Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Watson, Walter

WATSON, WALTER (1780–1854), Scottish poet, was born of lowly parentage at Chryston, parish of Calder, Lanarkshire, on 29 March 1780. At the age of eight he became a herd, and after a spell at weaving he tried farm service for a time at home, and employment as a sawyer in Glasgow, after which he enlisted in the Scots greys in 1799. Discharged at the peace of Amiens, 1802, he presently married and settled as a weaver in Chryston. He changed to Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, in 1820, after which he made various experiments till 1849 in the adjoining counties of Stirling, Lanark, and Dumbarton—now working as a sawyer and again as a weaver—finally settling at Duntiblae, near Kirkintilloch, Dumbartonshire, where he died on 12 Sept. 1854. He was buried in Calder churchyard, and a granite monument was erected at his grave in 1875. He was survived by a widow and four members of a family of ten. Several of Watson's lyrics—especially such merry, festive songs as ‘Sit down, my Cronie,’ and ‘A wee drappie o't’—though not of specially fine quality, have a winning shrewdness and vivacity that have secured them a certain popularity. Watson published three small volumes of his verse in 1808, 1823, and 1843 respectively, and a volume of his ‘Select Poems’ was edited by Hugh Macdonald in 1853.

[Macdonald's Memoir; Rogers's Modern Scottish Minstrel; Grant Wilson's Poets and Poetry of Scotland.]

T. B.