William Dunbar

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William Dunbar (c. 1456 – 1520) trained as a Franciscan novice in addition to studying at the University of St Andrews, Oxford, and Paris. He served as an ambassador and court poet of King James IV, for whom his work epitomized the ideals of the “Northern Renaissance.” His most famous work, “Lament for the Makaris” eulogizes twenty-four early Scots/English poets including Geoffrey Chaucer, John Barbour, Blind Harry, and Robert Henryson. As “The Twa Cummeris” illustrates, however, Dunbar was equally comfortable dipping his quill in bile as in tears, and proved one of Scotland’s great comic as well as dramatic poets.