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Advice To A Princess: The Literary Articulation Of A Religious, Political And Cultural Programme For Mary Queen Of Scots, 1562

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Chapter Summary

The literary aspect of court culture is discussed in this chapter. It focuses on a poem - Alexander Scott's 'New Yeir Gift ' of 1562 to Mary queen of Scots. Its text, and the circumstances of its presentation to the queen, link back to Mary's controversial entry to Edinburgh in 1561, and may represent an attempt to 'stage' an entry that would be more acceptable to the queen, if only a 'virtual' one. Michael Lynch provides a historical, longue durée on this. Mary of Guise prioritised dynastic over religious concerns, protecting the latter by pursuing the former, until a point was reached at which a critical mass of opposition exposed her unwillingness to separate these two goals and pursue more radical church reforms. The poem almost subliminally asked Mary to accept the reforms that Scotland had just witnessed by using language that supported her main political ambitions.

Keywords: Alexander Scott; court culture; dynastic kingship; Edinburgh; Mary of Guise; Michael Lynch; New Yeir Gift (NYG) poem; pre-Reformation church; sixteenth-century Scotland



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