Reference > Cambridge History > From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift > Scottish Popular Poetry before Burns > The long Blight on Scottish Secular Verse; Exceptional popularity of Lyndsay
   Survival of Songs in the Puritan Period  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

XIV. Scottish Popular Poetry before Burns.

§ 1. The long Blight on Scottish Secular Verse; Exceptional popularity of Lyndsay.


DURING a large portion of the sixteenth, and nearly the whole of the seventeenth, century a blight had fallen on secular verse in Scotland; so great a blight that very little of the best and most characteristic verse of the “makaris” would have come down to us but for its preservation in MSS. One or two pieces by Henryson and Dunbar were printed at Edinburgh by Chepman and Myllar in 1508; Henryson’s irreproachable Morall Fables were printed by Lekprevick at St. Andrews in 1570; but it was in London, and after his death, that even the Vergil of Gavin Douglas appeared in 1553 and his Palice of Honour in 1579. Lyndsay’s poems, printed in London and elsewhere before the reformation, were probably circulated privately in Scotland, where, after the reformation, many editions were published; and they retained their exceptional popularity during the seventeenth century. But, Lyndsay excepted, the old “makaris” were never much known outside the circle of the court or the learned classes; and, though James VI himself wrote verse and patronised Montgomerie and other poets, the old poetic succession virtually perished with the advent of Knox.   1

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
   Survival of Songs in the Puritan Period  
 
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