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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sir Robert Aytoun Fife Scotland

Sir Robert Aytoun or Ayton, (1570-1638), Poet, was born at Kinaldie near St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, and was educated at St Andrews University between 1584 and 1588. During a Continental tour he studied law in Paris, returning to Scotland in 1603 to become a member of the court of James VI. He followed James to London and enjoyed a number of public honours, including the post of secretary to the Queen. He was knighted in 1612 and after his death in February 1638 he was buried in Westminster Abbey. Ayton wrote a number of poems in the style of the English metaphysical poets but he lacked their brilliant technical ability and most of his work has been forgotten. He also contributed a number of Latin poems for state occasions to Sir John Scott of Scotstarvit's delitiae POETARUM SCOTORUM (1637). He is justly remembered for his songs and his easy ability to wed court song to native air. In the 18th century, James Watson, in his choice COLLECTION OF COMIC AND SERIOUS SCOTS POEMS, credited Ayton with a version of the song Auld Lang Syne, which was later reworked by Allan Ramsay and, by RObert Burns.

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