This article investigates the nature of the relationship between counsel and political authority through a discussion of Sir David Lyndsay’s Ane Satyre of The Thrie Estaits. I argue Lyndsay’s play deviates from the standard pattern of English moralities considerably by according unprecedented legislative authority to the institution of the parliament. The radicalism of Lyndsay’s play lies in the fact that it ventures on to unexplored territory as far as the notion of political counsel in dramatic literature is concerned by attempting to counsel not just the monarch, but the convention of the three estates, thereby identifying the representative assembly as the true locus of legislative and executive sovereignty. Indeed it goes a step further to indicate the nature of legislations that should be passed in the parliament. The play, which begins as counsel directed specifically to the king, gradually widens in scope and assumes the form of counsel addressed to the counsellors themselves, the members of the three estates, and by implication – the entire political nation of Scotland, making it unique amongst the early sixteenth-century political moralities of both England and Scotland.


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pp. 1-18
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