The Poetry of William Dunbar

Helen Fulton


William Dunbar (c.1460-c.1520) was a court poet, a 'makar', to the Scottish king James IV, who reigned from 1488 to 1513.1 Like many medieval writers, Dunbar trained as a cleric, graduating from the University ofSt Andrews before entering the service of the royal court. Living mainly in Edinburgh, Dunbar travelled regularly to France as a member of various Scottish embassies and was greatly influenced by French and English styles of court poetry. His greatest achievement was to transform these styles into the language now known as Scots.

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