Blind Harry

b c1440; d 1492.

Very little is known about Harry's life. He probably came from central Scotland, of a noble family, and it is traditionally assumed that he was blind from birth. There are references to five payments made to him (under the name "Blind Harry") by James VI between April 1490 and January 1492. At the instigation of Sir William Wallace of Craigie and Sir James Liddale of Creich he wrote "Wallace" (c1477), the long poem in 12 books for which he is famous, and a main source (though now known to be somewhat inaccurate) of information about William Wallace's life. The Wallace of the film "Braveheart" is loosely drawn from Harry's idealised hero. It has been suggested that Harry may also have written the anonymous "Ballet of the Nine Nobles", "Rauf Coilzear" and "Golagros and Gawane". AC

Harry's Wallace, ed. M. P. McDiarmid (STS 1968-69).




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