1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aytoun, Sir Robert
AYTOUN, or Ayton, SIR ROBERT (1570-1638), Scottish poet, son of Andrew Aytoun of Kinaldie, Fifeshire, was born in 1570. He was educated at the university of St Andrews, where he was incorporated as a student of St Leonard's College in 1584 and graduated M.A. in 1588. He lived for some years in France, and on the accession of James VI. to the English throne he wrote in Paris a Latin panegyric, which brought him into immediate favour at court. He was knighted in 1612. He held various lucrative offices, and was private secretary to the queens of James I. and Charles I. He died in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 28th of February 1638. His reputation with his contemporaries was high, both personally and as a writer, though he had no ambition to be known as the latter.
Aytoun's remains are in Latin and English. In respect of the latter he is one of the earliest Scots to use the southern standard as a literary medium. The Latin poems include the panegyric already referred to, an Epicedium in obitum Thoma Rhodi; Basia, sive Strena ad Jacobum Hayum; Lessus in funere Raphaelis Thorei; Carina Caro; and minor pieces, occasional and epitaphic. His first English poem was Diophantus and Charidora (to which he refers in his Latin panegyric to James). He has left a number of pieces on amatory subjects, including songs and sonnets.