author, was born on the 3oth of January 1813, at Comrie, Perthshire,
where his father, the Rev. Samuel Gilfillan, the author of some
theological works, was for many years minister of a Secession
congregation. After an education at Glasgow. University, in March
1836 he was ordained pastor of a Secession congregation in Dundee.
He published a volume of his discourses in 1839, and shortly afterwards
another sermon on “Hades,” which brought him under
the scrutiny of his co-presbyters, and was ultimately withdrawn
next contributed a series of sketches of celebrated’ cofitemporary
authors to the Dum fries Herald, then edited by Thomas Aird; and
these, with several new ones, formed his first Gallery of Literary
Portraits, which appeared in 1846, and had a wide circulation.
It was quickly followed by a Second and a Third Gallery. In 1851
his most successful work, the Bards of the Bible, appeared. His
aim was that it should be “a poem on the Bible“ and
it was far more rhapsodical than critical. His Martyrs and heroes
of the Scottish Covenant appeared in 1832, and in 1856 he produced
a partly autobiographical, partly fabulous, History of a Man.
For thirty years he was engaged upon a long poem, on Night, which
was published in 1867, but its theme was too vast, vague and unmanageable,
and the result was a failure. He also edited an edition of the
a lecturer and as a preacher he drew large crowds, but his literary
reputation has not proved permanent. He died on the 13th of August
1878. He had just finished a new life of Burns designed to accompany
a new edition of the works of that poet.
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