The John Scot being addressed in this poem is Sir John Scot of Scotstarvit, the patron and editor of the DPS. For more on Scotstarvit, see our March 2014 feature; Steven J. Reid, '"Quasi Sybillae Divina Folia": the anatomy of the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum', in Janet Hadley-Williams and J. Derrick McClure (eds.), Fresche Fontanis: Studies in the Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 397-414; T.G. Snoddy, Sir John Scot, Lord Scotstarvit: his Life and Times (Edinburgh, 1968), and David Stevenson, 'Scot, Sir John, of Scotstarvit, Lord Scotstarvit (1585-1670)', ODNB. In addition to his work as a literary and cultural patron, Scot had an impressive legal career: he inherited the office of Director of Chancery in 1611 from his grandfather (after a brief dispute with his kinsman, William Scot of Ardross, who had held it for John during his minority); was admitted to the privy council in 1622; and was appointed an extraordinary lord of the Court of Session in 1629, and an ordinary lord of session in 1632. If the title is not a later addition, then the text was certainly completed at some point after 1611, when Scot took up his chancery post and also bought the lands of Scotstarvit; and given that we do not know Barclay's date of death it is possible that this poem, which praises Scotstarvit's skills as a judge, celebrates one of his later appointments. The poem is reprinted with introduction and partial translation in Leask (ed.), Musa Latina Aberdonensis, vol. 3, p. 7. Metre: phalaecian.
D Ioanni Scoto Clarissimo viro, equiti aurato & Cancellariae Directori (n.d.)
D. Ioanni Scoto Clarissimo viro, equiti aurato et Cancellariae Directori
Vis dicam tibi Scote veritatem,
quam cum non minimo dolore dicam;
sed vox haeret, et ipse contremisco 1
labes dicere patriae, atque laudes
tuas, quas tribus explicabo 2 verbis.
Scotorum ultimus omnium videris.
At ne quis Latii leporis expers
putet me temere ultimum vocasse;
posthac judicio vocabo primum.
To Sir John Scot, a most eminent man, a knight, and Director of the Chancery
Do you wish, Scot, for me to speak the truth, when I should speak with sizable grief? But my voice hesitates, and I shudder to speak of the misfortune of the state, and your praises - which with three words I shall expound. You will come to be seen as the greatest of Scots. But lest someone, experienced in Latin flatteries, thinks that I have been excessive to name you the greatest, I shall hereafter call you first judge.