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William Dunbar


c.1460 - c.1530

Poet. Dunbar was most-likely born in East Lothian and was educated at St. Andrews University (1475-9). He entered a Franciscan Monastery and preached around England. He left the Holy order and thereafter acted as an Ambassador for King James IV (1473 - 1513), receiving a pension from his King in 1500. He is thought to have helped facilitate the James' marriage to Margaret Tudor (1503). He recorded that event in his poem 'The Thrissil and the Rois' and seems to have gone on compose other works while he spent time at the Royal Court. His poems were included in the 'The Chepman and Myllar Prints' (Edinburgh, 1508), the first books printed in Scotland, which are now held by the National Library of Scotland.

Dunbar was lionised by the poets of the Scottish Literary Renaissance in the mid-twentieth century, such as Hugh MacDiarmid (1892 - 1978), Tom Scott (1918-95) and Sydney Goodsir Smith (1915-75).


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