Beattie, James, 1735–1803, Scottish poet and essayist. Educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen, he later became professor of moral philosophy there. His fame in his own lifetime rested on two works, Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770), an attack on Hume, and The Minstrel (1771–74), an autobiographical poem in Spenserian stanzas. In describing the formation of a poet's mind, The Minstrel emphasizes the effect of nature; the poem influenced the 19th-century romantics, particularly Lord Byron .
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