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John Bellenden (1533) - Poet

Very little is known with any certainty about the life of John Bellenden, other than that he may have been educated at the universities of St Andrews and Paris. His main claim to fame is his translation into Scots of Scotorum Historiae by Hector Boece, which he made in 1536 on the commission of james V. From the title-page we learn that Bellenden was at that time 'archdene of Murray and channon of Ros', that is, a priest of some authority in the county of Moray in north-east Scotland. Bellenden continued to receive royal patronage; in the King's Treasurer's Accounts he is sometimes referred to as 'Ballentyne'. His other work of note is his translation of Livy's History of Rome. He was a straightforward translator, not given to the use of Latinate rhetorical devices of the king that distinguish many examples of early Scots prose. The prologue to Papyngo by Sir David Lyndsay describes him as a poet 'quhose ornat workis my wit can nocht defyne'.

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