The Tour of Doctor Prosody: In Search of the Antique and Picturesque, through Scotland, the Hebrides, the Orkney and Shetland Isles (London, 1821)
"Next to works of History, or real Travels, may be ranked those efforts of Invention, which, keeping within the bounds of probability and incidents of human life, display with humour, eccentricity and genius, the supposed adventures of a fictitious hero, whose ideal misfortunes and successful struggles over all opposing obstacles, not only amuse, but instruct us how to make the best of similar occurrences in real life."Dr Prosody
A book-length satire in verse published in 1821 and illustrated with twenty aquatints, The Tour of Dr Prosody follows the adventures of a fictional character through Scotland. With his now deeply unfashionable powdered wig, curiosity for antiquities and penchant for picturesque sketching, the character of Dr Prosody recalls the three giants of Scottish tour writing, Samuel Johnson, Thomas Pennant and William Gilpin. Taking a cue from William Combe and Thomas Rowlandson’s 1812 Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, the book targets the affected attitudes of tourists and reveals contemporary attitudes to the now 'exhausted' tour genre, superseded by Scott's romances. Accompanied by his Scottish servant ‘Archie’ and the Edinburgh antiquary ‘Dr Factobend’, Prosody visits all the major tourist sites celebrated over the previous half century. Invariably finding himself struck by some misfortune or other, he is in turn taken for a poacher, held hostage by smugglers, taking a tumble or harassed by gannets.