Morna Fleming from the Robert Henryson Society will be guiding us through the work of our internationally famous local poet Robert Henryson and introducing us to other locals who are perhaps not as well-known.
Robert Henryson’s poems are unforgettable, but little is known for sure about their creator’s birth and life. We know that he died sometime before 1508 because William Dunbar mentions him in his great poem ‘Lament for the Makars’ around that year. His name appears on the University rolls of Glasgow in 1462 and later references to him as ‘Master’ confirm that he was a graduate who trained in the law. He may have travelled in Europe, and an edition of his Morall Fabillis from 1571 refers to him as a schoolmaster in Dunfermline where he was associated with the Benedictine Abbey school, and indeed we know that he notarised a number of legal transactions while he was there. The Abbey at Dunfermline was one of the wealthiest and most prestigious foundations in Scotland. Henryson was a man of status and can claim to be one of the greatest medieval poets of the period, perhaps second only to Chaucer, whom he called the ‘flower of poets’.