Elizabethan Sonnet Month
Mark Alexander Boyd (1562-1601)
Mark Alexander Boyd (13 January 1562 – 10 April 1601) was a Scottish poet and soldier of fortune.
He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. His father was from Pinkell, Carrick in Ayrshire. After a
particularly savage duel, Boyd left Scotland for France and there he studied civil law. He took part
in the religious wars of the League, fighting on the Catholic side.
He had two collections of Latin poems published, in 1590 and 1592, at a time when he was in south-west
France. He returned to Scotland only at the end of his life. He is now remembered for one poem in Scots,
a sonnet which was attributed to him in 1900.
Fra bank tae bank, fra wood tae wood I rin,
Ourhailit with my feeble fantasie;
Like til a leaf that fallis from a tree,
Or til a reed ourblawin with the win.
Twa gods guides me: the ane of tham is blin,
Yea and a bairn brocht up in vanitie;
The next a wife ingenrit of the sea,
And lichter nor a dauphin with her fin.
Unhappy is the man for evermair
That tills the sand and sawis in the air;
But twice unhappier is he, I lairn,
That feidis in his hairt a mad desire,
And follows on a woman throw the fire,
Led by a blind and teachit by a bairn.