The late Mr. James Logie-Robertson
Mr. James Logie-Robertson, more familiarly known as "Hugh Haliburton," whose death is announced on another page, was born in the parish of Orwell, Co. Kinross, on September 18, 1846. His life was throughout devoted to the teaching profession, and though unquestionably a peaceful, happy, and useful life it presents nothing in the shape of striking incident.
Before graduating at Edinburgh University he had already taught for short intervals at The Nest Academy, Jedburgh, close to the spot where Thomson, author of "The Seasons," had received his schooling. There he read mathematics with sixteen-year-old pupils; while at George Heriot's Hospital. Edinburgh, whither he went later, he has himself informed the writer that he was expected to teach "everything but German."
After graduating and having acted as an assistant master at George Watson's Boys' College from 1873 to 1876, he removed to the Edinburgh Ladies College, in Queen-street, where he soon became first English master—an appointment which he held, with much more than merely ordinary acceptance, until his retirement in 1913, after which he continued to reside in Edinburgh.
Throughout his career, in addition to teaching, Logie-Robertson did a considerable amount of journalistic work, writing for the Scots Observer, under Henley's editorship, where he had Stevenson and Barrie for fellow-contributors, for the Scotsman under Cooper and Croall, and for educational journals, his work of this kind being always distinguished by care and by a sense of style. many of his journalistic essays were collected under the titles, "In Scottish Fields" and "For Puir Auld Scotland." He also either edited or wrote a number of books for the use of schools, and these were always scholarly. it is, however, by his poems that he will be remembered, and among those poems by a single volume. For he had already issued "Poems," published in Dundee (1878) and "Orellana and Other Poems," (1881), when "Horace in Homespun" first saw the light (1886; second edition 1900). And the best of his subsequent writings in verse have been so many supplements to this book.
Into "Horace in Homespun" he put all that was quintessential in himself—namely, his philosophy of life, his humour, his sense of style, his mastery of dialect, and last , but not least, his poetic art. The idea of the book is simple. Assuming the character of a shepherd of the Ochil Hills, who is also a scholar, he selects a text from the Odes of Horace, and makes this the peg on which to hang the views of a modern upon Life, Love, Friendship, Contentment, with one's lot, the Flight of Time, and Death—in short, those subjects of perennial interest on which his great namesake best descanted and best loved to descant. Allan Ramsay had anticipated Robertson in the idea, but the charm of Robertson lies in the fact that he is no mere imitator of Horace, but has genuine affinity with him, and a share of his own in the classic spirit.
It is a a dialect poet with a very fine tact for style that he will be remembered. And that his name and specimens of his verse will continue to find place in literary histories and anthologies it seems safe to prophesy. The Horatian geniality and optimism of his temperament greatly endeared him to his friends.