Laurence of Lindores
annual Kate Kennedy procession through
The third son of the Earl of Angus, Gavin Douglas, studied at St Andrews from 1489 until 1494, and later at the University of Paris. In the Preface to his Scots translation of Virgil's Aeneid (which he completed in 1513 just before the Battle of Flodden), he refers somewhat disparagingly to the writings of logicians. Here is a rough translation (the original is displayed to the right):
|"For there are Latin words many a one
Which in our language truly, as I know,
Few men can tell me clearly what they mean.
Between genus, sexus, and species,
Diversity to seek in our tongue I fail.
For obiectum and subiectumalso
He would be an expert who could find for me two terms,
Though they are as common among students in school
As ever fowls plunged in lake or pool.
Logicians know herein my meaning,
Under whose bounds lurk many strange goings-on."
|"For thar bene Latyne wordis many ane
Quhilkis in our langage southlie, as I wene,
Few men can tell me cleirlie quhat thai mene.
Betuix genus, sexus,and species,
Diuersitie to seik in our leid I ceis.
For obiectum and subiectum alsua,
He war expert culd fynd me terms tua
Quhilkis ar als rife amange clerkis in scule
As euir fowlis plungit in laik or puile.
Logitianis knawis heirin myne entent,
Onder quhais boundis lurkis mony strange went."
|Angus Douglas (Gavin's nephew), 6th Earl of Angus, married Margaret Tudor, the widow of James the IV and this put Gavin and all the rest of the family in the Queen's camp during the power squabbles. Subsequently through the influence of Margaret Tudor he attained the abbacy of Arbroath and later in 1515 the Bishopric of Dunkeld (having failed in his bid to become Bishop of St. Andrews). Unfortunately, the politics of the time dictated that the Douglas's would fall from power, through popular indignation at Margaret's marriage to Angus (which resulted in Margaret being deprived of the regency). Gavin was imprisoned in 1516 for a year in Edinburgh Castle for intriguing with Margaret to obtain ecclesiastical promotion without the consent of parliament, and after his release had to fight off rival claims to his bishopric. But he soon returned to favour, and in 1517 went to France to help arrange the marriage of James V (now five years old) to Princess Madeleine, daughter of Francois I (though the wedding would not take place until 1537). However Douglas's ambition and his involvement in the political wrangling of the regency led to another fall from grace, and he was exiled to England in 1521 to avoid an arraignment for high treason. He died of plague in England a year later in September 1522 and was buried in Savoy Church in London.||
- the birth place of Gavin Douglas.
Francois Rabelais (about 1483-1553)
William Cranston, Provost of St Salvators 1553-60
Adam Ferguson was a student at St Andrews, later Professor of Natural Philosophy (i.e. physics) and in time, Moral Philosophy and Pneumatics (i.e. philosophy of mind) at the University of Edinburgh.
In 1767, Ferguson published his masterpiece, the Essay on Civil Society. It was a natural history of the progress of mankind, of the kind that had been pursued by many Enlightenment philosophers. David Hume once claimed that Ferguson had "more genius than the rest", but he disliked Ferguson's essay, regarding it as superficial.
Rather than speculating about the origins of human nature, Ferguson was particularly interested in detailing the reality and consequences of it. This has lead many to consider him one of the founding father of sociology.
It was at Ferguson's house "The Sciennes" (a famous
meeting place of the Edinburgh literati) that Robert Burns
and Walter Scott met for the first and only time, when Scott
was an adolescent. Burns had been very much affected by a picture
on the wall of a dead soldier, with his widow, child and dog
beside him in the snow. Underneath, was a verse. Burns turned
to the assembled distinguished company, and asked if anyone knew
the author. No one did, until the young Scott remarked: 'They're
written by one Langhorne.' Whereupon Burns said Scott, in a letter
to Lockhart in 1827, 'rewarded me with a look and a word, which,
though in mere civility, I then received, and still recollect,
with great pleasure.'
grounds of St. Andrews Cathedral
Ferguson retired to St Andrews (his house, with sundial over the door, can still be seen on South Street) and died in St Andrews in 1816. He is buried in the grounds of St. Andrews Cathedral.
The elegy on his tombstone was written by Sir Walter Scott
Relief of Ferguson on his tomb.
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Compiled by Fiona Macpherson and Stephen Read, 2002
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