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A Short Biographical Sketch of SIR DAVID LINDSAY or LYNDSAY (1490 to 1555)

by John W. Cousin

LINDSAY, or LYNDSAY, SIR DAVID (1490-1555). —Scottish poet and satirist, s. of David L. of Garmylton, near Haddington, was b. either there or at The Mount in Fife, and ed. at St. Andrews. Early in life he was at the Court of James IV., and on the King's death was appointed to attend on the infant James V., whose friend and counsellor he remained, though his advice was, unhappily for his country, not always given heed to. In 1529 he was knighted and made Lyon King at Arms. He was employed on various missions to the Emperor Charles V., and to Denmark, France, and England. He was always in sympathy with the people as against the nobles and the clergy, and was their poet, with his words in their mouths. He favoured the Reformers, and was one of those who urged Knox to become a preacher. He did not, however, adhere to the reformed congregation, and d. at least nominally in the Roman Church. Yet he lashed the vices of the clergy as they had never been lashed before, and only escaped their vengeance by the protection of the King, who also condoned the severities directed against himself. His latter days were spent at The Mount, where he d. His chief writings are The Dreme, written 1528, The Complaynt to the King (1529), The Testament and Complaynt of our Soverane Lord's Papyngo (Parrot) (1530), Ane Pleasant Satyre of the Three Estaitis, A Dialogue betwixt Experience and a Courtier (1552), The Monarchy (1554), and The History of Squyer Meldrum. L. was a true poet, gifted with fancy, humour, and a powerful satiric touch and a love of truth and justice. He had a strong influence in turning the minds of the common people in favour of the Reformation.