William Edmondstoune Aytoun

(1813 - 1865 / Scotland)

William Edmondstoune Aytoun
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Aytoun was the only son of a prosperous Edinburgh family. The fierce Jacobitism and love of ballads of his mother, Joan Keir Aytoun, had a lasting influence upon Aytoun's own political and literary preferences. His father, Roger Aytoun, was a leading writer to the Signet; this was a superior order of solicitors peculiar to Scotland, among whose privileges was that of appearing before the Court of Sessions, the supreme civil court of the kingdom. Roger Aytoun planned William's education carefully, preparing him with a private tutor for three years before sending him to the newly opened Edinburgh Academy in 1824 and to Edinburgh University in 1828. The university curriculum was basically ... more »

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Best Poem of William Edmondstoune Aytoun

Edinburgh After Flodden

I.

News of battle!-news of battle!
Hark! 'tis ringing down the street:
And the archways and the pavement
Bear the clang of hurrying feet.
News of battle? Who hath brought it?
News of triumph? Who should bring
Tidings from our noble army,
Greetings from our gallant King?
All last night we watched the beacons
Blazing on the hills afar,
Each one bearing, as it kindled,
Message of the opened war.
All night long the northern streamers
Shot across the trembling sky:
Fearful lights, that never beckon
Save when kings or heroes ...

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