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Alexander, William

c.1567-1640

William Alexander was born at Menstrie Castle, Clackmannanshire. He served as a tutor to the young Archibald Campbell, earl of Argyll during his grand tour of Europe. He went on to tutor king James VI's son Henry. William followed James to London when he became James I of England and was knighted in 1609. After the death of Prince Henry, William became a courtier in the household of Prince Charles. He was a poet, composer and playwright as well as a tutor. His output includes a collection of songs Aurora (1604), an epic poem Doomsday (1614 and 1637) and the tragic plays Darius, Croesus, The Alexandrian Tragedy and Julius Caesar (1603-7). In 1621 he was granted a charter for Nova Scotia on the North American continent. His attempts at colonisation came to nothing and the territory was passed to the French as part of the marriage negotiations of Charles I. From 1626 he served as Secretary of State for Scotland and was created first Earl of Stirling in 1633. He died bankrupt in London.

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