Baston, Robert

, a poet of some note in the fourteenth century, and author of several works, was born in Yorkshire, not far from Nottingham. In his youth he became a Carmelite monk, and afterwards prior of the convent of that order at Scarborough. Bale says that he was likewise poet laureat and public orator at Oxford, which Wood thinks doubtful. Edward I. (not Edward II. as Mr. Warton says) carried him with him in his expedition to Scotland in 1304, to be an eye-witness and celebrate his conquest of Scotland in verse. Holinshed mentions this circumstance as a singular proof of Edward’s presumption and confidence in his undertaking against Scotland, but it appears that a poet was a stated officer in the royal retinue when the king went to war. On this occasion Baston was peculiarly unfortunate, being taken prisoner, and compelled by the Scots to write a panegyric on Robert Bruce, as the price of his ransom. This was the more provoking, as he had just before written on the siege of Stirling castle in honour of his master, which performance is extant in Fordun’s Scoti-chronicon. His works, according to Bale and Pits, were written under these titles: 1. “De Strivilniensi obsidione:” of the Siege of Stirling, a poem in one book. 2. “De altero Scotorum Beilo,” in one book. 3. “De Scotiae Guerris variis,” in one book. 4. “De variis mundi | Statibus,” in one book. 5. “De Sacerdotum luxuriis,” in one book. 6. “Contra Artistas,” in one book. 7. “De Divite et Lazaro.” 8. “Epistolae ad diversos,” in one book. 9. “Sermones Synodales,” in one book. 10. A Book of Poems; and, 11. A volume of tragedies and comedies in English, the existence of which is doubtful. His other poems are in monkish Latin hexameters. He died about 1310, and was buried at Nottingham. 1


Bio. Brit. Winstanley and Jacob. —Warton’s Hist, of Poetry., vol. I. p. 232, Bale and PiU Lclaiid. —Saxii Onomasticon.