Buchanan, George

Buchanan, George was born in 1506 at Killairn, in Dumbartonshire, and, after having studied at the University of Paris and served for a year in the army, he passed A.B. at St. Andrew's 1525. In 1532 he was appointed tutor to the Earl of Cassilis, with whom he remained in France during five years. Returning from Paris with the earl, he was made tutor to the natural son of James V. Two satires, Palinodia and Franciscanus, which he wrote on the monks, soon drew down their vengeance upon him, and he was imprisoned, but was fortunate enough to escape. Once more visiting the Continent, he successively taught at Paris, at Bordeaux, and at Coimbra, at which latter city the freedom of his opinions again caused his imprisonment. He next spent four years at Paris as tutor to the Marshal de Brissac's son. During this Continental residence he translated the Medea and Alcestis of Euripides, and began his Latin Version of the Psalms. In 1560 he returned to his native land, and embraced Protestantism. In 1566 he was made principal of St. Leonard's College at St. Andrew's, and in 1567 was chosen as preceptor to James VI. When subsequently reproached with having made his royal pupil a pedant, Buchanan is said to have replied that "it was the best he could make of him." Buchanan died poor, in 1582. His principal work is Historia Rerum Scoticarum (Edinb. 1582, fol.; in English, Lond. 1690, fol.). As a Latin poet, he ranks among the highest of the modern, especially for his version of the Psalms. All his writings are given in Opera omnia, historica, etc., curante Ruddimanno (Edinb. 1715, 2 vols. 4to); another complete edition was published by Burman (Lugd. Bat. 1725, 2 vols.).

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