D Ioanni Scoto Clarissimo viro, equiti aurato & Cancellariae Directori (n.d.)

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.

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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.

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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.



1: 'contremisco': rare word, likely taken from Cicero, De Oratore I.121.6 ('contremiscam' in original context).

2: 'explicabo': term frequently used by Cicero (eg De Legibus III.13.7).