Home » The Poets of Ayrshire from the Fourteenth Century Till the Present Day - With Selections from Their Writings by John MacIntosh
The Poets of Ayrshire from the Fourteenth Century Till the Present Day - With Selections from Their Writings John MacIntosh

The Poets of Ayrshire from the Fourteenth Century Till the Present Day - With Selections from Their Writings

John MacIntosh

Published February 1st 2008
ISBN : 9781408639610
Paperback
384 pages
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 About the Book 

INTRODUCTORY NOTE. No country of the world has the lyrical gift been more widely diffused than it has been in Scotland, and to no Shire of Scotland have its poets brought more glory and renown. That Ayrshire owes much of its poetical celebrity to Robert Bums cannot be gainsaid, but even if his writings were wholly eliminated, there still would remain much good work well worthy of preservation. For upwards of a hundred years the Star of Robbie Burns has shone with such brilliancy in the poetic firmament of Caledonia that all lesser lights have paled beneath its glance. This is unfortunate for the fame of the lesser luminaries of Scotland in general, and particularly so for the minor bards of Ayrshire. But there are indications that in the near future a larger share of popularity rill be awarded such gifted poets as Alexander Montgomerie, Alexander Smith, James Montgomery, and many others who have permanently enriched our Scottish minstrelsy. Love and labour, domestic joys and sorrows, are the themes to which by far the greater number of our Ayrshire poets have tuned their harp-strings, and for one piece of a romantic or heroic kind we have a dozen poems of the affections. In a certain sense this is to be regretted, and the hope is cherished that a greater number of our modem bards may yet turn their attention to themes such as were dear to the balladmakers of old, since Ayrshire is a land peculiarly rich in historical associations which would furnish excellent material for compositions of this kind. If in these latter days we have to deplore a lack of originality in poetical composition, it should be remembered that f - or centuries the field of Poesy has been carefully gleaned and theaccumulated harvest of song is rich and overflowing, the modem minstrel being pent by all the gamered wealth of ages of past song, and we may well ponder and ask the question-Of what can modern minstrels sing That poeb have not sung before-Still harping on the rusty string Which Homer struck in days of yore Our modern bards find richest ore In veins which ancient minstrels mined, And ring the change, for evermore, On worn-out thoughts-rtwast, refined. Nevertheless every age has its poets and rhymers, and it is hoped that a general survey of the Ayrshire Muse from the fourteenth century down to the present day will be of interest to students, as well as to lovers of Scottish poetry. Our knowledge of the early Makars is very imperfect, and but few of their compositions remain to testify their poetic skill. Enough is known, however, to convince us that while a goodly number of them moved in aristocratic circles, it is chiefly to the humbler ranks we owe the full measure of our lyrical and ballad compositions. Many of those obscure bards, whose works still delight and interest us, were of so humble origin that not the slightest clue to their identity is known. Singing the praises of others, and hoisting friend and foe alike on to the pedestal of - perpetual fame, they themselves went down to the grave unwept, unhonoured, and unsung...