henry the minstrel

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henry the minstrel

author of the Scottish historical romance The Acts and Deeds of the Illustrious and Valiant Champion Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie, which is preserved in a manuscript dated 1488. He has been traditionally identified with the Blind Harry named among others in William Dunbar's The Lament for the Makaris ("poets") and with a "Blin Hary" who is listed from time to time as having received a few shillings from the royal bounty in the treasurer's accounts (1490-92). According to a contemporary historian, John Major, Harry was a wandering minstrel, blind from birth, who collected and recited legends about the Scottish hero Sir William Wallace. From his own account he was an unlearned man, but his own work, which shows his acquaintance with John Barbour's epic The Bruce, with Geoffrey Chaucer, and with Scots, Latin, and French chronicles, belies this.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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