Studies in Scottish Latin
This thesis examines certain aspects of Scottish Latin, particularly in the period 1580-1637. The first chapter chronicles the endeavours of John Scot of Scotstarvet to compile an anthology of Scottish Latin poetry, based on the unpublished letters to Scot in the NLS. Both the letters and contemporary verse indicate that the project was under way twenty years before the Delitiae was printed and that John Leech was an important influence. Leech's letters to Scot highlight Scot's editorial reticence, confirmed by the alterations in Scotstarvet's own verse. The final product was more a reflection of the taste and ethos of the early 1620s, after which Scot apparently ceased to collect material. The second chapter documents the attempts to impose a national grammar upon the schools, akin to the Lily-Colet grammar in England. Attempts to provide a radical alternative to Despauter, firstly by a committee and later by Alexander Hume, were inhibited by the inherent conservatism of teaching establishments. The most successful of the new grammars, those by Wedderburn and the Dunbar Rudiments, remained as general introductions to Despauter. Evidence for the composition of Latin verse in schools and universities, both statutory and manuscript, is assessed in the third chapter. Active involvement in the practice by local authorities influenced the range and extent of verse being written after 1600. The poetry of David Wedderburn of Aberdeen, promoted by the town council, reflects that influence. The importance of teaching methods upon a poet's future development is most clearly seen in the verse of David Hume, discussed in the fourth chapter. Hume continually re-works and re-evaluates the themes of his adolescent verse, measuring them against the achievements of James VI, whose birth he had earlier celebrated. The thesis concludes with a check-list of Scots whose Latin verse was printed before 1640.