William Dunbar

medieval Scottish poet and civil servant

William Dunbar (c. 1460 – c. 1520) was a makar or Scottish Chaucerian poet. He was taken as a model by those writers of the Scottish Renaissance who followed Hugh MacDiarmid's slogan "Dunbar – not Burns!"

Quotes edit

Title page of Dunbar's The Goldyn Targe in the Chepman and Myllar Prints of 1508. (National Library of Scotland).
  • Man, pleis thy makar and be mirry, And sett not by this warld a chirry;

(Man please thy maker and be merry, And set not by this world a cherry). from "Of Covetyce".

  • I that in heill wes and gladness,
    Am trublit now with gret seiknes,
    And feblit with infermité;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

    Our plesance heir is all vane glory,
    This fals warld is bot transitory,
    The flesche is brukle, the Fend is sle;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.
    • "The Lament for the Makars", line 1.
  • My deathe chasis my lyfe so besalie
    That wery is my goist to fle so fast.
    • "To a Lady", line 15.

Misattributed edit

  • Strong be thy wallis that about the standis;
    Wise be the people that within the dwellis;
    Fresh is thy ryver with his lusty strandis;
    Blith be thy chirches, wele sownyng be thy bellis;
    Riche be thy merchauntis in substance that excellis
    Fair be thy wives, right lovesom, white and small;
    Clere be thy virgyns, lusty under kellis:
    London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
    • "London, thou art of townes A per se", line 41.
    • John Stow's ascription of this poem to Dunbar, though unchallenged for centuries, is no longer accepted.

External links edit

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