Sir David Lindsay

Sir David Lindsay of the Mount was born in about 1485. The son of a Fife laird, Lindsay served for most of his life at the Scottish court, as usher to the young James V, as Snowdon Herald, and eventually as Lyon King of Arms. His earliest surviving poems come from from the end of the king’s minority: he was already voicing strong criticism of the abuses of the contemporary Church. This is developed into a sustained attack in three later works: The Tragedie of Cardinall Betoun (1547), Ane Dialog of Experience and ane Courtier (1552) and The Thrie Estaitis (1552). While the nature and extent of Lindsay’s commitment to Protestantism is a matter for debate, there is no mistaking the vigour of his condemnation of ecclesiastical misconduct, or the dramatic skill with which he brings his arguments to life.