Online Encyclopedia

GILBERT HAY

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 105 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GILBERT HAY, or " SIR GILBERT THE HAVE " (fl. 1450), Scottish poet and translator, was perhaps a kinsman of the house of Errol. If he be the student named in the registers of the university of St Andrews in 1418–1419, his birth may be fixed about 1403. He was in France in 1432, perhaps some years earlier, for a " Gilbert de la Haye " is mentioned as present at Reims, in July 1430, at the coronation of Charles VII. He has left it on record, in the Prologue to his Buke of the Law of Arrays, that he was " chaumerlayn umquhyle to the maist worthy King Charles of France." In 1456 he was back in Scotland, in the service of the chancellor, William, earl of Orkney and Caithness, " in his castell of Rosselyn," south of Edinburgh. The date of his death is unknown. Hay is named by Dunbar (q.v.) in his Lament for theMakaris, and by Sir David Lyndsay (q.v.) in his Testament and Complaynt of the Papvngo. His only political work is The Buik of Alexander the Conquerour, of which a portion, in copy, remains at Taymouth Castle. He has left three translations, extant in one volume (in old binding) in the collection of Abbotsford: (a) The Buke of the Law of Arrays or The Buke of Bataillis, a translation of Honore Bonet's Arbre des batailles; (b) The Buke of the Order of Iinichthood from the Livre de l'ordre de chevalerie; and (c) The Buke of the Governaunce of Princes, from a French version of the pseudo-Aristotelian Secreta secretorum. The second of these precedes Caxton's independent translation by at least ten years. For the Bulk of Alexander see Albert Herrmann's The Taymouth Castle MS. of Sir Gilbert Hay's Bulk, &c. (Berlin, 1898). The complete Abbotsford MS. has been reprinted by the Scottish Text Society (ed. J. H. Stevenson). The first volume, containing The Buke of the Law of Arm's, appeared in 1901. The Order of Knichthood was printed by David Laing for the Abbotsford Club (1847). See also S.TS. edition (u.s.) " Introduction," and Gregory Smith's Specimens of Middle Scots, in which annotated extracts are given from the Abbotsford MS., the oldest known exe .plc of literary Scots prose.1899, and the settlement, by joint commission, of the question concerning the disputed Alaskan boundary in 1903. John Hay was a man of quiet and unassuming disposition, whose training in diplomacy gave a cool and judicious character to his statesmanship. As secretary of state under Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt his guidance was invaluable during a rather critical period in foreign affairs, and no man of his time did more to create confidence in the increased interest taken by the United States in international matters. He also represented, in another capacity, the best American traditions—namely in literature. He published Pike County Ballads (1871)—the most famous being " Little Breeches "—a volume worthy to rank with Bret Harte, if not with the Lowell of the Biglow Papers; Castilian Days (1871), recording his observations in Spain; and a volume of Poems (189o) ; with John G. Nicolay he wrote Abraham Lincoln: A History (to vols., 1890), a monumental work indispensable to the student of the Civil War period in America, and published an edition of Lincoln's Complete Works (2 vols., 1894). The authorship of the brilliant novel The Breadwinners (1883) is now certainly attributed to him. Hay was an excellent public speaker some of his best addresses are In Praise of Omar; On the Unveiling of the Bust of Sir TValter Scott in Westminster Abbey, May 21, 1897; and a memorial address in honour of President McKinley. The best of his previously unpublished speeches appeared in Addresses of John Hay (1906).
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