Jacobitism and Allan Ramsay

Allan Ramsay's 'Poems' (Edinburgh: 1721). BD16-b.13-14

By the early 1700s English had undoubtedly overtaken Scots as the written language of the elite and the powerful. Yet, not everyone was satisfied to let Scots die out as a literary language. Poet, bookseller and wig-maker Allan Ramsay (1684-1758) was part of close-knit Edinburgh group reviving the study of Scots poets and authors from generations past. Inseparable from an interest in Gavin Douglas and his peers seems to have been a Jacobite and anti-Union sentiment. In his 1721 two volume Poems, Ramsay celebrates the Scots element of his poetry:

The Scotticisms, which perhaps may offend some over-nice Ear, give new Life and Grace to the Poetry, and become their Place as well as the Doric Dialect of Theocritus, so much admired by the best Judges.