‘The following OLD BARDS present you with an entertainment that can never be disagreeable to any SCOTS man…’.
So wrote Allan Ramsay (1686-1758), the Lanarkshire-born poet, in his The Ever Green, Being a Collection of Scots Poems (1724).
Ramsay was a pivotal player in the development of Scottish literature, and with works such as Ever Green, he reawakened an interest in the older national Scots literature. Indeed, as editor and publisher, he acted as a mediator between the poets (‘Makars’) of the 15th and 16th century like Robert Henryson and William Dunbar, and ‘moderns’ such as Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns.
When living in Luckenbooths, Edinburgh, Ramsay extended his literary endeavours by opening up a circulating library, which was the first in Scotland.
Allan Ramsay, The Ever Green, Being a Collection of Scots Poems: Wrote by the Ingenious before 1600. 2 Vols. Edinburgh: Printed by Mr. Thomas Ruddiman for the publisher, 1724.