bursary at St. Andrews, but soon resigned it,and, returning to Edinburgh next year, entered the theological class. In 1771 he became tutor to the sons of Major Martin White of Milton, near Lanark. He died of consumption at Carnwath, 26 July 1772.

Graeme was a man of amiable character, but his poems, consisting of elegies and miscellaneous pieces, show little promise. His poetical reputation is due to the partiality of Anderson, who printed his friend's poems after his death, together with some of his own, in 'Poems on Several Occasions,' Edinburgh, 1773. They reappeared in Anderson's 'Poets of Great Britain,' vol. xi., and in Davenport's 'British Poets,' vol. lxxi.; a selection is given in 'The Works of the British Poets,' edited by T. Parke, vol. v.

[Memoirs in Anderson's and Davenport's collections; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Anderson's Scottish Nation, ii. 344; Gent. Mag. 1782. p. 425.]

C. L. K.