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Sir David Lindsay

Lindsay or Lyndsay, Sir David (both: lĭnˈzē) [key], c.1490–c.1555, Scottish poet. He was a courtier and diplomat by profession. As a writer he was a harsh satirist and moralist who directed most of his invective against the Roman Catholic Church. He never formally left the church, but his exposure of its abuses gives him a place second only to that of John Knox in bringing about the Scottish Reformation. Lindsay's verse is sometimes rich and elevated, sometimes coarsely realistic; his literary technique is frequently made secondary to satirical or didactic themes. In his Testament and Complaynt of Our Soverane Lordis Papyngo (1538) the king's parrot censures certain birds of prey—the clergy of the feathered world—for their hypocrisy and avarice. His long morality play, Ane Pleasant Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis (produced 1540), contains attacks on political abuses. Among Lindsay's other notable works are The Dreme, The Historie and Testament of Squyer Meldrum, and The Monarchie.

See edition of his works by D. Hamer for the Scottish Texts Society (4 vol., 1931–36, repr. 1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Literature, 1500 to 1799: Biographies


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