William Dunbar

Also found in: Dictionary.

Dunbar, William,

c.1460–c.1520, Scottish poet. After attending the Univ. of St. Andrews he was attached for some time to the Franciscans, probably as a novice. By 1491 he seems to have been connected with the court of James IV as a poet and minor diplomat. Writing in the traditions of Chaucer and the medieval Scottish poets, Dunbar is notable for the liveliness of his verse, his virtuosity in metrical form, his variety of mood, and his caustic satire. Most of his best poetry seems to have appeared between 1503 and 1508. "The Thistle and the Rose," celebrating the marriage of James IV and Margaret Tudor, and "The Golden Targe" are richly decorative allegories. "The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins" combines mordant humor and the grotesque. "The Two Married Women and the Widow" is extravagantly ribald, while "The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie" shows his gift for satiric invective. Other poems, such as "Of the Nativity of Christ," express genuine religious feeling. One of his best-known poems is the gloomy "Lament for the Makers" with its refrain "Timor mortis conturbat me" [the fear of death throws me into confusion].


See edition of his poems by W. M. Mackenzie (1960); biography by J. W. Baxter (1952); studies by T. Scott (1966) and R. Taylor (1931, repr. 1971).

Dunbar, William,

1749–1810, American scientist in the old Southwest, b. near Elgin, Scotland. He came to America in 1771. Commissioned by President Jefferson to investigate the Ouachita and Red River areas, he wrote the first scientific account of the mineral wells at Hot Springs, Ark. Dunbar set up his own private astronomical observatory with instruments imported from Europe; took the first meteorological observations in the Southwest; studied the rise and fall of the Mississippi and explored its delta; and published his findings on these subjects and on the plants, animals, and Native Americans of the region in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society.

Dunbar, William


Born 1460, in Lothian; died about 1517, in Edinburgh. Scottish poet. Court poet of James IV.

Dunbar was the author of the allegorical poems “The Thistle and the Rose” (1503), about the marriage of James IV, and “The Goldyn Targe” (1503), as well as the satire “The Tretis of the Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo.” In the satire “To the Merchants of Edinburgh” he ridiculed the merchant class. In the allegories of the satire “The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins” (1507), written in the genre of the symbolic medieval “dance of death,” the poet censured the morals of the court. A pessimistic motif on the transitory nature of all earthly things is evident in Dunbar’s elegy “Lament for the Makaris.”


The Poems, vols. 1–3. Edinburgh, 1884–93.
The Poems. Edinburgh [1932].


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, issue 1, p. 206. Moscow-Leningrad, 1943.
Taylor, R. A. Dunbar: The Poet and His Period. London [1931].
Baxter, I. W. W. Dunbar. Edinburgh, 1952.
Scott, T. Dunbar: A Critical Exposition of the Poems. Edinburgh-London, 1966. (Bibliography pp. 360–85.)


Dunbar, William

(1749–1810) planter, scientist; born near Elgin, Scotland. He came to western Florida (1773) and built a plantation near Natchez, Miss. A correspondent of Thomas Jefferson, and the first surveyor general of his area, he undertook explorations of the Ouachita and Red River areas (1804–05) in present-day Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
References in periodicals archive ?
Apart from anything else, the Contemplationn of Synnaris provides a most useful generic context for the exactly contemporary devotional lyrics of William Dunbar.
of William Dunbar, 400 n188-9) and her more extensive discussion in
It contains pieces by Robert Henryson and William Dunbar, together with material from the English author John Lydgate and others.
The Poems of William Dunbar (London: Faber and Faber, 1950), groups Dunbar's ninety-three poems (this number includes nine doubtful attributions) into nine categories, with seven poems falling under the category of "Religious" and twelve grouped together as "Moralisings.
Captains Lewis and Clark, Doctor Silby, and William Dunbar, authors
AETN's Carole Adornetto and Dale Carpenter won two Emmies in "The Forgotten Expedition," a documentary on the southern exploration of the Louisiana Purchase by William Dunbar, a Mississippi planter and surveyor and George Hunter, a Philadelphia chemist.
William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy were the most famous.
If little is said of his contribution to the Scots literary tradition flankcd by William Dunbar and Gavin Douglas on one side and Allan Ramsay at a good distance on the other, it is by design.
The exception, an extract from a William Dunbar manuscript, is found on pages 99-102.
William Dunbar, seen through his letters and diary, appears to be more fictional than real -- a creature of William Faulkner's imagination, a more cultivated Colonel Sutpen but no less mysterious.
Modern editors of William Dunbar do not accept that he wrote 'The Maner of the Crying of ane Playe', as conjectured on p.
SwapDrive emerged as a very successful and valuable company during one of the toughest technology downturns in recent history," said William Dunbar, managing director for Core Capital Partners.