William Dunbar: Lament for the Makaris (1461 words)


William Dunbar’s “I that in heill was and gladnes “, frequently referred to as “Lament for the Makaris”, is a meditation on the transitory nature of life. It sets out that death befalls everyone, then illustrates this general concept with a list of twenty-four poets. Though starting with three English poets, all that follow are Scots. All are dead, save Walter Kennedy who is on his death-bed. Dunbar reflects that his own death must soon follow.

Published in Dunbar’s lifetime in a black-letter print by Edinburgh printers Walter Chepman and Androw Myllar in 1508, the poem is one of the earliest Scottish printed texts. The text of the Chepman and Myllar print is the basis for modern editions of …

Citation: Davis, Graeme. "Lament for the Makaris". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2018 [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4130, accessed 01 December 2022.]

4130 Lament for the Makaris 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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