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Alexander Rodger (1784-1846) - Poet

He was born on 16th July 1784 in Midcalder, Midlothian, Scotland, the son of a farmer. He was apprenticed to a silversmith in Edinburgh as a young man, but moved later to Glasgow, where he spent the rest of his life, working variously as a weaver, cloth inspector, music teacher and journalist. Although his reputation was for long dimmed by his involvement as the co-editor of the sentimental whistle-binkie anthologies, Rodger was a satirical poet with a fine eye for exposing the ridiculous in public life. His best-known poem, 'Sawney, now the king's come', is a spirited pastiche of Sir Walter Scott's poem of welcome to George IV on his visit to Edinburgh of August 1822. Like most of his satirical poems commenting on the public events of his lifetime, it is written in a vigorous, earthy Scots. While working for a radical newspaper, The Spirit of the Union, Rodger was imprisoned briefly for sedition, but this did not dampen his political ardour and his last years were spent as editor of The Reformers' Gazette. Of his humorous, sentimental poems and songs, all of which enjoyed great popularity in their day, 'Robin Tamson's Smiddy' is perhaps the most accomplished. He died on 26 September 1846 in Glasgow.

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