Fife is a council area and historic county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire. By custom it is held to have been one of the major Pictish kingdoms, known as Fib, is still known as the Kingdom of Fife within Scotland. Fife is one of the six local authorities part of the South East Scotland city region, it is a lieutenancy area, was a county of Scotland until 1975. It was occasionally known by the anglicisation Fifeshire in old documents and maps compiled by English cartographers and authors. A person from Fife is known as a Fifer. Fife was a local government region divided into three districts: Dunfermline and North-East Fife. Since 1996 the functions of the district councils have been exercised by the unitary Fife Council. Fife is Scotland's third largest local authority area by population, it has a resident population of just under 367,000, over a third of whom live in the three principal towns of Dunfermline and Glenrothes.
The historic town of St Andrews is located on the northeast coast of Fife. It is well known for the University of St Andrews, one of the most ancient universities in the world and is renowned as the home of golf. Fife, bounded to the north by the Firth of Tay and to the south by the Firth of Forth, is a natural peninsula whose political boundaries have changed little over the ages; the Pictish king list and De Situ Albanie documents of the Poppleton manuscript mention the division of the Pictish realm into seven sub-kingdoms or provinces, one being Fife, though this is now regarded as a medieval invention. The earliest known reference to the common epithet The Kingdom of Fife dates from only 1678, in a proposition that the term derives from the quasi-regal privileges of the Earl of Fife; the notion of a kingdom may derive from a misinterpretation of an extract from Wyntoun. The name is recorded as Fib in A. D. 1150 and Fif in 1165. It was associated with Fothriff; the hill-fort of Clatchard Craig, near Newburgh, was occupied as an important Pictish stronghold between the sixth and eighth centuries AD.
Fife was an important royal and political centre from the reign of King Malcolm III onwards, as the leaders of Scotland moved southwards away from their ancient strongholds around Scone. Malcolm had his principal home in Dunfermline and his wife Margaret was the main benefactor of Dunfermline Abbey; the Abbey replaced Iona as the final resting place of Scotland's royal elite, with Robert I amongst those to be buried there. The Earl of Fife was until the 15th century considered the principal peer of the Scottish realm, was reserved the right of crowning the nation's monarchs, reflecting the prestige of the area. A new royal palace was constructed at Falkland the stronghold of Clan MacDuff, was used by successive monarchs of the House of Stuart, who favoured Fife for its rich hunting grounds. King James VI of Scotland described Fife as a "beggar's mantle fringed wi gowd", the golden fringe being the coast and its chain of little ports with their thriving fishing fleets and rich trading links with the Low Countries.
Wool, linen and salt were all traded. Salt pans heated by local coal were a feature of the Fife coast in the past; the distinctive red clay pan tiles seen on many old buildings in Fife arrived as ballast on trading boats and replaced the thatched roofs. In 1598, King James VI employed a group of 12 men from Fife, who became known as the Fife adventurers, to colonise the Isle of Lewis in an attempt to begin the "civilisation" and de-gaelicisation of the region; this endeavour lasted until 1609 when the colonists, having been opposed by the native population, were bought out by Kenneth Mackenzie, the clan chief of the Mackenzies. Fife became a centre of heavy industry in the 19th century. Coal had been mined in the area since at least the 12th century, but the number of pits increased ten-fold as demand for coal grew in the Victorian period. Rural villages such as Cowdenbeath swelled into towns as thousands moved to Fife to find work in its mines; the opening of the Forth and Tay rail bridges linked Fife with Dundee and Edinburgh and allowed the rapid transport of goods.
Modern ports were constructed at Methil and Rosyth. Kirkcaldy became the world centre for the production of linoleum. Postwar Fife saw the development of Glenrothes. To be based around a coal mine, the town attracted a high number of modern Silicon Glen companies to the region. Fife Council and Fife Constabulary centre their operations in Glenrothes. There are numerous notable historical buildings in Fife, some of which are managed by the National Trust for Scotland or Historic Scotland, they include Dunfermline Abbey, the palace in Culross, Ravenscraig Castle in Kirkcaldy, Dysart Harbour area, Balgonie Castle near Coaltown of Balgonie, Falkland Palace, Kellie Castle near Pittenweem, Hill of Tarvit, St. Andrews Castle, St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Rule's Tower. Fife is represented by five constituency members of the Scottish Parliament and four members of the United Kingdom parliament who are sent to Holyrood and the British Parliament respectively. Following the 2015 General Election, all four of the MPs constituencies were held by the Scottish National Party.
In the 2017 General Election Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath was regained by Labour. At the same election, the seat of North East Fife became the closest seat in the country with the SNP holding a majority of 2 over the Liberal Democrats Three of
James I of Scotland
James I, the youngest of three sons, was born in Dunfermline Abbey to King Robert III and his wife Annabella Drummond. His older brother David, Duke of Rothesay, died suspiciously while being detained by their uncle, Duke of Albany. Fears for James's safety grew through the winter of 1405/6 and plans were made to send him to France. In February 1406, James was forced to take refuge in the castle of the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth after his escort was attacked by supporters of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas, he remained there until mid-March. On 22 March English pirates delivered the prince to Henry IV of England; the ailing Robert III died on 4 April and the 12-year-old James, now the uncrowned King of Scots, would not regain his freedom for another eighteen years. James was educated well at the English Court where he developed respect for English methods of governance and for Henry V; the Scottish king willingly, joined Henry in his military campaign in France during 1420 – 1421. His cousin, Murdoch Stewart, Albany's son, an English prisoner since 1402 was traded for Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland in 1416.
James had married Joan Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset in February 1424 just before his release in April. The King's re-entry into Scottish affairs was not altogether popular since he had fought on behalf of Henry V in France and at times against Scottish forces. Noble families were now faced with paying increased taxes to cover the ransom repayments but would have to provide family hostages as security. James, who excelled in sporting activities and appreciated literature and music held a strong desire to impose law and order on his subjects although he applied it selectively at times. To secure his position, James launched preemptive attacks on some of his nobles beginning in 1425 with his close kinsmen the Albany Stewarts resulting in the execution of Duke Murdoch and his sons. In 1428 James detained Lord of the Isles, while attending a parliament in Inverness. Archibald, 5th Earl of Douglas, was arrested in 1431, followed by George, Earl of March, in 1434; the plight of the ransom hostages held in England was ignored and the repayment money was diverted into the construction of Linlithgow Palace and other grandiose schemes.
In August 1436, James failed in his siege of the English-held Roxburgh Castle and faced an ineffective attempt by Sir Robert Graham to arrest him at a general council. James was assassinated at Perth on the night of 20/21 February 1437 in a failed coup by his uncle Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl. Queen Joan, although wounded, managed to evade the attackers and reached her son, now King James II, in Edinburgh Castle. James was born in late July 1394 at Dunfermline Abbey, 27 years after the marriage of his parents, Robert III and Annabella Drummond, it was at Dunfermline under his mother's care that James would have spent most of his early childhood. The prince was seven years old when his mother died in 1401 and a year his elder brother David, Duke of Rothesay, was murdered by their uncle Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, after being held at Albany's Falkland Castle. Prince James, now heir to the throne, was the only impediment to the transfer of the royal line to the Albany Stewarts. In 1402 Albany and his close Black Douglas ally Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas were absolved of any involvement in Rothesay's death clearing the way for Albany's re-appointment as the king's lieutenant.
Albany rewarded Douglas for his support by allowing him to resume hostilities in England. The Albany and Douglas affinity received a serious reversal in September 1402 when their large army was defeated by the English at Homildon and numerous prominent nobles and their followers were captured; these included Douglas himself, Albany's son Murdoch, the earls of Moray and Orkney. That same year, as well as the death of Rothesay, Alexander Leslie, Earl of Ross and Malcolm Drummond, lord of Mar had died; the void created by these events was filled by lesser men who had not been conspicuously politically active. In the years between 1402 and 1406, the northern earldoms of Ross and Mar were without adult leadership and with Murdoch Stewart, the Justiciar for the territory north of the Forth, a prisoner in England, Albany found himself reluctantly having to form an alliance with his brother Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan and Buchan's son called Alexander to hold back the ambitions of the Lord of the Isles.
Douglas's absence from his power base in the Lothians and the Scottish Marches encouraged King Robert's close allies Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney and Sir David Fleming of Biggar to take full advantage in becoming the principal political force in that region. In December 1404 the king granted the royal Stewart lands in the west, in Ayrshire and around the Firth of Clyde, to James in regality protecting them from outside interference and providing the prince with a territorial centre should the need arise. Yet, in 1405 James was under the protection and tutelage of Bishop Henry Wardlaw of St Andrews on the country's east coast. Douglas animosity was intensifying because of the activities of Orkney and Fleming who continued to expand their involvement in border politics and foreign relations with England. Although a decision to send the young prince to France and out of Albany's reach was taken in the winter of 1405–06, James's departure from Scotland was unplanned. In February 1406 Bishop Wardlaw released James to Orkney and Fleming who, with their large force of Lothian adherents, proceeded into hostile Douglas east Lothian.
James's custodians may have been giving a demonstration of royal approval to further their interests in Dougl
Lollardy was a pre-Protestant Christian religious movement that existed from the mid-14th century to the English Reformation. It was led by John Wycliffe, a Roman Catholic theologian, dismissed from the University of Oxford in 1381 for criticism of the Roman Catholic Church; the Lollards' demands were for reform of Western Christianity. They formulated their beliefs in the Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards. Lollard, Lollardi or Loller was the popular derogatory nickname given to those without an academic background, educated only in English, who were reputed to follow the teachings of John Wycliffe in particular, were considerably energized by the translation of the Bible into the English language. By the mid-15th century, "lollard" had come to mean a heretic in general; the alternative, "Wycliffite", is accepted to be a more neutral term covering those of similar opinions, but having an academic background. The term is said to have been coined by the Anglo-Irish cleric Henry Crumpe, but its origin is uncertain.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it most derives from Middle Dutch lollaerd, from a verb lollen. It appears to be a derisive expression applied to various people perceived as heretics—first the Franciscans and the followers of Wycliffe; the Dutch word was a colloquial name for a group of the harmless buriers of the dead during the Black Death, in the 14th century, known as Alexians, Alexian Brothers or Cellites. These were known colloquially as lollebroeders, or Lollhorden, from Old High German: lollon, from their chants for the dead. Middle English loller is recorded as an alternative spelling of Lollard, while its generic meaning "a lazy vagabond, an idler, a fraudulent beggar" is not recorded before 1582. Two other possibilities for the derivation of Lollard are mentioned by the Oxford English Dictionary, the Latin lolium, the weedy vetch a reference to the biblical Parable of the Tares, he was burned at Cologne in the 1370s. Lollardy was a religion of vernacular scripture. Lollards opposed many practices of the Catholic church.
Anne Hudson has written that a form of sola scriptura underpinned Wycliffite beliefs, but distinguished it from the more radical ideology that anything not permitted by scripture is forbidden. Instead, Hudson notes that Wycliffite sola scriptura held the Bible to be "the only valid source of doctrine and the only pertinent measure of legitimacy."With regard to the Eucharist, Lollards such as John Wycliffe, William Thorpe, John Oldcastle, taught a view of the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion known as "consubstantiation" and did not accept the doctrine of transubstantiation, as taught by the Roman Catholic Church. The Plowman's Tale, a 16th century Lollard poem argues that theological debate about orthodox doctrine is less important than the Real Presence: I say the truth through true understanding: His flesh and blood, through his subtle works, is there in the form of bread. In what matter it is present need not be debated, whether as subject or accident, but as Christ was when he was alive, so He is there.
Wycliffite teachings on the Eucharist were declared heresy at the Blackfriars Council of 1382. William Sawtry, a priest, was burned in 1401 for his belief that "bread remains in the same nature as before" after consecration by a priest. In the early 15th century a priest named; when asked about consecration during his questioning, he repeated only his belief in the Real Presence. When asked if the host was still bread after consecration, he answered only: "I believe that the host is the real body of Christ in the form of bread". Throughout his questioning he insisted that he was "not bound to believe otherwise than Holy Scripture says". Following the questioning, Wyche recanted, after he was excommunicated and imprisoned. A suspect in 1517 summed up the Lollards' position: "Summe folys cummyn to churche thynckyng to see the good Lorde - what shulde they see there but bredde and wyne?"Lollard teachings on the Eucharist are attested to in numerous primary source documents. It is discussed in The Testimony of William Thorpe, the Apology for Lollard Doctrines, Jack Upland, Opus Arduum.
Simon Fish was condemned for several of the teachings in his pamphlet Supplication for the Beggars including his denial of purgatory and teachings that priestly celibacy was an invention of the Antichrist. He argued that earthly rulers have the right to strip Church properties, that tithing was against the Gospel, they did not believe the church practices of confession were necessary for salvation. They considered honoring of their images to be a form of idolatry. Oaths and prayers for the dead were thought to have no scriptural basis, they had a poor opinion of the trappings of the Catholic Church, including holy bread, holy water, bells and church buildings. They rejected the value of papal pardons. Special vows were considered to be in conflict with the divine order established by Christ and were regarded as anathema. Sixteenth-century martyrologist John Foxe described four main beliefs of Lo
Robert Henryson was a poet who flourished in Scotland in the period c. 1460–1500. Counted among the Scots makars, he lived in the royal burgh of Dunfermline and is a distinctive voice in the Northern Renaissance at a time when the culture was on a cusp between medieval and renaissance sensibilities. Little is known of his life, but evidence suggests that he was a teacher who had training in law and the humanities, that he had a connection with Dunfermline Abbey and that he may have been associated for a period with Glasgow University, his poetry was composed in Middle Scots at a time. It is one of the most important bodies of work in the canon of early Scottish literature, his writing consists of narrative works inventive in their development of story-telling techniques. He achieved a canny balance of humour and high seriousness, multi-layered in its effects; this is so in his Morall Fabillis, in which he expresses a consistent but complex world view that seems standard, on the surface, vis a vis the major ruling power of the church, while containing critical and questioning elements.
This range is further extended in his Testament of Cresseid with its more tragic vision. Overall, his themes and tone convey an attractive impression of humanity and compassionate intellect, he remains to this day one of the finest in the Scots language. Although his writing incorporated a medieval didactic purpose, it has much in common with other artistic currents of northern Europe which were developing, such as the realism of Flemish painting, the historical candour of Barbour or the narrative scepticism of Chaucer. An example is his subtle use of psychology to convey individual character in dramatised, recognisable daily-life situations which tend to eschew fantastic elements, his surviving body of work amounts to exactly 5000 lines. Henryson's surviving canon consists of three long poems and around twelve miscellaneous short works in various genres; the longest poem is his Morall Fabillis, a tight, intricately structured set of thirteen fable stories in a cycle that runs just short of 3000 lines.
Two other long works survive, both a little over 600 lines each. One is his dynamic and inventive version of the Orpheus story and the other, his Testament of Cresseid, is a tale of moral and psychological subtlety in a tragic mode founded upon the literary conceit of "completing" Criseyde's story-arc from Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde; the range of Henryson's shorter works includes a original pastourelle on a theme of love, as well as a bawdy passage of comic flyting which targets the medical practises of his day, a crafted and compressed poem of Marian devotion, some allegorical works, some philosophical meditations, a prayer against the pest. As with his longer works, his outward themes carry important subtexts. Constructing a sure chronology for Henryson's writings is not possible, but his Orpheus story may have been written earlier in his career, during his time in Glasgow, since one of its principal sources was contained in the university library. Internal evidence has been used to suggest.
There is no record of where Henryson was born or educated. The earliest found unconfirmed reference to him occurs in September 1462 when a man of his name with license to teach is on record as having taken a post in the founded University of Glasgow. If this was the poet, as is assumed the citation indicates that he had completed studies in both arts and canon law. With no record of him as a student in Scotland, it is thought that he graduated in a university furth of the land in Leuven, Paris or Bologna; this has not been established. All early references to Henryson associate his name with Dunfermline, he had some attachment to the city's Benedictine abbey, the burial place for many of the kingdom's monarchs and an important centre for pilgrimage close to a major ferry-crossing en route to St Andrews. Direct unconfirmed evidence for this connection occurs in 1478 when his name appears as a witness on abbey charters. If this was the poet it would establish that one of his functions was as notary for the abbey, an institution which possessed and managed a vast portfolio of territory across Scotland.
The universal references to Henryson as schoolmaster are taken to mean that he taught in and had some duty to run the grammar school for Dunfermline's abbatial burgh. A partial picture of what this meant in practice may be derived from a confirmatio of 1468 which granted provision to build a "suitable" house for the habitation of a "priest" and "scholars" in Dunfermline, including "poor scholars being taught free of charge". Dunfermline, as a royal burgh with capital status, was visited by the court with residences directly linked to the abbey complex. There is no record of Henryson as a court poet, but the close proximity makes acquaintance with the royal household likely, he was active during the reigns of James III and James IV, both of whom had strong interests in literature. According to the poet William Dunbar, Henryson died in Dunfermline. An apocryphal story by the English poet Francis Kynaston in the early 17th century refers to the flux as the cause of death, but this has not been established.
The year of death is unknown, although c.1498-9, a time of plague in the burgh, has been tentatively suggested. However, Dunbar gives the terminus ad quem in a couplet which states that Death in Dunfermelyne...hes done roune wit
Gavin Douglas was a Scottish bishop and translator. Although he had an important political career, he is chiefly remembered for his poetry, his main pioneering achievement was the Eneados, a full and faithful vernacular translation of the Aeneid of Virgil into Scots, the first successful example of its kind in any Anglic language. Other extant poetry of his includes Palice of Honour, King Hart. Gavin Douglas was born c. 1474–76, at Tantallon Castle, East Lothian, the third son of Archibald, 5th Earl of Angus by his second wife Elizabeth Boyd. A Vatican register records that Gavin Douglas was 13 in 1489, suggesting he was born in 1476. An application had been lodged to award Gavin the right to hold a Church canonry or prebend and enjoy its income. Another appeal to Rome concerning church appointments made in February 1495 states his age as 20, he was a student at St Andrews University in 1489–94, thereafter, it is supposed, at Paris. In 1496 he obtained the living of Monymusk, he became parson of Lynton and rector of Hauch, in East Lothian.
About 1501 he was preferred to the deanery or provostship of the collegiate church of St Giles, which he held with his parochial charges. Until the Battle of Flodden in September 1513, Gavin Douglas appears to have been occupied with his ecclesiastical duties and literary work. Indeed, all the extant writings by which he has earned his place as a poet and translator belong to this period. After the disaster at Flodden he was absorbed in public business. Before the crisis of 1513, Douglas was a friend and correspondent of many of the internationally renowned men of his age, including Polydore Vergil, John Major, Cardinal Wolsey and Henry, 3rd Lord Sinclair; because of his powerful family connections and role in high public life, he is the best-documented of the early Scottish makars. Indeed, of poets in the British Isles before him, only the biography of Chaucer is as well documented or understood. All his literary work was composed before his 40th year while he was Provost of St Giles in Edinburgh.
Douglas's literary work was composed in a polished Middle Scots aureate in style. After the Eneados he is not known to have produced any further poetry, despite being at the height of his artistic powers when it was completed in 1513, six weeks before the Battle of Flodden. No more than four of works by him are known to exist. While Provost of St Giles, in 1510 Gavin applied to the Pope for permission to celebrate the marriages of couples who were related within the limits and degrees proscribed by the Church. Gavin argued that these marriages helped to make peace in Scotland, the long delay in receiving a dispensation from Rome in each case, a formality, was inconvenient and unnecessary. Gavin asked to be allowed to conduct ten such marriages over four years. After the Battle of Flodden, during the minority of James V of Scotland, the Douglas family assumed a pivotal role in public affairs. Three weeks after the Battle of Flodden Gavin Douglas, still Provost of St Giles, was admitted a burgess of Edinburgh.
His father, the "Great Earl", was the civil provost of the capital. The Earl died soon afterwards in January 1514 in Wigtownshire; as his son had been killed at Flodden, the succession fell to Gavin's nephew, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. The marriage of the young Earl of Angus to James IV's widow on 6 August 1514 did much to identify the Douglases with the English party in Scotland, as against the French party led by the Duke of Albany, incidentally to determine the political career of his uncle Gavin. During the first weeks of the Queen's sorrow after the battle, with one or two colleagues of the council, acted as personal adviser, it may be taken for granted that he supported the pretensions of the young earl, his own hopes of preferment had been strengthened by the death of many of the higher clergy at Flodden. The first outcome for Gavin from the new family connection was his appointment to the Abbacy of Aberbrothwick by the Queen Regent, as Margaret Tudor was before her marriage in June 1514.
Soon after the marriage of Angus to Margaret she nominated him Archbishop of St Andrews, in succession to William Elphinstone, archbishop-designate. But John Hepburn, prior of St Andrews, having obtained the vote of the chapter, expelled him, was himself in turn expelled by Andrew Forman, Bishop of Moray, nominated by the Pope. In the interval, Douglas's rights in Aberbrothwick had been transferred to James Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, he was now without title or temporality; the breach between the Queen's party and Albany's had widened, the Queen's advisers had begun an intrigue with England, to the end that the royal widow and her young son should be removed to Henry's court. In those deliberations Gavin Douglas took an active part, for this reason stimulated the opposition which thwarted his preferment. Gavin Douglas became involved in affairs of state, seeking a dominant role as one of the Lords of Council and bidding to attain one or more of the many sees, including the archbishopric of St Andrews, left vacant in the destructive aftermath of the Scottish defeat.
He obtained the bishopric of Dunkeld in 1516, but only after a bitter struggle. In 1517, in his more settled public position, Douglas was one of the leading members of the embassy to Francis I which negotiated the Treaty of Rouen, but his role in the volatile politics of the period centring on control over the minority of James V, was contentious. By late 1517 he had ma
Robert Fergusson was a Scottish poet. After formal education at the University of St Andrews, Fergusson led a bohemian life in Edinburgh, the city of his birth at the height of intellectual and cultural ferment as part of the Scottish enlightenment. Many of his extant poems were printed from 1771 onwards in Walter Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, a collected works was first published early in 1773. Despite a short life, his career was influential through its impact on Robert Burns, he wrote both Scottish English and the Scots language, it is his vivid and masterly writing in the latter leid for which he is principally acclaimed. Robert Fergusson was born in Cap and Feather Close, a vennel off Edinburgh's Royal Mile demolished to make way for what is today the southern abutment of the North Bridge, his parents and Elizabeth, were from Aberdeenshire, but had moved to the city two years previously. He was the third of three surviving children by them. Fergusson received formal schooling at the city's High School and the High School of Dundee.
He joined, leading to the University of St Andrews with the assistance of a clan Fergusson bursary in September 1765. In March 1768, Principal Thomas Tullideph was minded to expel Fergusson due to his part in a "student riot" but was dissuaded by Prof Wilkie due to Fergusson's imminent graduation and because Fergusson promised to help Wilkie organise lecture notes. In fact, Fergusson bore no shame, he did keep his word and aided Prof Wilkie over the summer writing the poem "Eclogue" to his memory in life. In late summer of 1768 Fergusson returned to Edinburgh, his father had died the previous year, his sister Barbara had married, his older brother Harry had left Scotland, enlisting with the Royal Navy after a business failure. This left Fergusson, who had not completed his studies, to support their mother. Any possibility of family support from his maternal uncle, John Forbes of Round Lichnot near Auld Meldrum, ceased when his uncle permanently disowned him after a quarrel. Fergusson, who had rejected the church and law as career options open to him due to his university training settled in Edinburgh as a copyist, the occupation of his father.
There is good evidence that Fergusson had been developing literary ambitions as a student at St Andrews where he claimed to have begun drafting a play on the life of William Wallace. His earliest extant poem written at this time, is a satirical elegy in Scots on the death of David Gregory, one of the university's professors of maths. Fergusson involved himself in Edinburgh's social and artistic circles mixing with musicians, actors and booksellers who were publishers, his friend, the theatre-manager William Woods procured him free admission to theatre productions and in mid-1769 Fergusson struck up a friendship with the Italian castrato singer Giusto Fernando Tenducci, touring with a production of Artaxerxes. Fergusson's literary debut came when Tenducci asked him to contribute Scots airs for the Edinburgh run of the opera. Fergusson supplied three, which were published with the libretto. After February 1771 he began to contribute poems to Walter Ruddiman's Weekly Review; these at first were conventional English language works that were either satirical or fashionably pastoral in the manner of William Shenstone.
His first Scots poem to be published appeared on 2 January 1772, from that date on he submitted works in both languages. Popular reception for his Scots work, as evidenced in a number of verse epistles in its praise, helped persuade Ruddiman to publish a first general edition of his poems which appeared in early 1773 and sold around 500 copies, allowing Fergusson to clear a profit. In mid-1773 Fergusson attempted his own publication of Auld Reekie, now regarded as his masterpiece, a vivid verse portrait of his home city intended as the first part of a planned long poem, it demonstrated his ambition to further extend the range of his Scots writing. This included an aspiration to make Scots translations of Virgil's Georgics, thus following in the footsteps of Gavin Douglas. However, if any drafts for such a project were made, none survive; the poet is known latterly to have destroyed manuscripts of his writing. Fergusson was a member of the Cape Club which assembled at a tavern in Craig's Close.
Each member had a name and character assigned to him, which he was required to maintain at all gatherings. David Herd, the collector of the classic edition of Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, was "sovereign" of the Cape when Fergusson was dubbed a knight of the order, with the title of "Sir Precentor", in allusion to his fine voice. Alexander Runciman, the historical painter, his pupil Jacob More, Sir Henry Raeburn were all members; the old minute books of the club abound with pencilled sketches by them, one of the most interesting of which, ascribed to Runciman, is a sketch of Fergusson in his character of "Sir Precentor". Fergusson's literary energy and active social life were latterly overshadowed by what may have been depression although there are to have been other factors. From around mid-1773 his surviving works appear to become more darkly melancholic. In late 1773, in his "Poem to the Memory of John Cunningham", written on hearing news of the death of that poet in an asylum in Newcastle, Fergusson expressed fears of a similar fate.
His fears were founded. Around the backend of the year 1774, after sustaining a head injury in circumstances that are obscure (he fell
Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount was a Scottish herald who gained the highest heraldic office of Lyon King of Arms. He remains a well regarded poet whose works reflect the spirit of the Renaissance as a makar, he was the son of David Lyndsay, second of the Mount, of Garmylton. His place of birth and early education are unknown, but it is known that he attended the University of St Andrews, on the books of which appears an entry "Da Lindesay" for the session 1508–1509, he was engaged as a courtier in the Royal Household. In 1522 he married Janet Douglas, a court seamstress, his first heraldic appointment was as Snowdon Herald and in 1529 he was appointed Lord Lyon King of Arms, knighted. He was engaged in diplomatic business, was, in virtue of his heraldic office, a general master of ceremonies, he signed the only surviving letter from this time, "Dauid Lyndsay." His handwriting shows no trace of the italic forms used by those Scots who had finished their education abroad. After the death of James V, in 1542, Lyndsay continued to sit in Parliament of Scotland as commissioner for Cupar, Fife.
There is reason to believe that he died in or about 1555. In 1542 he produced a Scottish roll of arms known today as the Lindsay of the Mount Roll, it contains 400 Scottish coats of arms, some of which were added in the 16th century, forms the basis of the official Scots heraldic registry in use today. A facsimile comprising accurate redrawing of his own drawings was published in Edinburgh in 1878. Most of Lyndsay's literary work, by which he secured great reputation in his own day and by which he still lives, was written during the period of prosperity at court. In this respect he is different from Gavin Douglas; the difference is due to the fact that Lyndsay's muse was more occasional and satirical, that the time was suitable to the exercise of his special gifts. It is more difficult to explain, he chastised all classes, from his royal master to the most simple. There is no evidence, his aid was accepted by the reforming party, by their use of his work he shared with their leaders throughout many generations a reputation, exclusively political and ecclesiastical.
Lyndsay's longer poems represent, with reasonable completeness, the range of Lyndsay's literary talent. No single poem can give him a chief place, though here and there in the last, he gives hints of the highest competence, yet the corporate effect of these pieces is to secure for him the allowance of more than mere intellectual vigour and common sense. There is in his craftsmanship, in his readiness to apply the traditional methods to contemporary requirements, something of that accomplishment which makes the second-rate man of letters interesting. Lyndsay, the Makar, is not behind his fellow-poets in acknowledgment to Geoffrey Chaucer; as piously as they, he reproduces the master's forms. His nearest approach to Chaucer is in The Historie and Testament of Squyer Meldrum, which recalls the sketch of the "young squire". Elsewhere his memory serves him less as when he describes the array of the lamented Queen Magdalene in the words which Chaucer had applied to the eyes of his wanton Friar. So too, in the Dreme, the allegorical tradition survives only in the form.
"Remembrance" conducts the poet over the old-world itinerary, but only to lead him to speculation on Scotland's woes and to an "Exhortatioun to the Kingis Grace" to bring relief. The tenor is well expressed in the motto from the Vulgate--"Prophetias nolite spernere. Omnia autem probate: quod bonum est tenete." This didactic habit is exercised in the long poem Ane Dialog betwixt Experience and ane Courteor, a universal history of the medieval type, in which the falls of princes by corruption supply an object lesson to the unreformed church of his day. Ane Pleasant Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis is more direct in its attack on ecclesiastical abuse; this piece is of great historical interest, being the only extant example of a complete Scottish morality. It is in respect of literary quality Lyndsay's best work, in dramatic construction and delineation of character it holds a high place in this genre; the farcical interludes supply many touches of genuine comedy. The Testament of the Papyngo, drawn in the familiar medieval manner, is another tract for the time, full of admonition to court and clergy.
Of his shorter pieces, The Complaynt and Publict Confessions of the Kingis Auld Hound, callit Bagsche, directit to Bawtie, the Kingis best belovit Dog, his companyconis, the Answer to the Kingis Flyting have a like pulpit resonance. The former is interesting as a forerunnel of Burns's device in the "Twa Dogs." The Deploratioun of the Death of Queen Magdalene is in the extravagant style of commemoration illustrated in Dunbar's Elegy on the Lord Aubigny. The Justing betwix James Watsoun and Jhone