William Mickle's father was the minister of Langholm, Dumfries-shire. Mickle was educated in Edinburgh.

When he was fifteen he entered the brewery business. His father bought the business and when he passed away Mickle inherited it. His devotion to literature though kept him away from business matters leading him to bankruptcy.

In 1763 he went to London. Two years later he published a poem called The Concubine

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