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MARK AK1NSIDE, " the British Lucretius," was liorn at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nov. 9, 1721. His lather, Mark Akinside, was a substantial butcher in that town. His mother, Mary Lnmsdcn, was pro'uably of Scottish extraction. Both parents wore Dissenter*.
Mr. Tirana1 the present vicar of Newcastle, in his " Observation* en popular Antiquities,1' alleges, that a halt which he had hi his gait was occasioned by the failing of a cleaver from his father's stall upon him, when he was a boy.
He received the fir.-t part of liis education at the free-school of Newcastle, and was afterwards placed under the care of Mr. Wilson, a dissenting minister, who kept an academy in that town, where ho first began to write verses. The Virtuoso and '/he Poet, a Hhopsody, written at the age of To"; ljuve, an t'.legy; a British Phiiiipic; 'and a Hymn to Science, at 17, omitted in the publication of bis works by Mr. Dyson, are to be found in volumes 7 and 8 of the Gentleman's Magazine, dated fiom Newcastle, and signed Marcus. They Tiear evident marks of early genius.
At the age of eighteen he was sent to the University of Edinburgh, that he might qualify himself for the office of a dissenting minister, and received some assistance from the fund which tlie dissenters employ in educating young men of scanty fortune. He prosecuted his studies for one winter, upon this plan: hut a wider view of the world, prompting other hopes, he determined to study physic;, and repaid, afterwards, that contribution which, being received fur a different purpose, he justly thought it dishonourable to retain.
It is said that his greatest work, The Pleasures of Imagination, was wxitten.at Morpeth, on the hanks of the Wensbeck, which he has celebrated in his verses, while he was on a visit to his relations, before he went to the University of Edinburgh.
At Edinburgh, be distinguished himself likewise by his poetical compositions. His Ode on the Winter Solstice, which is dated 1740, was certainly composed at that place.
His taste for poetry facilitated his introduction to the most respectable literary associations among his fellow students, by whom his genius and learning were highly respected; and his philosophical knowledge easily procured him admission into the " Medical Society," an institution coeval with the establishment of a regular school of physic in the University, of which lie was elected a member, December 30, 1740.
In 1741, after staying three years at Edinburgh, he removed to Leyden, iji pursuit of medical knowledge, where he contracted an intimate friendship with. Jeremiah Dyson, Esq. who was prosecuting the study of the civil law in that University. After residing three years at Leyden, he took his degree of Doctor in Physic, May 16, 1744, and published an inaugural dissertation, according to the custom <rf the Dutch Universities, De Ot!u et iicremcnla fatus humani,