The Poetry in When a Scot Loves a Lady

To write When a Scot Loves a Lady, I drew upon poetry that I’d long known and loved. Here are the bits that made their way into the novel.


They’re maistly wonderfu’ contented

Robert Burns, “The Twa Dogs”


Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting

That would not let me sleep.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2, 4–8


Je reconnus Vénus et ses feux redoutables, d’un sang qu’elle poursuit tourments inévitables.

Racine, Phaedra


And thus, being all unsure which path to take,

Wishing to speak I know not what to say,

And lose myself in amorous wanderings.

Dante Alighieri, “All My Thoughts”


Seeming a creature sent from Heaven to stay

On earth, and show a miracle made sure.

Dante Alighieri, “My Lady Looks So Gentle and So Pure”


He burneth to enjoy a mortal maid,

And then torments her with these wanderings.

A sorry suitor for thy love, poor girl,

A bitter wooing.

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound


Around me scowls a wintry sky,

That blasts each bud of hope and joy;

And shelter, shade, nor home have I,

Save in those arms of thine, love.

Robert Burns, “Forlorn, My Love”


Blanditias molles auremque iuvantia verba adfer, ut adventu laeta sit illa tuo.

(Bring soft blandishments and words that soothe the ear, that your coming may make her glad.)

Ovid, The Art of Love, II


so beautiful

with her delicate limbs, fair waist, and

long eyes, that she put the splendor of

the moon to shame with her radiance.

Nala and Damayanti (a love tale of East India)


I struggle vainly to be free

From you and from myself.

Racine, Phaedra


I have but now ceased mourning for my griefs.

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound


Out of this wood do not desire to go.

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 3. 1


I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 4. 1


That man to man the world o’er 

Shall brithers be for a’ that.

Robert Burns, “Is There For Honest Poverty”


Oh, if I hated her I should not fly.

Racine, Phaedra, Act I scene I

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