Miller, William (1810-1872) (DNB00)


MILLER, WILLIAM (1810–1872), Scottish poet, was born in Bridgegate, Glasgow, in August 1810, and spent his early years in Parkhead, near Glasgow. Owing to precarious health he discarded his early intention of becoming a doctor, and took to wood-turning. He was actively engaged at his trade in Glasgow till November 1871, when his health failed. A change to Blantyre, near Hamilton, Lanarkshire, was only slightly beneficial, and he returned to Glasgow, where he died 20 Aug. 1872. He was buried in Tollcross graveyard, Glasgow; a monument was placed in the city necropolis.

Miller early contributed to periodicals, and established his poetical reputation by songs published in ‘Whistle Binkie’ (1832–53). His ‘Wee Willie Winkie,’ and other nursery and miscellaneous lyrics, in which he delineates the charm of children's mythology and the attractions of rural life, have been widely popular, and gained for him the title of ‘Laureate of the Nursery’ (Robert Buchanan in St. Paul's Magazine, July 1872). He has an easy mastery of the Scottish dialect; his sense of fitting maxim and allegory is quick and trustworthy, and his lyrical effects are much helped by the directness and simplicity of his style. His ‘Scottish Nursery Songs and other Poems’ appeared in 1863.

[Biography prefixed to Whistle Binkie, vol. ii. ed. 1878; Glasgow Herald, 22 Aug. 1872; Grant Wilson's Poets and Poetry of Scotland.]

T. B.