Beside Scottish Gaelic verse it contains a large number of poems composed in Ireland as well verse and prose in Scots and Latin. The subject matter includes love poetry, heroic ballads and philosophical pieces.
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It also is notable for containing poetry by at least four women. In the early fifteenth century Scots historical works included Andrew of Wyntoun 's verse Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland and Blind Harry 's The Wallace , which blended historical romance with the verse chronicle. They were probably influenced by Scots versions of popular French romances that were also produced in the period, including The Buik of Alexander , Launcelot o the Laik , The Porteous of Noblenes by Gilbert Hay  and Greysteil , which would remain popular in to the late sixteenth century.
Many of the makars had university education and so were also connected with the Kirk. However, William Dunbar 's Lament for the Makaris c. The Bannatyne Manuscript was collated by George Bannatyne — around and contains the work of many Scots poets who would otherwise be unknown. James IV 's r. These included Robert Henryson c. William Dunbar — produced satires, lyrics, invectives and dream visions that established the vernacular as a flexible medium for poetry of any kind.
Gavin Douglas — , who became Bishop of Dunkeld , injected Humanist concerns and classical sources into his poetry. It was the first complete translation of a major classical text in an Anglian language, finished in , but overshadowed by the disaster at Flodden that brought the reign to an end. As a patron of poets and authors James V r. He wrote elegiac narratives, romances and satires. From the s, in the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots r. The Kirk, heavily influenced by Calvinism , also discouraged poetry that was not devotional in nature.
Nevertheless poets from this period included Richard Maitland of Lethington — , who produced meditative and satirical verses in the style of Dunbar; John Rolland fl. Alexander Scott 's? Unlike many of his predecessors, James VI actively despised Gaelic culture. His treatise, Some Rules and Cautions to be Observed and Eschewed in Scottish Prosody , published in when he was aged 18, was both a poetic manual and a description of the poetic tradition in his mother tongue, to which he applied Renaissance principles.
Later poets that followed in this vein included William Alexander c. Having extolled the virtues of Scots "poesie", after his accession to the English throne, James VI increasingly favoured the language of southern England. A number of Scottish poets, including William Alexander, John Murray and Robert Aytoun accompanied the king to London, where they continued to write,  but they soon began to anglicise their written language. As the tradition of classical Gaelic poetry declined, a new tradition of vernacular Gaelic poetry began to emerge.
While Classical poetry used a language largely fixed in the twelfth century, the vernacular continued to develop. In contrast to the Classical tradition, which used syllabic metre , vernacular poets tended to use stressed metre. However, they shared with the Classic poets a set of complex metaphors and a common role, as the verse was still often panegyric. A number of these vernacular poets were women,  such as Mary MacLeod of Harris c. The tradition of neo-Latin poetry reached its fruition with the anthology of the Deliciae Poetarum Scotorum , published in Amsterdam by Arthur Johnston c.
This was the period when the ballad emerged as a significant written form in Scotland. Some ballads may date back to the late Medieval era and deal with events and people, such as " Sir Patrick Spens " and " Thomas the Rhymer ", that can be traced back as far as the thirteenth century, but in verses that were not recorded until the modern era.
After the Union in Scottish literature developed a distinct national identity and began to enjoy an international reputation. Allan Ramsay — was the most important literary figure of the era, often described as leading a "vernacular revival". He laid the foundations of a reawakening of interest in older Scottish literature, publishing The Ever Green , a collection that included many major poetic works of the Stewart period.
These included William Hamilton of Gilbertfield c. He also mixed these traditions with influences from the Lowlands, including Thompson's Seasons , which helped inspire a new form of nature poetry in Gaelic, which was not focused on their relations to human concerns. James Macpherson —96 was the first Scottish poet to gain an international reputation, claiming to have found poetry written by Ossian , he published translations that acquired international popularity, being proclaimed as a Celtic equivalent of the Classical epics.
Fingal written in was speedily translated into many European languages, and its deep appreciation of natural beauty and the melancholy tenderness of its treatment of the ancient legend did more than any single work to bring about the Romantic movement in European, and especially in German , literature, influencing Herder and Goethe. Before Robert Burns the most important Scottish language poet was Robert Fergusson —48 , who also worked in English. His work often celebrated his native Edinburgh, as in his best known poem "Auld Reekie" An Ayrshire poet and lyricist, he is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and a major figure in the Romantic movement.
As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem and song " Auld Lang Syne " is often sung at Hogmanay the last day of the year , and " Scots Wha Hae " served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country.
Some of his works, such as "Love and Liberty" also known as "The Jolly Beggars" , are written in both Scots and English for various effects. Major poets writing in the radical tradition of Burns include Alexander Wilson — , whose outspoken views forced him into emigration to the US. William Tennant 's — "Anster Fair" produced a more respectable version of folk revels. However, Scotland continued to produce talented and successful poets. Poets from the lower social orders included the weaver-poet William Thom — , whose "A chieftain unknown to the Queen" combined simple Scots language with a social critique of Queen Victoria 's visit to Scotland.
Her poem Irene adapts the Spenserian stanza to reflect natural patterns of speech. William Edmondstoune Aytoun —65 , eventually appointed Professor of belles lettres at the University of Edinburgh , is best known for The lays of the Scottish Cavaliers and made use of the ballad form in his poems, including Bothwell. Among the most successful Scottish poets was the Glasgow-born Thomas Campbell — , whose produced patriotic British songs, including "Ye Mariners of England", a reworking of " Rule Britannia!
His works were extensively reprinted in the period — Shappi Khorsandi. Gina Miller. Our view.
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National Trust. Premium Articles. Subscription offers. The epilogues, in particular, usually referred to current affairs or aspects of contemporary life. An epilogue of unknown authorship to a production of the Eunuchus in talked about auctions and, in an allusion to the Somerset Case, decided by Lord Mansfield in that year, suggested that it was no longer lawful to sell slaves in England. This had a much wider circulation than usual, for, in an age when Latin verse by contemporary writers was much more widely read than is generally realized nowadays, it was written by Vincent Bourne c.
An usher, or assistant master, at Westminster School, Bourne was arguably the best known Latin poet of the century. His collected poems entirely in Latin went through at least ten editions between and , and were praised by, among others, William Cowper and Charles Lamb. She has come to see and be seen, in order that the audience may realize how much fides honesty, credit is in people of her colour.
A certain amount of irony is presumably intended here, as the epilogue would have been spoken by a white schoolboy; whatever his costume, the rest of the poem will have made little sense unless the speaker was in blackface. The fact that she says she fears even this will be in vain implies that it will not wash off her blackness and stresses negative perceptions of her colour.
In the same way, she does not wear beauty spots because she does not wish to make herself any blacker. She says her teeth are white without artificial aid, but we need to remember that eighteenth-century European notions of dental hygiene were far removed from our own, and that very white teeth were often associated with races perceived as savage or inferior.
The popular belief in the blindness of the mole, and the fact that it lives underground, may imply a reference here to negative stereotypes about the intellect of black people. The fact that these lines would have been spoken by a schoolboy in drag adds another dimension entirely. While both poems probably began as literary conceits, as what we might now call exercises in inter-textuality, these were not divorced from reality, for they depend upon the existing stereotyped perceptions that their readers and hearers had of actual black people and in turn would have contributed to the perpetuation of those stereotypes and to the racism of the time.
While it may be difficult to come to a generally agreed understanding of a poem like the Moretum , the poems of Herbert and Bourne appear to be more straightforward reflections of the widespread racism of the times in which they were created. They are of some significance in our understanding of the racial attitudes of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, not because of any literary qualities which the present-day reader may or may not discern in them, but because the prominence of Latin verse in the middle- and upper-class culture and education of the period suggests that their respective authors would have felt that they were writing for audiences who shared their views.
Both poems, on the surface, give a voice to the black female speaker, a voice which asks for recognition and respect, but in both cases this is undercut by the ways in which this voice is manipulated by the white male writer who controls it. Any real sympathy for the characters they have created is strictly limited, in the same way that when the writings of classical Latin authors evoke some hint of pity for the peasantry, the main function of this is to suggest a community of feeling among educated readers, not between those readers and the peasants who are being written about — as Fitzgerald : , n.
While every schoolboy who received an education beyond the most elementary would have had at least some exposure to reading and writing Latin, and, at the better schools, would have spent a large part of his class-room hours for several years on the art of Latin verse composition, this was true of very few girls.
For the modern reader, the poems are likely to seem either deliberately offensive, or, at best, self-consciously elitist intellectual games of a rebarbative nature. The translations are not intended as literal, but are attempts to give an impression of how the Latin poems might have been turned into English by contemporary versifiers.
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On this approach, see Gilmore a.