AY'TOUN, WILLIAM ED3IONDSTOUNE, was a native of Edinburgh, having been b. there in 1813. He received his education at the metropolitan university, and was called to the Scottish bar in 1840. In 1845, he was appointed regius professor of rhetoric and belles-letters in the university of Edinburgh; and after the formation of the Derby administration, in 1852, he was promoted to the sbrievalty of Orkney and Shetland He married a daughter of prof. During many years, prof. Aytoun devoted himself to literary work. The earliest work of his with which we are acquainted is entitled The Life and Times of Richard 1., published in 1840—a subject well treated, and singularly in consonance with his chivalrous and romance-loving nature. Despite his minstrel tendencies, he is a master of caricature and parody; and many of the most suc cessful of the Bon Gaultier Ballads are understood to be from his pen. In 1849, he published the Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers and other Poems, which established his repu tation as a poet of the school of Sir Walter Scott, and which has run through many editions. Among biS subsequent 'writings are—Rmilfan, a Spasmodic Tragedy, pub lished in 1854; and Bothwell, a narrative poem of considerable, length, in the measure and manner of Sir Walter Scott, which was, after its first publication in 1856, to a large extent recast and improved. His edition of the Scottish Ballads, in 2 vols., appeared in
1858. In the ensuing year, he issued, in conjunction with his friend, Mr. Theodore Martin, translations of various minor poems of Goethe, in one volume. He was for many years one of the most frequent and brilliant contributors to Blaelzwood's Magazine. Prof. A. was successful in quite opposite departments of literature—he was distinguished at once as a poet and humorist. His poems exhibit a ballad-like simplicity, and a fiery flow of narration—the special merits of the poetical school in which he graduated; while his tales—the best known and appreciated of which are The Glenmutchlein Railway, and How I became a Yeoman—possess a certain robust humor and farcical abandonment, and are related to the writings of the great masters of humor much in the degree that the "screaming farce" is related to genteel comedy. His poetical powers appear in their greatest perfection in the Lays of the Scottish, Cavaliers; the special merits of his humor are best exhibited in How 1 became a Yeoman. As a critic, he took up the knout of the dreaded Christopher North of the Socks, which he 'wielded with considerable dex terity and force. Prof. A. died at Edinburgh, Aug. 4, 1865. His life has been written by Theodore Martin (Load. 1867).