Allan Ramsay and Thomas Ruddiman: Two Ways of Reviving Scotland’s Dead Poets
This chapter examines the emergence of cultural nationalism in Scotland in the two decades after the Act of Union in 1707. It takes stock of the dearth of Middle Scots poets in print at the time and describes their return as “good old Bards” in Allan Ramsay’s The Ever Green, a collection of poems by Robert Henryson, William Dunbar, and other Scots makars. The publication of The Ever Green is marked as the start of cultural nationalism under the sign of the bard. The second half of the chapter turns to Ramsay’s own new Scots poetry and his highly deliberate work of fitting old poetic forms for new cultural-nationalist purposes.