Cameron, William


b Lochaber, nr Ballater, Aberdeenshire 1751, d Kirknewton, nr Livingston, W Lothian (Midlothian) 1811. A farmer’s son from the parish of Glenmuick, he graduated from Marischal Coll in the Univ of Aberdeen (MA 1770) and became a Licentiate of the Ch of Scotland—short of full ordination. On appreciating Cameron’s poetic gifts, the Aberdeen Prof James Beattie (1735–1803, author of the unfinished and ‘proto-Wordsworthian’ The Minstrel) probably then recommended him to the committee appointed to revise the Scots metrical Psalter. Together with John Logan and others, he shared (unofficially) in the 1775 revision of the Translations and Paraphrases of 1745–51. He is credited with drafting 34 of these versions, for some of which he is best-known in hymn-books; these are a classic (and now historic) example of the authorised recasting and updating of texts which were not at that time very old. He was belatedly ordained in 1786, and from then until his death was the parish minister at Kirknewton. Before he was 30 he published Poems on Various Subjects in 1780; his Poems on Several Occasions appeared posthumously in 1813. In recent edns of the Scottish Church Hymnary, however, his name does not appear, as the paraphrases are printed anonymously. He also wrote The Abuse of Civil and Religious Liberty (1796) and A Review of the French Revolution (1802). No.974*.

Hymns and songs by Cameron, William

Number Hymn Name
974 How bright these glorious spirits shine