Upon Tobacco by Sir Robert Aytoun

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From Wikipedia

Ayton was the son of Ayton of Kinaldie House. Query! - mistake for Kirkcaldy? No, this was a house a few miles to the south of St Andrews in Fife.

He and his elder brother entered St Leonard's College, University of St Andrews in 1584. After graduating from St Andrews in 1588, he studied civil law in Paris, became ambassador to the Emperor,and held other court offices.

He appears to have been well known to his literary contemporaries in Scotland and England. He became court poet to the queen of King James I and VI. He wrote poems in Latin, Greek, and what Wikipedia calls Scottish English, and was one of the first Scots to write in standard English. His major work was Diophantus and Charidora.

Inconstancy Upbraided is perhaps the best of his short poems. He is credited with a little poem, Old Long Syne, which probably suggested Robert Burns's famous Auld Lang Syne.

He is also the author of a ballad called "Bothwell" about the battle fought by James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell with the border reiver, John Elliot of Park, also known as Little Jock Elliot, or Little Jock of the Park. The ballad recounts how Bothwell, in attempting to arrest Little Jock Elliot, suffered life-threatening wounds, though he ends by slaying his foe. Ayton was eight years old at the time Bothwell perished in a dungeon in Denmark, and hence must have heard about the attempted arrest of Elliot by people familiar with the story, particularly as Bothwell was a figure of national renown.

The ballad "Little Jock Elliot" celebrates (among other events) the achievements of Little Jock Elliot on this occasion and has the refrain "My name is little Jock Elliot and wha daur meddle wi' me!". This latter ballad (of indeterminate age) also implicitly states that Little Jock Elliot survived the encounter with Bothwell.

Sonnet Upon Tobacco

This was remarkably hard to read (says user:Perdurabo Perdurabo) - I only alloed myself four tries and I don't think I cracked it in those brief attempts. Age may allow me a second stab at confirming the now ancient rhythms of this piece.


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