The Story of Poem 49

The Story of Poem 49

Resource type: Lesson

Level: Third Level, Fourth Level, adaptable to Senior Phase

Subject: History

Curriculum Area: Social Studies

Tags: lesbian; religion or belief; sexual orientation; gender inequality; Scots language; Scotland; text


This lesson plan will support you to deliver lessons about early modern Scotland’s attitudes towards gender and sexuality, particularly the attitudes of the church and the state. This is framed as the context for Poem 49 of The Maitland Quarto Manuscript, a same-sex love poem written in the Scots language. The lesson offers several case studies which highlight how social norms were upheld through the threat of capital punishment: the criminalisation of homosexuality and the Scottish witchcraft trials.

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