© National Portrait Gallery

July 27, 1777, Glasgow, Scotland.

June 15, 1844, Boulogne, France.

Westminster Abbey, London, England.


Descended from the Campbells of Kirnan in Argyllshire, Thomas was the son of a tobacco trader. He won prizes at the university for classical verse translations, and for his essay On the Origin of Evil. He worked for a while as a tutor in Mull and Lochgilphead, then went to Edinburgh to study law, but literature seems to have been his first love. In 1799, he published the long poem The Pleasures of Hope. The next year, he visited battle sites in Germany and Denmark which are thought to have inspired his poems Ye Mariners of England and The Battle of the Baltic. Another of his noted poems was Gertrude of Wyoming, the first long poem by a British author set in America.

Campbell was also interested in education, and had a hand in the founding of University College. In addition, he edited The New Monthly Review (1820–31) and served as Rector of Glasgow University (1827–29). His works include:

  1. Star in the East, The
  2. When Jordan Hushed His Waters Still
  1. Sagina