A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Blind Harry or Henry The Minstrel

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A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John William Cousin
Blind Harry or Henry The Minstrel

Blind Harry or Henry The Minstrel (fl. 1470-1492). — Is spoken of by John Major in his History of Scotland as a wandering minstrel, skilled in the composition of rhymes in the Scottish tongue, who "fabricated" a book about William Wallace, and gained his living by reciting it to his own accompaniment on the harp at the houses of the nobles. Harry claims that it was founded on a Latin Life of Wallace written by Wallace's chaplain, John Blair, but the chief sources seem to have been traditionary. Harry is often considered inferior to Barbour as a poet, and has little of his moral elevation, but he surpasses him in graphic power, vividness of description, and variety of incident. He occasionally shows the influence of Chaucer, and is said to have known Latin and French.