The Muses Welcome was printed twice. There are two known editions of this collection, both dated 1618: one is the work of the King’s printer for Scotland, Thomas Finlason, and the other is without an attribution for printer on the title page. Andro Hart’s device is on the verso of the second leaf.
King James I's own copy.
On the 15th of May, 1617, King James VI & I landed at Port "Seatown" (now Seton) to begin what would be his only homecoming tour of Scotland. James left Scotland 14 years earlier to become the first King of Great Britain and Ireland. James stayed in Scotland until the beginning of August of that same year and, although resident in Edinburgh, he spent much of his time touring his northern kingdom. James visited Scotland under the pretense of celebrating his fiftieth year as King of Scotland; however, the political motives of James’s trip to his homeland are now clear in hindsight: his main objective was to try to align the Church of Scotland more to the Anglican Church, evident in his passing of the Five Articles of Perth in the year following this tour.
During James’s visitations to the cities, towns, villages and boroughs of Scotland many formal presentations of verse and addresses were given to the King. In 1618 a collection of these poems, addresses and a record of where the King and his entourage visited was printed in Edinburgh. The Muses Welcome is truly a treasure trove of early seventeenth-century poetry by some of Scotland’s premiere bards, and even includes unattributed dedications by Sir Francis Bacon, identified by his family’s motto “Mediocra Firma” found at the foot of his dedications (3rd leaf recto, pp. 115, 153, 168).
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