Robert Blair was a Scottish poet and minister who was educated in Edinburgh and in Holland.
Ordained in 1731, he published The Grave in 1743. This work was about a graveyard school, and consists of 800 lines of blank verse.
Blair’s poem notes the horrors of death, the pain of bereavement and thoughts on Resurrection. Later, this poem would be illustrated by William Blake.
In part, The Grave reads
Oft, in the lone church-yard at night I’ve
The schoolboy with a satchel in his hand,
Whistling aloud to keep his courage up…
Sudden he starts! and hears, or thinks he
The sound of something purring at his heels;
Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind
Till out of breath, he overtakes his fellow
Blair, like Scottish poets Robert L. Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott, used standard English instead of Scots in their work.
Blair died on February 4, 1846.
I wonder if his Scottish contemporaries would have been familiar with his poetry.