View site in Scots

Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Scots Poetry

Evidence suggests that poetry in Scots began to be written down around 1300 but the earliest surviving text is John Barbour's 'The Brus' from the 1370's. From that time until the 17th century many memorable and skilful poems were composed in Scots, of which the best belong to the age of the makars or 'master poets' of the 16th century. A period of decline followed until the revival led by Allan Ramsay from the 1720's followed by Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns. There was a veritable explosion of regional poetry in Scots during the 19th century, thanks partly to the new cheaper print press.

Since that time Scots poetry has continued to be composed in both general and regional forms down to the present day. Poetry probably remains the most common medium by which most Scottish people experience the fullness of Scots as a language and as a written, literary tradition.