Thomas Campbell (July 27, 1777 - June 15, 1844) was a Scottish poet chiefly remembered for his sentimental poetry dealing specially with human affairs. He was also one of the initiators of a plan to found what became the University of London. In 1799, he wrote 'The Pleasures of Hope' a traditional 18th century survey in heroic couplets. He also produced several stirring patriotic war songs- Ye Mariners of England, The Soldier's Dream, Hohen Linde and in 1801, The Battle of Baltic. Born in Glasgow, the fourth and eldest son of Archibald Campbell, his father, of the Campbells of Kirnan, Argyll, belonged to a Glasgow firm trading in Virginia, and lost his money in consequence of the American Revolutionary War. Campbell, who was educated at the Glasgow High School and University of Glasgow, won prizes for classics and for verse-writing. He spent the holidays as a tutor in the western Highlands. His poem Glenara and the ballad of Lord Ullin's Daughter owe their origin to a visit to Mull. In May 1797 he went to Edinburgh to attend lectures on law. He supported himself by private teaching and by writing, towards which he was helped by Dr Robert Anderson, the editor of the British Poets. Among his contemporaries in Edinburgh were Sir Walter Scott, Henry Brougham, Francis Jeffrey, Dr Thomas Brown, John Leyden and James Grahame. These early days in Edinburgh influenced such works as The Wounded Hussar, The Dirge of Wallace and the Epistle to Three Ladies.
In 1799, six months after the publication of the Lyrical Ballads of Wordsworth and Coleridge, The Pleasures of Hope was published. It is a rhetorical and didactic poem in the taste of his time, and owed much to the fact that it dealt with topics near to men's hearts, with the French Revolution, the partition of Poland and with negro slavery. Its success was instantaneous, but Campbell was deficient in energy and perseverance and did not follow it up. He went abroad in June 1800 without any very definite aim, visited Gottlieb Friedrich Klopstock at Hamburg, and made his way to Regensburg, which was taken by the French three days after his arrival. He found refuge in a Scottish monastery. Some of his best lyrics, Hohenlinden, Ye Mariners of England and The Soldier's Dream, belong to his German tour. He spent the winter in Altona, where he met an Irish exile, Anthony McCann, whose history suggested The Exile of Erin.
He had at that time the intention of writing an epic on Edinburgh to be entitled The Queen of the North. On the outbreak of war between Denmark and England he hurried home, the Battle of the Baltic being drafted soon after. At Edinburgh he was introduced to the first Lord Minto, who took him in the next year to London as occasional secretary. In June 1803 appeared a new edition of the Pleasures of Hope, to which some lyrics were added.
In 1803 Campbell married his second cousin, Matilda Sinclair, and settled in London. He was well received in Whig society, especially at Holland House. His prospects, however, were slight when in 1805 he received a government pension of £200. In that year the Campbells removed to Sydenham. Campbell was at this time regularly employed on the Star newspaper, for which he translated the foreign news. In 1809 he published a narrative poem in the Spenserian stanza, Gertrude of Wyoming, with which were printed some of his best lyrics. He was slow and fastidious in composition, and the poem suffered from overelaboration. Francis Jeffrey wrote to the author: