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WILSON'S TALES OF THE BORDERS.

The series of popularly- narrated stories and legends, which have furnished pleasure to more than one generation under the title of " Wilson's Taleß of the Borders," and which in the present day are read with unabated intereot, have a noteworthy history. ■Mr John Mackay Wilson, the son of a sawyer, was born at Tweedmouth in 1804, and early manifested great aptitude for learning and a distinct tendency towards literary pursuits. Apprenticed to a' printer in Berwick, before the completion of his time he removed to London, whore he appears to have Buffered extreme want. On one occasion, while resting in one of the parka, homeless and well-nigh despairing, he, under some romantic influence, made his way to one of tbe trees and cut his name in full length on the bark. A short time afterwards the name caught the attention of Mr Jameß Sinclair, who had boen Lloyd's »gent at Berwick, and bad taken an interest in the youth. Mr Sinclair mado diligent inquiries with a view to finding the lad, but was for some > time unsuccessful. His search having been at length rewarded, he advised the youth to return to Scotland, and he accordingly took up his residence in Edinburgh. Here, under friendly encouragement, he published a melodrama, "The Gowiio Conspirators," a poem entitled " The Sojourners," " Lectures on Poetry " (which were delivered hy him in different parts of England and Scotland), and other fcfTusions entitled "The Highland Widow," and " Margaret of Anjou." In 1832, he became editor of The Berwick Advertiser, in which he commenced a series of sketches which immediately obtained popularity. On November \ 8, 1834, the first number was published, in a separate form, of the " Historical, TraditionI ary, and Imaginative Tales of the Borders." An edition of 2000 was exhausted in a week. Whon success seemed thus assured, the seeds of consumption, sown during his ? period of want and exposure, hrgan to develop, and he died on October 2, 1835, aged 31 years. Among the 40 or 50 stories which proceeded from his pen are several in which touching allusion may bo found to his own life experience. The appetite which had been excited in the public for literature of this sort required to be satisfied, When the first writer had passed away, and the series was continued by other writers on the lines which he had marked out, with wellsustained interest.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18840927.2.132

Bibliographic details

WILSON'S TALES OF THE BORDERS., Otago Witness, Issue 1714, 27 September 1884

Word Count
401

WILSON'S TALES OF THE BORDERS. Otago Witness, Issue 1714, 27 September 1884

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