Makars' Court is a courtyard next to the Writers' Museum in central Edinburgh, Scotland. The Court forms part of Lady Stair's Close, which connects the Royal Mile with The Mound to the north. Described as an "evolving national literary monument", the courtyard incorporates quotations from Scottish literature inscribed onto paving slabs. The quotations represent works in the languages used by Scots past and present: Gaelic, Scots, English, and Latin.
The Scots language term makar denotes an author or writer, though stressing their role as a "skilled and versatile worker in the craft of writing". Since 2002 the city of Edinburgh has appointed its own official Makar.
In 1997, twelve Scottish writers were selected by the Saltire Society, and quotations from their works were inscribed on stone slabs installed in the area adjacent to the museum. The first was unveiled by Ronald Harwood, then president of International PEN, and the rest by poet Iain Crichton Smith. Further inscriptions continue to be added to the Court.
List of makars commemorated
|Makar||Image||Language||Quotation||Work quoted||Date of work|
|J. K. Annand||Scots||"Sing it aince for pleisure / Sing it twice for joy"|
|John Barbour||Scots||"Fredome is a noble thing"||The Brus||1375|
|James Boswell||English||"I rattled down the High Street in high elevation of spirits"||London Journal||1762|
|James Bridie||English||"Who knows the heart of a man and what moves in that darkness?"||Susannah and the Elders||1937|
|George Mackay Brown||English||"In the fire of images / Gladly I put my hand"||"Hamnavoe"||1959|
|John Buchan||English||"We can only repay our debt to the past by putting the future in debt to us"||An Address to the people of Canada on the Coronation of George VI||1937|
|George Buchanan||Latin||"Populo enim jus est ut imperium cui velit deferat"
(For it is right that the people confer power on whom they please)
|De Iure Regni apud Scottos||1579|
|Robert Burns||Scots||"Man to man the world o'er / Shall brithers be for a that"||"Is There for Honest Poverty"||1795|
|Helen Cruickshank||English||"the spirit endures for ever"||"Spring in the Mearns"||1935|
|David Daiches||English||"Bridge-building is my vocation"||Natural Light: Portraits of Scottish Writers||1985|
|Gavin Douglas||Scots||"mak it braid and plane / Kepand na sudron bot our awyn langage"||Eneados||1513|
|William Dunbar||Scots||"The flesche is brukle, the Feynd is sle / Timor Mortis conturbat me"||Lament for the Makars||1505|
|Dorothy Dunnett||English||"Where are the links of the chain... joining us to the past?"||Checkmate||1975|
|Robert Fergusson||Scots||"Auld Reikie, wale o ilka town"||"Auld Reikie"|
|James Allan Ford||English||"Sing out the silence, fill for ever and ever the emptiness"||A Statue for a Public Place||1965|
|John Galt||Scots||"birr and smeddum"||Annals of the Parish||1821|
|Robert Garioch||Scots||"in simmer, whan aa sorts foregether / in Embro to the ploy"||"Embro to the Ploy"||1977|
|Neil M. Gunn||English||"Knowledge is high in the head... but the salmon of wisdom swims deep"||The Green Isle of the Great Deep||1944|
|Robert Henryson||Scots||"Blissed be sempill lyfe withoutin dreid"||The Moral Fabillis||1480s|
|Violet Jacob||Scots||"There's muckle lyin yont the Tay that's mair to me nor life"||Flemington||1911|
|David Lyndsay||Scots||"Lat us haif the bukis necessare / To commoun weill"||Ane Dialog betuix Experience and Ane Courteour||1554|
|Fionn MacColla||English||"my roots in the soil of Alba"||The Albannach||1932|
|Hugh MacDiarmid||Scots||"Drums in the Walligate, pipes in the air / The wallopin' thistle is ill to bear"||A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle||1926|
|Sorley MacLean||Gaelic||"nan robh againn Alba shaor / Alba co-shinte ri ar gaol"
(If we had Scotland free / Scotland equal to our love)
|Robert McLellan||Scots||"The pouer to bigg a braw warld in his brain / Marks man the only craitur that can greit"||The Carlin Moth||1947|
|Lachlan Mor MacMhuirich||Gaelic||"A Chlanna Cuinn cuimhnichibh / Cruas an àm na h-iorghaile"
(O Children of Conn, remember / Hardihood in time of battle)
|Elizabeth Melville, Lady Culross||Scots||"Though tyrants threat, though Lyons rage and rore
Defy them all, and feare not to win out"
|Ane Godlie Dreame||1603|
|Naomi Mitchison||English||"Go back far enough and all humankind are cousins"||Early in Orcadia||1987|
|Neil Munro||English||"And yet, and yet, this New Road will some day be the Old Road, too"||The New Road||1914|
|Tom Scott||Scots||"Weird hou men maun aye be makin war / Insteid o things they need"||Brand the Builder||1975|
|Sir Walter Scott||English||"This is my own, my native land!"||"The Lay of the Last Minstrel"||1805|
|Nan Shepherd||English||"Its a grand thing to get leave to live"||The Quarry Wood||1928|
|Sydney Goodsir Smith||Scots||"Bards hae sung o lesser luves than I o thee / Oh my great follie and my granderie"||Under the Eildon Tree||1948|
|Iain Crichton Smith||Gaelic and English||"Let our three-voiced country sing in a new world"||"The Beginning of a New Song"||1999|
|Muriel Spark||English||"The Transfiguration of the Commonplace"||The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie||1961|
|Robert Louis Stevenson||English||"There are no stars so lovely as Edinburgh street lamps"||The Silverado Squatters||1883|
|Nigel Tranter||English||"You intend to bide here? To be sure. Can you think of anywhere better?"||Columba||1987|
|Douglas Young||Scots||"He was eident, he was blye, in Scotland's cause"||"For Willie Soutar"||1943|
- "Makar's Court". Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Makar, Makkar". Dictionary of the Scots Language. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- "Edinburgh's Makars". Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Makars' Court: A literary celebration in stone" (PDF). Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- "Gavin Douglas to be commemorated at Makars Court hall of fame". City of Edinburgh Council. 20 August 2013.