Robert Pollok

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Robert Pollok
Born19 October 1798[1]
Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died15 September 1827
Shirley, Hampshire, England

Robert Pollok (19 October 1798 – 15 September 1827) was a Scottish poet best known for his work, The Course of Time, published in the year of his death.


Pollok was born at North Moorhouse Farm, Loganswell Renfrewshire, Scotland.[2] Sources differ on the exact year of his birth, some giving 1789,[3] some 1798,[2][4] and some 1799.[5][6] He studied at the University of Glasgow for the ministry of the United Secession Church.[2] During this time, he anonymously published three poems: Helen of the Glen, The Persecuted Family, and Ralph Gemmell.[7] After Pollok's death, these would be published together under his name as Tales of the Covenanters.

In 1827, shortly before leaving the university, Pollok published what was to be his final and most famous work, The Course of Time, a ten-book poem in blank verse. By its fourth edition, The Course of Time had sold 78,000 copies and was popular as far away as North America.[4]

Later that year, suffering from tuberculosis, Pollok was advised by his doctors to travel to Italy. He left Scotland with this intention, but his health worsened rapidly, and he died at Shirley (at that time near, and now a part of Southampton) on 15 September.[5]

He was buried in the nearby churchyard of St Nicholas, Millbrook. When the church was demolished, his memorial obelisk was removed and now stands in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church, Millbrook. Another monument to Pollok stands in Newton Mearns, Scotland, at the junction of the Glasgow/Ayr Road and the Old Mearns Road. It was unveiled on 24 September 1900, and bears the inscription "Robert Pollok, Author of 'The Course of Time' / Born 1798 Died 1827 / He soared untrodden heights and seemed at home".[8]


  • David Pollok, The Life Of Robert Pollok: Author Of "The Course Of Time. Blackwood, 1843
  1. ^ Rosaline Masson, Pollok & Aytoun, (Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, 1898, 'Famous Scots Series') p.11.
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pollok, Robert" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 6.
  3. ^ Cousin, John William. Biography of Pollok, Robert (1789–1827). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature.
  4. ^ a b Robert Pollok, 1798–1827. Gazetteer for Scotland.
  5. ^ a b Robert Pollok. Significant Scots.
  6. ^ Robert Pollok (1799–1827).
  7. ^ Schaff, Philip. Pollok, Robert. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.
  8. ^ "Robert Pollok Memorial, Mearns". Portal to the Past - East Renfrewshire's Heritage Collection. 7 August 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2007.

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