Pringle, Thomas (1789 - 1834)

Biography: 

Thomas Pringle was born January 5, 1789, in Blaiklaw, Roxburghshire, and educated at Kelso and afterwards, in 1805, at Edinburgh University. He became clerk, Commissioner of the Public Records of Scotland, and co-editor, Edinburgh Monthly Magazine and Constable's Magazine, in 1817. He married Margaret Brown on July 19 in that year and published his first book of poems, The Autumnal Excursion, in 1819. When he was 30 years old, they led a party including his brother, father, and stepmother, and her sister, to South Africa. They departed on February 18, 1820, and arrived on June 29 at Eildon Kloof, close to present Glen Lynden district. After the settlement had laid down good roots, he went to Cape Town in September 1822 to become Government Librarian. By 1824 he had become co-editor of the South African Commercial Advertiser and had opened a school. Two years later he left South Africa for London, where he did literary work and served as Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society until his death on December 5, 1834. He is buried in Bunhill Fields, London. In those final years Pringle saw a half dozen of his poems published in George Thompson's Travels and Adventures (1827). One reader was Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who wrote Pringle that he believed his poem, "Afar in the Desert," was one of the "two or three most perfect lyric Poems" in English. Pringle brought out a second book of poems, Ephemerides, in 1828, and at last a major book, African Sketches (1834), which brought together his (often revised) poems and a narrative of his residence in South Africa.

  • African Poems of Thomas Pringle, ed. Ernest Pereira and Michael Chapman (Durban: University of Natal Press, 1989). PR 5190 P3A57 1989 Robarts Library
  • Doyle, John Robert. Thomas Pringle (New York: Twayne, 1972). PR 5190 P3Z6 Robarts Library
  • Marchand, Marion. Index to the Poems of Thomas Pringle 1789-1834 (School of Librarianship, University of Witwatersrand, 1960).
  • Meiring, Jane. Thomas Pringle: His Life and Times. Cape Town: A. A. Balkema, 1968. DT 844 .2 P7M3 Robarts Library
  • Pringle, Thomas. African Sketches (London: Edward Moxon, 1834). 010097.e.63 British Library
  • --. The Autumnal Excursion, or, Sketches in Teviotdale; with Other Poems (Edinburgh: Constable, 1819).
  • --. Ephemerides, or, Occasional poems, written in Scotland and South Africa (London: Smith, Elder, 1828). Victoria University Rare Books no. 105
  • --. Glen-Lynden: A Tale of Teviotdale (London: Smith, Elder, 1828).
  • -- and Robert Story. The Institute: A Heroic Poem in Four Cantos (Edinburgh: W. McWilliam, 1811).
  • Thomas Pringle: His Life, Times, and Poems, ed. William Hay (Cape Town: J. C. Juta, 1912). 11611.l.16 British Library
Given Name: 
Thomas
Family Name: 
Pringle
Birth Date: 
January 5, 1789
Death Date: 
December 5, 1834
Nationality: 
Ethnicity: 
Literary Period: 
Literary Movement: 
Buried At: