Maitland, Sir Richard

, a cultivator and preserver of Scotch poetry, the son of William Maitland of Lethington, and of Martha, daughter of George lord Seaton, was born in 1496. Having finished his course of literature and philosophy in the university of St. Andrews, he visited France in order to prosecute the study of the law. In 1554 he appears to have been one of the extraordinary lords of session. About 1561 he was deprived of his sight, a misfortune which, however, did not prevent his being admitted in that year to the office of an ordinary lord of session, by the title of lord Lethington; and in 1562, he xvas appointed lord privy-seal, and a member of the privycouncil. His office as keeper of the privy seal he resigned in 1567, in favour of his second son, the subject of our | next article. In 1583 he was excused from attendance as a judge, unless when it suited his convenience; but from a sense of the importance of the duties of that office, he resigned it in favour of sir Lewis Ballenden. Sir Richard died March 20, 1586. His eldest son, sir William Mait-. land, secretary to queen Mary, makes a considerable figure in the history of that princess.

Sir Richard Maitland is celebrated as a man of learning, talents, and virtue. His compositions breathe the genuine spirit of piety and benevolence. The chearfulness of his natural disposition, and his affiance in divine aid, seem to have supported him with singular equanimity under the pressure of blindness and old age. His poem “On the Creation and Paradyce Lost” is printed in Allan Ramsay’s “Ever-Green.A considerable number of his productions are to be found among Mr. Pinkerton’s “Ancient Scotish Poetry,1786, 2 vols. 8vo; two are in the Bibliograpfter, vol. III. p. 114, and many more remain unpublished. A ms. containing “The Selected Poemes of Sir Richard Metellan” was presented by Drummond to the university of Edinburgh; but it seems merely to consist of gleanings from the two volumes deposited in the library of Magdalen -college, Cambridge. Two of his unpublished works, a genealogical history of the family of Seaton, and decisions of the court of session from 1550 to 1565, are preserved in the Advocates’ library, Edinburgh. It is supposed that he did not write his poems before he had nearly attained his sixtieth year. On that and other accounts they afford some gratification to curiosity, but little to taste. The Maitland Collection of Poems in the Pepysian library has served to connect his name with the history of early Scotish poetry. 1


Irvine’s Lives of the Scotish Poets, Mackenzie’s Scotch Writers, vol. III.