poet, son of a lace-designer, was born at Kilmarnock on the 31st
of December 1830. His parents being too poor to send him to college,
he was placed in a linen factory to follow his father's trade
of a pattern designer. His early poems appeared in the Glasgow
Citizen, in whose editor, James Hedderwick, he found a sympathizing
and appreciative friend. A Life Drama and other Poems (1853) was
a work of promise, ran through several editions, and gained Smith
the appointment of secretary to Edinburgh University in 1854.
As a poet he was one of the leading representatives of what was
called the "Spasmodic" School, now fallen into oblivion.
Smith, P. J. Bailey and Sydney Dobell were satirized by W. E.
Aytoun in 1854 in Firmilian: a Spasmodic Tragedy.
the same year Sydney Dobell came to Edinburgh, and an acquaintanceship
at once sprang up between the two, which resulted in their collaboration
in a book of War Sonnets (1855), inspired by the Crimean War.
After publishing City Poems (1857) and Edwin of Deira (1-861),
a Northumbrian epic poem, Smith turned his attention to prose,
and published Dreamthorp: Essays written in the Country (1863)
and A Summer in Skye. His last work was an experiment in fiction,
Alfred Hagart's Household (1866), which ran first through Good
Words. He died in January 1867.
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