Gavin Douglas to be commemorated at Makars Court hall of fame

One of Scotland’s greatest poets is set to be commemorated at Makars’ Court with an extract of his work inscribed into a flagstone at the national literary monument.

Gavin Douglas (c.1475 – September 1522) is best known for his glittering allegory, The Palace of Honour (c.1501) and his translation of Virgil’s epic Aeneid into Middle Scots – described as Douglas’ masterpiece.

Statue of Gavin Douglas  Bishop of Dunkeld outside St Giles CathedralAs the younger son of the fifth earl of Angus, Douglas became provost of the High Kirk of St Giles in approximately 1501. He then later became the bishop of Dunkeld in 1517 and his subsequent chequered political career ended with his death from plague while in exile in London.

A report approved at the City of Edinburgh Council’s Culture and Sport Committee today (20 August) provided details of the inscription, which has been sponsored by Dr Jamie Reid Baxter, Rosemary Burton and the Scots Language Society.

Gavin Douglas (c1476 – 1522)

…mak it braid and plane,
Kepand na sudron bot our awyn langage

(Translation: …make it broad and plain,
Keeping no southern, but our own language)

(from Eneados, 1st Prologue, lines 110-111)

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture and Sport Convener, said: “Makars' Court has become one of the highlights of the Old Town tourist trail since it was unveiled in 1998 and the addition of this new inscription will no doubt attract yet more visitors. It is fitting that such a monument sits at the heart of Edinburgh – a UNESCO City of Literature.

“Scotland, and not least its capital city, has produced an extraordinary number of accomplished writers and the Makars' Court is an excellent way of paying tribute to them and celebrating their work.”

Makars’ Court at the Writers’ Museum celebrates the achievements of Scottish writers and is an ongoing project to create a Scottish equivalent of Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey.

Thirty-six writers have so far been commemorated at the monument including Dame Muriel Spark.

For more information on Makars’ Court visit the Edinburgh Museums & Galleries website.

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