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Broadside entitled 'Elegie'


This memorial notice begins: 'An ELEGIE On the never enough Lamented Death, of the Right Honourable JOHN MURRAY LORD BOWHILL, One of the Senators of the Colledge of Justice; who departed this Life upon the 26th March 1714.' The poem begins: 'O! Thou my Muse, that's now Bedew'd with Tears, / Sob thou Dire Sighs, Pierce Adamantine Ears'.

John Murray, Lord Bowhill, is described as a 'senator of the College of Justice', which is the full title of a judge in Scots law. The College of Justice was founded in Edinburgh in 1532 and was one of the Scottish institutions to retain its independence after the Treaty of Union in 1707. Murray's elegist clearly held him in very high esteem and crafted his poem very carefully. Its words praise Murray extravagantly, and the final ten lines are designed as an acrostic verse, where the initial letters of each line spell the subject's name when read from top to bottom.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable date published: 1714   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.76(088)
Broadside entitled 'Elegie'
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