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"Were I into the place that I cam frae,
(James IV.) in some subordinate but not unimFor weel nor wae I should ne'er come again.'
portant capacity, in connection with various foreign With that sho took her leave, and forth can gae, Whiles through the corn, whiles through the plain.
embassies, and that he thus visited Germany, When she was furth and free she was right fain,
Italy, Spain, and France, besides England and
Ireland. And merrily sho linkit o'er the muir ;
He could not, in such a life, fail to I cannot tell how afterward sho fure.
acquire much of that knowledge of mankind which
forms so important a part of the education of the But I have heard syne she passit to her den,
poet. In 1500, he received from the king a penAs warm as woo, suppose it was not grit,
sion of ten pounds, afterwards increased to twenty, Full beinly stuffit was baith but and ben,
and finally to eighty. He is supposed to have With peas, and nuts, and beans, and rye, and wheat ; been employed by James in some of the negotiaWhene'er she liked she had enough of meat,
tions preparatory to his marriage with the Princess In quiet and ease, withouten [ony) dread,
Margaret (daughter of Henry VII.), which took But till her sister's feast nae mair she gaed.
place in 1503. For some years ensuing, he seems
to have lived at court, regaling his royal master Blessed be simple life, withouten dread;
with his poetical compositions, and probably also Blessed be sober feast in quieté ;
with his conversation, the charms of which, judging Wha has enough of no more has he need,
from his writings, must have been very great. He Though it be little into quantity,
represents himself as a court poet, and occasionally Grit abundance and blind prosperity,
dancing in the queen's chamber, having a penchant Oft timis makes ane evil conclusion;
for one of the court ladies :
Then cam in Dunbar, the maker,
And there he danced a dirry-duntoun,
He hopped like a piller wantoun ;
For love of Musgrave men fules me : When that fair Phoebus with his beamis bright
He trippit while he tore his pantoun, Had dryed up the dew from dale and down,
A merrier dance micht na man see. And all the land made with his lemis light.
Then cam in Mistress Musgrave; In a morning, between mid-day and night,
She might have learned all the lave ; I rose, and put all sloth and sleep aside,
When I saw her sae trimly dance, Until a wood I went alone, butguide.
Her gude conwoy and countenance,
Then for her sake I wished to be
The greatest earl or duke in France
A merrier dance micht na man see.
It is sad to relate of one who possessed so buoyant
and mirthful a spirit, that his life was not, so far That morning mild, my mirth was more for they.
as we can judge, a happy one. He appears to
have repined greatly at the servile court-life which The roses red arrayed in rorne and ryss,3
he was condemned to lead, and to have longed The primrose and the purpure viola ;
anxiously for some independent source of income. To hear it was a point of Paradise,
Among his poems are many containing nothing Such mirth the mavis and the merle couth ma, but expressions of solicitude on this subject. He The blossoms blithe broke up on bank and brae, survived the year 1517, and is supposed to have The smell of herbis, and of fowls the cry,
died about 1520, at the age of sixty; but whether Contending who should have the victory.
he ultimately succeeded in obtaining preferment, is not known. His writings, with scarcely any
exception, remained in the obscurity of manuscript WILLIAM DUNBAR.
till the beginning of the last century; but his WILLIAM DUNBAR, ‘a poet,' says Sir Walter-fame had been gradually rising, and it was at Scott, ‘unrivalled by any that 'Scotland has ever length, in 1834, considered sufficient to justify a produced,' flourished at the court of James IV. complete edition of his works, by Mr David Laing, at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the
The poems of Dunbar may be said to be of sixteenth century. Having received his educa- three classes—the allegorical, the moral, and the tion at the university of St Andrews, where, in comic; besides which there is a vast number of 1479, he took the degree of Master of Arts, Dunbar productions composed on occasions affecting himbecame a friar of the Franciscan order (Gray self
, and which may therefore be called personal Friars), in which capacity he travelled for some effusions. His allegorical poem, The Thistle and years, not only in Scotland, but also in England the Rose (a triumphant nuptial-song for the union and France, preaching, as was the custom of the of James and the Princess Margaret), was finished, order, and living by the alms of the pious-a mode as he himself states, on the 9th of May 1503. of life which he himself acknowledges to have Langhorne, the English poet, finely says : involved a constant exercise of falsehood, deceit,
In nervous strains Dunbar's bold music flows, and flattery. In time, he had the grace, or was
And Time yet spares the Thistle and the Rose. enabled by circumstances, to renounce this sordid profession. It is supposed, from various allusions But another of Dunbar's allegorical poems, The in his writings, that, from about the year 1491 to Golden Terge, was more popular in his own day, 1500, he was occasionally employed by the king and is cited by Sir David Lyndsay as proving 1 Radiance. 3 Bush and twig.
1 His slipper.
4 Could make.
that its author had 'language at large.' It is more Follow on pity, flee trouble and debate, richly descriptive and rhetorical, but has not more
With famous folkis hald thy company ; true poetry. The satirical and humorous poems of
Be charitable and hum'le in thine estate, Dunbar are extremely gross. Perhaps the most
For warldly honour lastes but a cry.
For trouble in earth tak no melancholy; remarkable of all his poems is The Dance. It
Be rich in patience, if thou in gudes be poor; describes a procession of the seven deadly sins in
Who lives merrily he lives mightily; the infernal regions; and for stre th and vivid
Without Gladness availes no Treasure. ness of painting, would stand a comparison with any poem in the language. The most solemn and impressive of the more exclusively moral poems The philosophy of these lines is excellent. of Dunbar, is one in which he represents a thrush Dunbar was as great in the comic as in the and nightingale taking opposite sides in a debate solemn strain, but not so pure. His Twa Married on earthly and spiritual affections, the thrush Women and the Widow is a conversational piece, ending every speech or stanza with a recommen- in which three gay ladies discuss, in no very delidation of 'á lusty life in Love's service,' and the cate terms, the merits of their husbands, and the nightingale with the more melodious declaration : means by which wives may best advance their * All love is lost but upon God alone. There is, own interests. There is one piece of peculiar however, something more touching in the less humour, descriptive of an imaginary tournament laboured verses in which he moralises on the between a tailor and a shoemaker, in the same brevity of existence, the shortness and uncertainty region where he places the dance of the seven of all ordinary enjoyments, and the wickedness deadly sins. It is in a style of the broadest farce, and woes of mankind.
and full of very offensive language, yet as droll as
anything in Scarron or Rabelais. One of the This wavering warld's wretchedness,
marvels brought by the king's ships was a black The failing and fruitless business,
lady, and a great tournament was got up in honour The misspent time, the service vain, For to consider is ane pain.
of the sable beauty. Dunbar humorously says: The sliding joy, the gladness short,
When she is clad in rich apparel,
She blinks as bright as ane tar-barrel ;
When she was born the sun tholed eclipse;
The Night wad sure fight in her quarrel
The lady wi' the meikle lips.
doctor, Master John Damian, who appears to have
got considerable sums of money from the king for Or, in another poem :
experiments made in the vain hope of extracting Evermair unto this warld's joy,
gold out of other metals. Damian must have As nearest heir, succeeds annoy ;
been a simpleton as well as knave, for he made a Therefore when joy may not remain,
public attempt to fly with wings which he had His very heir, succeedés Pain.
constructed. The wings being fastened upon him, He is, at the same time, by no means disposed fell to the ground and broke his thigh-bone. He
he flew off the castle wall of Stirling, but shortly habitually to take gloomy or desponding views of accounted for his failure by the circumstance of life. He has one poem, of which each stanza ends there having been
some feathers in the wings, with 'For to be blyth methink it best.? In another," which yearned and coveted the midden and not he advises, since life is so uncertain, that the good the skies!' The king, with culpable recklessness, things of this world should be rationally enjoyed presented this quack to the vacant abbacy of while it is yet possible., ‘Thine awn gude spend,' Tungland in Galloway. Dunbar happily satirised says he, while thou has space! There is yet the quack, representing him as flying in the air, another, in which these Horatian maxims are still though he never got upon wing, and as assailed more pointedly enforced ; and from this we shall
by all the indignant birds : select a few stanzas. Be merry, man, and tak not sair in mind
And ever the cushats at him tuggit, The wavering of this wretched world of sorrow;
The rooks him rent, the ravens him druggit, To God be humble, to thy friend be kind,
The hooded-craws his hair forth rugged,
The heaven he might not bruik.
Pinkerton ascribes to Dunbar a comic tale apparFor oft with wise men it has been said aforow
ently of about the same date as the poet's acknowWithout Gladness availes no Treasure.
ledged works, entitled The Freirs of Berwick. Make thee gude cheer of it that God thee sends,
The 'argument' of this piece is the merry adFor warld's wrak but welfare o nought avails ;
venture of two White Friars of Berwick detecting Nae gude is thine save only that thou spends,
Friar John, superior of the Gray Friars of the same Remanant all thou bruikes but with bails ; 4
place, in an intrigue with a farmer's wife. The Seek to solace when sadness thee assails;
tale is told with great humour and spirit, and the In dolour lang thy life may not endure,
dénouement, the detection and punishment of Friar Wherefore of comfort set up all thy sails ;
John, is brought about by a series of highly Without Gladness availes no Treasure.
amusing incidents. There is no authority for i Delay.
assigning this piece to Dunbar, but it is worthy of 3 World's trash without health.
him or of Chaucer.
The Merle and Nightingale. In May, as that Aurora did upspring, With crystal een chasing the cluddes sable, I heard a Merle with merry notis sing A sang of love, with voice right comfortable, Again' the orient beamis, amiable, Upon a blissful branch of laurel green; This was her sentence, sweet and delectable, A lusty life in Lovis service been. Under this branch ran down a river bright, Or balmy liquor, crystalline of hue, Again' the heavenly azure skyis light, Where did upon the tother side pursue A Nightingale, with sugared notis new, Whose angel feathers as the peacock shone; This was her song, and of a sentence trueAll love is lost but upon God alone. With notis glad, and glorious harmony, This joyful Merle, so salust she the day, While rung the woodis of her melody, Saying, Awake, ye lovers of this May; Lo, fresh Flora has flourished every spray, As nature has her taught, the noble queen The field been clothit in a new array; A lusty life in Lovis service been, Ne'er sweeter noise was heard with living man, Na made this merry gentle Nightingale; Her sound went with the river as it ran, Out through the fresh and flourished lusty vale; O Merle ! quoth she, O fool! stint of thy tale, For in thy song good sentence is there none, For both is tint, the time and the travail Of every love but upon God alone. Cease, quoth the Merle, thy preaching, Nightingale: Shall folk their youth spend into holiness? Of young sanctís grows auld feindís, but fable; Fye, hypocrite, in yeiris tenderness, Again' the law of kind thou goes express, That crookit age makes one with youth serene, Whom nature of conditions made diverse: A lusty life in Lovis service been. The Nightingale said : Fool, remember thee, That both in youth and eild,1 and every hour, The love of God most dear to man suld be; That him, of nought, wrought like his ain figour, And died himself, fro' dead him to succour; 0, whether was kythit? there true love or none? He is most true and steadfast paramour, And love is lost but upon him alone. The Merle said: Why put God so great beauty In ladies, with sic womanly having, But gif he would that they suld lovit be? To love eke nature gave them inclining, And He of nature that worker was and king, Would nothing frustir put, nor let be seen, Into his creature of his own making; A lusty life in Lovis service been. The Nightingale said : Not to that behoof Put God sic beauty in a lady's face, That she suld have the thank therefor or luve, But He, the worker, that put in her sic grace; Of beauty, bounty, riches, time, or space, And every gudeness that been to come or gone, The thank redounds to Him in every place: All love is lost but upon God alone. O Nightingale! it were a story nice, That love suld not depend on charity;
And gif that virtue contrar be to vice, Then love maun be a virtue, as thinks me; For, aye, to love envy maun contrar' be: God bade eke love thy neighbour fro the spleen;1 And who than ladies sweeter neighbours be? A lusty life in Lovis service been. The Nightingale said: Bird, why does thou rave? Man may take in his lady sic delight, Him to forget that her sic virtue gave, And for his heaven receive her colour white: Her golden tressit hairis redomite, Like to Apollo's beamis tho' they shone, Suld not him blind fro’ love that is perfite; All love is lost but upon God alone. The Merle said: Love is cause of honour aye, Love makis cowards manhood to purchase, Love makis knichtis hardy at essay, Love makis wretches full of largéness, Love makis sweirfolks full of business, Love makis sluggards fresh and well be seen, Love changes vice in virtuous nobleness; A lusty life in Lovis service been. The Nightingale said : True is the contrary; Sic frustir love it blindis men so far, Into their minds it makis them to vary; In false vain-glory they so drunken are; Their wit is went, of woe they are not 'ware, While that all worship away be fro' them gone, Fame, goods, and strength; wherefore well say I dare All love is lost but upon God alone. Then said the Merle: Mine error I confess: This frustir love is all but vanity: Blind ignorance me gave sic hardiness, To argue so again' the verity; Wherefore I counsel every man that he With love not in the feindis net be tone, 4 But love the love that did for his love die : All love is lost but upon God alone. Then sang they both with voices loud and clear ; The Merle sang: Man, love God that has thee
wrought. The Nightingale sang: Man, love the Lord most
The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins.
1. Of Februar the fiftene nicht, Full lang before the dayis licht,
I lay intill a trance ; And then I saw baith Heaven and Hell : Me thocht, amang the fiendis fell,
Mahoun gart cry ane Dance
1 Equivalent to the modern phrase, from the heart.
3. Slothful or reluctant. 4 Ta'en; taken.
8 Whose diligent pleading made my thoughts grane or long for love.
Next in the Dance followit Envy,
Hid malice and despite :
With fenyeit wordis quhyte :17
To lie that had delight;
Be day, and eke by nicht ;
And enterit by brieve of richt. 14
Far northwast in a neuck ;
In hell great room they took : 1 Usurers.
Of them can never be quit.
1 Mahoun, or the devil, proclaimed a dance of sinners that had not received absolution.
? The evening before Lent, which was usually a festival at the Scottish court.
3 Gambols. 4 Holy harlots (hypocrites), in a haughty manner. The term harlot was applied indiscriminately to both sexes.
5 Names of spirits, like Robin Goodfellow in England, and Brownie in Scotland.
6 Pride, with hair artfully put back, and bonnet on side: 'vaistie wanis' is now unintelligible; some interpret the phrase as meaning
wasteful wants, but this seems improbable, considering the locality or scene of the poem.
7 His cassock for the nonce or occasion. 8 A cheat or impostor (Fr. trompeur).
9 Groans. 10 Bear.
11 Boasters, braggarts, and bullies. 12 Arrayed in the accoutrements of war. 13 In coats of armour, and covered with iron network to the heel. 14 Wild was their aspect.
15 Brands beaten. 16 Many strong dissemblers. 17 With feigned words fair or white. 18 Spreaders of false reports,
2 Misers. 3 A great quantity. 4 Gold of every coinage. 5 His grunt. 6 Many a lazy glutton. 7 Served with care (Fr. soigner, to care, to be diligent). 8 Loins.
9 Quicker of apprehension. 10 Neighing like an entire horse. 11 Corpse (mort, dead). 12 Their reward, or their desire not diminished. 13 No minstrels without doubt-a compliment to the poetical profession: there were no gleemen or minstrels in the infernal regions. 14 Letter of right
15 Pageant. 16 By the time he had done shouting the coronach or cry of help, the Highlanders speaking Erse or Gaelic gathered about him.
Thae tarmigants, with tag and tatter,
feel his loss: he was stricken with the plague, and Full loud in Ersche begoud to clatter,
died in London in 1522. Douglas wrote two And roup like raven and rook.
original poetical works, one entitled The Palace of The Devil sae deavedwas with their yell,
Honour, an apologue for the conduct of a king, That in the deepest pot of hell
addressed to James IV. The poet represents He smorit them with smoke!
himself as seeing in a vision a large company
travelling towards the Palace of Honour. He Tidings fra the Session.
joins them, and relates the particulars of the pilA conversation between two rustics, designed to satirise the grimage. His second work, King Hart, presents proceedings in the supreme civil law-court of Scotland.
a metaphorical view of human life. The human Ane muirland man, of upland mak,
heart is personified as a king in his castle, with At hame thus to his neighbour spak :
the five senses around him; he is attacked by What tidings, gossip, peace or weir ?
Dame Pleasaunce, who has conquered many a The tother rounit in his ear :
king, from Solomon downwards, but at length Age I tell you under this confession, But lately lichtit off my meare,
and Experience come to the rescue, and King
Hart is set free. Douglas gave an entire translaI come of Edinburgh fra the Session.
tion of the Æneid in the Scottish language, being What tidings heard you there, I pray you?
the first version of a Latin classic into any British The tother answerit: I sall say you :
tongue. Douglas's translation is in what is called Keep well this secret, gentle brother ;
the heroic couplet, ten syllables to the line, the Is na man there that trusts another :
measure which Byron considered to be the best Ane common doer of transgression,
adapted to our language, though his own greatest Of innocent folk preveens a futher :5
triumphs were not achieved in it. Thus, in the Sic tidings heard I at the Session.
famous passage of the descent of Æneas to the Some with his fallow rouns him to please,
infernal regions, we read in Douglas: That wald for envy bite aff his nese;8
It is right facile and eith (easy) gait, I thee tell, His fa' some by the oxter" leads ;
For to descend and pass on down to hell,
The black yetts of Pluto and that dirk way
Stand ever open and patent night and day;
But therefra to return again on height,
And here above recover this air's light,
Though later in point of time than Henryson and Some speeds, for he in court has means; Some of partiality compleens,
Dunbar, Douglas is much less easily read. He How feido and favour flemis 10 discretion;
was, like Spenser, fond of archaisms, and he Some speaks full fair, and falsely feigns :
resolved, he said, to write wholly in the Scottish Sic tidings heard I at the Session.
language: Some castis summons, and some excepts;
And yet, forsooth, I set my busy pain, Some stand beside and skailed law kepps ;
As that I couth to mak it braid and plain ; Some is continued; some wins; some tynes ;'
Keeping na Suthron, but our awn language, Some maks him merry at the wines ;
And speak as I learned when I was ane page. Some is put out of his possession ; Some herried, and on credence dines :
His language, however, is far from being pure Sic tidings heard I at the Session.
Scotch, being, according to Mr Skeat, much
affected by Anglicisms.' The original poems Some swearis and forsakis God;
styled Prologues, which the translator affixes to Some in ane lamb-skin is ane tod;11
each book, are esteemed among his happiest Some in his tongue his kindness turses ;19
efforts. The following is in the original spelling: Some cuts throats, and some pykes purses ; Some goes to gallows with procession ;
Apostrophe to Honour.
O hie honour, sweit heuinlie flour digest !
For his honour thou art guerdon conding,
Of worschip kend the glorious end and rest,
But whome in richt na worthie wicht may lest, GAVIN DOUGLAS, bishop of Dunkeld, was one Thy greit puissance may maist auance all thing, of the most distinguished and accomplished men And houerall to meikali auail sone bring of that era. He was born about the year 1474, I the require sen thow but peira art best, younger son of Archibald, fifth Earl of Angus, and That eftir this in thy hie blis we ring. was educated for the church. He lived, however, in stormy times, and was mixed up with the tur- From a Description of Morning in May, from the bulent scenes of the Douglas faction. When that Prologue to the Twelfth Book of the Æneid. faction was driven from power, he fled to England,
As fresh Aurore, to mighty Tithon spouse, to the court of Henry VIII. He was proscribed
Ished of her saffron bed and ivor house, as a traitor, and the revenues of his bishopric of
In cram'sy clad and grained violate, Dunkeld sequestrated, but he did not live long to With sanguine cape, and selvage purpurate,
Unshet* the windows of her large hall, 1 Croaked like ravens and rooks. 2 Deafened. 3 Smothered. Whispered. 5 Is advanced before a great number.
Spread all with roses, and full of balm royal, 6 Nose. 7 Armpit.
8 Pledge. 9 Hostility. 10 Banísbes.
1 Worthy reward.
2 Without peer or equal. 19 Carries.
3 Issued from