Skip to main content

Full text of "Scottish poetry of the sixteenth century .."

See other formats
















■f,ry//(y "-^ r ty - ' y / rrrccc^'f^/l. 



Published by 
William Hodge & Co., Glasgow 

Williams & Norgate, London and Edinburgh 

Hbbotstor^ Series 

of tbc 

Scottisb ipoets 






n o 


Many of the best editions of the Scottish poets, 
even of recent date, increase the difficulties of archaic 
language by such unnecessary stumbling-blocks as 
the use of the old straight s, and of Anglo-Saxon 
symbols for certain letters. Some even appear in 
the added obscurity of Old English type. And 
when these hindrances are not present, an irritating 
punctuation too often remains a barrier to all 
enjoyment. To these obstacles, as much, perhaps, 
as to the actual scarcity and costliness of the works, 
is to be attributed the popular neglect of a noble 
heritage in recent years. In the present volume, 
as in the previous volumes of this series, an effort 
has been made, while preserving the text intact in 
its original form, to improve in these respects upon 
the readableness of previous editions. A running 
glossary has, for the same object, been furnished 
in the margin of each page. For practical perusal 
of the text, as poetry, it is believed that this arrange- 
ment, translating obsolete words, as it does, without 
a break in the reading, is better than footnotes, or 
a glossary at the end of the volume. Few now-a-days, 
it is to be feared, save the most ardent students, 
can afford the time necessary for the elucidation by 

>% /% 

9068- '■ 


means of a dictionary even of so short a poem as 
" Chrystis Kirk on the Grene." 

While avoiding a burden of distracting comment, 
all necessary information, it is hoped, has been 
included in the separate introductions. 

All the poems not otherwise indicated are here 
printed entire ; and in particular it may be pointed 
out that the four pieces attributed to King James 
the Fifth are now reproduced complete and together 
for the first time since 1786. 


Scottish Poetry of the Sixteenth Century, 

Sir David Lyndsay, 

The Dreme, 

The Testament and Convplaynt of our Soverane 
Lordis Papyngo, ...... 

The Justing Betuix James Watsoun and Jhone Barbour, 

Kitteis Confessioun, 

Squyer Meldrumis Justyng, ..... 

The Squyeris Adew, ...... 

Ane Pleasant Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis, . 
Daybreak in May, 

John Bellenden, 

Virtew and Vyce, 

Nobilnes, ...... 

Address to Bellona and King James V., 
The Excusation of the Prentar, 
Anno Domini, 

King James the Fifth, . 
Peblis to the Play, 
Chrystis Kirk on the Grene, 
The Gaberlunzieman, 
The Jolly Beggar, . 











Sir Richard Maitland, .... 
Satire on the Age, .... 

Satire on the Toun Ladyes, . 
Na Kyndnes at Court without Siller, 
On the Folye of ane Auld Manis Maryand 

Young Woman, .... 
Aganis the Theivis of Liddisdaill, . 
Advyce to Lesom Mirriness, . 

Alexander Scot, 

The Justing and Debait vp at the Drum 

William Adamsone and Johine Sym, 
Hence, Hairt, 
Oppressit Hairt Indure, . 
To Luve Vnluvit, ... 
Lo, Quhat it is to Lufe, 

Alexander Montgomerie, 
The Cherrie and the Slae, 
The Night is Neir Gone, 
An Admonitioun to Young Lassis, 
To His Maistres, . 
To His Maistres, . 
To The for Me, . 














Flodden Field, that long slope looking north- 
ward by the "deep and dark and sullen Till," 
where on a September afternoon in 15 13 the 
flower of Scotland fell round James the Fourth, 
stands darkly marked on the page of history 
both of the Scottish nation and of Scottish 
poetry. It was for the North the burial-place 
of one era and the birth-place of another. The 
English billmen who on Flodden closed round 
the last desperate ring of Scottish spears hewed 
down with their ghastly weapons not only James 
himself and his nobles, but the feudal system in 
church and state, with all that sprang from it, 
the civilization and poetry of the Middle Ages 
in Scotland. The national spirit which had 
burst into leaf at Bannockburn was touched now 
as by an autumn frost, and a time of storm and 
darkness must ensue before the country could 
feel the re-awakening influences of a new spring. 
The mediaeval world, with its charm and its 
chivalry, its splendour, cruelty, and power, was 



passing away, while the modern world was in 
the throes of being born. 

Had James IV. lived he would doubtless have 
continued, firm-handed as he was, to hold in 
check both churchmen and nobles, and the 
reforms which were in the air might have taken 
effect like leaven, and not, as they did, like gun- 
powder. They might have been grafted upon 
the existing stem, as in England, instead of 
overturning it. But during the long minority 
of James V. the abuses of the feudal system, 
political and ecclesiastical, attained too rank a 
growth to be pruned by the hand of that king 
when he came of age, notwithstanding his energy 
and good intentions. The system, as Macaulay 
has pointed out, had served its purpose in the 
Middle Ages as perhaps no more modern 
system could have done. In the feudal castles 
and monasteries had been preserved certain 
lights of chivalry and learning which, without 
such shelter, must, amid the storms of these cen- 
turies, have flickered and disappeared. These 
lights were now, however, burning more and 
more dimly. The corruptions of the clergy and 
the rapacity of the nobles outran all bounds, and 
between the two no man's life was safe and no 
woman's honour. Like other human institutions, 
therefore, which have outlived their usefulness, 
feudalism was doomed. 


Renaissance was to come, not from within, 
but from without, and in the north the new 
influence took the form of a miHtant religious 
enthusiasm. Already in James the Fourth's time 
the war-horns of the Reformation sounded on 
the Continent had made their echoes heard in 
Scotland ; and during the reign of his successor 
these were taken up and resounded at home 
with tremendous effect by the iconoclast trio, 
Lyndsay, Buchanan, and Knox. The new era 
was to be one of strife and tempest, in which 
the root of poesy was little likely to bring to 
perfection its rarest blossoms. 

Goethe has said that the Reformation cost 
Europe three centuries' growth of civilization. 
So far as poetry is concerned the statement must 
be taken as true in Scotland to a modified 
extent. No one would be so foolish as to deny 
the immense advantages, in the purification of 
morals and the setting up of new perfervid 
ideals, which the Reformation brought to the 
north. But it is too frequently forgotten that 
the era of Scotland's highest achievement in 
arms and in poetry was not the era of Knox 
and Buchanan, but the era of Bishop Lamberton, 
Archdeacon Barbour,* and the preaching friar 
Dunbar. Against the unquestionable benefits 
of the Reformation in Scotland must be set 
* Respectively the friend and the historian of the Bruce. 


the fact that it not only broke the stem of the 
existing feudal civilization, but itself, intent 
only upon things of a future life, and modelled 
overmuch upon Judaic ideals, gave scant en- 
couragement to the carnal arts of this world. 

There is strong reason to believe that Scottish 
character, so far as social qualities go, suffered a 
certain withering change in the sixteenth cen- 
tury. Under feudalism, with all its faults, the 
country had been characterized by a generous 
joyousness which may be read between the lines 
of its contemporary history and poetry. Bruce, 
in the intervals of his heroic undertaking, could 
recite long romances of chivalry. The accom- 
plishments of James I. as musician, poet, and 
player at all games and sports, are too well known 
to need repetition. Blind Harry v.'as only one 
of the wandering minstrels who everywhere 
earned feast and bed by their entertainments. 
And the madcap court of James IV. lives in the 
poems of William Dunbar and the letters of 
the Spanish ambassador, Pedro de Ayala. All 
this was changed at the Reformation, and there 
seems to have been imposed then upon the life 
of the people a certain ascetic seriousness which 
has left its traces on the national character to 
the present day. Mirth and entertainment of 
all sorts not strictly religious were severely dis- 
countenanced by the Reformers, as tending to 


render this life too attractive, and to withdraw 
attention from the great object of existence, 
preparation for the tomb. The attitude of the 
new rulers towards poetical composition in 
particular may be judged from two instances. 
In 1576, in the first book printed in Gaelic — 
Knox's Forms of Prayer and Catechism — Bishop 
Carswell, the translator, in his preface condemns 
with pious severity the Highlanders' enjoyment 
of songs and histories " concerning warriors and 
champions, and Fingal the son of Comhal, with 
his heroes." And the title-page of that curious 
collection, TJie Glide and Godlie Ballates, pub- 
lished in 1578,* bears that the contents consist 
in great part of pious compositions "changed 
out of prophaine Sangis, for avoyding of sinne 
and harlotrie." So strongly, indeed, burned the 
ardour of the Reformers that for a considerable 
period nothing was printed in the Scottish press 
but what was tinged with religion in the strictest 
sense ; and the effect of the condemnation of 

* Included in Dalzell's Scotish Poems of the XVIih Century, 
Edin. 1801, and reprinted in 1868. The following opening lines 
atibrd a specimen of the adaptation of a " prophaine sang " : — 

Quho is at my windo? who? who? 
Goe from my windo ; goe, goe : 
Quha calles there, so like ane stranger? 
Goe from my windo, goe. 

Lord, I am heir, ane wratched mortall 
That for thy mercie dois crie and call 
Vnto thee, my Lord Celestiall. 
See who is at my window, who. 


"profane" literature at that time is to be traced in 
the prejudice with which novel-reading has been 
regarded in Scotland almost to the present day. 

There was in the air, besides, another depres- 
sing influence which must not be overlooked. 

Simultaneously with the dawn of the Refor- 
mation the Scottish language began to decay. 
The causes of this decay are sufficiently 
ascertained.* For the first forty years of the 
Reformation movement there was no transla- 
tion of the Scriptures into the northern dialect. 
The copies used were obtained from England. 
Carried everywhere by the popular wave, the 
English book, as it was called, must by itself 
have done much to change the tongue of the 
country. Further, as the Catholic party in 
Scotland naturally looked for support to the 
ancient alliance with Catholic France, the adhe- 
rents of Protestantism were forced into intimate 
relations and constant communication with 
Protestant England. In the works of Sir David 
Lyndsay, the earliest poet of the new period, the 
influence of this connection is seen taking effect, 
English forms of words, like go, also, and one, 
constantly taking the place of the mediaeval 
Scottish. John Knox was a greater innovator 

* The influences which went to fashion and to disintegrate the 
speech of the North are very clearly and systematically traced in 
Dr. J. A. H. Murray's introduction to his Dialect of the Southern 
Counties of Scotland, London, 1873. 


than Lyndsay in this respect ; and the deteri- 
oration went steadily on until, shortly after the 
close of the century, the coup de grace was given 
to the tongue by the transference of James VI. 
and his court to England. Upon that event 
Lowland Scottish went out of favour, and prac- 
tically ceased to be a literary language.* 

In face of these adverse influences — the decay 
of the language, religious disfavour, and the 
overturn of the ancient social system — a brilliant 
poetic era was not to be looked for in Scotland 
in the sixteenth century. The marvel is that so 
much was produced that had vigour, humour, 
and tenderness. Justice has hardly yet been 
done to a period which, opening with the icono- 
clast thunders of Sir David Lyndsay, included 
the compositions of the gallant James V., of "the 
Scottish Anacreon" Alexander Scot, and of the 
author of " The Cherrie and the Slae." These 
Scottish singers have their own place and charm,, 
and it has to be remembered that their work was 
composed while the strange silence of more than 
a hundred years which followed the death of 
Chaucer south of the Tweed was still all but 

* Dr. Murray in a note (p. 71) upon the dialect of Scottish 
poets of the modern period remarks, "'Scots wha hae' \s fancy 
Scotch — that is, it is merely the English 'Scots who have,' spelled 
as Scotch. Barbour would have written ' Scottis at hcs' ; Dunbar 
or Douglas, 'Scottis quhilkis lies'; and even Henry Charteris, 
in the end of the sixteenth century, ' Scottis quha hes.' " 


The early period of Scottish poetry, corre- 
sponding to the heroic era of the national history, 
had been one of geste, chronicle, and patriotic 
epic, and remains illustrious with the names of 
Thomas the Rhymer, Barbour, Wyntoun, and 
Henry the Minstrel. 'The mediaeval period, that 
in which the temper of the nation changed from 
one of strenuous, single-hearted purpose to one 
of conscious reflection, individual assertion, and 
restless personal desire, had been the period in 
which, lit anew by the torch of Chaucer, and fed 
by the genius of James I., Henryson, Dunbar, 
and Douglas, Scottish poetry shot forth its most 
splendid flame. The sixteenth century, no less 
clearly marked, was a period of change. With 
Flodden Field and the Reformation the old 
order of things passed away. As the feudalism 
of the Middle Ages passed out of church and 
state the mediaeval spirit passed out of the 
national poetry, and amid the strife of new 
ideals the last songs were sung in the national 
language of Scotland. Before the close of the 
century a new light had risen in the south, the 
brilliant Elizabethan constellation was flashing 
into fire, and under its influence the singers of 
the north were to make a new departure, and, 
like their kings who were seated on the English 
throne, were to adopt the accents of the southern 



For more than two hundred years, until the appear- 
ance of Robert Burns, the most popular of all the 
Scottish poets was Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount. 
During that time more than twenty editions of his 
works were published; next to the Bible they were 
perhaps the most familiar reading of the people; 
and in any question of phraseology, "Ye'll no fin' 
that in Davie Lyndsay" was a common condemna- 
tion against which there was no appeal. Popularity 
is not always a sign of worth; but in Lyndsay's case 
its justice must be admitted. The qualities which 
made him popular also make him great. No more 
honest, fearless, and admirable figure stands out 
from the page of Scottish history than that of this 
clear-sighted and true-hearted poet, who in a corrupt 
age filled so many parts without question and 
without stain. If effects are to be considered in 
judgment, a great place must be accorded the man 
who began by moulding the mind of a prince and 
ended by reforming that of a nation. 

The Juvenal of Scotland was descended from a 
younger branch of the Lyndsays of the Byres in 


Haddingtonshire, and is believed to have been born 
in 1490 either at The Mount, near Cupar- Fife, or at 
Garleton, then Garmylton, in East Lothian. From the 
former small estate the poet's father and himself in 
succession took their title, but the latter was apparently 
the chief residence of the family. There were grammar 
schools then established both in Haddington and 
in Cupar; and at one of these, it is probable, the 
poet received his early education. All that is 
definitely known of his early years, however, has 
been gathered from the fact that his name appears 
in 1508 or 1509 among the Incorporati or fourth- 
year students of St. Salvator's College, St. Andrews. 
He must therefore have matriculated there in 1505, 
the year of John Knox's birth. Next Lyndsay's 
name in the register follows that of David Beaton, 
afterwards archbishop and cardinal, and the most 
formidable opponent of the Reformation in Scotland. 
It has been inferred from two references in his poems* 
that upon leaving college Lyndsay visited the Con- 
tinent and travelled as far as Italy. But information 
on the subject remains uncertain. 

The next definite notice shows him attached to 
the royal court, and taking part in the amusements 

* From an eye-witnesslike allusion to the walking-length of 
Italian ladies' dresses in his " ContemiDtioun of Syde Taillis," 
and from the Courteour's speech in " The Monarche " (line 5417) 
alluding apparently to the Pope's presence at the siege of 
Mirandola in i^ii. 

" I saw Pape Julius manfullye 
Passe to the feild tryumphantlye 
With ane rycht aufull ordinance 
Contrar Lowis, the kyng of France." 


which were there in vogue. It is an entry in the 
treasurer's accounts on 12 th October, 15 11, of ;^3 4s. 
for blue and yellow taffeties "to be a play coat to 
David Lyndsay for the play playit in the king and 
queen's presence in the Abbey of Holyrood." In 
the same year appear the first quarterly payments of 
an annual salary of ^40, which he received hence- 
forth for his duties at court. The exact position 
which he at first filled is uncertain, but on the birth 
of Prince James, afterwards James V., on 12th April, 
15 12, Lyndsay was appointed chief page or usher to 
the infant. The description of his services in this 
capacity makes a delightful picture in the "Epistil 
to the Kingis Grace " prefixed to " The Dreme," and 
again in the "Complaynt" of 1529. The lines of 
the latter may be quoted — 

I talc the Quenis Grace, thy mother. 
My Lord Chancelare, and mony uther, 
Thy Nowreis, and thy auld Maistres, 
I tak thame all to beir wytnes; 
Auld Willie Dillie, wer he on lyve, 
My lyfe full weill he could discryve: 
Quhow, as ana chapman beris his pak, 
I bure thy Grace upon my bak, 
And sumtymes, strydlingis on my nek, 
Dansand with mony bend and bek. 
The first sillabis that thow did mute 
Was Pa, Da Lyn,* upon the lute; 
Than playit I twenty spryngis, perqueir, 
Quhilk was grat piete for to heir. 
Fra play thow leit me never rest, 
Bot Gynkartount thow lufit ay best; 
And ay, quhen thow come frome the sculc 

* Play, Davie Lyndsay. t An old Scottish tune. 


Than I behuffit to play the fule; 

As I at lenth, in-to my Dreme 

My sindry servyce did expreme. 

Thocht it bene better, as sayis the wyse, 

Hape to the court nor gude servyce, 

I wate thow luffit me better, than. 

Nor, now, sum wyfe dois hir gude-man. 

Than men tyll uther did recorde, 

Said Lyndesay wald be maid ane lord : 

Thow hes maid lordis, Schir, be Sanct Geill, 

Of sum that hes nocht servit so weill. 

Whatever may have been the severity of character 
which in other matters James sometimes considered 
it his duty to show, there remains as testimony to 
the real nature of " the King of the Commons " that 
he never forgot these early services of his faithful 

When the prince was a year old, that is, in 15 13, 
just before Flodden, Lyndsay was witness to that 
strange scene in the Church of St. Michael in 
Linlithgow which is related upon his authority both 
by Pitscottie and Buchanan, and which is popularly 
known through Sir Walter Scott's version in Mai-mion. 
On the eve of setting forth upon his fatal campaign 
James IV., according to Pitscottie, was with his 
nobles attending prayers in the church at Linlithgow 
when a tall man came in, roughly clad in a blue 
gown and bare-headed, with a great pikestaff in 
his hand, "cryand and spearand for the King." 
He advanced to James, and with small reverence 
laid his arm on the royal praying-desk. "Sir King," 
he said, "my mother has sent me to you desiring 
you not to passe, at this time, where thou art 


purposed; for if thou does thou wilt not fair well 
in thy journey, nor none that passeth with thee. 
Further, she bade ye melle with no woman, nor use 
their counsell, nor let them touch thy body, nor thou 
theirs; for, and thou do it, thou wilt be confounded 
and brought to shame." "Be this man," proceeds 
the chronicler, "had spoken thir words unto the 
King's Grace, the Even-song was neere doone, and 
the King paused on thir words, studying to give 
him an answer; but in the mean time, before the 
King's eyes, and in presence of all the Lords that 
were about him for the time, this man vanished 
away, and could no wayes be scene nor compre- 
hended, but vanished away as he had beene ane 
blink of the sunne, or ane whiss of the whirlwind, 
and could no more be scene." 

It has been suggested that the episode might be 
an effort of Queen Margaret to dissuade her husband 
from the campaign by working upon his superstition, 
and that Lyndsay, through whose hands the apparition 
"vanished away," probably knew more of the affair 
than he cared to confess. The whole matter, how- 
ever, is wrapped up in mystery. 

After the death of James IV. at Flodden, Lyndsay 
appears to have remained in constant attendance upon 
the young king, sometimes being styled "the Kingis 
maister usher," sometimes "the Kingis maister of 
houshald." It was probably in the course of these 
duties that he made the acquaintance of the lady 
who became his wife. Whether she was related to 
the great historic house is unknown, but her name 


was Janet Douglas, and from numerous entries in 
the treasurer's accounts she appears, notwithstanding 
her marriage, to have held the post of sempstress 
to the king till the end of his reign. The union 
took place about the year 1522. 

In 1524 affairs in Scotland took a turn which for 
a time deprived Lyndsay of his office. On 20th 
May in that year the Regent Albany finally retired 
to France, and the reins of government were assumed 
by Queen Margaret, who, to strengthen her position 
against her divorced husband, the powerful Earl of 
Angus, withdrew the young prince from his tutors, 
and placed the sceptre nominally in his hand. 
Angus, however, prevailed, and getting possession of 
the person of James, ruled Scotland in the Douglas 
interest for four years. Lyndsay's opinion of the 
effect of this proceeding may be gathered from the 
lines of his " Complaynt " — 

The Kyng was bot twelf yeris of aige 

Quhen new rewlaris come, in thair raige. 

For Commonweill makand no cair, 

Bot for thair proffeit singulair. 

Imprudentlie, lyk wytles fuilis, 

Thay tuke that young Prince frome the scuiHs, 

Quhare he, under obedience, 

Was lernand vertew and science. 

And haistelie platt in his hand 

The governance of all Scotland ; 

As quho wald, in ane stormye blast, 

Quhen marinaris bene all agast 

Throw dainger of the seis raige, 

Wald tak ane chylde of tender aige 

Quhilk never had bene on the sey, 

And to his biddyng all obey, 


Gevyng h3mi haill the governall 
Off schip, marchand, and marinall, 
For dreid of rockis and foreland, 
To put the ruther in his hand. 
Without Goddis grace is no refuge ; 
Geve thare be dainger ye may juge. 
I gyf thame to the Devyll of Hell 
Quhilk first devysit that counsell! 
I wyll nocht say that it was treassoun, 
Bot I dar sweir it was no reassoun. 
I pray God, lat me never se ryng, 
In-to this realme, so young ane Kyng! 

Discharged from his duties, though, at the instance 
of James, his salary continued to be paid, Lyndsay 
retired to his estates, and occupied his leisure 
by casting into verse some of his reflections upon 
the events and character of his time. These, in the 
form of a scarcely veiled satire, with a finely poetic 
setting, he published under the title of "The Dreme," 
probably in 1528. In the autumn of the same year, 
it is believed, he wrote his "Complaynt to the Kingis 
Grace," a performance in which, as has been seen, 
he recounts his early services, and asks some token 
of royal recognition, declaiming fearlessly the abuses 
which have been practised by the recent governors 
of the realm, and ending with congratulations and 
sound counsel on James's own sudden assumption 
of power. 

This reminder would hardly appear to have been 
needed by the young king. On a night in May of that 
year James had escaped from Falkland, and dashing 
through the defiles of the Ochils with only a couple 
of grooms in his train, had established himself in 



Stirling, successfully defied the Douglas power, and, 
though no more than sixteen years of age, had in a 
few hours made himself absolute master of Scotland. 
Among the first to benefit by his assumption of power 
were his old attendants. His chaplain. Sir James 
Inglis, he made Abbot of Culross ; his tutor, Gavin 
Dunbar, he made Archbishop of Glasgow, and after- 
wards Lord High Chancellor; while upon Lyndsay 
he conferred the honour of knighthood and appointed 
him Lyon King at Arms. 

This was in 1529, and the appointment marks 
Lyndsay's entry into the larger public life of his time. 
The office of the Chief Herald was then an active 
one, its holder being employed on frequent state 
envoys to foreign courts. Thus in 153 1 Lyndsay was 
sent to the Netherlands to renew a commercial treaty 
of James I. which had just lapsed. Upon that occa- 
sion he had an interview at Brussels with the Queen 
of Hungary, then Regent of the Netherlands, and her 
brother the Emperor Charles V. ; and in a letter still 
extant* he describes the tournaments, of which he 
was spectator, at the royal court. 

Again, in 1536, he was one of the embassy sent 
to France to conclude a marriage between James and 
Marie de Bourbon, daughter of the Due de Vendome. 
Negotiations in this case were all but completed when 
by the personal interference of James the treaty was 
broken off and espousals arranged instead with Mag- 
dalene, the daughter of the French king, Francis I. 

* Given in facsimile by Mr. Laing in his introduction to 
Lyndsay's works, p. xxiv. 


The sad sequel of this romantic union is well 
known. The fate of the fragile young princess formed 
the subject of Lyndsay's elegy, " The Deploratioun of 
the Deith of Queue Magdalene." 

Strangely enough, the Lyon Herald's next employ- 
ment was, in the following year, the superintendence 
of ceremonies at reception of James's new bride, 
Mary, the daughter of the Due de Guise. These, 
like the other events of the time, are fully described 
by Lindsay of Pitscottie, the contemporary historian. 
Among other "fersis and playis" they included one 
curious device. "And first sche was receivit at the 
New Abbay yet (gate) ; upon the eist syd thairof thair 
wes maid to hir ane triumphant arch be Sir David 
Lindsay of the Mount, knicht, alias Lyon Kyng at 
Armis, quha caussit ane greyt cloud to cum out of 
the hevins down abone the yeit; out the quhilk 
cloude come downe ane fair Lady most lyk ane 
angell, having the keyis of Scotland in hir hand, 
and delyverit thayme to the Queinis grace in signe 
and taikin that all the harts of Scotland wer opin for 
the receveing of hir Grace; withe certane Oratiouns 
maid be the said Sir David to the Quein's Grace, 
desyring hir to feir hir God, and to serve him, and 
to reverence and obey hir husband, and keip her 
awin body clein, according to God's will and 
commandment. " * 

A more momentous piece of work, and one more 
worthy of the poet's genius, was Lyndsay's next 
performance. In 1530, in his "Testament and 

* Pitscottie's History, Edin. 1728, p. 160. 


Complaynt of our Soverane Lordis Papyngo," he 
had already ventured with great boldness to expose 
the disorders of the time in church affairs. He 
now went further, and in the guise of a stage-play 
attacked with fearless and biting satire the corruptions 
of clergy and nobles. This play, "Ane Pleasant 
Satyre of the thrie Estaitis," appears to have been 
first performed at Linlithgow at the feast of Epiphany 
on 6th January, 1539-40, when, occupying no less 
than nine hours in representation,* it was witnessed 
by the king, the queen, and ladies of the court, the 
bishops, nobles, and a great gathering of people. 

As Lyon Herald, Lyndsay superintended the pre- 
paration of the Register of Arms of the Scottish 
nobility and gentry. This work, now in the Advo- 
cates' Library, Mr. Laing commends for its careful 
execution and proper emblazonment of the arms, 
as most creditable to the state of heraldic art in 
Scotland. It was completed in 1542. 

On the 14th of December in the same year 
Lyndsay was one of those who stood by the bedside 
of the dying king at Falkland, when, overwhelmed 
by sorrow and disappointment, he "turned his back 
to his lordis and his face to the wall," and presently 
passed away. The friendship between the king and 
the poet, which had begun in the prince's cradle-days, 
appears to have had not a single break, one of James' 
last acts being to assign to Lyndsay, "during all the 
days of his life, two chalders of oats, for horse-corn, 
out of the King's lands of Dynmure in Fife." 

* Charteris's Preface to Lyndsay 's works, Edin. 1582. 


The Lyon Herald survived his master about fifteen 
years, and lived to see signs that the reforms which 
he had urged would one day be carried out. 

In 1546 occurred the first crisis of the Reforma- 
tion. In consequence of the cruel burning of George 
Wishart at St. Andrews in that year, the castle there 
was stormed by Norman Lesley and fifteen others, 
and Cardinal Beaton, the prelate most obnoxious to 
the reforming party, was assassinated. On the 4th 
of August, Lyndsay, as commissioner for the burgh 
of Cupar, was in his seat in Parliament when the 
writ of treason was issued against the assassins; 
and on the 17 th, as Lyon Herald, he appeared with 
a trumpeter before the castle in the vain effort to 
bring the garrison to terms. But whatever might 
be his official duties, his sympathies were clearly on 
the side of the reformers. Regarding the death of 
Beaton he wrote, probably sometime in the following 
year, his satire, the "Tragedie of the Cardinall"; and 
in May, 1547, he was one of the inner circle of 
those who, in the parish church of St. Andrews, 
gave John Knox his unexpected but memorable call 
to the ministry. 

In 1548 Lyndsay was sent to Denmark to negotiate 
a treaty of free trade in corn, and with the successful \ 
issue of this embassy he appears to have closed his 
career as envoy to foreign courts. Henceforth he 
seems to have devoted himself to poetical composi- 
tion. In 1550 appeared what has been esteemed by 
some critics the most pleasing of all his works, 
"The Historie and Testament of Squyer Meldrum," 


a romance somewhat in the style of the ancient 
heroic narratives, founded on the adventures of an 
actual personage of his own day. And in 1553 he 
finished his last and longest work, "The Monarche, 
Ane Dialog betuix Experience and Ane Courteour 
on the Miserabyll Estait of the World." 

Once more he appears in history in the dignity of 
his office as Lyon King. On i6th January, 1554-5, 
he presided at a chapter of heralds convened at 
Holyrood for the trial and punishment of William 
Crawar, a messenger, for abuse of his function. But 
before the i8th of April in the same year he had 
passed away. By a letter of that date in the Privy 
Seal Register it appears that his wife had predeceased 
him, and that, in the absence of children, his estates 
were inherited by his younger brother, Alexander 

Four years later the Reformation, of which also he 
may be said to have been the Lyon Herald, had 
begun in earnest. John Knox had returned to Scot- 
land, the assassins of Beaton had received pardon, 
and the leaders of the new church which was to 
rise out of the ashes of the old had assumed the 
name of "The Congregation." 

Such was the consistent career of the poet who, in 
the words of Dryden, " lashed vice into reformation " 
in Scotland. In high position, with everything to 
lose and nothing to gain by the part he took, he 
must be adjudged entire disinterestedness in his 
efforts. Patriotism, the virtue which more than any 
other has from century to century made the renown 


of Scotland, must be acknowledged as his chief 
motiv^. Of his "Dreme" one writer has said, 
"We almost doubt if there is to be found any- 
where except in the old Hebrew prophets a purer 
or more earnest breathing of the patriotic spirit." 
His attack, it is true, was directed, not against 
the doctrines, but merely against the abuses of 
the church, a fact which sufficiently accounts for 
his freedom from persecution. There can be no 
question, however, that but for the brilliant, burn- 
ing satire of Lyndsay the later work of the 
reformers would have proved infinitely more 
arduous, and might have been indefinitely delayed. 
Professor Nichol* has compared the service rendered 
by Lyndsay in Scotland to that rendered in Holland 
by Erasmus. All great movements probably have 
had some such forerunner, from John the Baptist 
downwards. At anyrate it is certain that when 
Lyndsay laid down his pen the time was ripe for 
Knox to mount the pulpit. 

During the early troubles of the Reformation the 
works of Lyndsay were, it is said, printed by stealth; 
and Pitscottie states that an Act of Assembly ordered 
them to be burned. Their popularity, nevertheless, 
remained undiminished, and edition after edition 
found its way into the hands of the people. The 
best editions now available are that by George 
Chalmers, three volumes, London, 1806, that of 
the Early English Text Society by various editors, 

* General introduction to Lyndsay's works, Early English 
Text Society's edition. 


1865-187 1, and the edition by David Laing, LL.D., 
three volumes, Edinburgh, 1879. The last is taken 
in the present volume as the standard text. 

Of Lyndsay's compositions "The Dreme" has 
generally been considered the most poetical, and the 
"Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis" the most important. 
The former is an allegory in the fashion of Dante 
and Chaucer, in which, after a prologue which has 
been much admired for its descriptive charm, a 
historical lesson is drawn from the abuse of power 
by rulers of the past, and the political grievances 
of Scotland are set boldly forth. To the latter 
belongs the credit of being the earliest specimen 
of the Scottish drama now in existence, the ground 
having been previously occupied only by the old 
mysteries and pageants, the " fairseis and clerk-playis " 
mentioned by Sir Richard Maitland.* Technically 
it is neither a morality-play nor a regular drama, 
but what is known as an interlude: it has no regular 
plot, and upon its stage real men and women move 
about among allegorical personages. Its author, how- 
ever, confined the term "interlude" to the burlesque 
diversions which occupied the intervals of the main 
action. "Lyndsay's play," says Chalmers, "carried 
away the palm of dramatic composition from the 
contemporary moralities of England till the epoch 
of the first tragedy in Gorboduc and the first comedy 
in Gammer Gurton's Needle." The work was more, 
however, than a dramatic pioneer; it was the greatest 

* In his poem on the marriage of Queen Mary with the 


blow which Lyndsay struck at the vices and follies 
of his age, the ignorance and profligacy of the priest- 
hood, and the insolence and unscrupulous ambition 
of the courtiers ; and it is perhaps not too much 
to say of it that by its performance again and again 
before multitudes of all classes of the people it 
prepared the way more than anything else for the 
great movement of the Reformation in Scotland. 
For the modern reader, apart from its merits as a 
tour de force of satire, this work remains the most 
vivid picture we possess of the grievances by which 
the common people of Scotland were oppressed 
during the last days of feudalism. 

"The Monarche," a still longer poem, possesses 
nothing like the interest of the " Satyre." In dialogue 
form, it follows the historic fashion of an earlier time, 
attempting to give a complete history of the human 
race from the creation to the day of judgment. Gloom 
and sadness reign throughout its pages, and notwith- 
standing one or two fine descriptive pai:sages and the 
exhibition of much learning and sagacious reflection, 
it must be ranked among the less vital of its author's 
works. An English version of "The Monarche," 
nevertheless, was repeatedly printed in London from 
1566 onwards, and a translation into Danish was 
published at Copenhagen in 1591. 

"The Testament and Complaynt of the Kyngis 
Papyngo " is a composition frequently referred to. It 
opens with a prologue in praise of the makars, who, 
from Chaucer to the writer's contemporary Bellcnden, 
are named in order. In form of a fable — the death- 


bed of the king's parrot, attended by the pye, a ._ 
canon regular, the raven, a black monk, and the 
hawk, a holy friar — it satirizes mercilessly the vices 
of the clergy and the abuses of the church. 

Lyndsay's lesser productions are satires on minor 
subjects, such as court patronage and the absur- 
dities of female fashions, showing their author in a ; 
lighter vein. But "Kitteis Confessioun" is another 
hard hit at the church abuses of the time, and the 
" Deploratioun of the Deith of Quene Magdalene" 
possesses interest as a picture of a royal welcome in 
the sixteenth century. 

"The Tragedie of the Cardinall," apart from a 
suggestion in the prologue, the appearance of Beaton's 

ghost — 

Ane woundit man, aboundantlie bledyng, 
With vissage paill and with ane deidlye cheir — 

displays no striking poetic power. The poem recounts 
in detail, as by the mouth of the prelate himself, the 
damaging part which Beaton had played in the con- 
temporary history of Scotland, and it ends with serious 
admonitions addressed respectively to prelates and to 
princes to avoid the abuses which were then rampant 
in the government of the church. 

"The Historic of Squyer Meldrum" is written in 
a different vein from the rest of Lyndsay's works. 
As has already been said, it is modelled on the 
gestes and heroic epics of an earlier century. The 
narrative is lively, with vivid descriptive passages and 
great smoothness of versification. "In all Froissart," 
says Dr. Merry Ross, "there is nothing more 


delightful in picturesque details than the description 
of the jousts between Meldrum and the English 
knight Talbart on the plains of Picardy." 

It has been the habit to regard Lyndsay in the 
character rather of a reformer than of a poet, and 
it cannot be doubted that his own purpose was to 
edify rather than to delight. But the merit of a 
satirist consists, not in his display of the more 
delicate sort of poetic charm, but in the brilliance 
and keenness of his satire. No critic can aver that in 
these qualities Lyndsay was lacking. If evidence of 
power in other fields be demanded, there are, accord- 
ing to the estimate of Professor Nichol, passages in 
"The Dreme," "Squyer Meldrum," and "The 
Monarche," " esn'^cially in the descriptions of the 
morning and evening voices of the birds, which, for 
harmony of versification and grace of imagery, may 
be safely laid alongside of any corresponding to 
them in the works of his predecessors." But it is 
as a satiric poet that he must chiefly be appraised, and 
in this character he stands the greatest that Scotland 
has produced. He remained popular for more than two 
centuries because he sympathised with the sorrows of 
the people and satirized the abuse of power by the 
great. In this respect he was not excelled even by 
his great successor, Robert Burns. For the reader 
of the present day the interest of Lyndsay, apart 
from the broad light which he throws upon the life 
and manners of his time, lies in his shrewd common- 
sense, his irresistible humour, vivacity, and dramatic 
power, with the consciousness that behind these 


burns a soul of absolute honesty. But the first 
value of his work, as of the work of every satiric 
poet, consisted in its wholesome effect upon the 
spirit of his age. With this fact in view it would 
be difficult to formulate a better summing-up of 
Lyndsay's titles to regard than that by i^cott in the 
fourth canto of Marmion\ There, by a poetic license, 
he is introduced in the character of Lyon Herald on 
the eve of Flodden, sixteen years before he obtained 
that office — 

He was a man of middle age; 
In aspect manly, grave, and sage. 

As on king's errand come; 
But in the glances of his eye 
A penetrating, keen, and sly 

Expression found its home; 
The flash of that satiric rage 
Which, bursting on the early stage. 
Branded the vices of the age. 

And broke the keys of Rome. 

Still is thy name of high account 
And still thy verse has charms, 

Sir David Lindesay of the Mount, 
Lord Lion King-at-arms ! 


Epistil to the Kingis Grace. 

YCHT potent Prince, of hie Imperial blude, 
Unto thy Grace I traist it be weill knawin 
My servyce done unto your Celsitude, 

Quhilk nedis nocht at length for to be schawin ; 

And thocht ' my youtheid now be neir ouer-blawin, ' though. 
Excerst^ in servyce of thyne Excellence, = Exercised. 

Hope hes me hechts ane gudlie recompense. 3 promised. 

Quhen thowwes young I bure thee in myne arme 

Full tenderlie, tyll thow begouth to gang 4; 4 began to go. 

And in thy bed oft happits thee full warme, s wrapped. 

With lute in hand, syne^, sweitlie to thee sang : ^ afterwards. 
Sumtyme, in dansing, feiralie? I flang; 7 nimbly. 

And sumtyme, playand farsis on the flure; 

And sumtyme, on myne office takkand cure : 

And sumtyme, lyke ane feind, transfigurate, 
And sumtyme, lyke the greislie gaist of Gye^; 

In divers formis oft-tymes disfigurate, 
And sumtyme, dissagyist full plesandlye. 
So, sen 9 thy birth, I have continewalyc 

Bene occupyit, and aye to thy plesoure. 

And sumtyme, Seware, Coppare, and Carvoure'", 

8 Perhaps the Sir 
Guy of romance. 

9 since. 

'o Butler, Cup- 
bearer, and 



' treasurer. 
* usher. 

3 loyalty. 

4 Praise. 

5 such. 

6 able. 

Thy purs-maister and secreit Thesaurare^ 
Thy Yschare^ aye sen thy natyvitie, 

And of thy chahner cheiffe Cubiculare, 

Quhilk, to this hour, hes keipit my lawties; 
Lovyng4 be to the blyssit Trynitie 

That sics ane wracheit worme hes maid so habyll^ 

Tyll sic ane Prince to be so greabyll ! 

But now thow arte, be influence naturall, 

7 high of spirit. Hie of iugyne^, and rycht inquisityve 

Of antique storeis, and deidis marciall ; 

More plesandlie the tyme for tyll ouerdryve, 

8 describe. I have, at length, the storeis done descry ve^ 

Of Hectour, Arthour, and gentyll Julyus, 
Of Alexander, and worthy Pompeyus; 

Of Jasone, and Medea, all at lenth, 
Of Hercules the actis honorabyll. 
And of Sampsone the supernaturall strenth, 

9 true lovers. And of IciU lufFarisS storeis amiabyll ; 

And oft-tymes have I feinyeit mony fabyll, 
Of Troylus the sorrow and the joye. 
And Seigis all of Tyir, Thebes, and Troye. 

The propheceis of Rymour, Beid, and Marlyng,* 

And of mony uther plesand storye. 
Of the Reid Etin, and the Gyir Carlyng,t 

* Many of the prophecies of The Rhymer, Bede, and Merlin 
were printed in a small volume by Andro Hart at Edinburgh 
in 1615. 

t The Red Etin, a giant with three heads, was the subject of a 
popular story mentioned in the Complaynt of Scotland. William 
Motherwell has a poem "The Etin of Sillarwood." The Gyre 
Carlin, or huge old woman, was the gruesome Hecate, or mother- 
witch, of many peasant stories. 



Confortand thee, quhen that I saw thee sorye. 

Now, with the supporte of the King of Glorye, 
I sail thee schaw ane storye of the new. 
The quhilk affore I never to thee schew. 

But humilie I beseik thyne Excellence, 

With ornate termis thocht I can nocht expres 

This sempyll mater, for laik of eloquence; 
Yit, nochtwithstandyng all my besynes. 
With hart and hand my pen I sail addres 

As I best can, and most compendious : 

Now I begyn : the mater hapnit thus. 


In-to the Calendis of Januarie, 

Quhen fresche Phebus, be movyng circulair, 

Frome Capricorne wes enterit in Aquarie, 
With blastis that the branchis maid full bair, 
The snaw and sleit perturbit all the air, 

And flemit' Flora frome every bank and bus^, 

Throuch supporte of the austeir Eolus. 

1 banished. 

2 bush. 

Efter that I the lang wynteris nycht 

Had lyne walkings, in-to my bed, allone, 3 lain waking. 

Throuch hevy thocht, that no way sleip I mycht, 

Rememberyng of divers thyngis gone : 

So up I rose, and clethit me anone. 
Be this, fair Tytane, with his lemis^ lycht, 4 beams. 

Ouer all the land had spred his baner brycht. 



■ quickly. 

2 Yet fared I 

forth, speeding 

3 divert, h'i. 

shorten time. 

4 hillside. 

With cloke and hude I dressit me belyve', 

With dowbyll schone, and myttanis on my handis ; 

Howbeit the air was rycht penetratyve, 
Yit fure I furth, lansing ouirthorte^ the landis 
Toward the see, to schortes me on the sandis, 

Because unblomit was baith bank and brayc*. 

And so, as I was passing be the waye, 

S disguised in 
sad attire. 

6 violent. 

7 oppressed. 

8 formerly. 

I met dame Flora, in dule weid dissagysits, 
Quhilk in-to May wes dulce and delectabyll ; 

With stalwart^ stormis hir sweitnes wes supprisit^; 
Hir hevynlie hewis war turnit in-to sabyll, 
Quhilkis umquhile^ war to luffaris amiabyll. 

Fled frome the froste, the tender flouris I saw 

Under dame Naturis mantyll lurking law. 

9 cursed. 

The small fowlis in flokkis saw I flee, 
To Nature makand greit lamentatioun. 

Thay lychtit doun besyde me on ane tree, 
Of thair complaynt I had compassioun ; 
And with ane pieteous exclamatioun 

Thay said, " Blyssit be Somer, with his flouris ; 

And waryit9 be thow, Wynter, with thy schouris!" 

»o frail. 

" sufferest. 

"Allace! Aurora," the syllie^° Larke can crye, 
" Quhare hes thou left thy balmy liquour sweit 

That us rejosit, we mounting in the skye? 
Thy sylver droppis ar turnit in-to sleit. 
O fair Phebus ! quhare is thy hoilsum heit ? 

Quhy tholis" thow thy hevinlie plesand face 

With mystic vapouris to be obscurit, allace ! 


" Quhar art thow May, with June thy syster schene', 'f^'"''''''- seining. 

Weill bordourit with dasyis of delyte? 
And gentyll Julie, with thy mantyll grene, 

Enamilit with rosis red and quhyte? 

Now auld and cauld Januar, in dispyte, 
Reififis^ frome us all pastyme and plesour. ''Robs. 

Allace ! quhat gentyll hart may this indure ? 

"0uersylit3 ar with Cloudis odious 3 Concealed. 

The goldin skyis of the Orient, 
Changeyng in sorrow our sang melodious, 

Quhilk we had wount to sing with gude intent, 

Resoundand to the hevinnis firmament : 
Bot now our daye is changeit in-to nycht." 
With that thay rais, and flew furth of my sycht. 

Pensyve in hart, passing full soberlie 

Unto the see, fordward I fure anone. 
The see was furth, the sand wes smooth and drye; 

Then up and doun I musit myne allone-t, 4 by myself. 

Till that I spyit ane lyttill cave of stone 
Heychs in ane craig : upwart I did approche 5 High. 

But tarying^, and clam up in the roche : 6 without delay. 

And purposit, for passing of the tyme. 

Me to defende from ociositie?, 7 idleness. 

With pen and paper to register in ryme 

Sum mery mater of antiquitie : 

Bot Idelnes, ground of iniquitie, 

Scho maid so dull my spreitis, me within, 

That I wyste nocht at quhat end to begin, 
D in 


But satt styll in that cove, quhare I mycht see 
•rolling. 'pj^g wolteryng^ of the wallis, up and doun, 

And this fals warldis instabilytie 

Unto that see makkand comparisoun, 
And of this warldis wracheit variatioun 

To thame that fixis all thair hole intent, 

Consideryng quho most had suld most repent. 

So, with my hude my hede I happit warme, 
And in my cloke I fauldit boith my feit ; 

I thocht my corps with cauld suld tak no harme, 
My mittanis held my handis weill in heit ; 
2 scowling. -pj^g skowland- craig me coverit frome the sleit. 

Thare styll I satt, my bonis for to rest, 

Tyll Morpheus with sleip my spreit opprest. 

3rude,boisterous. So, throw the bousteous3 blastis of Eolus, 

And throw my walkyng on the nycht before, 
And throw the seyis movyng marvellous, 
4 bellow. Bg Neptunus, with mony route <> and rore, 

Constrainit I was to sleip, withouttin more : 
And quhat I dremit, in conclusioun 
I sail you tell, ane marvellous Visioun. 

[In the company of Dame Remembrance the poet visits the 
centre of the earth, and there amid the torments of hell discovers 
the "men of Kirk," from cardinals to friars, with historic charac- 
ters, from Bishop Caiaphas and Mahomet to queens and dukes, 
whose causes of punishment are described. He visits purgatory 
and the place of unbaptised babes, then passing upward through 
the four elements and the spheres of the seven planets, from that 
of the moon, " Quene of the see and bewtie of the nycht," he 
reaches the heaven of heavens, and beholds the throne of God, 
with all its glorious surroundings. Upon leaving heaven Remem- 
brance displays and describes the three parts of the earth to the 
poet, and after affording him a view of paradise with its four 
walls of fire, brings him to Scotland. Here he enquires the causes 
of all the unhappiness which he sees. These are attributed to 
political turpitude and mismanagement. As Remembrance is 
speaking a third personage appears on the scene.] 



OF Scotland. 
And thus as we wer talking, to and fro, 

We saw a bousteous berne cum ouir the bent', ' "'ffJid!'^ °''^" 
Bot^' hors, on fute, als fast as he mycht go, = without. 

Quhose rayment wes all raggit, revin, and rent, 

With visage leyne, as he had fastit Lent : 
And fordwart fast his wayis he did advance, 
With ane rycht melancolious countynance, 

With scrip on hip, and pyikstaff in his hand. 

As he had purposit to passe fra hame. 
Quod I, " Gude-man, I wald faine understand, 

Geve that ye plesit, to wyt3 quhat were your name?" 3 know. 

Quod he, " My Sonne, of that I think gret schame, 
Bot, sen thow wald of my name have ane feilH, ■» knowledge. 
Forsuith, thay call me John the Commounweill." 

" Schir Commounweill, quho hes yow so disgysit?" 
Quod I : "or quhat makis yow so miserabyll ? 

I have marvell to se yow so supprysit^, s oppressed. 

The quhilk that I have sene so honorabyll. 
To all the warld ye have bene profitabyll, 

And weill honourit in everilk^ natioun : * every. 

How happinnis now your tribulatioun?" 

"AUace!" quod he, "thow seis how it dois stand 

With me, and quhow I am disherisit 
Of all my grace, and mon ^ pass of Scotland, ^ n»"st. 

And go, afore quhare I was cherisit. 

Remane I heir, I am bot perysit^; ^T^tt ''*''* 

For thare is few to me that takis tent9, 9 regard. 

That garris '° me go so raggit, rcwin, and rent : '" causes. 



I lost. 

2 loyalty. 

3 robbery. 

4 tedious. 

5 These lazy 

" My tender freindis are all put to the flycht ; 

For Policye is fled agane in France.* 
My syster, Justice, almaist haith tynt' hir sycht, 

That scho can nocht hald evinly the ballance. 

Plane wrang is plane capitane of ordinance, 
The quhilk debarris laute^ and reasoun ; 
And small remeid is found for open treasoun. 

" In-to the South, allace ! I was neir slane : 
Ouer all the land I culd fynd no releif. 

Almoist betuix the Mers and Lowmabane 

I culde nocht knaw ane leill man be ane theif. 
To schaw thair reifs, thift, murthour, and mischeif, 

And vicious workis, it wald infect the air, 

And als langsum^ to me for tyll declair. 

" In-to the Hieland I could fynd no remeid, 

Bot suddantlie I wes put to exile : 
Thai sweir swyngeoriss thay tuke of me non heid, 

Nor amangs thame lat me remane ane quhyle. 

Als, in the Oute Ylis, and in Argyle, 
Unthrift, sweirnes, falset, povertie, and stryfe 
Pat Policye in dainger of hir lyfe. 

"In the Lawland I come to seik refuge. 
And purposit thare to mak my residence; 

6 ?.f. personal got singularc Drofcit gart^ me soune disluee, 

interest caused. o r- o o 

And did me gret injuries and offence, 

7 Quickly. And Said to me, 'Swyith?, harlote, hy thee hence, 

8 cares, business. And in this countrc see thow tak no curis^. 

So lang as my auctoritie induris.' 

An allusion to the departure of the Regent xVIbany. 



' know. 

" And now I may male no langer debait ; 

Nor I wate' nocht quhome to I suld me mene^j^compiain. 
For I have socht throw all the Spirituall stait, 

Quhilkis tuke na compt for to heir me complene. 

Thair ofificiaris, thay held me at disdene ; 
For Symonie, he rewlis up all that rowte \ 
And Covatyce, that carle, gart bar me oute. 

" Pryde haith chaist far frome thame Humilitie ; 
Devotioun is fled unto the Freris ; 

Sensuale plesour hes baneist Chaistitie ; 
Lordis of religioun, thay go lyke seculeris, 
Taking more compt in tellyng thair deneris^ 

Nor thai do of thair constitutioun. 

Thus are thay blyndit be ambitioun. 

3 money. 
Fr. ddnier. 

" Our gentyll men are all degenerat ; 

Liberalitie and lawte boith ar lost, 
And Cowardyce with lordis is laureat, 

And knychtlie Curage turnit in brag and boast. 

The civele weir misgydis everilk oist-*; 4 every host. 

Thare is nocht ellis bot ilks man for hym-self; seach. 
That garris me go, thus baneist lyke ane elf. 

" Tharefor, adew : I may no langer tarye." 

" Fair weill," quod I, " and with sanct Jhone to 

1 ^ ,,, 6 St. John be 

borrow^!" your surety. 

Bot, wyt ye weill, my hart was wounder sarye^ 
Quhen Comounweill so sopit^ was in sorrow. 
" Yit efter the nycht cumis the glaid morrow ; 

Quharefor, I pray yow, schaw me in certane 

Quhen that ye purpose for to cum agane," 

7 sorrowful. 

8 steeped. 

' above. 


" That questioun, it sail be sone decydit," 

Quod he, "thare sail na Scot have confortyng 

Of me tyll that I see the countre gydit 

Be wysedome of ana gude auld prudent Kyng, 
Quhilk sail delyte him maist, abone^ all thyng, 

To put Justice tyll executioun, 

And on Strang traitouris mak punitioun. 

" Als yit to thee I say ane-uther thyng : 
I see rycht weill that proverbe is full trew, 

'Wo to the realme that hes ouer young ane King!'" 
With that he turnit his bak, and said adew. 
'°nd mountain, ^uer firth and fell^ rycht fast fra me he flew, 

Quhose departyng to me was displesand.* 

With that, Remembrance tuk me be the hand, 

And sone, me-thocht, scho brocht me to the roche 
And to the cove quhare I began to sleip. 

With that, one schip did spedalye approche, 
Full plesandlie saling apone the deip, 

3 presently. And syncs did slake hir salis and gan to creip 

4 opposite. Towart the land, anent-* quhare that I lay. 
s a cruel fright, got, wyt yc wcill, I gat ane fellown frayS: 

All hir cannounis sche leit craik of at onis : 

Down schuke the stremaris frome the topcastell ; 

^ Stones were tlie , . . 

bullets of that Thay sparit nocht the poulder nor the stonis^; 


Thay schot thair boltis, and doun thair ankeris fell ; 
7 shout. The marenaris, thay did so youte? and yell. 

That haistalie I stert out of my dreme, 
Half in ane fray, and spedalie past hame. 

* From John the Commonweill, says Sibl)ald, it has been 
suggested that Arbuthnot caught the first hint of his celebrated 
John Bull. 


And lychtlie dynit, with lyste' and appetyte, 'pleasure. 

Syne efter past in-tyll ane oratore, 
And tuke my pen, and thare began to wryte 

All the visioun that I have schawin afore. 

Schir, of my dreme as now thou gettis no more, 
Bot I beseik God for to send thee grace 
To rewle thy realme in unitie and peace. 


' Solomon-like. 

3 writing. 

4 every. 

5 high. 


Suppose I had ingyne' angelicall, 

With sapience more than Salamonicall^ 
I not quhat mater put in memorie; 

The poeitis auld, in style heroycall, 

In breve 3 subtell termes rethorycall, 
Of everHke4 mater, tragedie and storie, 
So ornatHe, to thair heychs laude and glorie, 

Haith done indyte; quhose supreme sapience 

Transcendith far the dull intellygence 

Of poeitis now in-tyll our vulgare toung. 
For quhy? the bell of rethorick bene roung 

Be Chawceir, Goweir, and Lidgate laureate. 
Quho dar presume thir poeitis tyll impung 
Quhose sweit sentence throuch Albione bene sung? 

Or quho can now the workis countrafait 

Of Kennedie with termes aureait, 
Or of Uunbar, quhilk language had at large, 
As may be sene in-tyll his Goldin Targe? 



Quintyn, Merser, Rowle, Henderson, Hay, and 

Thocht thay be deid thair libellis bene levandS 

Quhilkis to reheirs makeith redaris to rejose. 
AUace for one quhilk lampe wes of this land, 
Of eloquence the flowand balmy strand^ 

And in our Inglis rethorick the rose ! 

As of rubeis the charbunckle bene chose. 
And as Phebus dois Cynthia precell. 
So Gawane Dowglas, Byschope of Dunkell, 

Had, quhen he wes in-to this land on lyves, 
Abufe vulgare poeitis prerogatyve 

Both in pratick and speculatioun. 
I say no more; gude redaris may descryvet 
His worthy workis in nowmer more than fyve. 

And specallye the trew translatioun 

Of Virgin, quhilk bene consolatioun 
To cunnyng men, to knaw his gret ingyne, 
Als weill in naturall science as devyne. 

And in the courte bene present in thirs dayis 
That ballattis brevis lustellie^ and layis, 

Quhilkis tyll our Prince daylie thay do present. 
Quho can say more than Schir James Inglis f sayis. 
In ballattis, farses, and in plesand playis? 

* Sir Gilbert Hay, Merser, and two Rovvles, one of Aberdeen 
and one of Corstorphine, are mentioned in Dunbar's "Lament for 
the Makaris." Henryson and Sir Richard Holland, the author 
of "The Houlate," are well known. Sir John Rowle's "Cursing 
vpon the Steilarisof his fowlis" is preserved in the Bannatyno MS. 

t A chaplain at court, and reputed author of the " Complaynt 
of Scotland," Inglis was made abbot of Culross by James V. 
He was murdered by the baron of TuUialan a few months after 
this mention of him. 

' their books live. 

2 stream. 

3 alive. 

4 describe. 

5 these. 

^ write 




But Culrose hes his pen maid impotent. 

Kyd, in cunnyng and pratick rycht prudent, 
And Stewarte,* quhilk desyrith ane staitly style, 
Full ornate werkis daylie dois compyle. 

speak, narrate. Stewart of Lorne wyll carpe ' rycht curiouslie ; 

Galbraith, Kynlouch, quhen thay lyst tham applie 

In-to that art, ar craftie of ingyne. 
Bot now of lait is starte up haistelie 
Ane cunnyng^ clerk quhilk wrytith craftelie, 
Ane plant of poeitis callit Ballendyne, 
Quhose ornat workis my wytt can nocht defyne. 
Gett he in-to the courte auctorite 
He wyll precell Quintyn and Kennedie. 

2 skilful 

3 though. 

4 know. 

5 garden. 

6 every one. 

7 ere. 

S popinjay, 

9 writing. 

"J banished. 
" worth. 

So, thochts I had ingyne, as I have none, 

I watt"* nocht quhat to wryt, be sweit Sanct Jhone ; 

For quhy? in all the garths of eloquence 
Is no-thyng left bot barrane stok and stone ; 
The poleit termes are puUit everilk one^ 

Be thir fornamit poeitis of prudence ; 

And sen I fynd none uther new sentence 
I sail declare, or? I depart yow fro, 
The complaynt of ane woundit papingo^. 

Quharefor, because myne mater bene so rude 
Of sentence, and of rethorike denude. 

To rurall folke myne dyting9 bene directit. 
Far flemit'° frome the sycht of men of gude"; 
For cunnyng men, I knaw, wyll soune conclude 

* A considerable number of poems bearing the colophon "quod 
Stewart " are preserved by Bannatyne, but nothing is known of 
their separate authorship. 


It dowe ' no-thyng bot for to be dejectit ; ' deserves. 

And quhen I heir myne mater bene detractit 

Than sail I svveir I maid it bot in mowis=^ ''jest. 

To landwart lassis quhilks kepith kye and yowis^. ""ho'keep^idne 

and ewes. 

[The "Complaynt" begins with a homil)' on the text " Qiiho 
clymmis to hycht, perforce his feit mon faill." To illustrate this 
apophthegm the stoiy of the king's papyngo is told. The unfor- 
tunate bird, climbing to the topmost twig of a tree in the royal 
garden, is thrown to earth by a gust of wind, and hopelessly 
injured on a stob of timber. In her last hour she addresses one 
epistle to the king, deriving lessons to royalty from the chronicles 
of Scotland, and another to her " brether of the court " upon the 
text "Quho sittith moist hie sal fynd the sait most slidder." 
The latter epistle ends with an adieu to Edinburgh, Stirling, and 
Falkland, and the chief scene of the satire immediately ensues.] 


Adew, Edinburgh ! thou heych tryumphant toun, 
Within quhose boundis rycht blythfull have I bene, 

Of trew merchandis the rute of this regioun, 
Most reddy to resave Court, King, and Quene ! 
Thy polecye and justice may be sene. 

War devotioun, wysedome, and honestie, 

And credence, tynt'*, thay mycht be found in thee. '"o«- 

Adew, fair Snawdoun^! with thy touris hie, name for" 

Thy Chapell Royall, park, and tabyll rounde!* '"^'"^" 

May, June, and July walde 1 dwell in thee, 
War I one man, to heir the birdis sounde 
Quhilk doith agane thy royall roche redounde. 

Adew, Lythquo^! quhose Palyce of plesance 6 Linlithgow. 

Mycht be one patrone^ in Portingall or France! 'pattern. 

* The curious earthworks about which the sports of the Knights 
of the Round Table took place are still to be seen under the 
Castle-hill at Stirling. 



1 pleasant. 

2 range in row. 

3 wretched. 

Fair-weill, Falkland ! the fortrace of Fyfe, 

Thy polyte park, under the Lowmound Law ! 

Sum-tyme in thee I led ane lustye' lyfe, 
The fallow deir, to see thame raik on raw^. 
Court men to cum to thee, thay stand gret awe, 

Sayand thy burgh bene of all burrowis baill3, 

Because in thee thay never gat gude aill. 

The Commonyng betuix the Papyngo and hir 
holye executouris. 

The Pye persavit the Papyngo in paine, 
4 feigned to weep. He lychtit doun, and fenyeit him to greit'»: 

" Sister," said he, " alace ! quho hes yow slane ? 
I pray yow, mak provisione for your spreit, 
^ goods. ° ^°^^ Dispone your geirs, and yow confes compleit. 

I have power, be your contritioun, 
6 faults. Of all your mys^ to geve yow full remissioun. 

"I am," said he, "one Channoun regulare, 
And of my brether Pryour principall : 

My quhyte rocket my clene lyfe doith declare ; 
The blak bene of the deith memoriall : 
Quharefor I thynk your gudis naturall 

Sulde be submyttit hole into my cure; 

Ye know I am ane holye creature." 

7 croaking. 

8 a hawk. 

The Ravin come rolpand^, quhen he hard the rair; 

So did the Gled^, with mony pieteous pew; 
And fenyeitlye thay contrafait gret cair. 

" Sister," said thay, " your raklesnes we rew ; 

Now best it is our juste counsall ensew. 
Sen we pretend to heych promotioun, 
Religious men, of gret devotioun." 


"I am ane blak Monk," said the rutlande' Ravin ;' croaking. 

So said the Gled, " I am ane holy freir, 
And hes power to bryng yow quyke to hevin. 

It is Weill knawin my conscience bene full cleir; 

^,„, ,,_,,.,, Til • ^ prayer for the 

Ihe blak Bybill^ pronunce I sail perqueir^, dead. 

. ^parcocur. 

So tyll our brether ye will geve sum gude ; 

God wat geve we hes 4 neid of lyves fade!" '^wthavr" 

The Papyngo said, "Father, be the Rude, 

Howbeit your rayment be religious lyke, 
Your conscience, I suspect, be nocht gude. 

I did persave quhen prevelye ye did pykes 5 pilfer. 

Ane chekin from ane hen under ane dyke." 
" I grant," said he. " That hen was my gude freind, 
And I that chekin tuke bot for my teind. 

" Ye knaw the faith be us mon be susteind ; 

So be the Pope it is preordinate 
That spirituall men suld leve upon thair teind : 

Bot Weill wat I ye bene predestinate 

In your extremis to be so fortunate. 
To have sic holy consultatioun ; 
Quharefore we mak yow exhortatioun : 

" Sen dame Nature hes grantit yow sic grace, 

Layser to mak confessioun generall, 
Schaw furth your syn in haist, quhil ye haif space; 

Syne of your geir mak one memoriall. 

We thre sal mak your feistis funerall, 
And with gret blys bury we sail your bonis, 

o J ■> ' 6 servicesof thirty 

Syne trentalls^ twenty trattyll? all at onis. ^ "luirr^uk' 




" The roukis sail rair, that men sail on thame rew 
And crye Conwienwratio Animarum. 
' Tq'^ueak'.'^''^"^ ^^ Sail gar chehnis cheip ^ and geaslyngis pew, 
2 Theoid Scottish Supposc the geis and hennis suld crye alarum: 
a'ccofdii^^to And we sail serve Secundimi usum Saru?)i^, 
Sarum. And mak you saif: we fynd Sanct Blase to borgh3, 

^ as surety. Cryand for yow the cairfuU corrynogh*. 

" And we sail syng about your sepulture 
s the great creed. Sanct Mongois matynis and the mekle creids, 
And syne devotely saye, I yow assure, 

The auld Placebo bakwart, and the beid ; 

And we sail weir for yow the murnyng weid 
And, thocht your spreit with Pluto war profest, 
Devotelie sail your diregie be addrest." 

' graceful. 

7 your mouth 
across their 

' truly. 

"Father," said scho, "your facunde^ wordis fair. 
Full sore I dreid, be contrar to your dedis. 

The wyffis of the village cryis with cair 

Quhen thai persave your mowe ouirthort thar medis?. 
Your fals consait boith duke and draik sore dreidis. 

I marvell, suithlie^, ye be nocht eschamit 

For your defaltis, beyng so defamit. 

" It dois abhor, my pure perturbit spreit, 

Tyll mak to yow ony confessioun. 
I heir men saye ye bene one ypocrite 
9 consistory court. Excmptit fromc the Senye9 and the Sessioun. 
To put my geir in your possessioun. 
That wyll I nocht, so help me Dame Nature ! 
•o charge. Nor of my corps I wyll yow geve no cure'°. 



" Bot, had I heir the nobyll Nychtingall, 
The gentyll Ja, the Merle, and Turtur trew, 

My obsequeis and feistis funerall 

Ordour thay wald, with notis of the new. 
The plesand Pown', most angellyke of hew, 

Wald God I wer this daye with hym confest, 

And my devyse- dewlie be hym addrest ! 

' peacock. 

~ testament. 

" The myrthfuU Maveis, with the gay Goldspink, 

The lustye3 Larke, wald God thay war present! 3 pleasant. 

My infortune, forsuith, thay wald forthink^, 4 regret. 

And comforte me that bene so impotent. 
The swyft Swallow, in pratticks moste prudent, 5 practice. 

I wate scho wald my bledyng stem belyve^ fi quickly. 

With hir moste verteous stone rostringityve." 

" Compt me the cace, under confessioun," 
The Gled said proudlye to the Papingo, 

"And we sail sweir, be our professioun, 
Counsall to keip, and schaw it to no mo. 
We thee beseik, or? thou depart us fro, 

Declare to us sum causis reasonabyll 

Quhy we bene haldin so abhominabyll. 

7 ere. 

" Be thy travell thou hes experience, 
First, beand bred in-to the Orient, 

Syne be thy gude servyce and delygence 
To prencis maid heir in the Occident. 
Thow knawis the vulgare pepyllis jugement 

Quhare thou transcurrit^ the hote Meridionall, 

Syne nyxt the Poill the plaige^ Septentrionall. 

** passed to .and 

9 region. 

Lat. plaga. 



' by thy high 

2 without lies. 

"So, be thyne heych ingyne' superlatyve, 
Of all countreis thou knavvis the qualiteis ; 

Quharefore, I thee conjure, be God of lyve, 
The veritie declare, withouttin leis^, 
Quhat thou hes hard, be landis or be seis, 

Of us kirkmen, boith gude and evyll reporte; 

And quhow thay juge, schaw us, we thee exhorte." 

3 mix, deal. 

4 utter note. 
■> severe. 

" Father," said scho, " I catyve creature, 

Dar nocht presume with sic mater to mells. 

Of your caces, ye knaw, I have no cure \ 

Demand thame quhilk in prudence doith precell. 
I maye nocht pewt, my panes bene so fellS; 

And als, perchance, ye wyll nocht stand content 

To knaw the vulgare pepyllis jugement. 

6 a little. " Yit, wyll the deith alyte^ withdrawe his darte. 

All that lyis in my memoryall 
I sail declare with trew unfenyeit hart. 
And first I saye to you in generall 
The commoun peple sayith ye bene all 

7 primitives. Dcgcnerit frome your holy pirmityvis^, 

As testyfeis the proces of your lyvis. 

8 preaching. 

" Of your peirles prudent predecessouris 
The beginnyng, I grant, wes verray gude : 

Apostolis, martyres, virgines, confessouris, 
The sound of thair excellent sanctitude 
Was hard ouer all the warld, be land and flude, 

Plantyng the faith, be predicatioun ^, 

As Christe had maid to thame narratioun. 


"To fortyfie the faith thay tuke no feir 

Afore prencis, preching full prudentlie; 
Of dolorous deith thay doutit nocht the deir', • feared not the 

The veritie declaryng ferventlie; 

And martyrdome thay sufferit pacientlie : 
Thay tuke no cure of land, ryches, nor rent; 
Doctryne and deid war boith equivolent. 

"To schaw at lenth thair workis wer gret wunder, 
Thair myracklis thay wer so manifest. 

In name of Christe thay hailit mony hounder^, ITundr'^s!^ 

Rasyng the dede, and purgeing the possest, 
With perverst spreitis quhilkis had bene opprest. 

The crukit ran, the blynd men gat thair ene, 

The deifif men hard, the lypper war maid clene. 

"The prelatis spousit wer with povertie. 

Those dayis, quhen so thay flurisit in fame, 
And with hir generits lady Chaistitie 3 begat. 

And dame Devotioun, notabyll of name. 

Humyll thay wer, simpyll, and full of schame. 
Thus Chaistitie and dame Devotioun 
Wer principall cause of thair promotioun. 

" Thus thay contynewit in this lyfe devyne 

Aye tyll thare rang 4, in Romes gret cietie, 4 reigned. 

Ane potent prince was namit Constantyne ;* 

Persavit the Kirk had spowsit Povertie, 

With gude intent, and movit of pietie, 

"Already in "The Dreme," Laing remarks, Lyndsay had 
mentioned the fatal effects of the Emperor's liberality to Pope 
Sylvester in conferring riches on the Church of Rome. 


Cause of divorce he fande betuix thame two, 
And partit thame, withouttin wordis mo. 

" Syne, schortUe, with ane gret solempnitie, 

Withouttin ony dispensatioun, 
The Kirk he spowsit with dame Propirtie, 
Quhilk haistelye, be proclamatioun, 
'caused. To Povertie gart' mak narratioun, 

= eyes. Under the pane of peirsyng of hir eine% 

That with the Kirk scho sulde no more be seine. 

3 A.D. 314.335. " Sanct Sylvester that tyme rang Pope in Rome 3, 
Quhilk first consentit to the mariage 

Of Propirtie, the quhilk began to blome. 
Taking on hir the cure with heych corrage. 
Devotioun drew hir tyll one heremytage 

Quhen scho considerit lady Propirtie 

So heych exaltit in-to dignitie. 

"O Sylvester, quhare was thy discretioun? 

Quhilk Peter did renounce thow did resave. 
Androw and Jhone did leif thair possessioun, 
"rest. Thair schippis, and nettis, lynes, and all the lave^; 

Of temporall substance no-thing wald thay have 
Contrarious to thair contemplatioun, 
Bot soberlye thair sustentatioun. 

"Johne the Baptist went to the wyldernes. 

Lazarus, Martha, and Marie Magdalene 
Left heretage and guddis, more and les. 

Prudent Sanct Paule thocht Propertie prophane ; 

Frome toun to toun he ran, in wynde and rane, 


Upon his feit, techeing the word of grace, 
And never was subjectit to ryches." 

The Gled said, "Yit I heir no-thyng hot gude. 

Proceid schortlye, and thy mater avance." 
The Papyngo said, " Father, be the Rude, 

It wer too lang to schaw the circumstance, 

Quhow Propertie, with hir new alyance, 
Grew gret with chylde, as trew men to me talde, 
And bure two dochteris gudehe to behalde. 

"The eldest dochter named was Ryches, 

The secunde syster, Sensualytie ; 
Quhilks did incres, within one schorte proces, 

Preplesande^ to the Spiritualytie. i Very pleasing. 

In gret substance and excellent bewtie 
Thir Ladyis two grew so, within few yeiris. 
That in the warlde wer non mycht be thair peiris. 

" This royall Ryches and lady Sensuall 

Frome that tyme furth tuke hole the governance 

Of the moste part of the Stait Spirituall : 
And thay agane, with humbyll observance, 
Amorouslie thair wyttis did avance, 

As trew luffaris, thair ladyis for to pleis. 

God wate geve than^ thair hartis war at eis. "^ ^°4|j"°^^ '*^ 

" Soune thay foryet3 to study, praye, and preche, 3 forgot. 

Thay grew so subject to dame Sensuall, 
And thocht bot paine pure pepyll for to teche; 

Yit thay decretit, in thair gret Counsall, 

Thay wald no more to mariage be thrall, 


Traistyng surely tyll observe Chaistitie, 
» by the word of. And all begylit quod ' Sensualytie. 

" Apperandlye thay did expell thair wyffis 
'bondage. That thay mycht leif at large, without thirlage=, 

3 pleasant lives. At Hbertic to Icdc thair lustie lyffis3, 

Thynkand men thrall that bene in mariage. 

For new faces provokis new corrage. 
Thus Chaistitie thay turne in-to delyte; 
Wantyng of wyfifis bene cause of appetyte. 

" Dame Chaistitie did steill away for schame, 

4 purveyance, Frome tymc scho did persave thair proviance*. 

management. -' r- ir 

Dame Sensuall one letter gart proclame, 
And hir exilit Italy and France. 
^**'sett'iement!"° In Inglaude couthe scho get none ordinances. 

Than to the kyng and courte of Scotlande 
6 She marched. Scho markit hir^, withouttin more demande. 

" Traistyng in-to that court to get conforte, 

Scho maid hir humyll supplycatioun. 
Schortlye thay said scho sulde get na supporte, 
'TrS"hen ^ot bostit hir 7, with blasphematioun, 

*To preistis go mak your protestatioun. 
It is,' said thay, 'mony one houndreth yeir 
8 entrance. Sen Chaistitic had ony entres^ heir.' 

"Tyrit for travell, scho to the preistis past, 
And to the rewlaris of religioun. 

Of hir presens schortlye thay war agast, 
Sayand thay thocht it bot abusioun 
Hir to resave : so, with conclusion, 


"v With one avyce^ decretit and gave dome ' wunse^unani- 

Thay walde resset no rebell out of Rome. '"°'"'^- 

" ' Sulde we resave that Romanis hes refusit, 

And baneist Inglande, Italye, and France, 
For your flattrye, than wer we weill abusit^ ^ greatly abused. 

Passe hyne3,' said thay, ' and fast your way avance, 3 hence. 

Amang the nonnis go seik your ordinance; 
For we have maid aith of fidelytie 
To dame Ryches and Sensualytie.' 

** Than paciently scho maid progressioun 

Towarde the nonnis, with hart syching* full sore. < sighing. 
Thay gaif hir presens, with processioun, 

Ressavand hir with honour, laud, and glore, 

Purposyng to preserve hir ever-more. 
Of that novelliss come fo dame Propertie, 5 news. 

To Ryches, and to Sensualytie; 

" Quhilkis sped thame at the post rycht spedalye, 
And sett ane seage proudlye about the place. 

The sillye^ nonnis did yeild thame haistelye, ^weak. 

And humyllye of that gylt askit grace, 
Syne gave thair bandis of perpetuall peace. 

Ressavand thame, thay kest up wykkets wyde^: *^^oors.' 

Than Chaistytie walde no langer abyde. 

" So for refuge, fast to the freris scho fled ; 

Quhilks said thay wald of ladyis tak no cure." 
"Quhare bene scho now?" than said the gredy Gled. 

" Nocht amang yow," said scho, " I yow assure. 

I traist scho bene upon the Borrow-mure 



' South of. 
2 lament. 

3 armed. 

Besouth' Edinburgh, and that rycht mony menis% 
Profest amang the Systeris of the Schenis.* 

•'Thare hes scho found hir mother Povertie, 
And Devotioun, hir awin syster carnall. 

Thare hes scho found Faith, Hope, and Charitie, 
Togidder with the Vertues Cardinall. 
Thare hes scho found ane convent yit unthrall 

To dame Sensuall, nor with riches abusit ; 

So quietlye those ladyis bene inclusit." 

The Pyote said, " I dreid, be thay assailyeit, 
Thay rander thame, as did the holy nonnis." 

"Doute nocht," said scho, "for thay bene so artalyeits, 
Thay purpose to defend thame with thair gunnis. 
Reddy to schute thay have sax gret cannounnis. 

Perseverance, Constancye, and Conscience, 

Austerytie, Laubour, and Abstynance. 

" To resyste subtell Sensualytie 

Strongly thay bene enarmit, feit and handis, 
Be Abstynence, and keipith Povertie, 

Contrar Ryches and all hir fals servandis. 
4 a cannon braced Thay havc anc boumbard braissit up in handis-* 

up in hoops. •' ^ 

To keip thair porte, in myddis of thair clois, 
Quhilk is callit, Domine custodi nos ; 

" Within quhose schote thare dar no enemeis 
5 hard blows. Approchc thair place, for dreid of dyntis doures. 

* A convent founded on the Burgh-muir by the Countess of 
Caithness for Dominican nuns of the reformed order of St. 
Catherine of Sienna, from whom the place got its name of Siennes 
or Sheens. 



Boith nycht and daye thay wyrk, lyke besye beis, 

For thair defence reddye to stande in stoure% 'storm. 
And hes sic watcheis on thair utter toure 
That dame Sensuall with seage dar not assailye, 
Nor cum within the schote of thair artailye^" ^aniiiery. 

The Pyote said, "Quhareto sulde thay presume 

For to resyste sweit Sensualytie, 
Or dame Ryches, quhilkis reularis bene in Rome? 

Ar thay more constant, in thair qualytie, 

Nor the prencis of Spiritualytie, 
Quhilkis plesandlye, withouttin obstakle, 
Haith thame resavit in their habitakle^? 3 dwelling. 

" Quhow long, traist ye, those ladyis sail remane 

So solytar, in sic perfectioun?" 
The Papingo said, "Brother, in certane-*, 4 assuredly. 

So lang as thay obey correctioun, 

Cheisyngs thair heddis be electioun, s choosing. 

Unthrall to Ryches or to Povertie, 
Bot as requyrith thair necessitie. 

" O prudent prelatis, quhare was your presciance, 

That tuke on hand tyll observe Chaistitie, 
But^ austeir lyfe, laubour, and abstenance? e without. 

Persavit ye nocht the gret prosperitie 

Apperandlye to cum of Propertie? 
Ye knaw gret cheir, great eais, and ydelnes 
To Lychorie was mother and maistres." 

"Thow ravis unrockit^," the Ravin said, "be the Rude, ' reckless. 
So to reprove Ryches or Propertie. 




' blame. 

= door. 

3 preaching. 

4 leapers over 


5 innocent. 
* gourmand. 

Abraham, and Ysaac war ryche, and verray gude; 

Jacobe and Josephe had prosperitie." 

The Papingo said, "That is verytie. 
Ryches, I grant, is nocht to be refusit, 
Providyng alwaye it be nocht abusit." 

Than laid the Ravin ane replycatioun. 

Syne said, " Thy reasone is nocht worth ane myte. 
As I sail prove, with protestatioun 

That no man talc my wordis in dispyte. 

I saye, the temporall prencis hes the wyte^ 
That in the Kirk sic pastours dois provyde 
To governe saulis, that not tham-selfis can gyde. 

" Lang tyme efter the Kirk tuke propertie, 
The prelatis levit in gret perfectioun, 

Unthrall to ryches or sensualytie, 
Under the Holy Spreitis protectioun, 
Orderlye chosin be electioun. 

As Gregore, Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustyne, 

Benedict, Bernard, Clement, Cleit, and Lyne. 

"Sic pacient prelatis enterit be the porte^, 

Plesand the peple be predicatiouns. 
Now dyke-lowparis4 dois in the Kirk resort. 

Be symonie, and supplycatioun 

Of prencis be thair presentatioun. 
So sillyes saulis, that bene Christis scheip, 
Ar gevin to hungrye gormande^ wolfis to keip. 

" No marvell is thocht we religious men 
Degenerit be, and in our lyfe confusit : 



Bot sing, and drynk ; none uther craft we ken, 

Our spirituall fatheris hes us so abusit. 

Agane our wyll those treukouris^ bene intrusit. »trucksters. 
Lawit^ men hes now reHgious men in cur is; = Lay, unlearned. 

Profest virgenis in keipyng of strong huris. 

"Prencis, prencis, quhar bene your heych prudence 

In dispositioun of your beneficeis? 
The guerdonyng of your courticiences 3 court-foiiowing. 

Is sum cause of thir gret enormyteis. 

Thare is one sorte wattand^, lyke houngre fleis, Awaiting. 
For spirituall cure, thocht thay be no-thing abyll, 
Quhose gredie thristiss bene insaciabyll. s thirst. 

" Prencis, I pray yow, be no more abusit, 
To verteous men havyng so small regarde. 

Quhy sulde vertew, throuch flattrye, be refusit, 
That men for cunnyng^ can get no rewarde? 
Allace ! that ever one braggar or ane barde, 

Ane hure-maister, or commoun hasarture^, 

Sulde in the Kirk get ony kynde of cure ! 

6 skill. 

7 gamester. 

"War I one man worthy to weir ane croun. 
Aye quhen thare vakit^ ony beneficeis, 

I suld gar call ane congregatioun, 
The principall of all the prelaceis, 
Moste cunnyng clerkis of universiteis, 

Moste famous fatheris of religioun. 

With thair advyse mak dispositioun. 

" I suld dispone all offices pastorallis 
Tyll doctouris of devynitie, or jure 9; 

8 fell vacant. 

9 taw. 



And cause dame Vertew pull up all hir saillis, 
Quhen cunnyng men had in the Kirk moist cure ; 
Gar lordis send thair sonnes, I yow assure, 

To seik science, and famous sculis frequent; 

Syne thame promove that wer moste sapient. 

' parson. 

2 lose. 

3 wish. 

" Gret plesour wer to heir ane byschope preche, 

One deane, or doctour in divinitie, 
One abbote quhilk could vveill his convent teche, 

One persoun' flowing in phylosophie. 

I tyne^ my tyme to wys3 quhilk wyll nocht be. 
War nocht the preaching of the Begging Freris, 
Tynt war the faith amang the seculeris." 

4 worthy. 

5 coarse white 

"As for thair precheing," quod the Papingo, 
" I thame excuse, for quhy, thay bene so thrall 

To Propertie, and hir ding* dochteris two, 
Dame Ryches, and fair lady Sensuall, 
That may nocht use no pastyme spiritually 

And in thair habitis thay tak sic delyte 

Thay have renuncit russat and raploch quhytes, 

7«Sdo?h. "Cleikand^ to thame skarlote and crammosie?, 

8 meniver,^mar- With mcnevcr, martrik, grice, and ryche armyne^. 

fire^™'"^ Thair lawe hartis exaultit ar so hie, 

9 pain. To see thair papale pompe it is ane pyne9. 

'o fringes. Morc rychc arraye is now, with frenyeis^° fyne, 

"trappings. Upon the bardyng" of ane byscheopis mule, 
Nor ever had Paule or Peter agane Yule. 

" Syne fair ladyis thair chene may not eschape, 
Dame Sensuall so sic seid haith in tham sawin. 


Les skaith' it war, with lycence of the Pape, 'hurt. 

That ilke^ prelate one wyfe had of his awin, =each. 

Nor se thair bastardis ouirthorts the countre blawin; 3 athwart. 
For now, be* thay be weill cumin frome the scuHs,'' by the time that. 
Thay fall to work as thay war commoun bullis." 

" Pew," quod the Gled, " thow prechis all in vaine : 
Ye seculare floks hes of our cace no curis." 

" I grant," said scho ; " yit men wyll speik agane, 
Quhow ye haif maid a hundreth thousand huris 
Quhilkis nevir had bene war not your lychorous luris. 

And geve I lee 5, hartlye I me repent; 5 if i He. 

Was never bird, I watt, more penitent." 

Than scho hir shrave, with devote contynance, 
To that fals Gled quhilk fenyeit hym one freir; 

And quhen scho had fulfyllit hir pennance. 
Full subtellye at hir he gan inqueir : 
" Cheis yow," said he, " quhilk of us brether heir 

Sail have of all your naturall geir the curis. 

Ye knaw none bene more holye creaturis." 

" I am content," quod the pure Papingo, 

"That ye frier Gled, and Corby ^ monk, your brother, ^ ^>;^"orbeau. 
Have cure of all my guddis, and no mo, 

Sen at this tyme freindschip I fynd non uther." 

"We salbe to yow trew, as tyll our mother," 
Quod thay, and sweir tyll fulfyll hir intent. 
" Of that," said scho, " I tak ane instrument." 

The Pyote said, "Quhat sail myne ofifice bee?" 

"Ouirman?," said scho, "unto the tother two." /Overman. 





^ mantle. 

3 pure eyes. 

4 Bat. 

5 burnished. 

6 Cuckoo. 

7 ivory. 

The rowpand Revin said, "Sweit syster, lat see 
Your holy intent; for it is tyme to go." 
The gredie Gled said, "Brother, do nocht so; 
We wyll remane, and haldin up hir hede. 
And never depart from hir till scho be dede." 

The Papingo thame thankit tenderlye, 

And said, "Sen ye have tane on yow this cure. 

Depart myne naturall guddis equalye, 
That ever I had or hes of dame Nature, 
First, to the Howlet^ indigent and pure, 

Quhilk on the daye, for schame, dar nocht be sene; 

Tyll hir I laif my gaye galbarte^ of grene. 

" My brycht depurit ene3, as christall cleir, 
Unto the Bak^ ye sail thame boith present; 

In Phebus presens quhilk dar nocht appeir. 
Of naturall sycht scho bene so impotent. 
My birneists beik I laif, with gude entent, 

Unto the gentyll, pieteous Pellicane, 

To helpe to peirs hir tender hart in twane. 

" I laif the Goik^, quhilk hes no sang bot one, 
My musyke, with my voce angelycall; 

And to the Guse ye geve, quhen I am gone. 
My eloquence and toung rhetoricall. 
And tak and drye my bonis, gret and small, 

Syne close thame in one cais of ebure^ fyne. 

And thame present onto the Phenix syne, 

" To birne with hir quhen scho hir lyfe renewis. 
8 without doubt. In Arabye ye sail hir fynde but weir^, 

'rose-red, purple, 
and cinnabar. 


And sail knaw hir be hir moste hevinly hewis, 
Gold, asure, gowles, purpour, and synopeir'. 
Hir dait is for to leif fyve houndreth yeir. 

Mak to that bird my commendatioun. 

And als, I mak yow supplycatioun, 

" Sen of my corps I have yow gevin the cure, 
Ye speid yow to the court, but tareyng, 

And tak my hart, of perfyte portrature. 
And it present unto my Soverane Kyng : 
I wat he wyll it clois in-to one ryng. 

Commende me to his Grace, I yow exhorte, 

And of my passion mak hym trew reporte. 

"Ye thre my trypes sail have, for your travell^, » labour. 

With luffer and lowng3, to part equale amang yow ; 3 liver and lung. 
Prayand Pluto, the potent prince of hell, 

Geve ye failye, that in his feit he fang^ yow. 4 seize. 

Be to me trew, thocht I no-thyng belang yow. 
Sore I suspect your conscience be too large." 
" Doute nocht," said they, "we tak it with the charge." 

"Adew, brether!" quod the pure Papingo; 

" To talking more I have no time to tarye ; 
Bot, sen my spreit mon fras my body go, 5 must from. 

I recommend it to the Queue of Farye, 

Eternallye in-tyll hir court to carye. 
In wyldernes among the holtis hore^." 6 the woods hoar. 

Than scho inclynit hir hed, and spak no more. 

Plungit in-tyll hir mortall passioun. 

Full grevouslie scho gryppit to the ground. 


It war too lang to mak narratioun 

1 sting and shock. Of sychis sorc, with mony stang and stound^. 

Out of hir wound the blude did so abound, 
One compas round was with hir blude maid reid : 

2 death. Without rcHieid, thare wes no-thyng bot dede^. 

And be scho had In Manus tuas said, 
Extinctit wer hir naturall wyttis fyve; 
Hir heid full softlye on hir schulder laid, 

3 pungent. Syne yeild the spreit, with panes pungityves. 

4 to pull and tear, -phe Ravin began rudely to rug and ryve*, 
s gluttonlike. pull gomiondlykes, his emptie throte to feid. 

" Eit softlye, brother," said the gredy Gled : 

" Quhill scho is hote, depart hir evin amang us. 
6 reach. Tak thow one half, and reik^ to me ane-uther. 

In-tyll our rycht, I wat, no wycht dar wrang us." 
^'i28°b.wtisht. The Pyote said, "The feind resave the fouther?! 
Quhy mak ye me stepbarne, and I your brother? 
8 beshrew, curse. Ye do me wrang, schir Gled, I schrew^ your harte." 

"Tak thare," said he, "the puddyngis for thy parte." 

Than, wyt ye weill, my hart wes wounder sair 
^''dh-wi'lig ^^^ to behalde that dolent departyng9, 

Hir angell fedderis fleying in the air. 

Except the hart, was left of hir no-thing. 

The Pyote said, "This pertenith to the Kyng, 
Quhilk tyll his Grace I purpose to present." 
"Thow," quod the Gled, "sail faill of thyne entent." 

'°i'rope,'-fS The Revin said, "God! nor I rax in ane raipe^° 

me hang for it. ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^j^j^ ^^jj ^^^j^^^. ^^^^ ^^ dukc !" 



The Pyote said, "Plene' I nocht to the Pape 'Complain. 

Than in ane smedie I be smorif^ with smuke." = smothered 

With that the Gled the pece claucht in his cluke3, 

And fled his way: the lave 4, with all thair mycht, -t the rest 

To chace the Gled, flew all out of my sycht. 

3 clutched in his 

Now have ye hard this lytill tragedie. 

The sore complent, the testament, and myschance 

Of this pure bird quhilk did ascend so hie. 
Beseikands yow excuse myne ignorance 
And rude indyte^, quhilk is nocht tyll avance^. 

And to the quair^, I geve commandiment, 

Mak no repair quhair poetis bene present. 

5 Beseeching. 

6 composition. 

7 to be put 


8 quire, book. 

Because thow bene 

But Rethorike, so rude, 
Be never sene 

Besyde none other buke, 
With Kyng, nor Quene, 

With lord, nor man of gude^. 
With coit unclene, 

Clame kynrent'° to sum cuke; 
Steil in ane nuke 

Quhen thay lyste on thee luke. 
For smell of smuke 

Men wyll abhor to beir thee. 
Heir I manesweir" thee; 

Quhairfor, to lurke go leir'^ thee. 

9 worth. 

'° kindred. 

" forswear. 
'2 learn. 

in the field. 


In Sanct Androis on WTiitsoun IMonnunday 
Twa campionis thair manheid did assay, 
Past to the barres, enarmit heid and handis. 
Was never sene sic justing in no landis. 
In presence of the Kingis Grace, and Quene, 
Quhare mony lustie lady mycht be sene, 
!^^"'s^t^made Mony anc knicht, barroun, and banrent^ 
Come for to se that awfull Tornament. 
The ane of thame was gentill James Watsoun, 
And Jhone Barbour the uther campioun. 
Unto the King thay wer famiharis, 
And of his chalmer boith cubicularis. 
James was ane man of greit inteUigence, 

* This burlesque is said to have been written for the enter- 
tainment of the court upon occasion of the home-coming of Mary 
of Loraine in 1538. As the "Dreme" had been a political 
satire, and the "Testament of the Papyngo" a satire upon church 
abuses, this, like the " Contemptioun of Syde Taillis," was a satire 
on a social fashion. Chalmers mentions an anterior English 
poem, " The Tumament of Tottenham, or the wooing, winning, 
and wedding of Tibbe, the Reeve's daughter," printed in Percy's 
Reliqius, as a similar burlesque upon the custom of the tourney ; 
but an example nearer home is to found in Dunbar's "Justis 
betuix the Tailyour and the Sowtar." Watsoun and Barbour 
were, according to the Treasurer's Accounts, actual personages 
in the royal household. 


Ane medicinar^ ful of experience; 'physician. 

And Jhone Barbour, he was ane nobill leche^ = surgeon. 

Crukit carlinnis, he wald gar 3 thame get speche. ' hlwo°i1r^^ 

From tyme thay enterit war into the feild 
Full womanlie thay weildit speir and scheild, 
And wichtlie waiffit^ in the -nynd thair heillis, * wav^ 

Hobland lyke cadgeriss r)'dand on thair creillis; s hawkers. 
But ather ran at uther with sic haist 
That they could never thair speir get in the reist. 
Quhen gentill James trowit best with Jhone to meit, 
His speir did fald among his horsis feit: 
I am richt sure gude James had bene undone, 
War nocht that Jhone his marke tuke be the mone. 
Quod Jhone, "Howbeit thou thinkis my leggis lyke 

rokkis^ ''^'^• 

My speir is gude; now keip ye fra my knokkis." 
"Tar>'," quod James, "ane quhyle, for be my thrift 7^ ^y^^^^' 
The feind ane thing I can se bot the lift^." s the heavens. 

"No more can I," quod Jhone, "be Goddis breid9,' by the altar. 
I see na-thing except the steipill held. 
Yit, thocht thy braunis be lyk twa barrow-trammis, 
Defend thee, man!" Than ran thay to, lyk rammis. 
At that rude rink^° James had bene strykin down "'^^^' 
War nocht that Jhone for feirsnes fell in swoun ; 
And r}'cht sa James to Jhone had done greit deir", "hurt. 
W^er not amangis his hors feit he brak his speir. 
Quod James to Jhone, "Yit for our ladps saikis, 
Lat us togidder straik three market straikis"." strokes. 

"I had," quod Jhone, "that sail on thee be wrokin's!" n^Teaked. 
Bot or ^4 he spurrit his hors his speir was brokin. "'^^ 
From t>Tne with speiris nane could his marrow's meit "s "^t*^ 




2 struck. 

James drew ane swerd with ane richt awfull spreit, 
• reached him a ^^^ ^^^ ^.jj j}^Q„g^ ti| ^aif raucht him ane xouV. 

Johnis swerd was roustit, and wald no way cam out. 
Than James leit dryfe at Jhone with boith his fistis. 
He mist the man, and dang^ upon the lystis; 
And with that straik he trowit that Jhone was slane. 
His swerd stak fast, and gat it never agane. 
Be this, gude Jhone had gottin furth his sword. 
And ran to James with mony awfull word. 
"My furiousness, for suiths, now sail thou find!" 
Straikand at James his swerd flew in the wind. 
Than gentill James began to crack 4 greit wordis. 
"Allace!" quod he, "this day for fait of swordis." 
Than ather ran at uther with new raicis. 
With gluifiss of plait thay dang at utheris facis. 
Quha wan this feild na creature culd ken^, 
Till at the last Johne cryit, "Fy! red? the men." 
"Yea! red," quod James, "for that is my desyre; 
It is ane hour sen I began to tyre." 
8 by the time that. Sonc be^ thay had endit that royall rink, 
Into the feild micht no man stand for stink. 
Than every man, that stude on far, cryit, Fy ! 
Sayand adew; for dirt partis company. 
Thair hors, harnis, and all geir9, wes so gude, 
Lovyng^° to God! that day was sched no blude. 

3 in truth. 

4 speak. 

5 gloves. 

6 know. 

7 separate, 

9 belongings 
'° Praise. 



The Curate, and Kittie. 

The Curate Kittie culd confesse, 

And scho tald on baith mair and lesse. 

Quhen scho was telland as scho wist', 
The Curate Kittie wald have kist; 
Bot yit ane countenance he bure 
Degeist^, devote, daine^, and demure; 
And syne began hir to exempne^. 
He wes best at the efter game. 
Quod he, "Have ye na wrangous geirs?" 
Quod scho, " I staw^ ane pek of beir." 
Quod he, "That suld restorit be, 
Tharefor delyver it to me. 
Tibbie and Peter bad me speir^; 
Be my conscience, thay sail it heir." 
Quod he, "Leve ye in lecherie?" 
Quod scho, "Will Leno mowit^ me." 
Quod he, "His wyfe that sail I tell. 
To mak hir acquentance with my-sell." 
Quod he, "Ken9 ye na heresie?" 
"I wait nocht'° quhat that is," quod sche. 
Quod he, "Hard ye na Inglis bukis?"* 

* The writings of the Reformers were, before 1560, printed in 
England and on the Continent. The Bible, in particular, was 
for this reason known as " the English Book." 

« wished. 

2 grave. 

3 modest. 

4 examine. 

5 goods. 

6 stole. 

7 enquire. 

" played with. 

9 know. 

'o I know not. 



' know. 

2 hap, event. 

3 the third of a 


4 Though. 

5 much. 

Quod scho, "My maister on thame lukis." 
Quod he, " The bischop that sail knaw, 
For I am sworne that for to schaw." 
Quod he, "What said he of the King?" 
Quod scho, " Of gude he spak na-thing." 
Quod he, "His Grace of that sail wit^; 
And he sail lose his lyfe for it." 

Quhen scho in mynd did mair revolve. 
Quod he, "I can nocht you absolve, 
Bot to my chalmer cum at even 
Absolvit for to be and schrevin." 
Quod scho, " I wyll pas tyll ane-uther. 
And I met with Schir Andro,* my brother, 
And he full clenely did me schryve. 
Bot he wes sumthing talkatyve; 
He speirit mony strange case^, 
How that my lufe did me inbrace, 
Quhat day, how oft, quhat sort, and quhare? 
Quod he, 'I wald I had bene thare.' 
He me absolvit for ane plak3, 
Thocht4 he na pryce with me wald mak ; 
And mekils Latyne he did mummill, 
I hard na-thing bot hummill bummill. 
He schew me nocht of Goddis word, 
Quhilk scharper is than ony sword, 
And deip intill our hart dois prent 
Our syn, quharethrow we do repent. 
He pat me na-thing into feir, 
Quharethrow I suld my syn forbeir; 
He schew me nocht the maledictioun 

"Sir" was by courtesy the ordinary title of churchmen. 



Of God for syn, nor the afflictioun 
And in this lyfe the greit mischeif 
Ordanit to punische hure and theif j 
Nor schew he me of helUs pane, 
That I mycht feir, and vice refraine ; 
He counsaUt me nocht till abstene, 
And leid ane holy lyfe, and clene. 
Of Christis blude na-thing he knew. 
Nor of His promisses full trew. 
That saifis all that wyll beleve, 
That Sathan sail us never greve. 
He teichit me nocht for till traist 
The confort of the Haly Ghaist. 
He bad me nocht to Christ be kynd', 
To keip His law with hart and mynd, 
And lufe and thank His greit mercie, 
Fra syn and hell that savit me ; 
And lufe my nichtbour as my-sell. 
Of this na-thing he culd me tell, 
Bot gave me pennance, ilk ane day^ 
Ane Ave Marie for to say. 
And Fridayis fyve na fische to eit, 
(Bot butter and eggis ar better meit), 
And with ane plak to buy ane messe 
Fra drounkin Schir Jhone Latynelesse. 
Quod he, 'Ane plak I wyll gar 3 Sandie 
Give thee agane, with handle dandie.' 
Syne-* into pilgrimage to pas — 
The verray way to wantounes. 
Of all his pennance I was glaid, 
I had them all perqueirs, I said. 

' kindred. 

2 each day. 

3 cause. 

4 Afterwards. 

5 by heart. 



' "five and six," 
terms in dice 

2 Collars. 

3 coals. 

4 lard. 

5 grains. 

6 handfuls. 

7 without. 

9 dream. 

»o deceive. 

" entice. 

To mow and steill I ken the pryce, 
I sail it set on cincq and syce^ 
Bot he my counsale culd nocht keip; 
He maid him be the fyre to sleip, 
Syne cryit, 'CoUeris^ beif and coilliss, 
Hois, and schone with dowbill soillis, 
Caikis and candill, creische'* and salt, 
Curniss of meill, and luiffillis^ of malt, 
Wollin and linning, werp and woft — 
Dame ! keip the keis of your woU loft ! ' 
Throw drink and sleip maid him to raif; 
And swa with us thay play the knaif." 

Freiris sweiris be thair professioun 
Nane can be saif but 7 this Confessioun, 
And garris all men understand 
That it is Goddis awin^ command. 
Yit it is nocht but mennis drame^. 
The pepill to confound and schame. 
It is nocht ellis but mennis law. 
Maid mennis mindis for to knaw, 
Quharethrow thay syle'° thame as thay will, 
And makis thair law conforme tharetill, 
Sittand in mennis conscience 
Abone Goddis magnificence; 
And dois the pepill teche and tyste" 
To serve the Pape the Antechriste. 

To the greit God Omnipotent 
Confess thy syn, and sore repent; 
And traist in Christ, as wrytis Paule, 
Quhilk sched his blude to saif thy saule; 
For nane can thee absolve bot He, 



Nor talc away thy syn frome thee. 
Gif of gude counsall thow hes neid, 
Or hes nocht leirnit weill thy Creid, 
Or wickit vicis regne in thee, 
The quhilk thow can nocht mortifie, 
Or be in desperatioun, 
And wald have consolatioun, 
Than till ane preichour trew thow pas, 
And schaw thy syn and thy trespas. 
Thow neidis nocht to schaw him all, 
Nor tell thy syn baith greit and small, 
Quhilk is unpossible to be; 
Bot schaw the vice that troubillis thee, 
And he sail of thy saule have reuth, 
And thee instruct in-to the treuth, 
And with the Word of Veritie 
Sail confort and sail counsall thee, 
The sacramentis schaw thee at lenth, 
Thy lytle faith to stark and strenth', 
And how thow suld thame richtlie use. 
And all hypocrisie refuse. 

Confessioun first wes ordanit fre 
In this sort in the Kirk to be. 
Swa to confes as I descry ve% 
Wes in the gude Kirk primityve ; 
Swa wes confessioun ordanit first, 
Thocht Codrus* kytes suld cleve and birst. 

* Perhaps the ill-natured rhetorician mentioned by Virgil, 
Eclogiies, V. and vii. 

' to make stout 
and strong. 

2 describe. 

3 belly. 


' array. 

2 Making war. 

3 pikes. 

4 this news. 

5 view, visit. 

6 chose. 

Hary the Aucht, King of Ingland, 
That tyme at Caleis wes lyand,t 
With his triumphand ordinance', 
Makand weir^ on the realme of France. 
The King of France his greit armie 
Lay neir hand by in Picardie, 
Quhair aither" uther did assaill. 
Howbeit thair was na sic battaill, 
Bot thair wes dayUe skirmishing, 
Quhare men of armis brak monie sting 3. 
Quhen to the Squyer Meldrum 
Wer tauld thir noveUis^ all and sum, 
He thocht he wald vesies the weiris; 
And waillit^ furth ane hundreth speiris, 
And futemen quhilk wer bauld and stout. 
The maist worthie of all his rout. 

Quhen he come to the King of France 

* The hero of the romance of which this forms the most impor- 
tant episode, was an actual contemporary of Lyndsay, some of 
whose romantic adventures are referred to by Pitscottie in his 
History, p. 129. Upon the conclusion of his youthful adventures 
Meldrum settled in Kinross, where he owned the estate of Cleish 
and Binns ; and being appointed deputy of Patrick, Lord Lyndsay, 
Sheriff of Fife, is said to have administered physic as well as law 
to his neighbours. 

t Henry VIIL lay at Calais in July, 1513. 



He wes sone put in ordinance: 
Richt so was all his companie 
That on him waitit continuallie. 

Thair was into the Inglis oist' 
Ane campiounS that blew greit boist. 
He was ane stout man and ane Strang, 
Quhilk oist wald with his conduct gangs 
Outthrow4 the greit armie of France 
His valiantnes for to avance; 
And Maister Talbart was his name,* 
Of Scottis and Frenche quhilk spak disdane, 
And on his bonnet usit to beir, 
Of silver fine, takinnis of weirS; 
And proclamatiounis he gart mak^ 
That he wald, for his ladies saik. 
With any gentilman of France 
To fecht7 with him with speir or lance. 
Bot no Frenche-man in all that land 
With him durst battell hand for hand. 
Than lyke ane weriour vailyeand^ 
He enterit in the Scottis band : 
And quhen the Squyer Meldrum 
Hard tell this campioun wes cum, 
Richt haistelie he past him till, 
Demanding him quhat was his will. 
"Forsuith I can find none," quod he, 
"On hors nor fute dar fecht with me." 

» host. 

2 champion. 

3 go. 

4 Throughout. 

5 tokens of war. 

6 caused be made. 

7 fight. 

** a valiant 

* Readers of Wyntoun's Cronykil will remember that in the 
description of the great tournament at Berwick in 1338 it is a 
knight of the same name, Sir Richard Talbot, who is defeated 
in somewhat similar fashion by Sir Patrick Graeme. See Early 
Scottish Poetry, p. 173. 



• To-morrow. 

2 words, boasts. 

3 a small piece of 


4 gone astray. 

5 strong. 

6 such practice. 

7 afraid. 

^ storm. 

Than said he, "It wer greit schame 

Without battell ye suld pass hame; 

Thairfoir to God I male ane vow, 

The morne' my-self sail fecht with yow 

Outher on horsback or on fute. 

Your crakkis^ I count thame not ane cute 3. 

I sail be fund into the feild 

Armit on hors with speir and schield." 

Maister Talbart said, "My gude chyld, 

It wer maist lyk that thow wer wyld^. 

Thow art too young, and hes no micht 

To fecht with me that is so wichts. 

To speik to me thow suld have feir, 

For I have sik practik^ in weir 

That I wald not effeirit^ be 

To mak debait aganis sic three ; 

For I have stand in monie stour^. 

And ay defendit my honour, 

Thairfoir, my barne, I counsell thee 

Sic interprysis to let be." 

Than said this Squyer to the Knicht, 
" I grant ye ar baith greit and wicht. 
Young David was far les than I 
Quhen with Golias manfullie, 
Withouttin outher speir or scheild, 
He faucht, and slew him in the feild. 
I traist that God sal be my gyde. 
And give me grace to stanche thy pryde. 
Thocht thow be greit like Gowmakmorne,* 

* Gaul, son of Morni, first the enemy and afterwards the ally 
of Fingal, is one of the chief heroes of the Ossianic poems. 



Traist weill I sail yow meit the morne. 
Beside Montruill upon the grene 
Befoir ten houris I sal be sene. 
And gif ye wyn me in the feild 
Baith hors and geir' I sail yow yeild, 
Sa that siclyke^ ye do to me." 
"That I sail do, be God!" quod he, 
"And thairto I give thee my hand." 
And swa betwene thame maid ane bands 
That thay suld meit upon the morne. 
Bot Talbart maid at him bot scorne, 
Lychtlyand^ him with wordis of pryde, 
Syne hamewart to his oist culd ryde, 
And shew the brethren of his land 
How ane young Scot had tanes on hand. 
To fecht with him beside Montruill; 
"Bot I traist he sail prufe the fuill." 
Quod thay, "The morne that sail we ken^; 
The Scottis are haldin hardie men." 
Quod he, " I compt thame not ane cute. 
He sail returne upon his fute. 
And leif with me his armour bricht ; 
For Weill I wait 7 he has no micht, 
On hors nor fute, to fecht with me." 
Quod thay, "The morne that sail we se." 

Quhan to Monsieour De Obenie* 
Reportit was the veritie, 

' belongings. 
2 in such fashion. 

3 covenant. 

4 Making light of. 

S taken. 

6 know. 

7 well I know. 

* Robert Stewart, Lord D'Aubigny and Mareschal of France, 
descended from the Darnley and Lennox family, was Captain of 
the Scots Guards of the King of France in the beginning of the 
sixteenth century. Readers of Quentin Durward will remember 
Scott's description of the post as held by Lord Crawford. 



• choose. 

2 nimbly. 

3 in warlike garb. 

4 stretched. 

How that the Squyer had tane on hand 
To fecht with Talbart hand for hand, 
His greit courage he did commend, 
Syne haistelie did for him send. 
And quhen he come befoir the lord 
The veritie he did record. 
How for the honour of Scotland 
That battell he had tane on hand; 
"And sen it givis me in my hart, 
Get I ane hors to tak my part. 
My traist is sa, in Goddis grace, 
To leif hym lyand in the place. 
Howbeit he stalwart be and stout. 
My lord, of him I have no dout." 

Than send the Lord out throw the land, 
And gat ane hundreth hors fra hand. 
To his presence he brocht in haist, 
And bad the Squyer cheis' him the best. 
Of that the Squyer was rejoisit. 
And cheisit the best as he suppoisit, 
And lap on hym delyverlie^ 
Was never hors ran mair plesantlie 
With speir and sword at his command. 
And was the best of all the land. 

He tuik his leif and went to rest. 
Syne airlie in the morne him drest 
Wantonlie in his weirlyke weid3, 
All Weill enarmit, saif the heid. 
He lap upon his cursour wicht. 
And strauchf him in his stirroppis richt. 
His speir and scheild and helme wes borne 



With squyeris that raid him beforne'. 
Ane velvot cap on heid he bair, 
Ane quaif^ of gold to heild3 his hair. 

This Lord of him tuik sa greit joy 
That he himself wald hym convoy, 
With him ane hundreth men of armes, 
That thair suld no man do hym harmes. 
The Squyer buir into his scheild 
Ane otter in ane silver feild. 
His hors was bairdit^ full richelie, 
Coverit with satyne cramesies. 
Than fordward raid this campioun 
With sound of trumpet and clarioun, 
And spedilie spurrit ouir the bent^, 
Lyke Mars the God armipotent. 

Thus leif we rydand our Squyar, 
And speik of Maister Talbart mair : 
Quhilk gat up airlie in the morrow 7, 
And no manner of geir to borrow, 
Hors, harnes, speir, nor scheild, 
Bot was ay reddie for the feild; 
And had sic practik into weir. 
Of our Squyer he tuik na feir. 
And said unto his companyeoun, 
Or he come furth of his pavilyeoun, 
"This nicht I saw into my dreame, 
Quhilk to reheirs I think greit schame, 
Me-thocht I saw cum fra the see 
Ane greit otter rydand to me, 
The quhilk was blak, with ane lang taill, 
And cruellie did me assail, 

• before. 

2 coif, band. 

3 hold. 

4 caparisoned. 

5 crimson cloth. 

6 over the rough 
grassy ground. 

7 morning. 



' beat. 
* made. 

3 such a fright. 

4 covering. 

S embroidered. 

6 doubt. 

And bait' me till he gart^ me bleid, 
And drew me backwart fra my steid. 
Quhat this suld mene I cannot say, 
Bot I was never in sic ane fray 3." 
His fellow said, "Think ye not schame 
For to gif credence till ane dreame? 
Ye knaw it is aganis our faith, 
Thairfoir go dres yow in your graith^. 
And think weill throw your hie courage 
This day ye sail wyn vassalage." 

Then drest he him into his geir 
Wantounlie like ane man of weir 
Quhilk had baith hardines and fors. 
And lichtlie lap upon his hors. 
His hors was bairdit full bravelie. 
And coverit was richt courtfullie 
With browderits wark and velvot grene. 
Sanct George's croce thare micht be sene 
On hors, harnes, and all his geir. 
Than raid he furth withouttin weir^, 
Convoyit with his capitane 
And with monie ane Inglisman 
Arrayit all with armes bricht; 
Micht no man see ane fairer sicht. 

Than clariounis and trumpettis blew ; 
And weriouris monie hither drew. 
On everie side come monie man 
To behald quha the battell wan. 
The feild wes in the medow grene, 
Quhair everie man micht weill be sene. 
The heraldis put thame sa in ordour 



That no man passit within the bordour 

Nor preissit to cum within the grene 

Bot heraldis and the campiounis kene. 

The ordour and the circumstance 

Wer lang to put in remembrance. 

Quhen thir twa nobilmen of weir 

Wer Weill accowterit in their geir 

And in their handis Strang burdounis', 

Than trumpettis blew and clariounis, 

And heraldis cryit hie on hicht, 

" Now let tham go ! God shaw the richt !" 

Than spedilie thay spurrit thair hors, 
And ran to uther with sic fors 
That baith thair speiris in sindrie flaw. 
Than said thay all that stude on raw, 
Ane better cours than they twa ran 
Wes not sene sen the warld began. 

Than baith the parties wer rejoisit. 
The campiounis ane quhyle repoisit 
Till they had gottin speiris new. 
Than with triumph the trumpettis blew, 
And they with all the force thay can 
Wounder^ rudelie at aither ran. 
And straik at uther with sa greit ire 
That fra thair harnes flew the fyre. 
Thair speiris wer sa teuchs and Strang 
That aither uther to eirth doun dang 4. 
Baith hors and man, with speir and scheild. 
Than flatlingiss lay into the feild. 
Than Maister Talbart was eschamit. 
" Forsuith for ever I am defamit !" 

' staves, spears. 

2 Wonderfully. 

3 tough. 

4 dashed. 

5 flatwise. 


And said this, "I had rather die 
Without that I revengit be." 

Our young Squyer, sic was his hap, 
Was first on fute; and on he lap 
Upon his hors, without support. 
Of that the Scottis tuke gude comfort, 

'nimbly. Quhcn thay saw him sa feireUe^ 

= gallantly. Loup OH his hors sa galyeardlie'^. 

The Squyer liftit his visair 
Ane lytill space to take the air. 
Thay bad hym wyne, and he it drank, 
And humiUie he did thame thank. 
Be that Talbart on hors wes mountit, 
And of our Squyer lytill countit. 
And cryit gif he durst undertak 

^°nce. To run anis3 for his ladies saik? 

The Squyer answerit hie on hicht, 
"That sail I do, be Marie bricht ! 
I am content all day to ryn, 
Tyll ane of us the honour wyn." 
Of that Talbart was weill content, 

^seized. ^n(j ^nc greit speir in hand he hent''. 

s grasped. 'pj^g Squyer in his hand he thrangs 

His speir, quhilk was baith greit and lang. 
With ane sharp heid of grundin steill, 

6 well pleased. Qf quhilk he wes appleisit weill ^. 

That plesand feild was lang and braid, 
Quhair gay ordour and rowme was maid, 
And everie man micht have gude sicht, 
And thair was mony weirlyke knicht. 
Sum man of everie natioun 
Was in that congregatioun. 



Than trumpettis blew triumphantlie, 

And thai' twa campiounis egeirUe 

Thai spurrit thair hors, with speir on breist 

PertHe to preif thair pith thay preist^ 

That round, rink roume wes at utterance 3; 

Bot Talbartis hors with ane mischance, 

He outterit't, and to ryn was laith; 

Quhairof Talbart was wonder wraith. 

The Squyer furth his rinks he ran, 

Commendit weill with everie man ; 

And him dischargeit of his speir 

HonestUe lyke ane man of weir. 

Becaus that rink thay ran in vane 

Than Talbart wald not ryn agane 

Till he had gottin ane better steid ; 

Quhilk was brocht to him with gude speid. 

Quhairon he lap, and tuik his speir, 

As brym^ as he had bene ane beir. 

And bowtit? ford ward with ane bend^, 

And ran on to the rinkis end, 

And saw his hors was at command. 

Than wes he blyith, I understand, 

Traistand na mair to ryn in vane. 

Than all the trumpettis blew agane. 

Be that with all the force thay can 

Thay rycht rudelie at uther ran. 

Of that meiting ilk 9 man thocht wounder, 

Quhilk soundit lyke ane crak of thunder. 

And nane of thame thair marrow '° mist: 

Sir Talbartis speir in sunder brist, 

Bot the Squyer with his burdoun" 
G in 

• these. 

2 Boldly to prove 

their strength 
they pressed. 

3 coursing room 

was from the 
extremity, a 

4 swerved. 

5 course. 

^' violent. 

7 bolted. 
^ bound. 

9 each. 

'o match. 

" pike, 



^ place. 

3 joust. 

4 compact. 

5 lose. 

Sir Talbart to the eirth dang doun. 
That straik was with sic micht and fors 
That on the ground lay man and hors ; 
And throw the brydell-hand him bair, 
And in the breist ane span and mair. 
Throw curras^ and throw gluifis of plait, 
That Talbart micht mak na debait, 
The trencheour of the Squyeris speir. 
Stak still into Sir Talbartis geir. 

Than everie man into that steid^ 
Did all beleve that he was deid. 
The Squyer lap rycht haistelie 
From his cursour deliverlie, 
And to Sir Talbart maid support, 
And humillie did him comfort. 
Quhen Talbart saw into his scheild 
Ane otter in ane silver feild, 
" This race," said he, " I may sair rew, 
For I see weill my dreme wes trew. 
Me-thocht yone otter gart me bleid. 
And buir me backwart from my steid. 
Bot heir I vow to God soverane 
That I sail never justs agane." 
And sweitlie to the Squyer said, 
" Thow knawis the cunning ■» that we maid, 
Quhilk of us twa suld tynes the feild 
He suld baith hors and armour yield 
Till him that wan : quhairfoir I will 
My hors and harnes geve thee till." 

Then said the Squyer courteouslie, 
" Brother, I thank yow hartfullie. 


Of yow forsuith nathing I crave, 
For I have gottin that I wald have." 
With everie man he was commendit, 
Sa vailyeandlie he him defendit. 
The Capitane of the IngHs band 
Tuke the young Squyer be the hand, 
And led him to the pailyeoun ', ' pavilion. 

And gart him mak coUatioun. 
Quhen Talbartis woundis wes bund up fast 
The Inghs capitane to him past, 
And prudenthe did him comfort, 
Syne said, " Brother, I yow exhort 
To tak the Squyer be the hand." 
And sa he did at his command ; 
And said, "This bene but chance of armes." 
With that he braisit^ him in his armes, = embraced. 

Sayand, " HartHe I yow forgeve." 
And then the Squyer tuik his leve, 
Commendit weill with everie man. 

Than wichthes on his hors he wan, 3 gallantly. 

With monie ane nobyll man convoyit. 
Leve we thair Talbart sair annoyit. 
Some sayis of that discomfitour 
He thocht sic schame and dishonour 
That he departit of that land. 
And never wes sene into Ingland. 



' shining. 
* beauty. 

3 Star. 

4 much. 

Fair weill, ye lemant" lampis of lustines^ 
Of fair Scotland, adew my Ladies all ! 

During my youth with ardent besines, 

Ye knaw how I was in your service thrall. 
Ten thowsand times adew above thame all 

Sterne 3 of Stratherne, my Ladie Soverane ! 

For quhome I sched my blud with mekill'' pane. 

5 evening and 

6 if. 

7 wish. 

Yit wald my Ladie luke at evin and morrows 
On my legend, at length scho wald not mis 

How for hir saik I sufiferit mekill sorrow. 
Yit give^ I micht at this time get my wis 7, 
Of hir sweit mouth, deir God, I had ane kis. 

I wis in vane, allace we will dissever, 

I say na mair, Sweit hart, adew for ever ! 

* These are two of the last stanzas of " The Testament of 
Squyer Meldrum," a composition chiefly occupied with the 
doughty squire's directions for a sumptuous funeral. The lady 
to whom they are addressed was Marion Lawson, the young 
widow of John Haldane of Gleneagles, slain at Flodden, for 
whom the Squyer upon his return to Scotland in 1515 had 
formed a strong attachment, and by whom he had become the 
father of two children. In August, 1517, according to Pitscottie, 
Meldrum had, in gallantly defending his possession of this lady, 
been crippled and left for dead on the road to Leith by his rival 
Luke Stirling, brother of the laird of Keir, who followed him 
from Edinburgh and attacked him with fifty men. 



Spoken by diligence. 

The Father and founder of faith and felicitie, 

That your fassioun^ formed to his similitude, 'fashion. 
And his Sone, our Saviour, scheild in necessitie, 

That bocht yow from baiUis^ ransonit on the Rude, "'°frS^'J°^. 

Repleadgeand3 his presonaris with his hart blude ; ^ Redeeming. 
The Halie Gaist, governour and grounder of grace, 

Of wisdome and weilfair baith fontane and flude, 
Saif yow all that I sie seisit^ in this place, 4 seated. 

And scheild yow from sinne. 
And with his spreit yow inspyre. 
Till I have schawin my desyre! 
Silence, Soveraine, I requyre. 
For now I begin. 

Prudent Peopill I pray yow all 
Tak na man greif in speciall, 
For wee sail speik in generall, 

For pastyme and for play: 
Thairfoir till all our rymis be rung 

And our mistoinits sangis be sung 5 mistimed. 

Let everie man keip weill ane toung 

And everie woman tway. 


An Interlude of the Puir Man and the 
\Heir sail entir Pauper the puir man. 


1 love. Of your almis, gude folks, for God's luife' of heavin, 

For I have motherles bairns either sax or seavin. 

2 goods. Gif ye'ill gif me na gude 2, for the luife of Jesus 
3makemeknow. Wische3 me the richt way till Sanct-Androes. 

Quhair haif wee gottin this gudly companzeoun? 
4 Quick. Swyith^! out of the feild, [thow] fals raggit loun. 

s God knows. God Wait 5 gif heir be ane weill-keipit place, 
6 vile. Quhen sic ane vilde^ begger carle may get entres?. 

8 these failings. Fy OH yow ofificiars, that mends nocht thir failyies^! 

I gif yow all till the Devill, baith Provost and Bailzies ! 
Without ye cum and chase this carle away. 
The devill a word ye'is get mair of our play. 
Fals huirsun, raggit carle, quhat Devil is that 

9 what the devil , - 
is that thou thOU rUgS9? 

teajest ? 


Quha Devill, maid thee ane gentill man, that wald 
'°ears. cut not thy lugs'°? 

"talk. Quhat now! me-thinks the carle begins to crack". 

Swyith, carle, away, or be this day I'se break thy back. 
\Heir sail the Carle dim up and sit in 
the King's tchyre. 

Cum doun, or be God's croun, fals loun, I sail slay 


Now sweir be thy brunt' schinnis, the Devill ding^ 'a^k' 

thame fra thee. 
Quhat say ye till thir court dastards? be 3 thay get 3 by the time that. 

hail Clais4, 4 whole clothes. 

Sa sune as thay leirs to sweir and trip on thair tais. sieam. 


Me-thocht the carle callit me knave, evin in my face. 

Be Sanct Fillane ! thou sal be slane bot gif^ thou ^ but if, unless. 

ask grace. 
Loup 7 doun, or, be the gude Lord, thow sail lose 'Leap. 

thy heid. 


I sail anis drink or I ga, thocht^ thou had sworne « though. 
my deid^. 9 death. 

\Heir Diligence castis away the ledder. 


Loup now, gif thou list, for thou hes lost the ledder. 

It is full Weill thy kind to loup, and licht in a tedder '°. '° tether, haiter. 


Thou sail be faine to fetch agane the ledder, or I loup. 

I sail sit heir into this tcheir till I have tumde" the "emptied. 

StOUp'^'. ■= pitcher. 

\Heir sail the Carlt loup aff the scaffald. 


Swyith'3! beggar, bogilP^ haist the away; m ho^goi^iin. 

Thow art over pert to spill our Play. 



I will not gif, for al your Play, worth an sowis fart: 
For thair is richt lytill play at my hungrie hart. 


Quhat devill ails this cruckit carle? 


'""uch. Marie! meikill' sorrow. 

I can not get, thocht I gasp, to beg nor to borrow. 


Quhair, devill, is this thou dwels ? or quhat's thy 
intent ? 


I dwell into Lawthiane, ane myle fra Tranent. 

2 truth. 


Quhair wald thou be, carle? the suth^ to me schaw. 


Sir, evin to Sanct-Androes, for to seik law. 


For to seik law, in Edinburgh was the neirest way. 


Sir, I socht law thair this monie deir day, 
Bot I culd get nane at Sessioun nor Seinzie;* 
3 company. Thairfor the meikill din Devill droun all the meinzie3. 

* The Court of Session had been established by James V. in 
May, 1532. The Seinzie was the older ecclesiastical consistory, 
or bishops' court. 



Schaw me thy mater, man, with all the circumstances, 
How that thou hes happinit on thir unhappie chances. 


Gude man,, will ye gif me of your charitie, 

And I sail declair yow the black veritie. 

My father was ane auld man and ane hoir^ 'hoar. 

And was of age fourscoir of yeirs and moir. 

And Maid, my mother, was fourscoir and fyfteine. 

And with my labour I did thame baith susteine. 

= i.e. in panniers, 

Wee had ane meir that caryit salt and coill^ the ancient 

means of 

And everie ilk 3 yeir scho brocht us hame ane foill. carriage. 

3 separate. 

Wee had thrie ky-t that was baith fat and fair, 4kine. 

Nane tydier into the toun of Air.* 
My father was sa walk of blude and bane 
That he deits, quhairfoir my mother maid great maine. sdied. 
Then scho deit, within ane day or two; 
And thair began my povertie and wo. 

Our gude gray meir was baittand^ on the feild, ^ pasturing. 

And our land's laird tuik hir for his hyreild.f 
The vickar tuik the best cow be the held. 
Incontinent, quhen my father was deid. 
And quhen the vickar hard tel how that my mother 
Was deid, fra hand he tuk to him ane-uther. 
Then Meg, my wife, did murne baith evin and 

* Ayrshire cattle were, to judge from this reference, as much 
esteemed in the sixteenth century as they are in the nineteenth. 

t Formerly the fine paid the feudal superior for rehef from 
armed service ; afterwards a tine of the best chattel, exacted by 
the landlord on the death of a tenant. 



' clutched. 

2 uppermost 


3 coarse woollen. 

Till at the last scho deit for verie sorrow. 

And quhen the vickar hard tell my wyfe was dead 

The thrid cow he cleikit' be the heid. 

Thair umest clayis^, that was of rapplochs gray, 

The vickar gart his dark bear them away.* 

Quhen all was gane I micht mak na debeat, 

Bot with my bairns past for till beg my meat. 

Now haif I tald yow the blak veritie 
How I am brocht into this miserie. 

4 parson. 


How did the person ■»? was he not thy gude freind? 

5 fourpence. 


The Devil stick him! he curst me for my teind, 
And halds me yit under that same proces 
That gart me want the Sacrament at Pasche. 
In gude faith, Sir, thocht he wald cut my throt, 
I have na geir except ane Inglis grots, 
Quhilk I purpois to gif ane man of law. 

fi Trowest. 


Thou art the daftest fuill that ever I saw. 
Trows ^ thou, man, be the law to get remeid 
Of men of Kirk! Na, nocht till thou be deid. 


Sir, be quhat law, tell me, quhairfoir or quhy 
That ane vickar suld tak fra me thrie ky? 

* The reference here, says Laing, is to the cars present, or 
funeral gift to the clerk, the exaction of which had become a 
heavy grievance to the poor. 



Thay have na law exceptand consuetude, 
Quhilk law, to them, is sufficient and gude. 


Ane consuetude against the common weill 
Suld be na law, I think, be sweit Sanct Geill. 
Quhair will ye find that law, tell gif ye can, 
To tak thrie ky fra ane pure husband-man? 
Ane for my father, and for my wyfe ane-uther, 
And the third cow he tuke fra Maid my mother. 


It is thair law, all that thay have in use, 

Thocht it be cow, sow, ganer', gryse^, or guse. ^prg.'^^'^' 


Sir, I wald speir^ at yow ane questioun. 3 ask. 

Behauld sum prelats of this regioun — 

[Here the Puir Man recites further legalised oppressions by 
the priesthood, but is interrupted.] 


Hald thy toung, man, it seims that thou war mangit."* 4 stupefied. 
Speik thou of preists buts doubt thou will be hangit. s without. 


Be Him that buir the cruell croun of thorne, 
I cair nocht to be hangit, evin the morne. 


Be sure of preistis thou will get na support. 


'lot. Gif that be trew the Feind resave the sort'! 

Sa sen I se I get na uther grace 
I will ly down and rest mee in this place. 

\Heir sail the Piiirman ly doun in the 
feild, and the Pardoner sail cum 
in and say. 


Bona dies ! Bona dies ! 

Devoit Pepill, gude day I say yow. 

Now tarie ane lytill quhyll, I pray yow, 

Till I be with yow knawin. 
Wat ye weill how I am namit? 
Ane nobill man and undefamit, 

Gif that all the suith war schawin. 
I am Sir Robert Rome-raker, 
Ane perfyte publike pardoner* 

Admittit be the Paip. 
Sirs, I sail schaw yow, for my wage. 
My pardons and my pilgramage, 
= grope, grip. Quhilk yc sail se, and graip^. 

I give to the Devill, with gude intent, 

3 naughty. This unsells wickit New Testament, 

With thame that it translaitit. 

4 lay. Sen layik4 men knew the veritie 

Pardoners get no charitie 

Without that thay debait it, 

*The retailing of papal indulgences, here satirized by 
Lyndsay, was one of the chief abuses against which Luther 
had raised the indignation of Germany. 



Amang the wives with wrinks' and wyles, 
As all my marrowis^', men begyles 

With our fair fals flattrie. 
Yea, all the crafts I ken perqueir3 
As I was teichit be ane freir 

Callit Hypocrisie. 
Bot now, allace ! our greit abusioun 
Is cleirlie knawin till our confusioun. 

That we may sair repent. 
Of all credence now I am quyte, 
For ilk man halds me at dispyte 

That reids the New Test'ment. 
Duill fell 4 the braine that hes it wrocht ! 
Sa fall them that the Buik hame brocht ! 

Als I pray to the Rude 
That Martin Luther, that fals louns, 
Black Bullinger, and Melancthoun, 

Had bene smorde in thair cude^ 
Be him that buir the crowne of thorne 
I wald Sanct Paull had never bene borne; 

And als I wald his bulks 
War never red in the kirk, 
Bot amangs freirs, into the mirk 7, 

Or riven amang ruiks ! 

\Heir sail he lay doun his geir upon 
ane biiird, and say, 

■ tricks. 
2 fellows. 

3 1 know by heart. 

t Sorrow destroy. 

5 knave. 

6 smothered in 
their baptism- 

7 dark. 

My patent pardouns ye may se. 
Cum fra the Cane^ of Tartarie, 

Weill seald with oster-schellis. 
Thocht ye have na contritioun 

8 Khan. 



' The real jaw- 
bone of Fingal. 

2 tail. 

3 snout. 

4 go. 

5 Belial. 

6 jest. 

7 vexation. 

S cumber. 

Ye sail have full remissioun 

With help of bulks and bellis. 
Heir is ane relict lang and braid, 
Of Fin MacouU the richt chaft blaidS 

With teith and al togidder. 
Of Ceiling's cow heir is ane home, 
For eating of Makconnal's corne 

Was slaine into Baquhidder. 
Heir is ane coird baith great and lang 
Quhilk hangit Johne the Armistrang,* 

Of gude hemp, soft and sound. 
Gude halie peopill, I stand for'd, 
Quha-ever beis hangit with this cord 

Neids never to be dround. 
The culum^ of Sanct Bryd's kow; 
The gruntills of Sanct Antonis sow, 

Quhilk buir his haly bell. 
Quha-ever he be heiris this bell clinck 
Gif me ane ducat for till drink ; 

He sail never gang* to hell. 
Without he be of Baliells borne. 
Maisters, trow ye that this be scorne^. 

Cum win this pardoun, cum. 
Quha luifis thair wyfis nocht with thair hart, 
I have power thame for till part. 

Me-think yow deif and dum : 
Hes nane of yow curst wickit wyfis 
That haldis yow intill sturt? and stryfis. 

Cum tak my dispensatioun ; 
Of that cummer 8 I sail mak yow quyte, 

* See introduction to King James the Fifth, p. 143. 


Howbeit your-selfis be in the wyte', ' 

And mak ane fals narratioun. 
Cum win the pardoun, now let se, 
For meill, for malt, or for monie, - 

For cok, hen, guse, or gryse. 
Of relicts heir I haif ane hunder; 
Quhy cum ye nocht? this is ane wounder: 

I trow ye be nocht wyse. 

[A grotesque episode is here introduced in which the Pardoner, 
for the price of "ane cuppill of sarks" (shirts), divorces a mal- 
content sowtar, or shoemaker, and his wife. Upon their 
despatch, east and west, the Pardoner's boy cries from the hill.] 


Hoaw! Maister, hoaw! quhair ar ye now? 



I am heir, Wilkin widdiefow^ 

2 rascal, ///. 


Sir, I have done your bidding. 
For I have fund ane greit hors bane, 
Ane fairer saw ye never nane, 

Upon dame Flescher's midding. 
Sir, ye may gar the wyfis trow 
It is ane bane of Sanct Bryd's cow, 

Gude for the fever quartane3. 
Sir, will ye reull this relict weill. 
All the wyfis will baith kiss and kneill 

Betuixt this and Dumbartane. 

3 fourth-day or 


Quhat say thay of me in the Toun? 



I laid hold of. 

2 street-walker. 

3 scoundrel. 

4 Though you 
stay a year. 

5 one. 


Some sayis ye are ane verie loun, 

Sum sayis Legatus Natus; 
Sum sayis ye ar ane fals Saracene, 
And sum sayis ye ar for certaine 

Diabolus hicarnatus. 
Bot keip yow fra subjectioun 
Of the curst King Correctioun; 

For, be ye with him fangit', 
Becaus ye ar ane Rome-raker, 
Ane common publick cawsay-paker^, 

But doubt ye will be hangit. 


Quhair sail I ludge into the toun? 


With gude kynde Cristiane Anderson, 

Quhair ye will be weill treatit. 
Gif ony limmers yow demands, 
Scho will defend yow with hir hands, 

And womanlie debait it. 
Bawburdie sayis be the Trinitie 
That scho sail beir yow cumpanie 
Howbeit ye byde ane yeir^. 


Thou hes done weill, be God's mother; 
Tak ye the taines and I the tother, 
Sa sail we mak greit cheir. 

6 counsel. 


I reid^ yow, speid yow heir. 
And mak na ianger tarie; 


Byde ye lang thair, but weir', « without doubt. 

I dreid your weird yow warier = your fate you 

\Heir sail Pmiper rise, and rax him. 



Quhat thing was yon that I heard craks and cry? 3 speak. 

I have bene dreamand, and dreveland* of my ky. 4 drivelling. 

With my richt hand my haill bodie I saineS; ^ "YcTo^s°i^ ""^^ 

Sanct Bryd, Sanct Bryd, send me my ky againe! 

I se standand yonder ane hahe man, 

To mak me help let me se gif he can. 

Halie Maister, God speid yow, and gude morne! 


Welcum to me, thocht thou war at the home!* 

Cum win the pardoun, and syne I sail the sained ^b'ess. 


Will that pardon get me my ky againe? 


Carle, of thy ky I have nathing ado: 

Cum win my pardon, and kis my relicts to. 

[Heir sail he saine him with his relictis. 

Now lowse thy pursse and lay doun thy offrand. 

And thou sail have my pardoun evin fra hand. 

With raipis7 and relicts I sail the saine againe; 7 ropes. 

Of gut^ or gravell thou sail never have paine. sgout. 

Now win the pardoun, limmer, or thou art lost. 

* At the home, proclaimed rebel. Outlawry was proclaimed 
with three blasts of a horn. In 1512 Gavin Douglas was one of 
a great assize which passed an Act anent " the resset of Rebellis, 
and Personis being at our soueranc Lordis home. " 



My haly Father, quhat wil that pardon cost? 


Let se quhat mony thou bearest in thy bag. 


I haif ane grot heir, bund into ane rag. 


Hes thou na uther silver bot ane groat? 


' search. Qjf J ^j^yg m^\r, Sir, cum and rype ' my coat. 


Gif me that groat, man, gif thou best na mair. 


With all my hart, Maister, lo tak it thair. 
Now let me se your pardon, with your leif. 


Ane thousand yeir of pardons I thee geif. 


Ane thousand yeir! I will nocht live sa lang. 
^go- Delyver me it, Maister, and let me gang 2. 


Ane thousand year I lay upon thy head, 

With totiens quotiens: now, mak me na mair plead: 

Thou hast resaifit thy pardon now already. 


Bot, I can se na-thing, Sir, be Our Lady. 
Forsuith, Maister, I trow I be nocht wyse 
To pay ere I have sene my marchandryse. 
That ye have gottin my groat full sair I rew. 
Sir, quhidder is your pardon black or blew? 
Maister, sen ye have tain fra me my cunzie S ' coin. 

My marchandryse schaw me, withouttin sunzie^j = excuse. 
Or to the bischop I sail pas and pleinzies 3 complain. 

In Sanct-Androis, and summond yow to the Seinzie*. '' Consistory. 


Quhat craifiss the carle? me-thinks thou art not wise. ^ craves. 


I craif my groat, or ellis my marchandrise. 


I gaif the pardon for ane thowsand yeir. 


How sail I get that pardon, let me heir. 


Stand still and I sail tell the haill^ storie. ''whole. 

Quhen thow art deid, and gais to Purgatorie, 
Being condempnit to paine a thowsand yeir, 
Then sail thy pardoun thee relcif, but weir. 
Now be content, ye ar ane mervelous man. 


Sail I get nathing for my groat quhill than 7? ;iiiithcn. 


That sail thou not, I mak it to yow plaine. 



Na than, gossop, gif me my groat againe. 

Quhat say ye, Maisters? call ye this gude resoun, 

That he suld promeis me ane gay pardoun, 
'place. And he resave my mony, in his steady 

Syne male me na payment till I be dead? 
' ^^uTry.^"" Quhen I am deid I wait full sikkerlie^ 
3 frail. ]y[y sillie3 saull will pas to Purgatorie. 

Declair me this, now God nor Baliell bind the, 

Quhen I am thair, curst carle, quhair sail I find the? 

Not in heavin, but rather into hell. 

Quhen thow art thair thou cannot help thy-sell. 

Quhen will thou cum my dolours till abait? 

4 Pre . . 

sheat. Or'' I thee find my hippis will get ane halts. 

Trowis thou, butchour, that I will buy blind lambis? 
6 evaluate feces, (..f me my groat, the Devill dryte^ in thy gambis7! 


8 confounded. Swyith ! Stand abak! I trow this man be mangit^. 

Thou gets not this, carle, thocht thou suld be hangit. 


''f^g- Gif me my groat, weill bund into ane clout 9, 

" bk.w.^ '^ '^'^' Or, be Goddis breid^°, Robin sail beir ane rout". 

\Heir sail thay fecht with silence; and 
Pauper sal cast down the buird, and 
cast the relicts in the water. 


'2 sport. Quhat kind of dafiing^^ is this al day? 

'3 Quick, fellows! Swyith, smaiks'3! out of the feild, away! 
Intill ane presoun put them sone, 
Syne hang them, quhen the Play is done. 



The Poor Man's Mare. 


■ eight. 


Marie ! I lent my gossop my mear, to fetch hame coills, 

And he hir drounit into the querrell hollis:* 

And I ran to the Consistorie, for to pleinze, 

And thair I happinit amang ane greidie meinze'. 

Thay gave me first ane thing thay call Citandum, 

Within aucht^ dayis I gat bot Lybellandum^ 

Within ane moneth I gat ad Opponendum, 

In half ane yeir I gat Interloqitendum, 

And syne I gat, how call ye it? ad Replicandicm : 

Bot I could never ane word yit understand him. 

And than thay gart me cast out many plackiss, 

And gart me pay for four and twentie actis. 

Bot or thay came half gait* to Concliidendum 

The Feind ane plack was left for to defend him. 

Thus thay postponit me twa yeir with thair traine s, ^ device, 

Syne, Hodie ad octo, bad me cum againe; 

And than, thir ruiks, thay roupit^ wonder fast, 

For sentence silver thay cryit at the last. 

Of Pronunciandum thay maid me wonder faine; 

Bot I got never my gude gray meir againe. 

3 a Scots plack 
equalled the 
third of a 

4 halfway. 

6 croaked. 

* Laing quotes from the chartulary of Newbattle a grant by 
Seyer de Quency, lord of the manor of Tranent, of a coal-jiit and 
quarry on the lands of Preston ; which shows mining and quarry- 
ing to have been industries there as early as 1202. 


From the Prologue to " The Monarche." 

Musing and marvelling on the miserie 

Frome day to day in erth quhilk dois incres, 
■ each. And of ilk' stait the instabilitie 

Preceding of the restless besynes 
Quhare-on the most part doith thair mynd addres 
Inordinatlie, on houngrye covatyce, 
Vaine glore, dissait, and uther sensuall vyce : 

Bot tumlyng in my bed I mycht nocht lye ; 

2 fared. Quhareforc I fuir^ furth in ane Maye mornyng, 

Conforte to gett of my malancolye, 

Sumquhat affore fresche Phebus uprysing, 
Quhare I mycht heir the birdis sweitlye syng. 
In-tyll ane park I past, for my plesure 
Decorit weill be craft of dame Nature. 

Quhow I resavit confort naturall 

3 describe. For tyll discryve3 at lenth it war too lang ; 

Smelling the holsum herbis medicinall, 

4 fell. Quhare-on the dulce and balmy dew down dang-^, 
5 twigs. Lyke aurient peirles on the twistiss hang; 

Or quhow that the aromatic odouris 

Did proceid frome the tender fragrant flouris ; 

Or quhow Phebus, that king etheriall, 
Swyftlie sprang up in-to the Orient, 
Ascending in his throne imperiall, 



2 moist em- 

3 embroidered. 

Quhose bricht and berialP hemes resplendent 'beryl. 

Illumynit all on-to the Occident, 
Confortand everye corporall creature 
Quhilk formit war in erth be dame Nature; 

Quhose donke impurpurit- vestiment nocturnall, 

With his imbroudit3 mantyll matutyne, 
He lefte in-tyll his regioun aurorall, 

Quhilk on hym waitit quhen he did declyne 

Towarte his Occident palyce vespertyne, 
And rose in habyte gaye and glorious, 
Brychtar nor gold or stonis precious. 

Bot Synthea, the hornit nychtis quene, 

Scho loste hir lychte and lede ane lawar saill, 

Frome tyme hir soverane lorde that scho had sene, 
And in his presens waxit dirk* and paill, *dark. 

And ouer hir visage kest ane mistye vaill; 

So did Venus, the goddes amorous, 

With Jupiter, Mars, and Mercurius. 

Rycht so the auld intoxicat Saturne, 

Persaving Phebus powir, his beymes brycht, 

Abufe the erth than maid he no sudgeourne^, ssojoum. 

Bot suddandlye did lose his borrovvit lycht, 
Quhilk he durst never schaw bot on the nycht. 

The Pole Artick, Ursis, and Sterris all 

Quhilk situate ar in the Septentrionall, 

Tyll errand^ schyppis quhilks ar the souer gyde^, 
Convoyand thame upone the stormye nycht, 

Within thare frostie circle did thame hyde. 
Howbeit that sterris have none uthir lycht 
Bot the reflex of Phebus hemes brycht. 

6 wanderinR. 

7 sure guide. 



That day durst none in-to the hevin appeir 
Till he had circuit all our Hemispheir. 

Me-thocht it was ane sycht celestiall 
To sene Phebus so angellyke ascend 

In-tyll his fyrie chariot triumphall, 

Quhose bewtie brychte I culd nocht comprehend. 
• care. All warldlic cure' anone did fro me wend 

Quhen fresche Flora spred furth hir tapestrie, 

Wrocht be dame Nature, quent and curiouslie 

Depaynt with mony hundreth hevinlie hewis ; 
Glaid of the rysing of thair royall Roye, 
2 breaking forth, wijh blomcs brcclcand^ on the tender bewiss, 

3 boughs. 

Quhilk did provoke myne hart tyl natural joye. 

Neptune that day, and Eolh, held thame coye, 
That men on far mycht heir the birdis sounde, 
Quhose noyis did to the sterrye hevin redounde. 

The plesand powne prunyeand his feddrem fairs, 
The myrthfull maves^ maid gret melodic, 

The lustye? lark ascending in the air, 
Numerand his naturall notis craftelye, 
The gay goldspink, the merll rycht myrralye, 

The noyis of the nobyll nychtingalis 

Redoundit throuch the montans, meids, and valis. 

Contempling this melodious armonye, 

Quhow everilke bird drest thame for tyl advance, 

To saluss^ Nature with thare melodye. 

That I stude gasing, halfingis9 in ane trance, 
To heir thame mak thare naturall observance 

So royallie that all the roches'° rang 

Throuch repurcussioun of thair suggurit sang. 

4 .(Eolus. 

5 peacock 

pruning his 
feathers fair. 

6 thrush. 

7 pleasant. 

8 salute. 

9 partly. 

'0 rocks. 



Last in the list of makars enumerated by Lyndsay in 
the prologue to his " Complaynt of the Papyngo " is 
mentioned "ane plant of poeitis, callit Ballendyne," 
who seems to have excited both respect and anticipa- 
tion among his early contemporaries. The prophecy 
of Lyndsay's lines appears to have been more than 
fulfilled. The new makar of 1530, having gained > 
the ear of the court, not only wrote poems which, 
whether they excelled those of his rivals or not, 
have at least outlived most of them, but produced 
works in prose regarding which a critic of the first 
rank has said, "No better specimen of the middle 
period (of the Scottish language) in its classical purity 
exists." t 

Some obscurity has been cast upon the life of this 
scholar and poet by confusing him with an eminent 
contemporary of the same name, Sir John Bellenden 
of Auchinoul. The latter was secretary to the Earl 
of Angus at the time of that nobleman's downfall in 

* The name is spelt variously, Ballantyne, Ballenden, Bellen- 
dyne, &c. 

t Murray's Dialects of the Southern Counties of Scotlatid, 
p. 61. 


1528, appearing twice before parliament as agent for 
the Douglases on the 4th of September. Some 
time afterwards he became Justice-ClerL* These 
functions of Bellenden the lawyer have been attributed, 
however incongruously, to Bellenden the churchman, 
and have again and again led to a hopeless confusion 
of parentage and other details. As a matter of fact 
the Justice-Clerk seems to have sunived the poet by 
more than twenty-seven years. 7 

Of the poet's life few facts are known with certainty. 
Bom towards the close of the fifteenth century, he is 
beheved to have been a native of Haddingtonshire, 
and to have entered St. Andrew's University in 1508. 
At least the matriculation of one John Ballentyn of 
the Lothian nation is recorded in that year. He 
completed his education at the University of Paris, 
where he took the degree of Doctor of Divinity. 
From the fourth stanza of his proheme to the Cosmo- 
graphe, and from the prose epistle to James V. at 
the close of his translation of Boece's History, it is 
gathered that, returning to this country, he was 
employed at court during that monarch's youth as 
Clerk of Accoimts, but was presently cast from his 
post by certain court intrigues. His loss of place 
probably coincided with that of Sir David Lyndsay, 
and was probably owed to the same cause, the 
seizure of power by the Douglases in 1524. It seems 
clear, moreover, that it was upon the downfall of 

* According to Hume's History of the Houses of Douglas and 
Angus, p. 258. 

t In the appendix to Scotstarvet's History Six John Bellenden 
is stated to have been Justice-Clerk from 1547 till 1578. 


that house that he retnrned to court favour: and 
circumstances would lead to the bdid" that he was 
amoi^ those for whom James, mindful of eaify 
services, made provision shortly after his acressicm to 
power in 1528. At anyrate, in 15--. v: tbe three 
following years Bellenden was -r.-;r;i r:?»?re^ 

command of James in translarlr.r :zt . 
contemporary Boece and cf Li .7. T T 
accounts from October 30th, 1530, to November 30th, 
1533, contain notes of paym^it for this wtsk. In 
all, he received during that time the sum <rf ^ir4; 
£,-i% being for the translation of Boece, and £,7^^ for 
that of Livy. 

A year or t" '.".z'. i:~r: : : : cy of the 
bishopric of Moray, th: ^ : '.':.:- r Jso 

became vacant, and is gin - itA to 

the crown. Tvro clergymen, r , :-?2n, 

parson of G!: r- n-d A!e:;: : : H -. t-^ 

the Pope tc : - -: : ^ tncdcc ui.:^.: j: _ 

For this th- I't to trial, i 

statutes under : : Po-r'a? : : : .: 

were declared rr :-! I i^rn ;. .:::;^ 

to the king. Td^ -:..:;:.:.; : ihis property for 
the years 1536 and 1537 were conferred succesively 
upon Beller. i d t two years' income paid 

compositions r, . d :: 350 marks and ^£^300 
Scots. About the same time, it is believed, occurred 
his promotion to the archdeaconry itself and his 
appointment as a canon of Ross. 

Little more is known of the poef s life A strenuous 
opponent of the new heresy, as the movonent of the 


Reformation was called, he appears to have done all 
in his power to resist its progress, and at last, finding 
his utmost efforts in this direction vain, to have 
betaken himself to the headquarters of counsel at 
Rome, where he died in 1550.* 

The catalogue of Bellenden's works, though im- 
portant in more than one detail, is not of great 
length. He is said to have written a treatise, De 
Litera Pythagora. — the letter upsilon, in the form of 
which Pythagoras had chosen to see certain emble- 
matical properties. Of this treatise nothing is now 
known. It is to his translations of Boece and Livy 
that the Archdeacon of Moray owes his chief fame. 
The first edition of the Latin History of Scotland by 
Hector Boece, consisting of seventeen books, had 
been printed at Paris in 1526, and dedicated to 
James V.t That king's knowledge of Latin must 
have been strictly limited, as we know from Lyndsay 
he was withdrawn from school at twelve years of 
age. His desire, therefore, for a translation into the 
vernacular may be understood. Bellenden's transla- 
tion, with Boece's " cosmographe," or description of 
Scotland, prefixed, was published at Edinburgh in 

*Dr. Irving quotes the statements of Conn, Bale, and Dempster 
respectively for these three facts. But both the date and place 
remain, as he remarks, uncertain; and by some, as by Sibbald 
in his C/uvnicle of Scottish Poetry, Bellenden is stated to have 
died at Paris. 

t Hector Boece, born 1465-66, was Principal of King's College, 
Aberdeen, then newly founded by Bishop Elphinstone; and he 
died Rector of Tyrie in Buchan, in 1536. The second edition 
of his History was not published till 1574. It included the 
eighteenth and part of the nineteenth book by Boece, and a 
continuation to the end of the reign of James III. by the 
celebrated scholar Ferrerius. 


1 54 1,* and has the credit of being the earhest 
existing prose work in the Scottish language. The 
translator divided Boece's books into chapters, and, 
from a reference in his proheme, apparently meant 
to bring the history down to his own time. As a 
translation the work is somewhat free, Bellenden 
having taken the liberty of correcting errors and 
supplying omissions where he thought right. Never- 
theless it soon became the standard translation of 
the historian, and was the version which, with inter- 
polations from the histories of Major, Lesley, and 
Buchanan, was used by Hollinshed, being the direct 
channel, therefore, through which Shakespeare derived 
the story of Macbeth. As a contribution to literature 
it remains the earliest and the most ample specimen 
we possess of Scottish prose, "Rich," as its latest 
editor has said, "in barbaric pearl and gold," while 
"the rust of age has not obscured the fancy and 
imagery with which the work abounds," it affords an 
admirable illustration of the force and variety of the 
language in which it was written. 

At the end of his translation Bellenden appended 
an epistle to the king — one of these sound, if some- 
what plain, admonitions which his courtiers apparently 
did not scruple to address to James the Fifth. It 
deals boldly with the distinction between a king and 
a tyrant, and does not hesitate to hold up by way of 

*0n the title page the translator is styled "Archdene of 
Murray and Chanon of Rosse," and, as Irving points out, he 
was not in possession of these titles at the time of purchasing 
escheat in 1538. The date of 1536 sometimes assigned to this 
edition is probably therefore a mistake. Only two copies of the 
edition are now known to exist. 


example the fate which has constantly overtaken the 
wickedness of princes. 

The best edition of Bellenden's Boece is that 
edited, with a biographical introduction by Thomas 
Maitland, Lord Dundrennan, and published at Edin- 
burgh in two volumes, quarto, in 182 1. The only 
edition of the Livy is one by the same editor, printed 
in 1822 from a manuscript in the Advocates' Library. 
The translation extends only to the first five books 
of the original, though it was Bellenden's intention 
to furnish a complete version of his author. The 
work actually done is characterised, like the transla- 
tion of Boece, by great fluency and vividness, and a 
natural happiness of style. 

But it is to Bellenden's work as a poet that the 
chief consideration is here due. To each of his three 
translations he prefixed a poetical proheme, or preface, 
of some length ; before the title-page of his Boece 
appears a quaint " Excusation of the Prentar " which 
must be attributed to him; and a separate poem of 
twenty-two stanzas by him, entitled "The Benner of 
Pietie, concerning the Incarnatioun of our Saluiour 
Chryst," forms one of the duplicate articles in the 
Bannatyne MS., printed by the Hunterian Club, 
1878-86.* These five compositions represent his 
entire poetical achievement so far as is known. 

*This MS., by the older writers on Bellenden, is called some- 
times the " Carmichael Collection," from the name of the owner 
who lent it to Allan Ramsay, sometimes the " Hyndford MS.," 
from John, third Earl of Hyndford, who presented it to the Advo- 
cates' Library. This difference of appellation has not lessened 
the confusion hitherto involving the poet and his work. 


Though printed each in its due place, as above 
indicated, they have never been collected in a single 
volume. * 

Bellenden's chief poem is the proheme to the 
cosmographe prefixed to his translation of Boece. It 
bears no real relation to the work which it precedes, 
and is believed to have been written before 1530. 
Modelled upon the classical allegory of the " Choice 
of Hercules," it is addressed to James V., and with 
great tact seeks to convey a somewhat pertinent moral 
lesson to that youthful monarch. The original title 
of the composition is understood to have been 
"Virtew and Vyce"; and after the poetic fashion 
of its time the allegory is cast in form of a dream. 
It describes the wooing of a handsome young prince, 
whose personality can hardly be mistaken, by two 
lovely and splendidly attired ladies. Delight and 
Virtue. With quaint shrewdness the poet contrives 
to awaken at the proper moment, saving himself the 
invidious task of describing the prince's choice. 

The proheme to the history is a graver and less 
poetical production, though bearing a closer relation 
to the work which follows. The chief object of 
history, it declares in effect, is to set forth the noble 
deeds of the past as an example to the present — 
a task performed with great array of classic informa- 
tion. The most striking passage of the poem is the 

*The prohemes from the translation of Boece, after being 
copied in part by Bannatyne in his MS., were inckidcd in 
Ramsay's Evergreen and in Sibbald's Chronicle of Scottish Poetry. 
The prologue to Livy was printed first by Dr. Leyden in the 
dissertation prefixed to his edition of The Complaynt of Scotland. 


descant on nobility, which occupies nine out of the 
twenty-nine stanzas. Some of the lines in this have 
all the incisiveness of the clearest-cut aphorism. 

Somewhat the same theory of history forms the 
burden of the prologue to Livy. The chief interest 
of this piece consists, perhaps, as Lord Dundrennan 
pointed out, in its representation of James V. as a 
patron of literature. The opening stanzas, however, 
are not without a certain warlike resonance suited to 
a prelude of Roman deeds of arms. 

Altogether, though not of the era-making order, 
and though comparatively limited in quantity, the 
poetry of Bellenden is worthy of more attention than 
it has hitherto received. In allegoric method and in 
form of verse it follows the fashion of its day, and 
it shares that fashion's faults ; but, these drawbacks 
apart, it is marked by great skill and smoothness of 
versification, by no small descriptive charm, and by 
a certain happy vividness of imagery which again and 
again surprises and delights the reader. One can 
almost feel the breath of 

Notus brim, the wind meridiane, 
With wingis donk, and pennis full of rane; 

and a seascape rises instantly before the eye at 
mention of the 

Carvell ticht, fast tending throw the se. 
Beyond this, Bellenden shows himself a careful 
student of human nature, with more than one 
significant word to say upon the subject. 


The Proheme of the Costttographe prefixed to Boece's History. 

|UHEN silvir Diane, ful of bemis bricht, 
Fra dirk ^ eclips wes past, this othir nicht, ' From dark. 
And in the Crab, hir propir mansion, gane; 
Artophilax contending at his micht 
In the gret eist to set his visage richt, 
I mene the ledar of the Charle-wane, 
Abone^ our heid wes the Ursis twane; = Above. 

Quhen .sterris small obscuris in our sicht 
And Lucifer left twinkland him allane ; 

The frosty nicht with hir prolixit houris 

Hir mantill quhit spred on the tender flouris ; 

Quhen ardent lauboure hes addressit mc 
Translait the story of our progenitouris, 
Thair gret manheid, hie wisdome, and honouris ; 

Quhen we may cleir as in ane mirroure se 

The furius end, sum-time, of tirannie. 
Sum-time the glore of prudent governouns 

Ilk stait apprisit3 in thair faculte; 

3 valued. 

My wery spreit desiring to repres 
My emptive pen of frutles besines, 

Awalkit furth to tak the recent aire; 
Quhen Priapus, with stormy weid oppres, 



Raqueistit me in his maist tendernes 

To rest ane quhile amid his gardingis bare, 
'could. Bot I no maner couth ^ my mind prepare 

To set aside unplesand hevines, 

On this and that contempUng solitare. 

= unworthy. 

3 Till. 

4 harried. 

And first occurrit to my remembring 
How that I wes in service with the King, 

Put to his Grace in yeris tenderest, 
Clerk of his Comptis, thoucht I wes inding^, 
With hart and hand and every othir thing 

That micht him pleis in ony maner best; 

Quhill3 hie invy me from his service kest 
Be thaim that had the Court in governing, 

As bird but plumes heryit^ of the nest. 

3 though. 
6 cares. 

Our life, our giding, and our aventuris 
Dependis from thir hevinlie creaturis 

Apperandlie be sum necessite. 
For thoucht 5 ane man wald set his besy curis^, 
So far as laboure and his wisdome furis, 

To fle hard chance of infortunite; 

Thoucht he eschew it with difficulte, 
7 doom yet con- 'pj^g cm-git weird yit ithandlie enduris? 

stantly endures. ■' ' 

Gevin to him first in his nativitie. 

8 earthly. 

9 swam. 

Of erdlie^ stait bewaling thus the chance, 
Of fortoun gud I had na esperance. 
So lang I swomit9 in hir seis deip 

"deifbefauon. That sad avising^ with hir thochtful lance 


Couth find na port to ankir hir firmance; 
Quhill Morpheus, the drery god of sleip, 
For very reuth did on my curis weip, 

And set his sleuth' and deidly contenance 
With snorand vanis throw my body creip. 


« slothful. 

Me-thocht I was in-to ane plesand meid, 
Quhare Flora maid the tender blewmis spreid 

Throw kindlie dew and humouris nutrative, 
Quhen goldin Titan, with his flammis reid, 
Abone the seis rasit up his heid, 

Diffounding^ down his heit restorative 

To every frute that nature maid on live, 
Quhilk wes afore in-to the winter deid, 

For stormis cald and frostis penitrives. 

= Diffusing. 

3 penetrative. 

Ane silver fontane sprang of watter cleir 
In-to that place quhare I approchit neir 

Quhare I did sone espy ane fellown reird'* 
Of courtly gallandis in thair best maneir 
Rejosing thaim in season of the yeir, 

As it had bene of Mayis day the feirds. 

Thair gudlie havingis maid me nocht affeird \ 
With thaim I saw ane crownit King appeir, 

With tender downis rising on his beird. 

4 loud noise. 

S fourth. 

Thir courtlie gallandis settand thair intentis 
To sing, and play on divers instrumentis. 

According to this Princis appetit; 
Two plesand ladyis come pransand ouir the bentis^;*^^^^^'^''^- 



I revenues. 

2 was named. 

Thair costlie clethin schew thair michty rentis'. 

Quhat hart micht wis, thay wantit nocht ane mit ; 

The rubeis schone apone thair fingaris quhit; 
And finalie I knew, be thair consentis, 

This ane Virtew, that other hecht^ Delite. 

3 as they 

deemed best. 

4 splendour. 

5 enterprise. 
S choose. 

Thir goddesses arrayit in this wise, 
As reverence and honoure list devise. 

Afore this Prince fell down apon thair kneis. 
Syne dressit thaim in-to thair best avises, 
So far as wisdome in thair power lyis. 

To do the thing that micht him best appleis 

Quhare he rejosit in his hevinly gleis"*; 
And him desirit, for his hie empryiss, 

Ane of thaim two unto his lady cheis^. 

And first Delite unto this Prince said thus, 
" Maist vailyeant knicht, in dedis amorus, 
7 most agreeable. And lustiest^ that cvir nature wrocht. 

8 Who. 

9 earth. 

Quhilk^ in the floure of youth mellifluus. 
With notis sweit and sang melodius 
Awalkis heir amang the flouris soft, 
Thow hes no game bot in thy mery thocht. 
My hevinly blis is so delicius. 

All welth in erd?, bot it, avails nocht. 

10 powerful. 

"Thoucht thow had France, and Italic also, 
Spane, Inglande, Pole, with othir realmes mo, 

Thoucht thow micht regne in stait maist glorius, 
Thy pissant'° kingdome is nocht worth ane stro 


Gif it unto thy pleseir be ane fo, 

Or trubill thy mind with curis dolorus. 

Thair is na-thing may be so odius 
To man, as leif' in miserie and wo, >iive. 

Defraudand God of nature genius. 

" Dres the thairfore with all thy besy cure, 
That thow in joy and pleseir may indure, 

Be sicht of thir= four bodyis elementar; ' ^Uii? °^ 

Two hevy and grosse, and two ar licht and pure. 
Thir elementis, be wirking of nature, 

Douth change in othir; and thocht thay be richt far 

Fra othir severit, with qualiteis contrar. 
Of thaim ar maid all levand creature. 

And finalie in thaim resolvit ar. 

" The fire in air, the air in watter cleir, 

In erd the watter turnis without weir3, sttoubt. 

The erd in watter turnis ouir agane, 
So furth in ordour; na-thing consumis heir. 
Ane man new borne beginnis to appeir 

In othir figure than afore wes tane"*; 4 was taken. 

Quhen he is deid the mater dois remane, 
Thoucht it resolve in-to sum new maneir; 

No-thing new, nocht bot the forme is gane. 

" Thus is no-thing in erd bot fugitive, 
Passand and cumand be spreiding successive. 

And as ane beist, so is ane man consave 
Of seid infuse in membris genitive, 



And furth his time in pleseir dois ouir-drive, 
As chance him ledis, quhill he be laid in grave. 
Thairfore thy hevin and pleseir now ressave 

Quhill thow art heir in-to this present live; 
For eftir deith thow sail na pleseir have. 

1 without. 

2 prevent. 

3 must. 

4 devoured. 

S folded. 

fi To caress and 

" The rose, the lillyis, and the violet, 
Unpullit, sone ar with the wind ouirset. 

And fallis doun but ' ony frut, I wis : 
Thairfore I say, sen that no-thing may let^ 
Bot thy bricht hew mon3 be with yeris fret 4, 

(For every-thing bot for ane season is,) 

Thow may nocht have ane more excellent blis 
Than ly all nicht in-to min armis plets, 

To hals and brais^ with mony lusty kis, 

7 wit. 

8 pleasure. 

" And have my tender body be thy side. 
So propir, fet, quhilk nature hes provide 

With every pleseir that thow may devine. 
Ay quhill my tender yeris be ouir-slide. 
Than gif it pleis that I thy bridill gide 

Thow mon alway fra agit men decline; 

Sine dres thy hart, thy curage, and ingine^ 
To sufifir nane into thy hous abide 

Bot gif thay will unto thy lust^ incline. 

9 float. 

" Gif thow desiris in the seis fleit9 

Of hevinly blis, than me thy lady treit ; 

For it is said be clerkis of renoun 
Thair is na pleseir in this eird so gret 



As quhen ane luffar dois his lady meit, 
To quikin his Ufe of raony deidly swon. 
As hiest pleseir but comparison 

I sail the geif, into thy yeris svvete, 

Ane lusty halk with mony plumis broun, 

" Quhilk sal be found so joyus and plesant, 
Gif thow unto hir mery flichtis hant^ 

Of every blis that may in erd appeir, 
As hart will think, thow sail no plente want, 
Quhill yeris swift, with quhelis properant^ 

Consume thy strenth and all thy bewte cleir." 

And quhen Delite had said on this maneir, 
As rage of youtheid thocht maist relevant 

Than Virtew said as ye sail eftir heir. 

• give practice. 

- with forward- 
moving wheels. 

" My landis braid, with mony plentuus schire^, 
Sail gif thy Hienes, gif thou list desire. 

Triumphant glore, hie honoure, fame devine, 
With sic pissance that thaim na furius ire. 
Nor werand^ age, nor flame of birnand fire. 

Nor bitter deith, may bring unto rewine. 

Bot thow mon first insuffer mekill pines, 
Abone thy-self that thow may have empire ; 

Than sail thy fame and honoure have na fine^ 

3 shires, iit. dis- 
tricts sheared 

4 vexing. 

S much pain. 

6 end. 

" My realme is set among my fois all ; 
Quhilkis hes with me ane weir 7 continewall, 

And evir still dois on my bordour ly ; 
And, thoucht thay may no wayis me ouirthrall^, 

7 war. 

i overcome. 

' constant war- 


Thay ly in wait, gif ony chance may fall 
Of me sum-time to get the victory. 
Thus is my life ane ithand chevalryM 

Laubour me haldis Strang as ony wall 
» makes breach in. And no-thing brckis^ me bot slogardy. 

" Na fortoun may aganis me availl 
Thoucht scho with cludy stormis me assaill. 
I brek the streme of scharp adversite. 

3 serene. j^ wcddir louin3, and maist tempestius haill, 

But ony dreid, I beir ane equall saill, 
My schip so Strang that I may nevir de. 
Wit, reason, manheid, governis me so hie, 

No influence nor sterris may prevaill 
To regne on me with infortunite. 

4 not be daunted. <« The rage of youthcid may nocht dan tit be'* 

But gret distres and scharp adversite; 

As be this reason is experience — 
The finest gold or silver that we se 
May nocht be wrocht to our utilite 

But flammis kene and bitter violence. 

The more distres the more intelligence. 
Quhay salis lang in hie prosperitie 

Ar sone ouirset be stormy violence. 

" This fragill life, as moment induring. 
But dout sail the and every pepill bring 
s certain. To sickirs bUs Or than eternal wo. 

Gif thow be honest lauboure dois ane thing. 



Thy panefuU laubour sail vanes but tarying', 
Howbeit thy honest werkis do nocht so. 
Gif thow be lust dois ony thing also, 

The schamefull deid, without dissevering, 
Remanis ay, quhen pleseir is ago^. 

' shall vanish 
without delay. 

' gone. 

" As carvell ticht, fast tending throw the se, 
Levis na prent amang the wallis hie ; 

As birdis swift, with mony besy plume, 
Peirsis the aire, and waits nocht quhare thay fle; 
Siclik^ our life, without activite, 

Giffis na frut, howbeit ane schado blume. 

Quhay dois thair life into this erd consume 
Without virtew, thair fame and memorie 

Sail vanis soner than the rekys fume. 

3 know. 

4 In such fashion. 

5 smoky. 

"As watter purgis and makis bodyis fair, 
As fire be nature ascendis in the aire 

And purifyis with heitis vehement. 
As floure dois smell, as frute is nurisare. 
As precius balme revertis thingis sare^ 

And makis thaim of rot impacient, 

As spice maist swete, as ros maist redolent. 
As stern of day 7, be moving circulare, 

Chasis the nicht with bemis resplendent; 

* converts sores. 

7 the day, 
i.e. the sun. 

"Siclik my werk perfitis^ every wicht 
In fervent luf of maist excellent licht. 

And makis man into this erd but peir9, 
And dois the saule fra all corruptioun dicht' 

8 perfects. 

9 without peer. 

10 wipe, cleanse. 



With odoure dulce, and makis it more bricht 
Than Diane full, or yit Appollo cleir, 
sphere. gine rasis it unto the hiest speir', 

Immortaly to schine in Goddis sicht, 
As chosin spous and creature most deir. 

2 called. 

3 hurts. 

4 mingled. 

"This othir wenche, that clepit^ is Delite, 
Involvis man, be sensuall appetite. 

In every kind of vice and miserie; 
Becaus na wit nor reason is perfite 
Quhan scho is gide, bot skaithis3 infinite, 

With doloure, schame, and urgent poverte. 

For sche wes get of frothis of the see, 
Quhilk signifies, hir pleseir vennomit 

Is midlit4 ay with scharp adversite. 

5 warlike rage. 

6 slit. 

7 delicate. 

" Duke Hanniball, as mony authouris wrait, 
Throw Spanye come, be mony passage strait, 

To Italy in furour bellicalls; 
Brak doun the wallis, and the montanis slait^. 
And to his army maid ane oppin gait, 

And victoryis had on the Romanis all. 

At Capua, be pleseir sensuall, 
This Duk wes maid so soft and diligait^ 

That with his fois he wes sone ouirthrall. 

8 warlike. 

9 reigned. 

" Of feirs Achill the weirlie^ dedis sprang 
In Troy and Grece quhill he in virtew rang 9: 
How lust him slew it is bot reuth to heir. 
Siclik the Trojanis, with thair knichtis Strang 



The vailyeant Grekis fra thair roumes dang', 

Victoriuslie exercit mony yeir : 

That nicht thay went to thair lust and pleseir 
The fatall hors did throw thair wallis fang^ =bite 

Quhais prignant sidis war full of men of weir. 

' drove from their 

" Sardanapall, the prince effeminat, 
Fra knichtlie dedis wes degenerat; 

Twinand the thredis of the purpur lint 
With fingaris soft, amang the ladyis sat, 
And with his lust couth nocht be saciat, 

Quhill of his fois come the bitter dint. 

Quhat nobill men and ladyis hes bene tints 
Quhen thay with lustis wer intoxicat, 

To schaw at lenth, my toung suld nevir stints. 

3 lost. 


"Thairfore Camil, the vailyeant chevaleir, 
Quhen he the Gallis had dantit be his weirS, 

Of heritable landis wald have na recompence; 
For, gif his barnis^ and his freindis deir 
Wer virtewis, thay couth nocht fail ilk yeir 

To have ineuch be Romane providence; 

Gif thay wer gevin to vice and insolence 
It wes nocht neidfull for to conques geir? 

To be occasioun of thair incontinence. 

5 daunted by his 

6 children. 

7 acquire sub- 

"Sum nobill men, as poetis list declare, 
Wer deifeit^, sum goddis of the aire, 

Sum of the hevin, as Eolus, Vulcan, 
Saturn, Mercury, Appollo, Jupitare, 


' illustrious. 

» high above 



Mars, Hercules, and othir men preclare% 
That glore immortall in thair livis wan. 
Quhy wer thir peple callit goddis than? 

Becaus thay had ane virtew singulare, 
Excellent, hie abone ingine^ of man. 

3 repulsive. 

4 darkness. 

"And otheris ar in reik sulphurius; 
As Ixion, and wery Sisiphus, 

Eumenides the Furyis richt odibill, 
The proud giandis, and thristy Tantalus; 
With huglie3 drink and fude most vennomus, 

Quhare flammis bald and mirknesf ar sensibill. 

Quhy ar thir folk in panis so terribill? 
Becaus thay wer bot schrewis vicius 

Into thair life, with dedis most horribill. 

"And thoucht na frute wer eftir consequent 
Of mortall life, bot for this warld present 
5 solely. Ilk man to have allanerlies respect, 

Yit virtew suld fra vice be different 
As quik fra deid, as rich fra indigent. 
That ane to glore and honour ay direct, 
This othir, saule and body, to neclect; 
That ane of reason most intelligent. 

This othir of beistis following the affect. 

6 would not. "For he that nold^ aganis his lustis strive, 

'consciourof Bot Icififis as beist of knawlege sensitive?, 
sages!^^^ ^^ Eildis^ richt fast, and deith him sone ouir-halis9, 

9 overhauls. Thairfore the mule is of ane langar live 


Than stonit hors; also the barant wive' . 
Apperis young quhen that the brudie falls' 
We se also, quhen nature nocht prevails, 

The pane and dolour ar sa pungitive 
No medicine the pacient avails. 


■ barren wife. 
" the prolific fails. 

"Sen thow hes hard baith our intentis thus, 
Cheis of us two the maist delitius; 

First, to sustene ane scharp adversite, 
Danting the rage of youtheid furius. 
And sine posseids triumphe innumerus. 

With lang empire and hie felicite; 

Or half, ane moment, sensualite 
Of fuliche youth, in life voluptuous, 

And all thy day is full of miserie." 

3 And then 

Be than, Phebus his firy cart did wry 
Fra south to west, declinand besaly 

To dip his steidis in the occeane, 
Quhen he began ouirsilc^ his visage dry 
With vapouris thik, and cloudis full of sky, 

And Notus brims, the wind meridiane 

With wingis donk and pennis full of rane, 
Awalkenit me, that I micht nocht aspy 

Quhilk of thaim two was to his lady tanc. 

4 corer over. 

5 strong, raging. 

Bot sone I knew thay war the goddesses 
That come in sleip to vailyeant Hercules 

Quhen he was young and fre of every lore 
To lust or honour, poverte or riches. 

• adorn. 




Quhen he contempnit lust and idilnes 
That he in virtew micht his Hfe decore', 
And werkis did of maist excellent glore. 

The more incressit his panefuU besines, 

His hie triumphe and loving^ was the more. 

Thair, throw this morall eruditioun 
Quhilk come, as said is, in my visioun, 

I tuke purpos, or I forthir went. 
To write the story of this regioun, 
3 champion. With dcdis of mony illuster campioun3. 

And, thoucht the pane apperis vehement, 

To mak the story to the redaris more patent 
I will begin at the discriptioun 

Of Albion, in maner subsequent. 


Frovi the Pro/ieine to the Translation of Boece's History. 

For iiobilnes sum-time the loving is', 

That cumis be meritis of our eldaris gone. 

As Aristotill writis in his Rethorikis, 

Amang nobiUis, quhay castin thaim repone" 
Mon3 dres thair Hfe and dedis one be one 

To male thaim worthy to have memore 
For honour to thair prince or nation, 

To be in glore to thair posterite. 

• the praise is. 

- those who pro- 
pose to take 

'^ must. 

Ane-othir kind thair is of nobilnes 
That cumis be infusion naturall, 

And makis ane man sa full of gentilnes, 
Sa curtes, plesand, and sa liberall. 
That every man dois him ane nobill call. 

The lion is sa nobill, as men tellis, 

He cannot rage aganis the bestis small, 

Bot on thaim quhilkis^ his majeste rebellis. 

4 whicli. 

The awfulls churle is of ane-othir strind''. 

Thoucht he be borne to vilest servitude 
Thair may na gentrice? sink into his mind. 

To help his freind or nichtbour with his gud. 



S fcirful. 

^ strain, race. 

7 courtesy. 

I same stock. 

■ overcome. 



The bludy wolf is of the samin stude'; 
He feris gret beistis and ragis on the small, 

And leififis in slauchter, tyranny, and blud. 
But ony mercy, quhare he may ouirthrall^. 

This man is born ane nobill, thovv will say, 

And gevin to sleuth and lust immoderat : 
All that his eldaris wan, he puttis away, 

And fra thair virtew is degenerat; 

The more his eldaris fame is elevat 
The more thair life to honour to approche ; 

Thair fame and loving ay interminat, 
The more is ay unto his vice reproche. 

3 host. Amang the oists of Grekis, as we hard. 

Two knichtis war, Achilles and Tersete; 
That ane maist vailyeand, this othir maist coward. 

Better is to be, sayis Juvinall the poete, 

Tersetis son, havand Achilles sprete. 
With manly force his purpos to fulfill, 

Than to be lord of every land and strete, 

4 come, begotten. And syne maist cowart, cumin ^ of Achill. 

5 care. 

' dying. 

Man, callit ay maist nobill creature, 

Becaus his life maist reason dois assay, 
Ay sekand honour with his besy cures. 

And is na noble quhen honour is away. 

Thairfore he is maist nobill man, thow say, 
Of all estatis, under reverence, 

That vailyeantly doith close the latter day, 
Of native cuntre deand^ in defence. 



The glore of armis and of forcy dedis/ « powerful deeds. 

Quhen thay ar worthy to be memoriall, 
Na les be wit than manheid ay procedis. 

As PHnius wrait in Story Natural!, 

Ane herd of hertis is more strong at all, 
Havand ane lion aganis the houndis foure, 

Than herd of lionis arrayit in battall, 
Havand ane hert to be thair governoure. 

Quhen fers Achilles was be Paris slane, 

Amang the Grekis began ane subtell plede, 
Quhay was maist nobill and prudent capitane 

Into his place and armour to succede; 

Quhay couth ^ thaim best in every dangeir lede, = who could. 
And sauf3 thair honour as he did afore. 3 save, preserve. 

The vailyeant Ajax wan not for his manhede 
Quhen wise Ulysses bure away the glore. 

Manhede but prudence is ane fury blind, 

And bringis ane man to schame and indegence. 
Prudence but manhede cumis oft behind, 

Howbeit it have na les intelligence 

Of thingis to cum than gone, be sapience. 
Thairfore quhen wit and manhede doith concurre 

Hie honour risis with magnificence : 
For glore to noblis is ane groundin spurre. 



From the '■^Prolong apoun the Traduction of Titus Livius."* 

Armipotent lady, Bellona serene, 
I hazards of war. Goddcs of wisdome and jeoperdyis of were^ 
Sister of Mars, and ledare of his rene. 

And of his batallis awfull messingere ! 

Thy werelyke trumpett thounder in mine ere — 
The horribill battellis and the bludy harmes — 
To write of Romanis, the nobil men of armes. 

And bricht AppoUo with thy cours eterne, 
That makis the frutis spring on every ground, 

And with thy mychty influence dois governe 
^""worW."^^ The twynkland sternes about the mappamound'^! 

3 diffuse. 'pj^y fyjy yisage on my vers diffound3, 

dull mteifig^nce^ And quikin the spretis of my dull ingine-* 
'iame""^' With rutilands bemes of thy low^ divine. 

And ye my soverane be line continewall, 
' Ay cum of kingis your progenitouris, 

And writis in ornate stile poeticall 

Quik-flowand vers of rethorik cuUouris, 

* The prologue consists of twenty stanzas, of which the first 
four and the last are here printed. 



Sa freschlie springand in youre lusty flouris 
To the grete comforte of all trew Scottismen, 
Be now my muse and ledare of my pen ! 

That be youre helpe and favoure gracius 
I may be abill, as ye commandit me, 

To follow the prince of storie, Livius, 
Quhais curious ressouns tonit ar so hie. 
And every sens sa full of majeste 

That so he passes uther stories all, 

As silver Diane dois the sternis^ small. 

' stars. 

For I intend of this difficill werk 
To male ane end or I my lauboure stint % 

War not the passage and stremes ar sa stark3, 
Quhare I have salit, full of crag and clynf, 
That ruddir and takillis of my schip ar tynts; 

And thus my schip, without ye mak support 

Wil peris lang or^ it cum to the port. 

= stop. 

3 stronjj, hard to 


4 hard rock. 

5 lost. 

6 perish long ere. 


Prefixed to the Translation of Boece's History. 

• Spirit. Ingyne' of man be inclinatioun 

In sindry wyse is geuin, as we se. 
Sum men ar geuin to detractioun, 
Inuy, displeseir, or malancolie, 
And to thair nychbouris hes no cherite. 
Sum ar so nobill and full of gentilnes, 
Thay luf no-thing bot joy and merynes. 

2 Some are deep. Sum ar at vndir% and sum maid vp of nocht: 

thinking. , . • 

3 war. Sum men lufifis peace, and sum desiris weir 3. 

Sum is so blyth in-to his mery thocht 

4 cares. He curis* nocht, so he may perseueir 

In grace and fauour of his lady deir. 
6f^f^; Sum boldins at othir in maist cruell feid^ 

7 death. With lance and dagar rynnis to the deid^. 

Ane hes that mycht ane hundreth weil sustene, 

8 lives. And leiffis^ in wo and pennance at his table, 

9 of good fellows p^^^ Qf (J fallois comptis nocht ane bene 9: 

counts not a o i- ' 

bean. jjjg wrcchit myud is so insaciable; 

As heuin and hell wer no-thing bot ane fable 
ioHeburns,with-He bimis ay, but sycht'° to gud or euil, 

out regard. 

And rynnis with all his baggis to the deuil. 



And I the prentar, that dois considir well 
Thir sindry myndis of men in thair leuing', 

Desiris nocht hot on my laubour leil^ 

That I mycht leif, and of my just wynnyng 
Mycht first pleis God, and syne our noble Kyng, 

And that ye reders bousum and attents 

Wer of my laubour and besynes content. 

' living. 
= loyal. 

3 and 

And in this wark, that I haue heir assailyeit 
To bring to lycht, maist humely I exhort 

Yow nobill reders, quhare that I haue failyeit 
In letter, sillabe, poyntis lang or schort. 
That ye will of your gentrice it support 4, 

And talc the sentences the best wyse ye may; 

I sail do better, will God, ane-othir day. 

4 of your courtesy 

forbear with it. 

5 composition. 


The opening stanzas of ^^ The Benner of Piette." 

QuHEN goldin Phebus movit fra the Ram 
Into the Bull to mak his mansioun, 

And hornit Dean in the Virgin cam 
With visage paill in hir assentioun, 
Approcheand to hir oppositioun; 

Quhen donk Awrora with hir mistie schowris, 
Fleand of skyis the bricht reflexioun, 
'scattered. Hir silucr tciris skalit^ on the flouris; 

The sesoun quhen the greit Octauian 
dearth. Baith erd^ and seis had in his gouernance 

With diademe as roy Cesarian 

In maist excellent honor and plesance, 

With every gloir that micht his fame advance; 

Quhen he the croun of hie triumphe had worne, 
Be quhais peax and royell ordinance 

3 declared rebel. The furious Mars wes blawin to the home 3: 

See note, p. 97. ' 

4 same. The samyne'* tyme quhen God omnipotent 

Beheld of man the greit callamitie, 
And thocht the tyme wes than expedient 
Man to redeme fra thrald captiuite, 


And to reduce him to felicitie 
With body and sawle to be glorificat 

Quhilk wes condempnit in the lymb' to bie 'Umbo. 

Fra^ he wes first in syn prevaricat; ''^S!'^"'"^ 

Before the Fader, Mercye than appeiris 

With flude of teris rainnand fra hir ene, 
Said, "Man hes bene in hell fyve thowsand j'eiris, 

Sen he wes maid in feild of Damascene, 

And cruwall tormentis dayly dois sustene 
But ony confort, cryand for mercie. 

How may thy grace nocht with thy pietie mene^ 3 lament. 
Oif thy awin* werk the greit infirmitie?" lo^vn. 

"And be the contrare," then said Veretie, 

" Thy word eterne but end is permanent, 
Vnalterat, but mvtabilitie, 

Withowttin slicht of ony argument \ 

Quhen Adame wes fund inobedient 
In Paradice thruche his ambitioun, 

Perpetualy, be richtous jugement. 
Off thy blist visage tynts fruisioun." siost. 

Than Pece said, " Lord haif in thy memorie 

That man, thy wark, was creat to that fyne^ ''e"<^' 
That he micht haif perfyte felicitie 

With the aboif the hevynis cristellyne — 

Quhilk Lucifer did thrwch his foly tyne — 
Sumtyme maid to thy image worthiest : 

It wes said than be prophecie devyne 
That thow sowld sleip and in my bosom rest." 



' aggravated. 

2 suffer. 

3 death. 

And Justice said, "His odius offence 
Contrare thy hie excellent dignitie, 

His oppin syn and wilfull negligence, 

Befoir thy sicht sowld mair aggregit' bie, 
Sen thow art Alpha, O, and Veretie : 

Be richtous dome, Adame and all his seid, 
For tressone done agane thy maiestie, 

Condempnit is to thoill^ the bitter deid3." 

Thir ladeis foure, contending beselie 

With argumentis and mony strong repplyis, 
Beffoir the blissit Fader equalie, 

Sum for justice, and sum for mercie cryis. 

The Fader vvret ane sentence in this wyiss, 
" For tressone done aganis oure maiestie, 

The bittir deid salbe ane sacrifyiss 
The grit offence of man to satisfie." 



More romance is associated in the popular mind of 
Scotland with the career of James the Fifth than with 
that of any other of the romantic race of Stuart, except 
perhaps the last of the line, the hero of the '45. For 
three centuries stories of the amours and escapades 
of "the Gudeman of Ballengeich" have formed the 
familiar tradition of the countryside ; his exploits have 
been the subject of innumerable songs, ballads, and 
minstrel lays, from "The Jolly Beggar" itself, to 
"The Lady of the Lake"; and even at the present day 
the eye of a Scotsman kindles with lively reminiscence 
at mention of the kindly " King of the Commons." 

Son of that gallant James who fell at Flodden, and 
of Margaret, the hot-blooded sister of Henry VIIL, 
he might have been predicted to make for himself a 
life more eventful than that of most men. His time, 
besides, fell at a crisis in Scottish history — the meeting 
of the counter currents of the old order and the new 
in the Reformation. Whatever the causes, the fact 
remains that from his birth at Linlithgow on loth 
April, 15 1 2, till his death at Falkland on 14th 


December, 1542, the career of James V. presents a 
continuous series of personal episodes as dramatic as 
anything on the historic stage. Dating his reign from 
the most tragic disaster in Scottish history, he was 
crowned King of Scotland before he could speak, 
a month after his father's death on the battlefield. 
Smiled on by the Muses in his cradle, his childish 
gambols have been made a sunny picture for all time 
by the verses of his childhood's companion, one of 
the greatest of the national poets. Invested with the 
sceptre at twelve years of age, at sixteen he suddenly 
astonished his enemies by proving that he could wield 
it, making himself at one stroke and in a few hours 
absolute master of Scotland. 

Nothing, perhaps, shows one side of the character 
of James — his decision, daring, and resolute energy — 
better than the transaction of the night in May, 1528, 
when, slipping the Douglas leash at Falkland, he 
galloped through the defiles of the Ochils with Jockie 
Hart, and appeared at once as unquestioned king 
among his nobles at Stirling. As energetic, however, 
and almost as dramatic were the young monarch's 
measures for restoring order in his disordered realm. 
Under the Douglas usurpation every abuse had been 
rampant, might had everywhere overridden right, and 
outrage had everywhere scorched the land with sorrow 
and fire. Such a state of things was only to be 
righted by an iron hand, and if the acts of James 
have sometimes appeared severe to modern eyes, 
there can be no doubt that severity was needed. In 
particular, the young king's descent upon the Border 


has been remembered in story and song.* Shutting 
up the Border lords beforehand in Edinburgh, 
he swept suddenly through Ettrick Forest, Eskdale, 
and Teviotdale, surprising freebooters like Cockburn 
of Henderland, Scott of Tushielaw, and Johnnie 
Armstrong, in their own fastnesses, and by the execu- 
tion of swift, sharp justice reduced these lawless regions 
forthwith to tranquillity. Rebellions in the Orkneys 
and the Western Isles were quelled with tact and 
promptitude ; the attempts of the Douglases upon 
the marches were met and defeated by superior force, 
and the insidious approaches of Henry VIII. were 
checkmated by sending a force of seven thousand 
Highlanders over seas to assist O'Donnel, the Irish 
chief, in his efforts to shake off the English yoke. 

One incident in the life of James illustrates vividly 
the spirit of extravagant devotion which the character 
of the Stuarts from first to last seems to have been 
capable of exciting in their followers. During a royal 
progress through his dominions the young king was 
entertained by the Earl of Athole in a sumptuous 
palace of wood erected for the occasion on a meadow 
at the foot of Ben y Gloe. Hung with tapestries of 
silk and gold, and lit by windows of stained glass, 
this palace, surrounded by a moat and by towers of 
defence in the manner of a feudal castle, lodged the 
king more luxuriously than any of his own resi- 
dences. Yet on the departure of the royal cavalcade 
the Earl, declaring that the palace which had lodged 

* The dramatic incidents of the raid have been immortalized 
in famous ballads like "Johnnie Armstrong;," "The Sang of the 
Outlaw Murray," and "The Border Widow's Lament." 


the sovereign should never be profaned by accommo- 
dating a subject, to the astonishment of the Papal 
legate who was present, ordered the whole fabric, with 
all that it contained, to be given to the flames. 

It was at this period of his life that James engaged 
in most of those romantic adventures by which, under 
his assumed name of " the Gudeman of Ballengeich," 
he is popularly remembered. He was as fearless as 
he was energetic, and upon tidings of misdeeds, how- 
ever remote, he made no hesitation in getting instantly 
on horseback and spurring at the head of his small 
personal retinue to attack and punish the evil-doers. 
In these excursions he constantly shared extreme 
perils and privations with his followers. These and 
the perils of his too frequent intrigues with the fair 
daughters of his subjects form the burden of most of 
the traditions current regarding him. One of the 
most characteristic of these traditions is preserved by 
Scott in his Tales of a Grandfather, was used by the 
great romancist for the plot of "The Lady of the 
Lake," and forms the subject of the favourite drama 
of " Cramond Brig." Another, hardly less dramatic 
and amusing, also preserved by Scott, is that of James's 
turning the tables upon Buchanan of Arnpryor, the 
bold " King of Kippen." 

None of his adventures, however, surpasses in 
romantic incident the weightier matter of the king's 
own marriage. In the hope of withdrawing Scotland 
from the support of France in the great continental 
rivalry then going on, the Emperor Charles V. had in 
turn offered James alUance with his sister, the Queen 


of Hungary, his niece the daughter of the King of 
Denmark, and with a second niece the Princess Mary 
of Portugal: while Henry VHI. had offered his own 
daughter Mary to the young monarch. In one case 
the whole of Norway was offered by way of dowry. 
But James had a mind of his own on the subject, 
and was not to be tempted from the ancient policy 
of the country. Sir David Lyndsay was accordingly 
despatched to arrange a marriage with the daughter 
of the Due de Vendome, the head of the princely 
house of Bourbon. The treaty was all but concluded, 
when suddenly, among the attendants of some nobles 
freshly arrived from Scotland, the princess recognised 
James himself. Irking at his envoy's delay he had hit 
upon this device for forming personal acquaintance 
with his bride, but his identity was betrayed by a 
portrait which he had previously sent her. For eight 
days he was sumptuously entertained by the Bourbons, 
but, dissatisfied in some way with the choice which 
had been made for him, he formed an excuse to visit 
the court of Francis I. There he fell in love with 
the king's eldest daughter, the fragile Princess 
Magdalene. She, it appears, became also passion- 
ately attached to him, and, notwithstanding all 
obstacles — the warnings of the physicians and the 
reluctance of Francis to expose his daughter to an 
inhospitable chmate, the two were married on ist 
January, 1537, and after four months of rejoicings 
and utmost happiness sailed for Scotland. The 
gallant fleet of fifty ships sailed up the Firth of 
Forth on the 28th of May, and it is narrated that as 



she landed to pass to Holyrood the fair young queen 
stooped down and kissed the soil of her husband's 

This romantic method of royal match-making, how- 
ever, must be considered to have cost James dear. 
His continued absence from the country had left room 
for the machinations of his enemies; his previous good 
fortune seemed, upon his return, to fail him ; and 
worst of all, amid the increasing troubles of the time he 
seems to have been oppressed by a certain foreboding. 

Forty days after landing, and while preparations were 
being made for her triumphal progress through the 
country, the seventeen-year-old queen died. "And," 
says Lindsay of Pitscottie, "the king's heavy moan 
that he made for her was greater than all the rest." 
A second marriage, it is true, was, for political reasons, 
and with the approval of Francis, forthwith arranged 
for James, and in the summer of 1538 Marie, daughter 
of the Due de Guise, was received with gallant dis- 
play by her royal consort at St. Andrews. But three 
months later, news arrived from France that the 
daughter of the Due de Vendome had sickened of her 
disappointment, and was dead. "Quhairat," to quote 
Pitscottie again, " when the King of Scotland got wit, 
he was highlie displeased (distressed), thinkand that he 
was the occasion of that gentlewoman's death also." 

Meanwhile the intrigues of Henry VIII. and the 
banished Douglases had succeeded in corrupting a 
great part of the Scottish nobility. Twice was the life 
of James attempted ; first by the Master of Forbes, a 
brother-in-law of the Earl of Angus, and next by 


Angus's sister, Janet Douglas, Lady Glammis. With 
envious eyes and diminishing loyalty the Scottish 
nobles saw the English peers enriched by Henry's 
distribution of the confiscated church lands, while 
James consistently refused to carry out the same 
plan of spoliation in Scotland. The climax of the 
young king's troubles was reached in 1542. Hitherto 
Henry VHL, in his designs upon the independence 
of the northern kingdom, had confined himself to 
the arts of policy and bribery, suborning the trusted 
servants of the crown, and embroiling James between 
the rights of the church and the ambition of the 
nobles. Now, however, the time seemed ripe, and he 
sent the English forces openly across the Border. 
These were met and routed with courage and promp- 
titude; and, overjoyed at his success, the Scottish 
king had made full preparations for retaliating, and 
was marching south at the head of his army, when 
at Fala his nobles suddenly refused to carry war into 
England, and forced him to abandon the campaign. 
This dishonour before his people, followed imme- 
diately by the disgraceful rout of a Scottish army at 
Solway Moss, broke the gallant young monarch's heart. 
To add to his sorrows his two infant sons had died 
Avithin a short time of each other. Upon hearing of 
the destruction of his troops he shut himself up in the 
palace of Falkland, where, overwhelmed with grief and 
despair, he sank under a burning fever. One hope 
still sustained him : the birth of an heir to the throne 
was hourly expected. On the 7th of December news 
arrived that the queen had been safely delivered. To 


the king's eager question the messenger repHed that the 
infant was "ane fair dochter." "Is it so?" said James; 
" Fairweill ! The crown cam with a lass, and it will 
gang with a lass." Whereupon, in the quaint words 
of Pitscottie, "he commendit himselff to the Almightie 
God, and spak litle from thensforth, hot turned his 
back to his lords and his face to the wall." On the 
14th of December he passed away. 

There exists an interesting description of James 
from the pen of Ronsard, who accompanied the queen 
from France and was a servant at the Scottish court. 

Ce Roy d'Escosse etoit en la fleur de ses ans ; 
Ses cheveux non tondues, comme fin or luisans, 
Cordonnez et crespez, flottans dessus sa face, 
Et, sur son cou de lait, luy donnoit bon grace. 
Son port etoit royal, son regard vigoureux, 
De vertus et d'honneur et de guerre amoureux ; 
La douceur et la force illustroit son visage, 
Si que Venus et Mars en avoient fait partage. 

,' Not yet thirty-one years of age at his death, and not- 
1 withstanding the corrupting influences to which in 
, early youth he had been purposely exposed by the 
Douglases, James had shown himself a noble and 
active prince. Had he gone with the tide and con- 
sented to gratify his courtiers with the plunder of 
the monasteries, like Henry VHI., his reign might 
have been less troubled and his memory less maligned 
by interested historians. He has been chiefly accused 
of an unrelenting severity towards members of the 
house of Douglas, and of cruelty in assenting to the 
death of Lady Glammis. Buchanan's assertion, how- 


ever, of the innocence of this lady, though followed 
by many historians, has been sufficiently answered by 
Tytler;* and James's consistent refusal to show favour 
to the Douglases can be blamed by no one who takes 
into consideration the king's early treatment by that 
house, the insult and ravage with which they met his 
assumption of power, their persistent attempts to 
undermine his authority and take his life, and the 
final success which, by his death in the prime of man- 
hood, finally crowned their efforts. Like his ancestor, 
the first of his name, James succeeded for a time in 
making "the bush keep the cow" in Scotland, and 
had he only been moderately supported by those who 
should have been his lieutenants, there can be no 
doubt that he would presently have made his realm a 
model of just administration. As it is, his reign must 
be honourably remembered for what he accomplished 
in this direction, and for the wise laws which he made 
for the restraint of feudal violence. A monument of 
his administrative power exists in the establishment 
of the College of Justice, which, under the name of 
the Court of Session, remains the supreme tribunal 
of Scotland to the present day. 

But there is reason for believing that James the Fifth 1 
left evidence of genius in another field. Drummond 
of Hawthornden in his History (p. 346) states that 
" James V. was naturally given to poesie, as many of 

* History of Scotland, vol. ii., p. 361, and note z. The his- 
torian shows that the attempt to poison the king was Ijy no 
means the first capital offence of which Lady Glammis had been 
convicted, though her youth and beauty were used by the 
reforming party to excite popular feeling against James. 


his works yet extant testifie." Bellenden in his pro- 
logue to Livy thus addresses the king : 

And ye, my soverane, be line continewall 
Ay cum of kingis youre progenitouris, 

And writis in ornate stile poeticall 

Quik-flowand vers of rethorik cullouris, 
Sa freschlie springand in yourc lusty flouris 

To the gret comfort of all trew Scottismen, 

Be now my Muse and ledare of my pen. 

And one of Lyndsay's poems, the "Answer maid to 

the Kingis Flyting" leaves no doubt on the subject. 

The writer begins by stating that he has read the 

monarch's "ragment," and he ends with a compliment 

on the royal verse : 

Now, Schir, fairweill, because I can nocht flyte ; 

And thocht I could I wer nocht till avance, 
Aganis your ornate meter to indyte. 

The fame of James V.'s poetical talents is even under- 
stood to have spread as far as Italy, and to have led 
to his mention by Ariosto.* 

Four separate poems attributed to James are extant 
at the present day — "Peblis to the Play," "Christis 
Kirk on the Grene," "The Gaberlunzieman," and 
" The Jolly Beggar." The authorship of the last two 
of these has at no time been seriously questioned. 
The authenticity of "Peblis to the Play" and "Christis 
Kirk," however, has been the subject of considerable 
debate, some critics assigning these two poems to 
James the First. The evidence on both sides may 
be briefly stated. 

John Mair, who wrote his history De Gestis Scotorum 
in 15 18, states that James I., among his other compo- 
* Orlando Furioso, canto xiii., stanzas 8 and 9. 


sitions, wrote a pleasant and skilful song, "At Beltayn," 
which, since the original was inaccessible, certain 
persons had sought to counterfeit. It happens that 
the opening stanza of "PebHs to the Play" begins 
with "At Beltane." This, with the fact of the poem's 
mention in "Christis Kirk," forms the chief plea for 
attributing "Peblis to the Play" to James I. Next, 
the earliest known copy of "Christis Kirk," that in 
the Bannatyne MS. (1568), is subscribed "Quod K. 
James the First." This is the only external evidence 
for ascribing the poem to that monarch. On the 
other hand, by those who dispute the authorship of 
James I., the slightness of Mair's evidence regarding 
" Peblis to the Play," and the presumption of Banna- 
tyne's blundering regarding "Christis Kirk," have 
been dwelt upon. "At Beltayn," it is remarked, was 
in the sixteenth century, by Mair's own statement, 
a hackneyed opening to a poem ; while, as for 
Bannatyne's colophon, it is pointed out that in the 
title of the next poem but one in his collection he 
writes "James the Fyift," or as some read it, "the 
Fyrst," in mistake for James the Fourth, and he may 
have made a similar error in regard to "Christis 
Kirk." In support of this view it is asserted* that by 
common tradition, previous to the discovery of the 
Bannatyne MS., these poems were invariably attri- 
buted to James V.; and this assertion is supported 
by the usage of the early writers, Dempster in the 
beginning of the seventeenth century. Bishop Gibson 
in 1691, and James Watson in 1706. The authority 

* Sibbald's Chronicle of Scottish Poetry. 


of these writers, however, no less than that of common 
tradition, has in turn been questioned by the sup- 
porters of the claim of James I.,* and it has been 
pointed out that in Maitland's MS. (1585) no name 
is appended to " Pebhs to the Play," an omission 
which, it is suggested, could hardly have occurred had 
Maitland known James V. to be the author. But 
again, in support of James V. it may reasonably be 
urged that the important poem of "Christis Kirk" is 
mentioned in their histories neither by Mair nor by 
Bellenden when dealing with James I. ; that that king 
is not even mentioned among the makars by Dunbar 
in his famous "Lament"; that none of the four poems 
is to be found in the MS. of John Asloan, written 
before James V.'s time, in 15 15; and that while 
Lyndsay in his earlier composition, the prologue to the 
"IJapyngo," in 1530,! makes no mention of James I. 
as a reputed author, in 1538, in his "Justyng betui.x 
Watsoun and Barbour," he pays "Christis Kirk" the 
compliment of copying several conspicuous expres- 
sions,! the natural inference being that "Christis 

* Irving's History of Scottish Poetry, p. 145. 

t The failure of Dunbar, Asloan, and Lyndsay to mention 
James I. upon the strength of "The Kingis Quair" may be 
accounted for by the situation of that poem, the only copy now 
known to exist being that contained in the Selden MS. in the 
Bodleian Library at Oxford. No such argument can account 
for the overlooking of popular pieces Hke "Christis Kirk" and 
"Peblis to the Play" had they been then in existence. 

J In " Christis Kirk " occur the expressions — 

"His lymmis wcs lyk twa rokkis; . 
Ran vpoun vtheris lyk rammis; . 
Bet on with barrow trammis;" 
and in "The Justyng " we find — 

" Quod Jhone, 'Ilowbeit thou thinkis my leggis lyke rokkis . . . 
Yit, thocht thy braunis be lyk twa barrow-trammis, 
Defend thee, inan!' Than ran thay to, lyk rammis." 


Kirk" was not composed before the former year. 
On the whole, therefore, the external evidence may 
be considered almost evenly balanced. The internal 
evidence is somewhat more delicate. 

The familiarity with peasant manners and character 
which both poems display had been made much of as 
an argument. This, however, can be held to prove 
nothing, since both James I. and James V. are said to 
have had the habit of wandering among their subjects 
in disguise. Neither can the language of the compo- 
sitions be taken as of much account. The more 
antique words, as in the expressions, "Ye sail pay 
at ye aucht," " He hydis tyt" and "On thame swyth,^' 
are paralleled by James V.'s contemporaries, Douglas 
and Lyndsay, and probably lingered late in the use 
of the common people whom the poems describe; 
while, on the other hand, more modern words, like 
"ane," "quha" (in the sense of "who"),* "began," 
and "happenis" (halfpence), which might be used to 
support the claims of James V., may be accounted 
for by changes introduced in transcription. An in- 
genious argument has been adduced from the use, 
or rather misuse of archery in "Christis Kirk."t 
James I., it appears, upon his return from captivity, 
made a law compelling the constant practice of the 
bow; and it has been suggested that that king, 
wishing to fortify the statutes of law by the aid of 
ridicule, wrote the poem as a satire upon the clum- 
siness of the Scottish peasantry in the use of the 

* See Murray's Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland, 
pp. 56 and 69. 

t Rogers' Poetical Remains of King James /., 1873. 


weapon. The same critics aver further that archery 
had become obsolete in the time of James V., 
hagbut and arquebus having taken its place. The 
argument, however, appears somewhat conjectural. 
According to Barbour's Bruce the bow was one of the 
chief Scottish weapons of war from the earliest times, 
and an island in Loch Lomond still bears the yew- 
trees said to have been planted by King Robert for 
its supply ; while so late as the time of Queen Mary 
the bow remained a favourite weapon in the field of 
sport, if not in the field of battle.* A serious obstacle 
ni the way of attributing these poems to James I. has 
been pointed out by Professor Skeat in the lateness of 
their style and metre. He remarks, as an instance, 
that in stanza 19 of "Peblis to the Play" we find 
stokks rhymed with ox^ whereas in the time of James I. 
the plural of stok was stokkis.\ Further, he remarks, 
" It will be found by no means easy to point out any 
undoubted example of the use of the rollicking metre 
(of these poems) anterior to the year 1450 ; whereas 
James I. died in 1437." Another point might be made 
of the fact that poems of this burlesque description 
seem to have been greatly in vogue about James V.'s 
time. It is enough to cite "The Tournament of 
Tottenham" printed by Percy, Dunbar's "Justis 
betuix the Tailyour and the Sowtar," Lyndsay's 

*In 1526-27, according to the Treasurer's Accounts, ;({^ 1 3 6s. 8d. 
was paid "to Johne Murray the Kingis harbour, for corsbowis, 
windaiss, and ganzies " (crossbows, pulleys, and arrows). And 
Alexander Scot in his poem "Of May," circa 1550, describes 
the merry gathering of archers " To schute at buttis, at bankis, 
and brais." 

t Introduction to The Kingis Quair, Scottish Text Society, 


" Justing betuix James Watsoun and Jhone Barbour," 
and Scot's "Justing at the Drum." The most cogent 
argument, however, should naturally be one derived 
from the general tone of the poems. On this point 
one writer, Guest, in his English Rhythms, has said, 
"One can hardly suppose those critics serious who 
attribute this song ('Christis Kirk') to the moral and 
sententious James I."; and Professor Skeat has added 
that "while there is no resemblance to 'The Kingis 
Quair' discoverable (in these poems), there is a 
marked dissimilarity in the tone, in the vocabulary, 
and in the metre." On the other hand, it is to be 
observed that the style and strain of humour, both 
of "Peblis to the Play" and of "Christis Kirk," 
resemble as closely as possible those of " The Gaber- 
lunzieman" and "The Jolly Beggar," which have 
always been attributed to James V., while they are 
also in entire keeping with what is known of the actual 
humour and temper of that king. 

Absolute proof of the authorship, it must be ad- 
mitted, is wanting, but upon the whole the available 
evidence appears to favour James V. ; the majority 
of the critics, from Warton and Ritson to Stopford 
Brooke, have favoured this view ; and, to quote 
Sibbald, "it appears safer in this instance to trust 
to vulgar tradition than to the ipse dixit of Bannatyne, 
who seems to have had but an indistinct notion of our 
different kings of the name of James." 

The earliest and best copy of " Christis Kirk on the 
Grene" is that contained in Bannatyne's MS., now 
made available by the Hunterian Club. The poem is 


also contained in the Maitland MS., from which it 
was printed by Pinkerton in his Ancient Scottish Poems 
(Appendix II., 444). " PebHs to the Play " is also 
contained in the Maitland folio, and was printed from 
it by Pinkerton in his Select Scottish Ballads in 1783. 
Of both poems there have been many other editions. 
Most of these, however, contain texts very much cor- 
rupted, and none of the editors except Pinkerton 
appears to have seen the Maitland MS. "The 
Gaberlunzieman " and "The Jolly Beggar" have 
shared the haphazard fortune of their sister composi- 
tions, and in their case it is more difficult to ascertain 
a standard text. All four pieces are printed in the 
Perth edition of "The Works of James I.", 1786, 
though the editor mentions that "The Gaberlunzie- 
man" and "The Jolly Beggar" are commonly ascribed 
to James V. In the present volume " The Gaberlun- 
zieman " follows the text given in Percy's Reliques of 
Ancient English Poetry^ while "The Jolly Beggar" 
follows that in Ritson's Scottish Songs. 

"Christis Kirk" has for several hundred years been 
one of the most popular of Scottish poems. Dr. Irving 
cites as a proof of its fame and popularity in the 
eighteenth century the lines of Pope : 

One likes no language but the Faery Queen ; 
A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o' the Green. 

As an illustration of ancient rustic humour and a 
description of low manners in its time it remains 
perhaps the best thing in the language. The only 
composition which competes with it for the first place 
in its class is the " Jolly Beggars " of Robert Burns. 


The two additional cantos which Allan Ramsay wrote 
for it in no way approach the spontaneity and bois- 
terous energy of the original poem. 

" Peblis to the Play " deals with a similar subject in 
similar manner, and has generally been considered to 
possess less merit than " Christis Kirk." It certainly 
falls short of the riotous uproar of its companion 
piece, and beats the air throughout with a gentler 
wing; but its touches describing traits of rustic 
character are not less deft, the humour is here and 
there of a tenderer sort, and the subject displays more 
variety. The poem presents an admirable picture of 
the day's enjoyment of rustic lads and lasses at a 
country fair, and is not the less artistic for its touch 
of rustic pathos near the end. 

" The Gaberlunzieman " and " The Jolly Beggar " 
are said by tradition to celebrate two of James V.'s 
own adventures with country girls. It must be ac- 
knowledged that they are quite in keeping with the 
legends current regarding the too gallant monarch. 
One such tradition, recorded by Percy, narrates how 
the king used to visit a smith's daughter at Niddry, 
near Edinburgh ; but it is not known whether the 
intrigue with her had any connection with either of 
the poems. Whatever the facts of the case, the two 
compositions remain unsurpassed examples of a cer- 
tain typical, pawky vein of Scottish humour. "The 
Jolly Beggar," besides, contains in burlesque miniature 
all the essentials of a romantic drama. 

Upon the strength of these four compositions a 
place may be claimed for James V. in the first rank 


of the writers of humorous pastoral poetry — poetry 
which finds its inspiration in the actual common life 
of the people. In this department the king has been 
rivalled, though hardly surpassed, only by the inspired 
peasant, Burns himself. Regarding the vitality of his 
work a trenchant remark has recently been made by 
one of the foremost critics of the day.* "While much 
of the contemporary and earlier poetry of Scotland," 
he says, " is now read only as an historical illustration 
of the development of literature, that of James V., if 
he really wrote the gay pieces attributed to him, is 
read for its native merit." 

* In The Daily News, March 19, 1892. 


T Beltane,* quhen ilk bodie bownis^ 
To Peblis to the play, 
To heir the singin' and the soundis, 
The solace, suth to say ; 
Be firth 2 and forrest furth they founds, 

Thay graythif* tham full gay; 
God wait that wald thay do that stounds, 
For it was thair feist day, 
Thay said. 
Of Peblis to the play. 

' when each 
person sets 

2 By outland. 

3 went. 

4 clad. 

3 time, occasion. 

All the wenchis of the west 

War up or the cok crew; 
For reiling^ thair micht na man rest. 

For garray and for glew?. 
Ane said "My curches^ ar nocht prest!" 

Than answerit Meg full blew 9, 
"To get an hude I hald it best." 

"Be Goddis saull that is true!" 
Quod scho'°, 
Of Peblis to the play. 

* Beltane, believed to be from the Gaelic Beal-tein, or Baal 
fire, was the great Druid festival of the first of May. The sports 
of Beltane, it appears, were celebrated at Peebles till a recent 
date, when a market was established, known as the Beltane Fair. 

^ turmoil. 

7 For prepara- 
tion and sport. 

^ kerchiefs. 
9 gloomy. 

■o Said she. 



' collarette. 
^ permitted not. 
3 band, ribbon. 

4 so foolish and 

5 knew. 

6 weep not. 

7 lost. 

8 market. 

9 so badly sun- 

1° carrj- my rags, 
i.e. woven cloth. 

" shall once 

"look by stealth. 

'3 Man, woman, 
and prentice- 
lad (Hob, caile, 

'4 Gathered out 

»S thronged out. 

'6 steadings un- 

'7 over the plain. 

She tuik the tippet^ be the end; 

To lat it hing scho leit not^. 
Quod he, "Thy bak sail beir ane bend 

"In faith," quod she, "we meit not!' 
Scho was so guckit and so gend^ 

That day ane byt scho eit nocht. 
Than spak hir fallowis that hir kends, 

" Be still, my joy, and greit not^, 
Of Peblis to the play !" 

" Evir, allace!" than said scho, 

"Am I nocht cleirlie tynt^? 
I dar nocht cum yon mercat^ to, 

I am so ewil sone-brint?. 
Amang you merchands my dudds do'°, 

Marie; I sail anis mynt" 
Stand of far and keik^^ thaim to, 

As I at hame was wont," 
Quod scho. 
Of Peblis to the play. 

Hop, calye, and cardronow'3 

Gaderit out thik-fald'^; 
With "hey and how rohumbelow" 

The young folk were full bald. 
The bagpipe blew, and thai out-threw 's 

Out of the townis untald'^. 
Lord, sic ane schout was thame amang 

Quhen thai were ower the wald'7, 
Thair west, 
Of Peblis to the play ! 




Ane young man stert in-to that steid^ 

Als cant 2 as ony colt, 
Ane birken hat upon his heid, 

With ane bow and ane bolt; 
Said " Mirrie madinis, think not lang3, 

The wedder is fair and smolt^:" 
He cleikit up ane hie ruf sangS; 

" Thair fure"^ ane man to the holt 7," 
Quod he, 
Of Peblis to the play. 

Thay had nocht gane half of the gait^ 

Quhen the madinis come upon thame; 
Ilk ane man gaif his consait9 

How at^° thai wald dispone" thame. 
Ane said, " The fairest fallis me ; 

Tak ye the laif" and fone'3 thame." 
Ane-uther said " Wys lat me be ! 

On, Twedell syd, and on thame 

Of Peblis to the play." 

' started in that 

=> lively. 

3 become not 


4 clear, mild. 

5 raised a high 

rough song. 
^ fared. 
7 wood. 

' way. 

9oonceit, opinion. 

'° that. 

" dispose of. 

'2 remainder. 
'3 play the fool 

14 Swiftly. 

Than he to-ga and scho to-ga's, 

And never ane bad abyd you. 
Ane winklot'^ fell, and her taill up, 

"Wow," quod Malkin^7j "hyd yow ! 
Quhat neidis you to maik it sua^^? 

Yon man will not ourryd'9 you." 
**Ar ye owr gude^°," quod scho, "I say. 

To lat thame gang^' besyd yow. 


Of PebUs to the play?" 

M 1" 

'5 encountered. 

'* young woman. 

'7 maukin, a little 

'8 to play the 

mate so. 
«9 override. 

^ too good. 


1 62 


> Laughed. 

= Was come. 

Than thai come to the townis end 

Withouttin more delai, 
He befoir, and scho befoir, 

To see quha was maist gay. 
All that luikit thame upon 

Leuche ' fast at thair array : 
Sum said that thai were merkat folk, 

Sum said the Quene of May 
Was cumit^ 
Of Peblis to the play. 

3 jollity. 

4 words wondrous 


5 Have done (?). 

6 "Set up the 

board," he 
calls soon. 

7 dance, party. 

8 napery be white. 

9 good woman, 

«o wall. 

" Wait till we 
reckon our 
lawing (bill). 

" that ye owe. 

'3 laugh. 
'4 scorn. 

Than thai to the taverne hous 

With meikle oly3 prance; 
Ane spak wi' wourdis wonder crous^ 

"A dones with ane mischance!" 
" Braid up the burde," he hydis tyt^, 

"We ar all in ane trance ?. 
Se that our napre be quhyt^, 

For we will dyn and daunce 
Thair out, 
Of Peblis to the play." 

Ay as the gudwyf^ brocht in, 

Ane scorit upon the wauch^°. 
Ane bad pay, ane-ither said "Nay, 

Byd quhill we rakin our lauch"." 
The gud-wyf said, " Have ye na dreid ; 

Ye sail pay at ye aucht"." 
Ane young man start upon his feit, 

And he began to lauche^3j 
For heydin'4 
Of Peblis to the play. 



He gat ane trincheour in his hand 

And he began to compt ; 
"Ilk man twa and ane happenie'! 

To pay thus we war wount." 
Ane-uther stert upon his feit, 

And said "Thow art our blunt ^ 
To tak sic office upoun hand ! 

Be God thow servite ane dunts 
Of me, 
Of Peblis to the play." 

" Ane dunt," quod he, " quhat dewil is that ? 

Be God, yow dar not du'd!" 
He stert till ane broggit stauf't, 

Wincheand as he war woodes. 
All that hous was in an reirde^: 

Ane cryit, " The halie rude ! 
Help us, Lord, upon this erde''. 

That thair be spilt na blude 
Of PebUs to the play!" 

Thay thrang out at the dure at anis, 

Withouttin ony reddin^. 
Gilbert in ane gutter glayde9 — 

He gat na better beddin. 
Thair wes not ane of thame that day 

Wald do ane-utheris biddin : 
Thairby lay thre and threttie-sum '° 

Thrunland" in ane midding 
Off draff'^ 
Of Peblis to the play. 

■ twopence half- 

' over stupid. 

3 deserved a blow. 

4 pointed staff. 

5 Wincing as he 

were mad. 

^ uproar. 

7 earth. 

8 clearance, 


9 slid. 

'o Thirty-three 
lay there. 

" Tumbling 

" distiller's 

1 64 


' A hawker on the 
market street. 
2 debate, battle. 

3 overtake. 

Ane cadgear on the mercat gait' 
Hard thame bargane^ begin; 

He gaiff ane schout, his wyff came out ; 
Scantlie scho micht ourhye^ him.* 

4 glimpse. 

5 separate. 

* leaped. 

7 girthing. 

8 At once. 

9 dirtied. 

'0 became. 

" low-born. 

'2 counsel. 

'3 Go home his 

He held, scho drew, for dust that day 
Micht na man se ane stymc* 
To reds thame 
Of PebHs to the play. 

He stert to his greit gray meir. 

And of he tumblit the creilis. 
"Alace!" quod scho, "hald our gude-man !" 

And on hir knees scho kneilis. 
"Abyd," quod scho; "Why, nay," quod he; 

In-till his stirrapis he lap^; 
The girding? brak, and he flew of, 

And upstart bayth his heilis 
At anis^ 
Of Peblis to the play. 

His wyf came out, and gaif ane schout 

And be the fute scho gat him ; 
All bedirtin9 drew him out; 

"Lord God, richt weil that sat'° him!" 
He said, "Quhare is yon cubroun" knaif?" 

Quod scho, " I reid '^ ye, lat him 
Gang hame his gaites'3." "Be God," quod he, 

I sail anis have at him 
Of Peblis to the play." 

Two lines of the stanza have here apparently been lost. 



'Ye fylit' me, fy for schame!" quod scho; 

" Se as^ ye have drest^ me ! 
How feil ye, schir?" "As my girdin brak, 

Quhat meikle'* devil may lasts me. 
I wait^ weil quhat ; it wes 

My avvin gray meir that kest me, 
Or gif I wes forfochtin'' faynt. 

And syn^ lay doun to rest me 
Of Peblis to the play." 

« defiled. 

2 See how. 

3 treated. 

4 great. 

5 hinder. 

6 know. 

7 fatigued. 

8 then. 

Be that 9 the bargane was all playit ; 

The stringis stert out of thair nokks'°; 
Sevin-sum that the tulye" maid 

Lay grufifling'^ in the stokks. 
John Jacksoun of the nether vvarde 

Had lever have gififin'3 an ox 
Or'4 he had cuming in that cumpanie. 

He sware be Goddis lockkis 

And mannis bayth. 
Of Peblis to the play. 

With that Will Swane come sueitand out, 

Ane meikle miller man ; 
" Gif I sail dance have donn 's, lat se, 

Blaw up the bagpyp than ! 
The schamou's dance ''^ I mon begin 

I trow it sail not pane." 
So hevelie he hockit'? about, 

To see him. Lord, as^^ thai ran 
That tyd, 
Of Peblis to the play ! 

9 By the time that. 

'o notches 
(of bows). 

" broil. 

'2 grovelling. 

'3 Had rather 

'4 Ere. 

'S favourite. 

'C a dance now 

'7 jerked, rocked. 
'*> how. 




- performs won- 
drous long. 

3 laughed. 

4 hence your 


5 enough. 

6 So fiercely fire- 

7 Tibbie, Isabella. 

8 latch. 

9 encountered. 

'° all the men to 

" quite nothing. 

Thay gadderit out of the toun', 

And neirar him thai dreuche ; 
Ane bade gif the daunsaris rowme ; 

Will Swane makis wounder teuche^ 
Than all the wenschis Te he ! thai playit 

But, Lord, as Will Young leuche3! 
" Gude gossip, come hyn your gaitis-*, 

For we have daunsit aneuche^ 
At anis 
At Peblis at the play." 

Sa ferslie fyr-heit^ wes the day 

His face began to frekill. 
Than Tisbe? tuik him by the hand, 

Wes new cuming fra the Seckill. 
"AUace!" quod scho, "quhat sail I do? 

And our doure hes na stekill^!" 
And scho to-gas as hir taill brynt, 

And all the cairlis to kekilP° 
At hir, 
Of Peblis to the play. 

The pyper said, "Now I begin 

To tyre for playing to, 
Bot yit I have gottin naething 

For all my pyping to you. 
Thre happenis for half ane day, 

And that will not undo you ; 
And gif ye will gif me richt nocht" 

The meikill devill gang wi' you !" 
Quod he, 
Of Peblis to the play. 



Be that the daunsing wes all done, 

Thair leif tuik les and mair; 
Quhen the winklottis and the wawarris twvnit' ''he wenches and 

^ wooers parted. 

To se it was hart sair. 
Wat Atkin said to fair AIes% 

"My bird 3, now I will fayr." 
The dewil a wourde that scho might speik, 

Bot swownit that sweit of swair-* 
For kyndnes, 
Of Peblis to the play. 

He sippilits lyk ane faderles fole; 

"And be still, my sweit thing!" 
" Be the halyrud of Peblis 

I may nocht rest for greting^." 
He quhissillit and he pypit bayth 

To mak hir blyth that meiting : 
" My hony part, how sayis the sang, 

' Thair sail be mirth at our meting 
Of Peblis to the play." 

2 Alison. 

3 damsel. 

4 swooned that 
sweet one of 
the glen foot. 

S sifiped, uttered 
a sipping sound. 

6 weeping. 

Be that the sone was settand schaftis. 

And neir done wes the day. 
Thair men micht heir schriken of chaftis^ 

Quhen that thai went thair way. 
Had thair bein mair made of this sang 

Mair suld I to yow say. 
At Beltane ilka bodie bownd 

To Peblis to the play. 

7 shock of lips, 
i.e. osculation. 


' merriment, 

= wooers. 
3 think. 

4 prepared. 

5 gay of manners. 

6 doeskin. 

7 coarse woollen. 

8 Lincoln-green. 

9 simple, foolish. 
'° approached. 

" goats, kids. 

Wa.s nevir in Scotland hard nor sene 

Sic dansing nor deray', 
Nowthir at Falkland on the grene 

Nor Peblis at the play, 
As wes of wowaris% as I wene^, 

At Chryst kirk on ane day. 
Thair come our kitteisf weschin clene 

In thair new kirtillis of gray, 
Full gay, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

To dans thir damysellis thame dicht'*, 

Thir lassis licht of laitiss, 
Thair gluvis wes of the raffell^ rycht, 

Thair schone wes of the straitis^; 
Thair kirtillis wer of lynkome^ licht, 

Weill prest with mony plaitis. 
Thay wer so nyss? quhen men thame nicht'° 

Thay squeilit lyk ony gaitis", 
So lowd. 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene that day. 

* The Christ's Kirk of the poem, in Tytler's opinion, was that 
near Dunideer in Aberdeenshire. About the burial ground of 
the ancient kirk was a green where, so late as the end of last 
century, a yearly fair was still held on the 1st of May. " In 
former times," says Tytler, "this fair was continued during the 
night, from which circumstance it was called by the country 
people Sleepy Market. On such occasions it was natural that 
such disorders as are so humorously described by the royal 
author should have taken place." 

t Kittie, now the common abbreviation of Catherine, was in 
James's time the general name for a playful girl. 



Of all thir madynis myld as meid 

Wes nane so gympt' as Gillie; 
As ony ross hir rude= wes reid, 

Hir lyre 3 wes lyk the lillie; 
Fow4 yellow yellow wes hir held, 

Bot scho of lufe wes sillies ; 
Thocht all hir kin had sworn hir deid^ 

Scho wald haif bot sweit Willie 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

Scho skornit Jok and skraipit? at him, 

And mvrionit him with mokkis^; 
He wald haif luvit, scho wald nocht lat him, 

For all his yallow loikkis : 
He chereist hir, scho bad ga chat him 9; 

Scho compt'° him nocht twa clokkis"; 
So schamefully his schort goun set him, 

His lymmis wes lyk twa rokkis", 
Scho said, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

1 slim, dainty. 

2 the ruddy part 

of the face. 

3 skin. 

4 Full. 

5 frail, i.e. she 

was love-sick. 

6 death. 

7 girded. 

2 mocked him by 
making mouths. 

9 go hang himself. 

i<5 counted. 
'• clucks. 

1= distaffs. 

Thome Lular wes thair menstrall meit ; 

O Lord! as he cowd lanss'3; 
He playit so schill^'*, and sang so sweit 

Quhill Towsy tuke a transs^s. 
Auld Lychtfute thair he did forleit'^. 

And counterfutit Franss ; 
He vse'7 him-self as man discreit 

And vp tuke moreiss danss. 
Full lowd, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

13 how he did 
launch (the 

•4 shrill. 

'5 an ancient 

'6 forsake. 

'7 behaved. 



' stepping in with 

long strides. 
^ course. 

3 Flat-fooled. 

4 bounds. 

5 He leaped till 

he lay on his 

6 exerted. 

7 coughed. 

8 began. 

9 dragged. 

1° drove him side- 
wise (gable- 

'I The angry man 
clutched the 

'2 did not they 
have by the ears. 

'3 blow of the fist. 

14 pulled. 

•S such wrath did 
move him. 

i6 Great hurt was 
it to have 

'7 chose an arrow. 

'8 become. 

'9 other. 

'^ pierce. 

2' pierced. 

22 acre's breadth. 

Than Stevin come stoppand in with stendis'; 

No rynk^ mycht him arreist. 
Platfute3 he bobbit vp with bendis*; 

For Maid he maid requeist. 
His lap quhill he lay on his lendisS; 

Bot rysand he wes preist^ 
Quhill that he oistit? at bath the endis 

For honour of the feist, 
That day, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

Syne Robene Roy begowth^ to revell, 

And Dwny till him druggit^; 
" Lat be," quo Jok; and cawd him javell'° 

And be the taill him tuggit. 
The kensy cleikit to the cavell", 

Bot Lord ! than gif thay luggit '^, 
Thay pairtit hir manly with a nevell'3, 

God wait gif hair wes ruggit'^ 
Betuix thame, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

Ane bent a bow, sic sturt cowd steir him^s- 

Grit skay th wesd to half skard '^ him ; 
He chesit a flane'7 as did affeir'^ him, 

The toder'9 said " Dirdum Dardum." 
Throwch baith the cheikis he thocht to cheir^^, him, 

Or throw the erss half chard-' him; 
Bot be ane akerbraid^^ it come nocht neir him, 

I can nocht tell quhat mard him, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 



With that a freynd of his cryd "Fy!" 

And vp ane arrow drew; 
He forgit' so fowriously 

The bow in flenders- flew; 
Sa wes the will of God, trow I, 

For had the tre bene trew 
Men said that kends his archery 

That he had slane anew*, 
That day, 
At Chrystis kirk on the grene. 

Ane hasty hensures callit Hary, 

Quha wes ane archer heynd^, 
Tilt 7 vp a taikle withowttin tary^. 

That torment so him teynd^. 
I wait nocht quhidder his hand cowd wary'°. 

Or the man wes his freynd, 
For he eschaipit" throw michtis of Mary 

As man that no ill meynd^^, 
Bot gud, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

Than Lowry as ane lyon lap. 

And sone a flane cowd fedder'3- 
He hecht^-* to perss him at the pap, 

Thair-on to wed a weddir^s. 
He hit him on the wame a wap'^, 

It buft^7 lyk ony bladder; 
]3ot swa his fortoun wes and hap 

His dowblet wes maid of ledder, 
And saift him, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

> let fly. 
2 splinters. 

3 knew. 

4 enough. 

5 giddy fellow. 

6 skilful. 

7 Snatched. 
S delay. 

9 enraged. 
i^ did vary. 

" escaped. 
12 designed. 

'3 arrow did 

'4 offered, 

'5 to wager a 

>6 on the belly a 

■7 sounded. 



' conceited. 

2 Loosed. 

3 aimed at the 


4 cowhouse. 

5 quiver. 

6 let (drive). 

7 kicked. 

8 stout fellows. 

9 roof beams. 

10 buffeted. 

" Till theyof men 
made bridges. 
12 uproar. 

'3 spars. 

14 ridges, backs. 

'5 my love lies. 

i6 snarled and let 
drive with 

'7 vexed the other. 

'S pikes. 

'9 dwellings. 
2° proved. 

21 unbruised 


22 Where fighters 

were hurt. 

A yaip' yung man that stude him neist 

Lowsd^ of a schot with yre; 
He ettUt the berns in at the breist, 

The bolt flew our the byrel 
Ane cryit Fy ! he had slane a preist 

A myll beyond ane myre ; 
Than bow and bags fra him he keist 

And fled as ferss as fyre 
Of flynt, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

With forkis and flaihs thay lait^ grit flappis, 

And flang7 togiddir lyk friggis^; 
With bowgaris9 of barnis thay beft'° blew kappis 

Quhill thay of bernis maid briggis". 
The reird'^ raiss rudly with the rappis, 

Quhen rungis^3 vves layd on riggis'*; 
The wyffis come furth with cryis and clappis, 

" Lo quhair my lyking liggis^si" 
Quo thay 
At Chryst kirk of the grene. 

Thay girnit and lait gird with granis"^ 

Ilk gossep vder grevit'?; 
Sum straik with stingis'^, sum gadderit stanis, 

Sum fled and evill mischevit ; 
The menstrall wan within twa wanis'9, 

That day full weill he previt-°, 
For he come hame with vnbirsed banis^' 

Quhair fechtaris wer mischevit ^^ 
For evir, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 



Heich' Hucheoun, with a hissill ryss^, 

To red 3 can throw thame rummill-*; 
He mudlets thame doun lyk ony myss^, 

He wes no barty-bummill?. 
Thocht he wes wicht^ he wes nocht wyss 

With sic jangleris to jummill9, 
For fra his thowme thay dang a sklyss'°, 

Quhill he cryd " Barla-fummyll " ! 
I am slane," 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

Quhen that he saw his blude so reid, 

To fie micht no man lat'^ him; 
He wend '3 it bene for auld done feid'4, 

The far sarar it set's him. 
He gart his feit defend his heid, 

He thocht ane cryd haif at him, 
Quhill he wes past out of all pleid'^ 

He suld bene swift that gat him 
Throw speid, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

The toun sowtar'7 in greif wes bowdin'^, 

His wyfe hang in his waist; 
His body wes with blud all browdin'9, 

He granit lyk ony gaist. 
Hir glitterand hair that wes full goldin 

So hard in lufe him lest^° 
That for hir saik he wes nocht yoldin, 

Sevin myll quhill he wes chest ^', 
And mair, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

' Tall. 

2 a hazel twig. 

3 separate. 

4 rumble. 

5 mowed. 

6 mice. 

^ inactive fellow. 

** stout. 

9 With such 
wranglers to 

'° struck a slice. 
" "A truce." 

'= prevent. 

'3 deemed. 
'4 feud. 

'5 distressed. 

'6 debate, broil. 

'7 shoemaker. 
■8 swollen with 

'9 clotted, lit. 

=0 delayed. 

" till he was 



' jest. 

= knocked he their 


3 The whole 


4 fought, rattled 


5 ox-collars of 

bent willow. 
^ hams. 

7 crofters, country 


8 in warlike array. 

9 their mouths 

were unclad, 
i.e. unguarded. 

'0 gums. 

" barked, 

'2 worried. 

'3 youngsters 
(perhaps Dutch 
jonker) engaged. 
•4 lightning. 

IS stout fellows. 

i6 carls, men. 
'7 did each other 

'8 belched. 

The miliar wes of manly male; 

To meit him wes na mowis'; 
Thair durst nocht ten cum him to talc, 

So nowit he thair nowis^. 
The buschment haill^ about him brak 

And bikkerit't him with bowis5, 
Sync tratourly behind his bak 

Thay hewit him on the howiss^ 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 

Twa that wes heidmen of the heird 

Ran vpoun vtheris lyk rammis ; 
Than followit feymen^ rycht on affeird^, 

Bet on with barrow trammis. 
Bot quhair thair gobbis wes vngeird? 

Thay gat vpoun the gammis'°, 
Quhill bludy berkit" wes thair beird; 

As thay had wirreit'^ lammis, 
Maist lyk, 
At Chryst kirk of the grene. 

The wyvis kest vp ane hiddouss yell 

Quhen all thir yunkeris yokkit'3; 
Als ferss as ony fyr-flaught'4 fell 

Freikis'5 to the feild thay flokkit : 
Tha cairlis'^ with clubbis cowd vder quell '7, 

Quhill blud at breistis out bokkit'^. 
So rudly rang the commoun bell, 

Quhill all the stepill rokkit 
For reird, 
At Chrystis kirk of the grene. 



Quhen thay had berit' lyk baitit bulis, 

And branewod brynt in bailis% 
Thay wer als meik as ony mvlis 

That mangit wer with mailis^. 
For fantness tha forfochin fuUs^ 

Fell doun lyk flawchtir-failiss, 
And frcschmen come in and held thair dulis^, 

And dang 7 thame doun in dailis^ 
At Chryst kirk on the grene. 

' bellowed. 

= firewood burnt 
in flames. 

3 overpowered 

were with 

4 these fatigued 


5 turfs cut for 

fi goals, stations. 
7 struck. 
** numbers. 

9 forthwith. 

Quhen all wes done, Dik with ane aix 

Come furth to fell a fidder'° 
Quod he, "Quhair ar yone hangit smaix" 

Rycht now wald slane my bruder?" 
His wyfe bade him ga hame gub-glaikis'^, 

And sa did Meg his muder. 
He turnd and gaif thaim bayth thair paikis'3, 

For he durst ding nane vdir'4, 
For feir. 
At Chryst kirk of the grene that day. 

'0 multitude, lit. 

" mean fellows, 


12 folly-mouth. 

'3 drubbing. 

'4 strike no other. 


' sly, artful. 

2 frail. 

3 beyond. 

4 cheerfully. 

The pauky' auld carle came ovir the lee, 
Wi' mony good-e'ens and days to mee, 
Saying, " Goodvvife, for zour courtesie, 

Will ze lodge a silly ^ poor man?" 
The night was cauld, the carle was wat, 
And down azonts the ingle he sat; 
My dochter's shoulders he gan to clap, 

And cadgily4 ranted and sang. 

5 become wearj'. 

6 lively. 

7 her old mother 


8 busy. 

"O wow!" quo he, "were I as free 
As first when I saw this countrie, 
How blyth and merry wad I bee ! 

And I wad nevir think langs." 
He grew canty ^ and she grew fain, 
But little did her auld minny ken 7 
What thir slee twa togither were sayn 

When wooing they were sa thrang^. 

*An ancient Scots name for a hawker, from gaber, a wallet, 
and lunyie, the loin. Literally, "The man who carries a wallet 
on the loin." Throughout this poem, it will be observed, the 
consonant sound of "y " is represented by the letter "z." This 
peculiarity is preserved to the present day in several Scottish 
proper names, such as Dalziel, Zair, Culzean. 



"And O!" quo he, "ann' ze were as black 
As evir the crown o' your dadye's hat 
'Tis I wad lay thee by my back, 

And awa wi' me thou sould gang^!" 
"And O!" quoth she, "ann I were as whyte 
As evir the snaw lay on the dike 
lid dead me braw3 and lady-like, 

And awa wi' thee lid gang!" 

■ if. 


3 I'd clothe me 


Between the twa was made a plot, 
They raise a wee-* before the cock. 
And wyliely they shot the lock, 

And fast to the bents are they gane. 
Up the morn the auld wife raise. 
And at her leisure put on her claiths, 
Syne to the servants' bed she gaes 

To speir^ for the silly poor man. 

4 a liltle. 

5 open field. 

' enquire. 

She gaed^ to the bed whair the beggar lay; 7went. 

The strae was cauld, he was away; 

Scho clapt her hands, cry'd " Dulefu' day ! 

For some of our geir^ will be gane." « goods. 

Some ran to coffer and some to kist^, 9 chest. 

But nought was stown^° that could be mist. •» stolen. 
She danced her lane", cry'd "Praise be blest ! "'^'°"=- 

I have lodg'd a leaP^ poor man." •= loy.-ii, true. 

" Since naithing's awa, as we can learn. 

The kirn's to kirn '3, and milk to earn ; "^ chum. 

Gae butt ^4 the house, lass, and waken my bairn, '^ Go to the outer 

And bid her come quickly ben's." 


'5 to the inner 



> did say. 

The servant gaed where the dochter lay- 
The sheets was cauld, she was away ; 
And fast to her goodwife can say', 
" She's aff with the gaberlunzieman." 

2 O haste, cause 
to ride. 

3 troublesome. 

4 afoot. 

5 mad, furious. 

"O fy gar ride', and fy gar rin, 

And haste ze, find these traiters agcn ! 

For shee's be burnt, and hee's be slein, 

The wearifou3 gaberlunzieman!" 
Some radc upo' horse, some ran a-fit^; 
The wife was woods, and out o' her wit ; 
She could na gang, nor yet could she sit 

But ay did curse and did ban. 

6 far hence, 
out over. 

7 went. 

8 proving, tasting. 

Mean-time far hind, out owrc^ the lee, 
Fu' snug in a glen where nane could see. 
The twa, with kindlie sport and glee. 

Cut frae a new cheese a whang 7. 
The prieving^ was gude, it pleas'd them baith ; 
To lo'e her for ay he gae her his aith. 
Quo she, " To leave thee I will be laith, 

My winsome gaberlunzieman. 

9 lU-favouredly. 

'0 she'd never 

" O kend my minny I were wi' zou, 
Ill-fardly9 wald she crook her mou'. 
Sic a poor man sheld nevir trow'° 

Aftir the gaberlunzieman." 
" My dear," quo he, " zee're zet owre zonge, 
And hae na learnt the beggar's tonge, 
To follow me frae toun to toun, 

And carrie the gaberlunzie on : 



" Wi' kauk and keel ' I'll win zour bread, ' chaik and 

ruddle (for 

And spindles and whorles^ for them wha need — marking 


Whilk is a gentil trade indeed, 

The gaberlunzie to carrie O ! 
I'll i)ow3 my leg and crook my knee, 
And draw a black clouf* owre my e'e ; 
A criplc or blind they will cau me. 

While we sail sing and be merry O !" 

2 small perforated 
stones used in 

3 bend. 

4 cloth, ra2. 


' set forth. There was a jolly beggar, and a-begging he was boun ', 
^ ""s'JellHng™" ^"d he took up his quarters in-to a land'art town% 
And we'll gang nae mair a roving 

Sae late in-to the night ; 
And we'll gang nae mair a roving, boys, 
Let the moon shine ne'er so bright. 

He wad neither ly in barn, nor yet wad he in byre; 
3 behind. But in ahint^ the ha' door, or else afore the fire. 

And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

The beggar's bed was made at e'en wi' good clean 

straw and hay. 
And in ahint the ha' door, and there the beggar lay. 
And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

Up raise the goodman's dochter and for to bar 

the door. 
And there she saw the beggar standin' i' the floor. 
And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

He took the lassie in his arms, and to the bed he ran, 
4 cautiously. O hooly*, hooly wi' me, sir, ye'll waken our goodman. 

And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 


The beggar was a cunnin' loon, and ne'er a word 

he spake 
Until he got his turn done, syne he began to crack', 'talk. 
And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

" Is there ony dogs into this toun ? maiden, tell 

me true." 
" And what wad ye do wi' them, my hinny and 

mv dow-?" 2 my honey and 

' my dove. 

And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

" They'll rive a' my meal pocks, and do me meikle 

wrang." * 
"O dool3 for the doing o't! are ye the poor man?"^^°"°'''- 
And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

Then she took up the meal pocks, and flang them 

o'er the wa' ; 
"The deil gae wi' the meal pocks, my maidenhead, 

and a' !" 

And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

" I took ye for some gentleman, at least the laird 

of Brodie ; 
O dool for the doing o't! are ye the poor bodie?" 
And we'll gang nae mair, «S>:c. 

*" They'll tear all my meal bags, and do me great harm." 
In rural districts of Scotland as late as a century ago beggars 
carried under each arm a wallet in which they collected the doles 
of the farmers' wives. The expected gratuity, which was rarely 
withheld, was a " gowpen," or double handful of oatmeal. 


He took the lassie in his arms, and gae her kisses 
' tortr.3Td?stg. And four and twenty hunder merk' to pay the 

2 wet-nurse wage. nurice-feC^. 

And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

He took a horn frae his side, and blew baith loud 

and shrill, 
And four and twenty belted knights came skipping 

o'er the hill. 

And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

And he took out his little knife, loot a' his 

3 rags- duddies3 fa' ; 

And he was the brawest gentleman that was amang 
them a'. 

And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 

The beggar was a cliver loon, and he lap shoulder 
height : 

4 such. " O, ay for sicken-* quarters as I gat yesternight!" 

And we'll gang nae mair, &c. 



Many of the finest flowers of Scottish poetry previous 
to the middle of the sixteenth century owe their pre- 
servation to the taste and patience of two curiously 
contrasted collectors. One of the quaintest stories 
of Scottish literature is that narrating how, during 
time of pestilence in 1568, George Bannatyne, a 
young man of twenty-three, occupied the leisure of 
his enforced retirement with transcribing, page after 
page, the best works of the national makars. Little 
further is known of the transcriber except that he 
became a burgess of some substance in Edinburgh; 
but the work of those three months, a neatly written 
folio of eight hundred pages, now in the Advocates' 
Library in Edinburgh, has made his name immortal.* 
The companion picture belongs to a slightly later 
date. It is that of Sir Richard Maitland, the blind 

*The Bannatyne MS. furnished the greater part of the contents 
of that effective but unreliable publication, Ramsay's Everi^reen, 
in 1724, and a further selection from its pages, under the title of 
Ancient Scottish Poems, was printed by Lord Ilailes in 1770. 
In 1829 the Bannatyne Club published the Memorials of George 
Bannatyne, by Sir Walter Scott, containing all the ascertained 
facts of the collector's life ; and this and the complete contents of 
the famous MS. were finally printed together by the Hunterian 
Club, 1878- 1 886. 


old judge of the Court of Session, in the last year 
of his life, directing the transcription by his daughter 
Mary of the collection which was to hand his name 
to posterity. 

No necessity exists for comparing the merits of 
the two manuscripts which have been the means of 
preserving so much of the legacy of northern genius. 
To a large extent they deal with different work; in 
each case the task of transcription and preservation 
has been performed with the utmost patience and 
care; and in each the good taste and good faith of 
the collector has established his transcript as a classic 
authority. But while gratitude is due to Bannatyne 
for his services as preserver of many priceless poems, 
as an original poet, upon the strength of the few 
compositions of his own which he included in his 
manuscript, he remains of but small account. In 
this respect his contemporary, on the other hand, 
has a definite claim to regard. Sir Richard Maitland 
was not only a diligent and careful collector of the 
works of others; he was himself also a makar of 
respectable merit, and several, at least, of the original 
compositions which he added to his collection are 
entitled to a place on the page of Scottish poesy. 

The son of William Maitland of Lethington in 
Haddingtonshire, who fell at Flodden, and of Martha, 
daughter of George, second Lord Seton, the poet was 
the representative of an ancient family. The well- 
known ballad of "Auld Maitland" celebrates a gallant 
defence of the castle of Lauder or Thirlstane against 
the English by an ancestor of Sir Richard about the 


year 1250.* Again and again during the succeeding 
centuries the family name appears in history;! in due 
course Thirlstane was inherited by the poet from his 
grandfather; and from that time, till the climax of 
the family fortunes in the person of the poet's great- 
grandson, the Duke of Lauderdale, in Charles II.'s 
time, the house may be said to have been con- 
tinuously in a foremost place. Born in 1496, and 
studying law, it is said, first at St. Andrews, and 
afterwards, upon his father's death, in France, 
Maitland appears presently to have entered the 
service of James V. J Nothing certain, however, 
is known of his early life except that, about the 
year 1530, he married Mary, a daughter of Sir 
Thomas Cranston of Corsby. By this lady he had 
a family of at least three sons and four daughters, 
of whom the former were destined to play some 
of the most conspicuous parts in the history of 
their time. 

The poet himself appears throughout to have 
cultivated a life of retirement and study. All the 
references of contemporary writers, except one, men- 
tion him with great respect, and his life would 
appear to have been mostly that of the quiet country 

*An entry in the Chartulary of Dryburgh bears that this 
ancestor, also a Sir Richard Maitland, disponed certain of his 
lands to that abbey in 1249. 

t During the reign of Robert III. , in the year 1400, according 
to Wyntoun, Sir Robert Maitland took the castle of Dunbar by 
strategy from his mother's brother, the Earl of March. 

:::The letter of James VI. dated 1st July, 1584, respecting 
Maitland's retirement from the bench, states that the latter had 
served the king's "grandsire, goodsire, goodame, mother, and 


gentleman. The single exception occurs in John 
Knox's History, where he is accused of having taken 
bribes to allow Cardinal Beaton to escape from Seton 
House in 1543. Knox, however, was somewhat 
ready to attribute such misdemeanours to persons 
whom he thought inimical to the reformed faith, 
and in the present case there exists no evidence 
whatever to support the charge, except that Maitland 
was a relative of Lord Seton, and may have been 
visiting Seton House at the time of the occurrence. 
There exists, on the other hand, direct evidence to 
show that the Cardinal was set at liberty by order 
of the Regent Arran.* 

In 1552 Maitland was one of the commissioners 
appointed to settle the differences with England on 
the subject of the Debateable Land on the Borders, 
and it is believed that the successful issue of this 
undertaking was the occasion of his receiving the 
honour of knighthood. At anyrate, two years later, 
upon his appointment as an Extraordinary Lord of 
Session he is called Sir Richard Maitland. 

Again, in 1559, he was employed as one of the 
commissioners to England in a conference upon 
the state of the Borders ; Sir Ralph Sadler, one of the 
delegates on the other side, mentioning him then as 
"the olde Larde of Lethington, the wisest man of 
them." The sudden termination of his stay in 
England at this time, and the substitution of his 
eldest son William in his place, has been attributed 
to the rapid approach of the affliction which was to 

Sadler's State Papers, vol. i., p. 70. 


darken the remainder of his hfe. It is at least certain 
that he had completely lost his sight before the arrival 
of Queen Mary in Scotland in 1561, as in his poem of 
welcome he mentions the piteous fact. 

Under this terrible privation, which, with the cir- 
cumstance of advancing years, most men would have 
considered sufficient reason for retirement from active 
life, Maitland seems in no way to have let his heart 
sink or his energies abate, and nowhere in his work 
does there appear a peevish or despondent note on 
the subject. The affliction which added his name to 
the honourable roll of blind Homers did not prevent 
his continuing to fulfil the duties of his position \ and 
he remains one of those examples, in which the history 
of the blind is peculiarly rich, of men who have en- 
countered extraordinary difficulties only to surmount 
them. In November, 1561, he was admitted an 
Ordinary Lord of Session under the title of Lethington, 
his son being permitted the privilege, by a special 
regulation, of accompanying him within the bar. In 
1562 Queen Mary appointed him Keeper of the Privy 
Seal for life ; and in the following year he and his 
second son, John, were "conjunctlie and severally 
made Factouris, Yconomuss, and Chalmirlans of hir 
hienes Abbacie of Haddingtoun." The former office 
he resigned in 1567 in favour of this son, who by that 
time had obtained the Priory nf Coldingham in com- 
mendani ; but for seventeen years longer he retained 
his seat on the bench, where he appears to have 
performed his duties to the last without fear and 
without reproach. 


The troubles which assailed Maitland's later years 
came, not from his own acts, but mostly from the 
restless and ambitious character of his eldest son, the 
too famous Secretary Maitland of Mary's reign and 
the succeeding regencies. The constantly changing 
part played by this politician in the highest events of 
his time has been recorded in literature by Buchanan's 
biting satire, The Camccleon, written in 157 1. Made 
Secretary of State by that Catholic of Catholics, James 
the Fifth's widow, Mary of Guise, he nevertheless 
presently became one of the Protestant " Lords of 
Congregation"; and after taking part in the negotia- 
tions with Elizabeth as to the terms upon which she 
would aid the Reformers, he again, with characteristic 
paradox, turned round in the General Assembly of 
1564 to accuse Knox of teaching sedition. Made a 
Lord of Session by Mary Stuart, he was, notwithstand- 
ing, implicated in the murders both of Rizzio and of 
Darnley ; and after signing the document accusing the 
queen of the latter crime, and after fighting against 
her at Langside, he strangely enough saw fit to take 
her part to some extent in the conference at York, 
and presently united with Kirkaldy of Grange in 
holding Edinburgh Castle in her interest against the 
Regents. Finally, upon the surrender of that strong- 
hold in May, 1573, he was taken prisoner, with his 
brother John and other refugees of the Queen's party, 
and being conveyed to Leith, died there, not without 
suspicion of having poisoned himself. 

This erratic policy of the son naturally brought 
trouble upon his father. The hardest blow which the 


latter received was from an act of parliament obtained 
by the Regent Morton as head of the king's party in 
157 1. This act declared the secretary and his two 
brothers rebels, and forfeited their lands and property. 
Upon the strength of it the house and estate of 
Lethington, then occupied by the Secretary, were 
seized, spoiled, and withheld from the poet for a 
number of years, and his second son was left at 
liberty only under heavy penalties. These proceed- 
ings seem to have roused the old knight to all the 
indignation of which he was capable. He made 
earnest appeals to law and to the interest of Queen 
Elizabeth with the Regent. Nevertheless justice was 
not accorded him until the year 1581. Upon the down- 
fall of Morton in that year his house and lands were 
restored to him, and under the patronage of James VI. 
his son John was appointed an Ordinary Lord of 
Session. He himself further, in 1584, was allowed the 
unique privilege of resigning the duties of the Bench 
in favour of a nominee, retaining at the same time the 
emoluments of the office; and presently, under the 
government of the young king, he obtained an act of 
parliament indemnifying all his losses. 

This satisfaction did not, indeed, arrive too soon, 
for his death occurred on 20th March, 1586, when he 
was in his ninetieth year. His wife, the partner of his 
joys and sorrows for sixty years, is said to have died 
on his funeral day. 

Maitland's life, apart from its literary interest, pos- 
sesses value for the example which it affords of private 
family history of the time. He was founder of the 


first of those great Scottish houses, the Maitlands, 
Dalrymples, and Dundases, which have risen one after 
another to the highest rank and influence by the 
profession of the law. His two sons and his grandson 
in succession occupied seats upon the bench, and in 
1624 the last-named was raised to the peerage by the 
title of Earl of Lauderdale. John, the son of this 
earl, and great-grandson of the poet, was from 1663 
virtually ruler of Scotland, and in 1672 was created 
Duke of Lauderdale by Charles IL Maitland's third 
son, Thomas, was the author of several Latin poems,* 
but is best remembered as one of the interlocutors in 
Buchanan's famous treatise De Jure J^cgni apud Scoios. 
The manuscript collection of ancient Scottish poems 
which forms Maitland's best-known claim to regard, 
and upon which he is understood to have been en- 
gaged from 1555 onwards, is contained in two volumes, 
a folio and a quarto. Of the folio, believed to have 
been written by Sir Richard himself, "a very few parts," 
says Pinkerton, "are in a small hand; the remainder 
is in a strong Roman hand." The quarto consists 
chiefly of transcripts of Sir Richard's own original 
pieces from the folio, and is in the handwriting of 
Miss Mary Maitland, third daughter of the collector, 
the first page bearing her name and the date 1585. 
It appears therefore to have been transcribed in the 
last year of Maidand's life. After descending in the 
family for three generations, these manuscripts were 
bought, at the sale of the Duke of Lauderdale's 

* Printed in the appendix to the Maitland Club volume of 
Sir Richard's works. 


library, by Samuel Pepys, Secretary of the Admiralty to 
Charles II. and James II., and he in 1703 bequeathed 
them to Magdalen College, Cambridge. The value of 
the collection was first discovered by Bishop Percy, 
who printed a specimen in his Reliques; one also 
appeared in Allan Ramsay's Evergreen; and a selec- 
tion, including twenty-six of Sir Richard Maitland's 
original compositions, was published by Pinkerton 
in 1786 under the title of Ancient Scottish Poems. 
Another quarto MS., bearing the title The Selected 
Poemes of Sir Richard Metellan of Lydington, was 
presented to the library of Edinburgh University by 
Drummond of Hawthornden ; and from this, with the 
addition of the single composition which it omits, 
the Maitland Club printed Sir Richard's poems com- 
plete in 1830. 

Besides his original poems and his poetical collec- 
tions, Maitland is known to have written a History of 
t/ie House of Seytojin and a volume of Decisions 
collected by him from 1550 till 1565. The former 
was printed by the Maitland Club in 1829, and the 
MSS. of both are preserved in the Advocates' Library, 

As an original poet Sir Richard Maitland cannot be 
placed in the foremost rank. He is understood to 
have produced none of his existing verse until after 
the age of sixty-one, and naturally his compositions 
possess little of the fire, brilliancy, and warmth of 
youthful work. For this lack, however, they atone to 
some extent by other qualities. Full of sage obser- ( 
vation and shrewd worldly wisdom, they throw a light, 
o "I 


in nearly every line, upon the life and manners of thai 
day. Mourning the rampant oppression and strife of 
the nobles, and the sorrows and follies of the nation, 
his verse breathes the inner sadness of Queen Mary's 
time. It was his fate to live through the intestine 
dissensions of three successive minorities, as well as 
through the great struggle of the Reformation in 
Scotland, and it is no marvel therefore that he again 
and again repeats the prayer, " God give the lordis 
grace till aggrie !" Much of his work is of a religious 
cast, and exhibits him in a grave and venerable light. 
This, however, is not his happiest strain, and his longest 
composition, "Ane Ballat of the Creation of the 
Warld," is little more than a bald paraphrase of the ^ 
Bible narrative in Genesis. It is in his satiric and 
moral pieces that Maitland appears at his best. These, 
as in the case of Lyndsay, deal with a wide range of 
subjects, from the vanities of ladies' dress to the 
venality of courtiers and the corruptions of church 
and state. Much of his satire, it is true, owes it chief 
interest to connection with events of his own age ; but 
elsewhere he proves himself a not unworthy inheritor of 
the mantle of the Lyon King, his best pieces containing 
touches closely applicable to the human nature of all 


UHAIR is the blythness that hes^ein 
Bayth in brugh and landwart sein' 
Amang lordis, and ladeis schein^, 
Dansing, singing, game, and play? 
Bot Weill I wat nocht quhat thay mein ; 
All merriness is wome away. 

Seen both in 
town and 


For now I heir na worde of Yule 
In kirk, on cassay3, nor in skuill : 
Lordis lettis thair kitchingis cule, 

And drawis thame to the Abbay,* 
And skant hes ane to keip thair mule; 

All houshalding is worne away. 

3 causeway. 

I saw no gysarisf all this yeir, 

Bot kirkmen cled lyk men of weir,| 

That never cummis in the queir-'; 4 choir. 

* The hospitality of the religious houses was from time to time 
greatly abused by the nobles. Upon one occasion an Earl of 
Douglas compelled the Abbot of Aberbrothock to entertain him 
and a thousand of his followers for a considerable time. 

t The performance of these mediaeval masquerades, containing 
traces of the ancient miracle-plays and allusions to the exploits 
of the Knights Templar, is still a favourite pastime in rural 
districts on Hallowe'en. 

t Churchmen made no scruple of appearing armed, like lay 
barons, on the battlefield. Thus two bishops and two abbots fell 
among the Scottish nobles at Flodden. 



« learn. 

Lyk ruffianis is thair array ; 
To tcitchc and preitche that will not Icir'; 
The kirk gudis thai waste away. 

» formerly. 

Kirkmcn afToir' wcr gud of lyfe, 
Prcitchit, tcichit, and staunchit strj-fc; 
Thay feirit nather sword nor knyf, 
• For luif of God the faith to say ; 
All honorit thame, baith man and wyf, 
Devotion wcs nocht away. 

3 love. 

Our fatheris wysc were, and discreit ; 
Thai had bayth honour, men, and meit ; 
With luif3 thai did thair tcnnentis treit, 

And had ancuch in press to lay ; 
Thay wantit nather malt nor quheit, 

And mirrines wes nocht away. 

4 Easter. 

5 caii'^e. 
fi plenty. 

7 known. 

8 ancestors. 

And we hald nather Yule nor Pace^, 
Bot seik our meit from place to place ; 
And we halve nather luk nor grace. 

We gars our landis dowbill pay; 
Our tennentis cry Alace ! Alace ! 

That routh*^ and pittie is away. 

Now wc halve mair, it is weill kend^. 
Nor our forbearis^ had to spend; 
Bot far les at the yeirls end ; 

And never hes ane mlrrle day : 
God will na r>xhes to us send 

Sua lang as honour is away. 



• truss, caparison. 
Fr. trousse. 

We waist far mair now, lyk vaine fuillis, 
We and our paige, to turs' our muillis, 
Nor thai did than, that haid grit Yuillis, 

Ot meit and drink said never nay; 
Thay had lang furmes^' quhair we haive stuillis 'io"gfo'-ms 

J settles. 

And mirrines wes nocht away. 

Of our wanthrift sum wyttis playes3, 
And sum thair wantoune vaine arrayis; 
Sum the wyt on thair wyfes layes 

That in the court wald gang* sa gay 
And care nocht quha the merchand payis, 

Quhills part of land be put away. 

3 For our prodi- 
gality some 
blame plays. 


S Till. 

The kirkmen keipis na professioune ; 
The temporall men commitis oppressioune, 
Puttand the puire from thair possessioune ; 

Na kynd of feir of God haive thay : 
Thay cummar^ baith the kirk and sessioune, 

And chasis charitie away. 

Quhen ane of thaime susteinis wrang 
We cry for justice, heid and hang; 
Bot when our neichbouris we our-gang? 

We laubour justice to delay : 
Affectioune blindis us sa lang, 

AH equitie is put away. 

To mak actis we haive sum feill^; 
God watt gif that we keip tham weill ! 
We cum to bar wn'th jak of steill* 

* This was a common abuse of the time. The Earl of Bot 
well, when called to answer for the murder of Darnley, appeare 
in Edinburgh with a following of five thousand men. 

^ cumber. 

7 trespass upon. 

S knowledge. 

' ovcrliear and 
intimidate the 

' approval. 

3 slighted because 
of abuse. 


As we wald host the judge and fray'. 
Of sic justice I have na skcill^, 
Quhair rcull and ordour is away. 

Our lawis ar lichtlcit for abusiounc^; 
Sumtyme is clokit with collusioune ; 
Quhilk causis of bluid the great efTusioune, 

For na man spairis now to slay. 
Quhat bringis cuntreis to confusioune, 

Bot quhair that justice is away ? 

4 blame. 

Quha is the wyte^, quha can schew us? 
Quha bot our nobilhs, that sould know us, 
And till honorabill deidis draw us ! 

Let never comouneweill decay, 
Or els sum mischief will bcf^iw us, 

And nobillncs we put away. 

Put our awin lawis to executiounc ; 
Upon transgressouris mak punitioune ; 
To crucll folk seik na remissioune ; 

For peace and justice let us pray, 
In dreid sum strange new institutioune 

Cum, and our custome put away. 

Amend your lyfis, ane and all. 
And be war of ane suddan fall, 
And pray to God, that maid us all, 

To send us joy that lesteis ay ; 
And let us nocht to sin be thrall, 

Bot put all vyce and wrang away. 


Sum wyfis of the burrovvs-toun 
Sa wondir' vane ar, and wantoun, 

In warld thay watt^ not quhat to weir. 
On clay this thay wair3 mony a croun ; 

And all for newfangilnes'' of geir. 

Thair bodyes bravelie thay atyir, 
Of carnall lust to eiks the fyir; 

I fairlie^ quhy thai have na feir 
To gar men deime quhat thay desyre; 

And all for newfangilnes of geir. 

Thair gouns ar coistlie, and trimlie traillis, 
Barrit with velvous, sleif, nek, and taillis; 

And thair foirskirt of silkis seir? 
Of fynest camroche thair fuksaillis;* 

And all for newfangilnes of geir. 

And of fyne silk thair furrit cloikis, 
With hingand^ sleivis, lyk geill poikis^; 

Na preiching will gar thame forbeir 
To weir all thing that sinne provoikis; 

And all for newfangilnes of geir. 

* "Of hnest cambric their foc'sles," an allusion to the actual 
turret which formed the forecastle of ancient ships of war, to 
which the high breast-trimming of ladies' dresses probably pre- 
sented some likeness. 

' wondrous. 
= know. 

3 spend. 

4 novelty. 

5 to add to. 

6 marvel. 

7 many. 

8 hanging. 

9 jelly bags. 



« Their iinder- 

- Broidered. 

3 sewed with 

stripes of lace 
or silk. 

4 intiuire. 

Thair wylecots man' weill be hewit, 
Broudirit^ richt braid, with pasmentis sewit3; 

I trow, quha wald the matter speir% 
That thair gudmen had caus to rew it 

That evir thair wyfis weir sic geir. 

S Barred above 
with drawn 
O. Fr. teste, 

Thair wovin hois of silk ar schawin, 
Barrit abone with tasteis drawinS; 

With gartens of ane new mancir, 
To gar thair courtlines be knawin; 

And all for ncwfangilnes of gcir. 

Sumtyme thay will beir up thair gown 
To schaw thair wylecot hingeand down, 

And sumtyme bayth thay will upbeir 
To schaw thair hois of blak or broun; 

And all for newfangilnes of geir. 

6 necklaces and 

throat beads. 

7 set high. 

8 young person. 
Perhaps Dutch 


Thair collars, carcats, and hals beidis^ 
With velvet hats heicht? on thair heidis, 

Coirdit with gold lyik ane younkeir^ 
Brouderit about with goldin threidis; 

And all for newfangilnes of geir. 

9 sandals 

anciently worn 
by persons of 

Thair schone of velvot, and thair muillis9; 
In kirk ar not content of stuillis, 

The sermon quhen thay sit to heir; 
Bot caryis cuschingis lyik vaine fuillis; 

And all for newfangilnes of geir. 


I mein' of thame thair honour dreidis; 
Quhy sould thay nocht have honest weidis, 

To thair estait doand effeir^? 
I mein of thame thair stait exceidis; 

And all for nevvfangilnes of geir. 

20 1 

• lament. 

* doing what is 

For sumtymes wyfis sa grave hes bein, 
Lyik giglets cled wald nocht be sein. 

Of burgess wyfis thoch I speak heir 
Think weill^ of all wemen I mein, 

On vaniteis that waistis geir. 

3 Be assured. 

Thay say wyfis ar so delicat 
In feiding, feisting, and bankat, 

Sum not content ar with sic cheir 
As Weill may suffice thair estait, 

For newfangilnes of cheir and geir. 

And sum will spend mair, I heir say, 
In spyce and droggis on ane day 

Than wald thair mothers in ane yeir; 
Quhilk will gar monye pak^ decay, 

Quhen thay sa vainlie waist thair geir. 

4 many a parcel, 

Thairfoir, young wyfis speciallie. 
Of all sic faultis haid yow frie, 

And moderatly to leif now leirs 
In meit, and clayth^ accordinglie; 

And nocht sa vainlie waist your geir. 

5 learn. 

6 clothe. 



' to glide across 
the street. 

3 no mumming 
cards (playing 
cards with 
figures) early 
or late. 

3 able. 

Use not to skift athort the gait', 
Nor na mum chairtis, air nor lait'; 

Be na dainser, nor this daingeir 
Of yow be tane an ill consait 

That yc ar habill^ to waist geir. 

4 Frequent. 

Hant'» ay in honest cumpanie, 
And all suspicious places flic; 

Lat never harlot cum yow ncir, 
That wald yow Icid to leicherie, 

In houp to get thairfoir sum geir. 

My counsall I geve gencrallie 
To all wemen, quhat-evir thay be, 
5 to con by heart. This IcssoH for to quin pcr queirs, 

Syne keip it weill continuallie 
Better nor onye warldlie geir. 

6 Leave off. 

7 aspersion. 

Leif^, burgess men, or all be loist, 
On your \\7fis to mak sic cost, 

Quhilk may gar all your bairnis bleir?: 
Scho that may not want wyne and roist 

Is abill for to waist sum geir. 

s cambric 

Betwene thame and nobillis of blude 
Na difierence bot ane velvous huid ! 

Thair camroche curcheis^ ar als deir; 
Thair uther claythis ar als guid; 

And thai als costlie in uther geir. 


Bot, wald grit ladyis tak gud heid 
To thair honour, and find remeid, 

Thai suld thole' na sic wyfis to weir, 
Lyk lordis wyfis, ladyis weid, 

As dames of honour in thair geir. 


' suffer. 

I speik for na despyt trewlie, 
(My-self am nocht of faultis frie), 

Bot that ye sould nocht perseveir 
Into sic folische vanitie 

For na newfangilnes of geir. 

Of burgess wyfis thoch I speik plaine, 
Sum landwart- ladyis ar als vain, 

As be thair cleithing may appeir; 
Werand3 gayer nor thame may gain — 

On ouir-* vaine claythis waistand geir. 

- country. 

3 Wearing. 

4 over. 


attend to. 

SuMTYME to court I did repair, 
Thairin sum errandis for to dress', 

Thinkand I had sum freindis thair 
To help fordwart my buseness : 

Bot, nocht the les, 
I fand nathing bot doubilness ; 

Auld kyndnes helpis nocht ane hair. 

' inquire. 

3 complain. 

4 made him 

To ane grit court-man I did speir^, 
That I trowit my freind had bene 

Becaus we war of kyn sa neir; 
To him my mater I did mene^; 

Bot, with disdene, 
He fled as I had done him tenc*, 

And wald nocht byd my taill to heir. 

S deemed. 

6 kinship. 

7 made my vra.y. 

^ went. 

I wend 5 that he in word and deid 

For me, his kynsman, sould have wrocht ; 

Bot to my speiche he tuke na heid ; 
Neirnes of blude he sett at nocht. 

Than weill I thocht 
Quhan I for sibnes^ to him socht^ 

It wes the wrang way that I geid^. 



My hand I put into my sleif, 

And furthe of it ane purs I drew, 
And said I brocht it him to geif^ 'g've. 

Bayth gold and silver I him schew; 
Than he did raw 

That he unkindlie me misknew; 
And hint^ the purs fest in his neif.3 Vi'^^' /' 

Fra tyme he gat the purs in hand 

He kyndlie ' Cousin ' callit me, 
And baid me gar him understand 

My buseness all haillalie. 
And swair that he 

My trew and faythfuU freind sould be 
In courte as I pleis him command. 

For quhilk, better it is, I trow; 

Into the courte to get supple'*, ''^eip. 

To have ane purs of fyne gold fow^, ^'"""• 

Nor to the hiest of degre 
Of kyn to be. 

Sa alteris our nobilitie : 
Grit kynrent^ helpis lytill now. 6 kindred. 

Thairfoir, my freindis, gif ye will mak 

All courte men youris as ye wald, 
Gude gold and silver with you tak; 

Than to get help ye may be bald; 
For it is tauld 

Kyndness of courte is coft and said 7; 7 bought and sold. 

Neirnes of kyn na-thing thai rak^. ^--eck. 






' Of which if he 
fail then. 


3 vexation. 

4 above. 

Amang all follcis ane great folye I find, 
Quhen that ane man past fyftie yeir of aige 

That in his vaine consait he growes sa blind 
As for to join him-selffe in maryage 
With ane young lass quhais bluid is yet in raigc, 

Thinkand that he may serve hir appetyte; 

Quhilk and he faill than' will scho him dispyte. 

Still agcit men sould jois^ in morall taillis, 
And nocht in taillis : for folye is to mary 

Fra tyme that baith thair strenthe and nature faillis, 
And tak ane wyf to bring him-selffe in tarye3; 
For fresche Maii and cauld Januarij 

Agreeis nocht upon ane sang in tune, 

The tribbill wantis that sould be sang abunel 

5 lover. 

6 partly, /:'i. 


Men sould tak voyage at the larkis sang, 
And nocht at evin quhen passit is the day. 

Efter mid-age the luifars lyes full lang, 
Quhen that his hair is turnit lyart*^ gray. 
Ane auld beird till ane quhyte mouth to lay 

In-to ane bed, it is ane piteous sycht : 

The ane cryes help ! the uther hes no mycht. 



Till haive bene merchand bygaine monie ane yeir 
In Antwerp, Burges, and in town of Berrie, 

Syne in-to Deip for to tyne' all his geir 'lose. 

With vane conseat to puir^ himselffe, and herrie3.3haf°y7r"ln. 
Grit perell is for to pas our the ferrie 

In-to ane laikand boit* nocht naillit fast, 4 leaking boat. 

To beir the saill nocht havand ane steife mast. 

To tak ane melleins that grit lawbour requyris, 
Syne wantis grayth^ for to manure the land ; 

Quhair scid wantis then men of teiUing tyris ; 
Than cumis ane, findis it waist lyand, 
Yokis his pleuch, teilleis? at his awin hand. 

Better had bene the first had never kend it^ 

Nor thoill5 that schame. And sa my tale is endit. 

5 farm. 

6 substance. 

7 tills. 

8 known it. 

9 suffer. 


» boldly. 

' rol). 

Of Liddisdaill the commoun thcifis 
Sa pertlic' steillis now and rciffis', 
That nanc may kcip 
Hors, nolt, nor scheip, 
Nor yit dar sleip 
For thair mischeifis. 

3 great. 

A path. 

5 gate. 

6 abides, with- 


Thay plainHe throw the countrie rydis ; 
I trow the meikill3 dcvill thanic gydis : 

Quhair thay onsett 

Ay in thair gait* 

Thair is na yetts 
Nor dure thame bydis'^. 

7 They le.ive 
quite nothing. 

Thay leif richt nocht^; quhairever thay ga 
Thair can na-thing be hid thame fra; 

For, gif men wald 

Thair housis hald, 

Than waxe they bald 
To burn and slay. 


Thay theifis have neirhand herreit haill 
Ettrick forest and Lauderdaill ; 

Now ar they gane 

In Lothiane, 

And spairis nana 
That thay will waill^. 


■ almost wholly 

^ choose. 

Thai landis ar with stouth sa socht3 
To extreme povertie ar brocht ; 
Thai wicked schrowis^ 
Has laid 5 the plowis, 
That nana or few is 
That ara left ocht^ 

3 with theft so 

1 Those wicked 

5 rendered in- 

' aught. 

Bot commoun taking of blak-maill,* 
Thay that had flesche and breid and aill 

Now ar sa wraikit?, 

Maid puir and naikit, 

Fane to be staikit^ 
With watter-caill9. 

7 wrecked. 

8 accommodated. 

9 broth made 

without meat. 

Thai theifis that steillis and tursis^° hame, '"carry off. 
Ilk ane of thame hes ane to-name — 

Will of the Lawis, 

Hab of the Schawis. 

To mak bair wawis" "walls. 

Thay think na schame. 

* Blackmail was the yearly sum paid by farmers on the High- 
land and English borders to some powerful chieftain like Rob 
Roy or Johnnie Armstrong, who in return undertook to make 
good any losses by depredation. 

p III 



• despoil. 

* stores. 

3 reel and distaff. 

Thay spuilye' puir men of thair pakis = ; 
Thay leif thame nocht, on bed nor bakis ; 

Bayth hen and cok, 

With reill and rok^, 

The Landis Jok 
All with him takis. 

4 Searches chest. 

Thay leif not spendill, spoone, nor speit, 
Bed, bovvster, blanket, sark, nor scheit ; 

Johne of the Parke 

Rypis kisf^ and ark; 

For all sic wark 
He is richt meit. 

He is Weill kend, Johne of the Syde; 
A gretar theif did never ryde : 

He nevir tyris 

For to brek byris; 

Our muir and myris 

5 Too good a 

Our gude ane gyides. 

Thair is ane, callit Clements Hob, 

fi robs her web. 

Fra ilk puir wyfe reiffis hir wob^, 

7 rest. 

And all the laif?. 

Quhatever thay haif: 

The deuil resave 

8 stomach. 

Thairfoir his gob^! 


To sic grit stouth quha-eir wald trow it 
But gif sum greit man it allowit? 

Rycht sair I rew, 

Tliocht it be trew, 

Thair is sa few 
That dar avow it. 


Of sum grit men they have sic gait' 
That redy ar thame to debait^ 
And will up weir 3 
Thair stolin geir, 
That nane dar steir^ 
Thame, air nor lait. 

' such access. 

- to make conten- 
tion for. 

3 herd, protect. 

4 stir. 

Quhat causis theifis us our-gangs 
Bot want of justice us amang? 
Nane takis cair 
Thocht all forfair^: 
Na man will spair 
Now to do wrang. 

S oppress. 

6 Though all 

Of stouth thocht now thay cum gud speid 
That nather of men nor God hes dreid, 

Yit, or I die, 

Sum sail thame sie 

Hing on a trie 
Quhill7 thay be deid. '™. 


QuHEN I halve done considdcr 

This warldis vanitie, 
■ So brittle and §0 bfukill and sa sliddcr', 

Sa full of niiserie; 

Then I remember me 
That heir thair is no rest; 

Thairfoir appeirantlie 
To be mirrie is best. 

Let us be blyth and glaid, 

My freindis all, I pray. 
To be pensive and sad 

Na-thing it help us may. 

Thairfoir put quyt away 
All heviness of thocht: 

Thocht we mume nicht and day 
It will availl us nocht. 

It will not be our sorrow 
That will stoip Godis hand, 

To strik baith evin and morrow 
Baith on the sie and land. 


Sen nane may it gainestand' 'withstand. 

Let us be all content 

To underly the wand 
Of Godis punischment. 

Quhat God pleasis to do 

Accept it thankfullie; 
Quhat paine he puttis us to 

Receive it pacientlie. 

And give^ that we wald be ^if. 

Rcleveit of our paine, 

For sin ask God mercie, 
Offend Him nocht againe. 

Give we will mak murning, 

Sould be for our offence, 
And not that God dois bring 

On us for violence. 

For ane dyveris pretence; 
For some He will puneis 

To proive thair patience, 
And som for thair great miss 3. 3 fault. 

Sen first the warld began 

Thair hes bein trubill ay 
For punischment of men, 

And sail quhill domisday. 

And sen we may not stay 
Quhat God pleis do us till, 

Quhat He will on us lay 
Receive it with guid will. 


For God will lay som scurge 

Quhill that the warld tak end; 
Fra sin the warld to purge 

Will ay som plaigis send. 

Bot quha will lyfe amend, 
' ^iri^-e- And prcis' to sin no moir, 

Then (lod will him defend 
Fra everlasting cair. 

Yet plainelie I concluide, 
Into all wardlieness 

Nathing for man sa guide 
- '•'*f"'- As Icsome- mirrines; 

For thair is na riches 

Sa lang his lyfe can lenthe, 
Conserve him fra seiknes, 

And kcip him in his strenthe. 

Thairfoir with trew intent 

Let us at God ask grace 
Our sines to repent 

Quhill we haive tyme and space; 

Syne bring us to that place 
Quhair joy is evermoir, 

And sie God face to face 
In His etemall gloir. 



Of several poets who owe the preservation of their 
works and memory entirely to the writer of the 
Bannatync Manuscript, the chief is Alexander Scot. 
Pinkcrton termed him the Anacreon of old Scottish 
poetry, and placed him at the head of the ancient 
minor poets of his country — a judgment in which 
succeeding critics have uniformly agreed. 

As with many other of these ancient singers, almost 
nothing is certainly known of the facts of Scot's life, 
the little information we possess consisting almost 
wholly of deduction from the poet's works themselves. 
Dr. Laing was inclined to set his birth about the year 
1520, and quoted a precept of legitimation from the 
Privy Seal Register of 1549 as possibly concerning 
him. This precept, if proved to refer to the poet, 
would declare him a natural son of Alexander Scot, 
prebendary of the Chapel Royal of Stirling. The 
presumption, however, is somewhat slight. From the 
refrain of "The Justing at the Drum" it has been 
inferred that he resided in the neighbourhood of 
Dalkeith, near Edinburgh. One of his pieces, in the 
opinion of Lord Hailes, expresses the "Lament of 


the Maistcr of Erskyn," who was killed at Pinkie- 
clcugh in 1547, and from this and other allusions it 
is gathered that Scot began writing at least so early 
as 1545, while, of course, none of his extant verse 
can be of later date than 1568, the year in which 
Bannatyne compiled his MS. The general strain of 
the poems declares Scot to have been a layman ; from 
the occurrence of several legal terms in his work it 
has been suggested that he was a jurist ; and from 
expressions such as that in " Ane New Veir Gift to 
the Quene Mary," in which he prays God to give the 
young ruler grace "to punisch papistis and reproche 
oppressouris," it seems clear that he favoured the 
principles of the Reforming party. On only one 
point of his personal history, however, entire certainty 
exists. The colophon of his poem " To luve vnluvit " 
expressly states that the piece was written "quhen his 
wyfe left him." From two of his compositions, "Luve 
preysis," and "Vp, helsum hairt," it might be gathered 
that his lady was of higher rank than himself, a fact 
which, if true, might account for his wedded unhap- 
piness. Perhaps he was one of those whose love, too 
complete and obvious, fails to exact adequate retum. 
This possibility, indeed, he seems to have discovered, 
as in more than one of his later poems he sorrowfully 
counsels something of reserve and self-restraint as the 
best policy of the lover. His experience had also 
the effect of opening his eyes to the shortcomings of 
the other sex, and induced him to allude to these in 
lines of biting satire. A passage in a poem of his 
contemporary Montgomerie informs us that Scot lived 


to advanced years. In a sonnet to Robert Hudson, 

written about the year 1584, the author of "The 

Cherrie and the Slae" refers to "old Scot" as still alive. 

With a few exceptions, the poems of Scot* are all of 

the amatory kind, and, taken together, form a fairly 

complete comment on the pains, the pleasures, and 

the arts of love. His longest composition, the " New 

Yeir Gift to Quene Mary " sheds much curious light 

upon the social conditions of 1562; and in "The 

Justing at the Drum," an imitation of "Chrystis Kirk 

on the Grene," he has followed the initiative of 

Dunbar and Lyndsay, and in a quaint strain of 

humour has burlesqued the practice of the tourney. 

Of the general tenor of his work the lines of Allan 

Ramsay may be taken as a fair description. 

Licht-skirtit lasses, and the girnand wyfe, 

Fleming and Scot haif painted to the lyfe. 

Scot, ssveit-tungd Scot, quha sings the Welcum hame 

To Mar)', our maist bony Soverane Dame. 

How lyflie he and amorous Stuart sing 

Quhen lufe and bewtie bid them spred the wingit 

Exhibiting mastery of a surprising variety of stanza 
forms, his verse possesses an ease and finish unsur- 
passed in his time. Here and there he flashes out 

*As already stated, the preservation of all the extant composi- 
tions attributed to Scot is owed to Bannatyne's MS. From this 
several pieces were printed by Ramsay, Hailes, Pinkerton, and 
Sibbald, in their several collections. The poems were first 
gathered into one volume by Laing, who printed an octavo 
edition of one hundred copies for private circulation at Edinburgh 
in 1S21. Another edition, of seventy copies, by Alexander 
Smith, was printed at Glasgow in 1882. And in 1887 a 
nKxlernised version of considerable merit by William M'Kean, 
"based mainly on Laing's collection," and not containmg all 
the author's work, was printed at Paisley. 

A Memorials of George Bannatyne, Edin. 1829, p. 47. 


in a terse aphoristic style, as when he gives his views 
on womankind — 

Thay wald be rewit, and hca no rcwth ; 

Thay wald be mcnit, and no man mcnis ; 
Thay wald be Irowit, and hcs no trcwth ; 
Thay wiss thair will thai skant wcill wcnys. 

Not less is he at home in paradox : 

For nubillis hcs nocht ay renown, 
Nor gcntillis ay the gayest goun ; 
Thay cary victuallis to the toun 

That werst dois dyne. 
Sa bissely to busk I lx)un, 
Ane-vthir citis the lx;rry doun 

That suld be myne. 

And for expression of downright democratic senti- 
ment, the author of " A man's a man for a' that " 
might have written the hnes — 

For quhy? as brichl bene bimcist brass 

As siluer wrocht at all dewiss. 
And als gud drinking out of glass 

As gold, thocht gold of grittar pryss. 

But, apart from its poetic fascination, a pecuhar 
interest attaches to the work of the man who struck 
the first distinctly modern note in Scottish poetry. 
Breaking away from the conventional forms of the 
old makars, Alexander Scot wrote in a direct, natural 
fashion, and but for their rich quaintness of expression 
and their antique language, many of his pieces might 
almost be the work of a poet of the nineteenth 
century. The form of his work, its aptness to turn 
upon some single thought or situation, and its general 
tendency to direct expression of personal feeling and 
experience, entitle him to be considered the earliest 
of the more distinctly lyrical poets of Scotland. 


|IIE grit debait and turnament 
Off trewth no toung can tell, 
Wcs for a lusty lady gent', 
Betuix twa freikis^ fell. 
For Mars the god armipotent 
Wes nocht sa ferss him-sell, 
Nor Hercules, that aikkis vprent, 
And dang 3 the devill of hell, 

With hornis; 
Vp at the Drum* that day. 

' a lady comely 

and neat. 
2 stout fellows. 

3 beat. 

Doutles wes nocht so duchty deidis 

Amangis the dowsy peirisf. 
Nor yit no clerk in story reidis 

Off sa tryvmphand weirisS; 
To se so stowtly on thair steidis 

Tha stalwart knychtis steiris^, 
Quhill bellyis bair for brodding? bleidis 

With spurris als scherp as breiris^, 

And kene, 
Vp at the Drum that day. 

*The Drum was a house belonging to Lord Somerville, 
situated between Dalkeith and Edinburgh. 

4 douze fairs, the 
twelve peers of 

5 wars. 

6 stir, move. 

7 pricking, 


8 briers. 



« hot. 

a known. 

3 was stronger of 

< promised. 
5 If. 

6 youngsters. 
(Perhaps Dutch 
jonker, young 

7 sprightly. 

8 foam. 

9 comets. 

10 course. 

" lost or won. 

Vp at the Drum the day wes sett, 

And fixit wes the feild 
Ouhair baith thir noble chiftanis mett 

Enarmit vndir scheild. 
Thay wer sa haisty and sa hett' 

That nane of thame wald yeild, 
Bot to debait or be doun bett 

And in the quarrell keild 

Or slane, 
Vp at the Drum that day. 

Thair wes ane bettir and anc worss, 

I wald that it wer wittin'; 
For William wichttar wes of corss3 

Nor Sym, and bettir knittin. 
Sym said he sett nocht by his forss, 

Bot hecht-* he sowld be hittin, 
And 5 he micht counter Will on horss ; 

For Sym wes bettir sittin 

Nor Will, 
Vp at the Drum that day. 

To se the stryfe come yunkeirs'^ stowt, 

And mony galyart^ man; 
All denteis deir wes thair but dowt. 

The w7ne on broich^ it ran. 
Trumpettis and schalmis9 with a schowt 

Playid or the rink'° began. 
And eikwall juges satt abowt 

To se quha tynt or wan" 

The feild, 
Vp at the Drum that day. 


With twa blunt trincher speiris squair 

It wes thair interpryiss, 
To fecht with baith thair facis bair 

For lufe, as is the gyiss'. 'fashion. 

Ane freynd of thairis throw hap come thair, 

And hard the rumor ryiss, 
Quha stall away thair styngis^ baith clair, -p»kes. 

And hid in secreit wayiss, 

For skaith3, shun. 

Vp at the Drum that day, 

Strang men of armes and of micht 

Wer sett thame for to sidder. 
The harraldis cryd "God schaw the rycht!" 

Syne bad thame go togidder. 
"Quhair is my speir?" sayis Sym the knycht; 

"Sum man go bring it bidder." 
Bot wald thay tary thair all nycht, 

Thair lanciss come to lidder'* 4 too sluggishly. 

And slaw, 
Vp at the Drum that day. 

Syme flew als fery as a fownes; ^^'fe,^'^^^^ 

Doun fra the horss he slaid, 
Sayis, "He sail rew my staff hes stowing (•^loXtr^. 

For I sal be his deid?." '^^'■'^■ 

William his vow plicht to the powin^, '^peSck'^' 

For favour or for feid9; ^f^"^. 

"Als gude the tre had nevir growin, 

Quhairof my speir wes maid, 

To just!" 
Vp at the Drum that day. 



■ sun and moon. 

3 ranged. 

3 breakfast. 
O. Fr. dtsjune. 

< ere noon. 

5 prepared. 

' pained, 

7 0Ath5. 

B by the tinve that. 

9 An per- mad, 

'0 from his com- 
panion to fetch. 
«• neither lad nor 

«' a baked loach. 

'3 fullness, 

Thir vowis maid to syn and mone', 

Thay raikit^" baith to rest, 
Thame to refress with thair disione? 

And of thair armour kcst. 
Nocht knawing of the dcid wcs done, 

Quhcn thay suld haif fairin best. 
The fyrc wes pischt out lang or nonc< 

Thair dennaris suld haif drest 

And dicht5, 
Vp at the Drum that day. 

Than wcr thay movit owt of mynd 

Far mair than of beforne. 
Thay wist nocht how to get him pynd*" 

That thame had drevin to skornc. 
Thair wes no deth mycht be dev7nd, 

Bot ethis7 haif thay swome, 
He suld deir by be^ thay had dynd, 

And ban that he wes borne 

Or bred ; 
Vp at the Drum that day. 

Than to Dalkeith thai maid thame boun, 

Reidwod' of this reproche. 
Thair wes baith \\7ne and vennisoun, 

And barrellis ran on broche. 
Thay band \-i) kyndness in that toun, 

Nane fra his feir to foche'°; 
For thair wes nowdir lad nor loun" 

Micht eit ane baikin loche". 

For fowncss'\ 
Vp at Dalkeith that day. 


Syne eftir denner raiss the din, 

And all the toun on steir'. 
William wes wyiss, and held him in, 

For he wes in a feir=. 
Sym to haif bargan cowld nocht blin3, 

But bukkit Will on weir*; 
Sayis, "Gife thow wald this lady win, 

Cum furth and brek a speir 

With me!" 
Vp at Dalkcyth that day. 

This still for bargan Sym abyddis, 

And schowttit Will to schame. 
Will saw his fais on bath the syddis; 

Full sair he dreds for blame. 
Will schortly to his horss he slydis, 

And sayis to Sym be name, 
" Bettir we bath wer byand hyddis^ 

And weddir7 skynnis at hame, 

Nor heir;" 
Vp at Dalkeyth that day. 

Now is the growme^ that wes so grym 

Rycht glaid to leif in lie?. 
" Fy, theif, for schame!" sayis littill Sym, 

" Will thow nocht fecht with me ? 
Thow art moir lerge of lyth'° and lym 

Nor I am, be sic thre"." 
And all the feild cryd fy on him, 

Sa cowartly tuk the fle^^ 

For feir, 
Vp at Dalkeyth that day. 



' astir. 

^ in company. 

3 from having 
combat could 
not desist. 

" incited Will to 

S dreaded. 

fi buying hides. 
7 wether. 

8 the groom, the 


9 to live in peace. 

'0 joint. 

" by three such. 

•■ flight. 



« jibe. 

' over meek. 

3 foiu together. 

* dLitafT. 

5 to m.ike your 
rump sniolcc. 

<> nothing nt nil. 

7 laughod. 


9 do it so reluc- 

" steep bank. 

" declivity. 
■3 limb. 

«* rushed. 

>5 feared. 

Than every man gaif Will a mok', 

And said he wcs our mcik'. 
Sayis Sym, "Send for thy broder Jok ; 

I sail nocht be to seik. 
For wcr ye foursum^ in a flok, 

I compt yow nocht a leik, 
Thocht I had rycht nocht bot a rok«, 

To gar your rumpill reiki 

Vp at Dalkeith that day. 

Thair wes rycht nocht''' bot haif and ga ; 

With lawchtcr lowd thay lewchc^ 
{^uhen thay saw Sym sic curage ta^ 

And Will mak it sa twchC. 
Sym lap on horsbak lyk a ra'°, 

And ran him till a huchc", 
Sayis "William, cum r)-d doun this bra", 

Thocht ye suld brek ane bwchc'^ 

Fo lufc!" 
Vp at Dalkeith that day. 

Sonc doun the bra Sym braid'* lyk thunder, 

And i)ad Will fallow fast. 
To grund for fersness he did funder 

Be he midhill had past. 
William saw Sym in sic a hlund.T, 

To ga he wes agast ; 
For he affeird's it wes na winder 

His cursour suld him cast 

And hurt him, 
Vp at Dalkeith that day. 



Than all the yunkerris bad Will yeild 

Or doun the glen to gang^ 
Sum cr)-d the koward suld be keild; 

Sum doun the hewche he thrang^ 
Sum ruscht, sum rummyld^, sum reild''; 

Sum be the bewches he hang. 
Thair avairis^ fyld vp all the feild, 

Thay wer so fow and pang 7 

With drafes, 
Vp at Dalkeith that day. 

Than gelly^ Johine come in a jak'° 

To feild quhair he wes feidit", 
Abone" his brand ane bucklar hlak, 

Baill fell the bern that bedit'3. 
He slippit swiftly to the slak'-*, 

And rudly doun he raid it. 
Befoir his curpall's wes a crak 

Culd na man tell quha maid it, 

For lawchter, 
Vp at Dalkeith that day. 

Be than the bowgill gan to blaw; 

For nycht had thame ourtane. 
"Allaiss!" said Sym, "for fait of law, 

That bargan get I nane." 
Thuss hame with mony crak and flaw''^ 

Thay passid every ane; 
Syne pairtit at the Potter raw. 

And sindry gaitis'? ar gane. 

To rest thame. 

Within the toun that nicht. 


2 thrust. 

3 rumbled. 

4 rolled. 

5 limb, bough. 

6 belongings. 

7 full and 


8 malt liquor, 

lit. grains. 

9 worthy. 

'o jacket of mail. 

" held at feud. 

»2 Above. 

'3 Woe befell the 
man that 
awaited it. 

'4 gap, opening 
between hills. 

»5 crupper. 

'6 with many a 
boast and fib. 

'7 ways. 



This Will wcs he bcgyld the may, 
And did hir marriage spill. 

He promeist hir to lat him play, 
Hir purposs to fulfill. 
« From the time y^r^i gcho fell fow ^ hc flcd away, 

when. ■' ' 

''^"" And come na mair hir till: 

3 lost. Quhairfoir hc tynt^ the fcild that dny, 

And tuk him to ane mill, 

To hyd him, 
*fMx\\. As coward fals of fey*. 


lIiiNCL, hairt, with hir that most depairte, 

And hald the with thy soucrane; 
For I had lever want ane harte 

Nor haif the hairt that dois me pane. 

Thairfoir go, with thy lufe remane, 
And lat me leif thus vnmolest ; 

And so that thou cum nocht agane, 
Bot byd with hir thow luvis best. 

Sen scho that I haif scheruit lang' « served long. 

Is to depairt so suddanly, 
Address- the now, for thow sail gang 2 Prepare. 

And beir thy lady cumpany. 

Fra scho be gon, hairtles am I ; 
For quhy? thow art with hir possestj 

Thairfoir, my hairt, go hence in hy3, 3 haste. 

And byd with hir thow luvis best. 

Thocht this belappit^ body heir 4 beleaguered. 

Be bound to scheruitude and thrall, 
My fathfuU hairt is fre inteir. 

And mynd to serf my lady at alls. 5 wholly. 


' perciuai, i.f. Walcl God that I wcr perigall ', 

quite worlliy. 

Vndcr that redolent ross to rest ; 

Yit at the leist, my hairt, thow sail 
Abyd with hir thow lufis Ixrst. 

'garden. Scti ill youF garth'' the lilly quhyte 

'r«'- May nocht remanc amang the laif^ 

4 whole. Adew the flour of hailP dclyte, 

Adcw the succour that ma me saif! 
skUs. Adcw the fragrant balm^ suaifJ, 

And lamp of ladeis lustiest ! 

My fayihfull hairt scho sail it haif, 
To byd with hir it luvis l)est. 

Deploir, ye ladeis cleir of hew, 

Hir abscence, sen scho most dcpairte ; 
And spccialy ye luvaris trew 

That woundit bene with luvis darte. 

For sum of yow sail want ane parte 
Als Weill as I ; thairfoir at last 

Do go with myn, with mynd inwart, 
And byd with hir thow luvis best. 


Oppressit hairt indure 

In dolour and distress, 
Wappit without recure' 

In wo rcmidiless. 

Sen scho is merciless, 
And caussis all thy smert, 

Quhilk suld thy dolour dress-, 
Indure, oppressit hairt. 

' Enwrapped 
without re- 

' aid. 

Perforss talc paciens. 

And dre3 thy destany 
To lufe but recompens 

Is grit perplexitie. 

Of thyne aduersitie 
Wyt^ thy-self and no mo. 

For quhen that thow wes fre 
Thow wald nocht hald the so. 

3 endure. 

4 blame. 

Thow langit ay to prufe 
The strenth of luvis lairs. 

And quhat kin^ thing wes lufe, 
Quhilk now settis? the so sair. 

5 lore. 

6 kind of. 

7 besets. 



' lament. 

a ThouRh thou 
should&t pcruih. 

Off all thy wo and cair 
It mendis the nocht to mcnC 

Howbcid thow suld forfair', 
Thyself the causs hes bene. 

3 choose. 

4 worthier. 

Quhen thow wes weill at eiss, 

And subject to no wicht, 
Thow hir for lufe did cheiss^ 

Quhilk settis thy lufe at licht ; 

And thocht thow knew hir slicht* 
Yit wald thow [nocht] rcfrane, 

Thairfoir it is bot r)cht 
That thow indure the pane. 

5 unrest. 

<« treated. 

7 daily pained. 

Bot yit my corpss, allace, 

Is wrangusly opprcst 
Be the in-to this cace, 

And brocht to grit wanrest', 

Quhy suld it so be drest^ 
Be the, and daly pynd^, 

Quhilk still it ay detest? 
Thy wantoun folich mynd. 

^ glancing. 

9 made thee stare 
and idle. 

'° slacken, abate 
thy sighing. 

" range. 

" earth. ( 

•3 failedst thou 
to grasp. 

The blenkyne^ of ane e 

Ay gart the goif and glaik^; 
My body bad lat be, 

And of thy siching slaik'°. 

Thow wald nocht rest, bot raik", 
And lair" the in the myre ; 

Yit felyeit thow to faik'3 
That thow did maist desyre. 


Thocht thow do murn and weip, 

With inwart spreit opprest, 
Quhen vthir men takis sleip 

Thow wantis the nychtis rest. 

Scho quhome thow luvis best 
Off the takis littill thocht, 

Thy wo and grit wanrest 
And cair scho countis nocht. 

Thairfoir go hens in haist, 

My langour to lament, 
Do nocht my body waist, 

Quhilk nevir did consent. 

And thocht thow wald repent 
That thow hir hes persewit. 

Yit man' thow stand content, 'must. 

And drynk that thow hes brewit. 


' high. 

To luvc vnluvit it is anc jxine ; 
For scho that is my soucranc, 

Sum wantouii mail so he' hes set hir 
That I can get no lufe agane, 

Bot brckis my hairt, and nocht the bcttir. 

' MUcd. 

Quhcn that I went with that sweit may 
To dance, to sing, to sport and plcy, 

And oft-tymes in my armis plot' hir, 
I do now mvrne lx)th nycht and day, 

And brckis my hart, and nocht the bcttir. 

Quhair I wes wont to se hir go 
Rycht trymly passand to and fro 

With cumly smyhs quhcn I met hir ; 
And now I leif in pane and wo, 

And brckis my hart, and nocht the bcttir. 

3 What a stupid 

4 Since well I 


Quhattane ane glaikit fule^ am I, 
To slay my-self with malancoly. 

Sen Weill I ken< I may nocht get hir? 
Or quhat suld be the caus, and quhy. 

To brek my hart, and nocht the bettir? 


My hairt, sen thow may nocht hir pleiss, 

Adew ! As gud lufe cumis as gaiss'. 'goes. 

Go chuse ane-vdir and foryet hir. 
God gif him dolour and diseiss^ » want of ease. 

That brekis thair hairt, and nocht the bettir. 

Quod Scott quhen his Wyfe left him. 


Lo, quhat it is to lufc, 

Lerne, ye that list to prufe, 
Be me, I say, that no ways may 

The grund of greif remvfe, 
Bot still decay, both nycht and day ; 

Lo, quhat it is to lufe. 

Lufe is ane fervent fyre 
Kendillit without desyre, 
Schort plesour, lang displesour, 
Repentence is the hyre. 
'poor. Ane pure' tressour, without mesour, 

Lufe is ane fen'ent fyre. 

To lufc and to be wyiss, 
"quarrel. To rege^ with gud ad wyiss. 

Now thus, now than, so gois the game, 

Incertane is the dyiss. 
Thair is no man, I say, that can 

Both lufe and to be wyiss. 

Fie alwayis frome the snair ; 

Lerne at me to be ware. 
It is ane pane, and dowbill trane 

Of endles wo and cair. 
For to rcfrane that denger plane 

Fie alwayis from the snair. 



Towards the close of the sixteenth century, while the 
pages of English poetry were receiving their richest 
contributions from the pens of Spenser, Shakespeare, 
and their comrade Elizabethans, the most famous, 
almost the sole singer left in the north was the author 
of "The Cherrie and the Slae." Amid the moroseness 
and ecclesiastic strife which shadowed those closing 
years while James the Sixth still ruled at Holyrood, 
this voice still sang sweetly of love and laughter, of 
dewy nights and the lark's morning song. 

Alexander Montgomerie was a younger son of 
Montgomerie of Hazelhead, in Ayrshire, a scion of 
the noble house of Eglinton. The date of his birth 
remains uncertain, beyond that it was, as he himself 
says, "on Eister day at morne;" but he is believed to 
have first seen the light at Hazelhead Castle about 
1545. According to references in his works, it 
appears that he was educated somewhere in Argyle- 
shire. In any case it is certain that he was a man of 
culture and refined tastes. Of good social position, 
related by intermarriage with the Mures of Rowallan 
and the Semples of Castle Semple, he was the 


professed admirer of I^dy Margaret Montgomerie, 
eldest daughter of Hugh, third Earl of Eglinton, to 
whom he addressed several compositions in the 
•' despairing lover " tone fashionable in his time. 
He is recorded to have held some place at Court, 
first under the Regent Morton, and aftenvards under 
James VI., from which, and not from military or 
naval rank, he ajipears to have derived the title of 
Captain. For a time he stood high in favour with 
the king, for whose Essayes of a Prentise in the 
Divine Art of Poesie, he wrote a commendatory sonnet 
by way of preface. James, moreover, in his Ravlis 
and Cautelis of Poesie, quotes several of Montgomcrie's 
verses as patterns, and is recorded to have been 
greatly diverted by the recitation of the " Flyting 
betwixt Montgomerie and Pol wart." I^ter, however, 
the poet shared the fate of other courtiers, and for 
some unknown reason fell into disgrace. Nor does 
any authority exist for the supposition that he 
regained the royal favour and accompanied the king 
to England. More probability attends the belief that 
he settled at Compton Castle, near Kirkcudbright, in 
Galloway, close by which, at the junction of the Dee 
and the Tarffe, tradition points out the scene of his 
chief poem, "The Cherrie and the Slae." 

In Montgomerie there appears a curious reflection, 
though in fainter colours, of the fate and character of 
Dunbar. Like the great makar of James the Fourth's 
time, he was the scion of a noble house. In his verse 
appear the same eager efforts to secure favour at 
Court, the same bitterness at disappointment, and the 


same succeeding rancour against rivals and enemies. 
Here is the same oppression under insufficient means, 
and the same eager and thirsty heart continually 
mocked by "wicked weirds" and "thrauard fates." 
Even his pension of 500 marks a year, chargeable on 
certain rents of the archbishopric of Glasgow, was 
withheld for a time, and only regained, by writ of 
privy seal, in 15 88, after a vexatious law-suit. And on 
undertaking a foreign tour, for which he received royal 
leave of absence in 1586, he found himself for a time, 
upon what charge is unknown, thrown into prison. 
In one of his sonnets he records his sorrows — 

If lose of guids, if gritest grudge or grief, 

If povertie, imprisonment, or pane, 

If for guid-will ingratitude agane, 
If languishing in langour but relief, 
If dct, if dolour, and to become deif. 

If travell tint and labour lost in vane. 

Do properly to poets appertane, 
Of all that craft my chance is to be chief. 

Like Dunbar, Montgomerie appears to have become 
serious in his later years, " the productions of which," 
to quote his latest editor, "breathe a tender melan- 
choly and unaffected piety, inspired with hopes of a 
fairer future, in strange contrast to some of his earlier 
work." To the spirit of these years must also be 
attributed a metrical version of Psalms, fifteen in 
number, apparently part of a complete metrical para- 
phrase which he, in conjunction with some other 
writers, offered to execute for the public free of charge. 

It is gathered from the anonymous publication of this 
collection of Psalms, entitled "The Mindes Melodie," 
R '" 


and from his scries of epitaphs, that the [xxit was still 
alive in the year 1605 ; but he was dead Ixrforc 1615, 
according to the title-juge of a new edition of 
"The Cherric and the Slae," printed by Andre Hart 
in that year. 

According to his own poetic statement, he was 
small of stature, fairly good-looking, and alTlicted with 
the |>ainful disease of gravel. 

Most of Montgomerie's [>ocms have liccn prcser>*ed 
respectively in the Drummond, the Maiiland, and the 
Uannatync MSS. After many scjvirate editions of the 
chief pieces, the whole of the {X)cms were for the first 
time collected into one volume (Kdinburgh, 1821) by 
David I^ing, with a biographical notice by Dr. Irving, 
the historian of Scottish iK)ctry. The only other 
complete edition is thai by Dr. James Cranstoun 
(Scottish Text Society, 1885 87). The latter, in the 
present volume, is regarded as the standard text 

** The Cherrie and the Slae," Montgomerie's chief 
effort, has ever since its composition lieen one of 
the most popular of Scottish poems, no fewer than 
twenty-three editions of it ha\nng Ixrcn printed since 
'597 '^\'\<i intention of the allegory, according to 
Pinkcrton, was to show that moderate pleasures arc 
l)etter than high ones. But Dempster, who translated 
it into Latin, considered it to be, first, a love allegor)-, 
picturing a young man's choice between a humble and 
a high-bom mistress, and afterwards the |X)urtrayal of 
a struggle between \-irtue and vice. Most readers 
are likely to agree with Dr. Cranstoun in considering 
Dempster's solution correct, lx.lieving with him that 


"what the poet began as an amatory lay he ended 
as a moral poem ; what he meant for a song turned 
out a sermon." Thus, probably, it comes about that 
the allegory is of small account, the chief value and 
charm of the poem lying in its passages of description, 
its freshness of imagery, and its mother-wit. The 
oiHjning stanzas present by far the best part of the 
comix>sition. The remainder possesses but secondary 
interest, notwithstanding the many pithy sayings intro- 
duced ; and no climax is reached even when the 
cherry is aiLiined at the end of the piece. 

Of the poet's other works the longest extant is 
"The l-'lyting betwixt Montgomerie and Polwart," 
a tournament of Rabelaisian humour in the style 
of the famous " Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie." 
Its chief interest, for poetic qualities it has none, is 
as a specimen of a class of composition — the mock 
duel of vituperation between good friends — which 
was in those times considered an amusing literary 
[performance. His sonnets, "characterised by great 
poetic skill and singular felicity of diction," furnish 
no mean contribution to the stores of a verse-form 
then greatly cultivated, while his miscellaneous 
poems, nearly all amatorj', exhibit mastery of a great 
variety of measures. Sometimes, however, the tone 
of these appears affected to a modern ear, and their 
imagery apt to descend into conceits. 

There remains, preserved by the Maitland MS., 
another poem, " The Bankis of Helicon," a love lyric 
of great charm, which long enjoyed the reputation of 
l>eing the earliest piece written in the stanza of " The 



Cherric and the Slae." Idling thought it jjossiblc 
that Montgomcrie might l)C the author of this, and 
Dr. Cranstoun cstaljhshcs the opinion with a fair 
amount of certainty, considering it one of the series of 
compositions addressed by the poet to his kinswoman, 
I^idy Margaret Montgomeric, and i>ointing out the 
frequency with which sets of expressions and even 
whole h'nes from the other pieces of the series arc 
repeated in it. Even if ascertained iK-yond doubt, 
however, the authorship of "The I^ankis of Hehcon " 
would add nothing to Montgomerie's reputation, 
which is likely to live and die with the reputation of 
his greatest work, the lyrical allegor)' of " The Cherric 
and the Slae." 

Greater in manner than in matter, Montgomerie's 
verse owes its charm to finish and grace rather than 
to vigour and imagination, affording rather a late 
reflection of the early glories of the centur)- than the 
glow of a new inspiration ; nevertheless it has 
remained constantly popular, a surprising number of 
its lines having become household words in the shape 
of proverbs; it claims the credit, along with Dunbar's 
work, of furnishing models both to Allan Ramsay and 
to Burns ; and, l)cyond all its Scottish contemporaries, 
it possesses intrinsic qualities which assure it an 
enduring fame. 


r.OUT ane bank, quhair birdis on bewis' 
Ten thusand tymis thair notis renewis 
like- hourc into the day, 
The merle and maueis3 micht be sene, 
The progne and the phelomenC, 

Quhilk caussit me to stay. 
I lay and leynit me to ane bus 

To heir the birdis beirS; 
Thair mirth was sa melodius 
Throw nature of the yeir: 
Sum singing, sum springing 
With wingis into the sky; 
So trimlie and nimlie 

Thir birdis they flew me by. 

• boughs. 

2 each. 

3 thrush. 

4 swallow and 


5 sound. 

I saw the hurcheon*^ and the hair, 
Quha fed amangis the flowris fair, 

WcT happing to and fro. 
I saw the cunning ^ and the cat, 
Quhais downis with the dew was wat. 

With mony beisties mo. 

6 hedgehog. 

7 rabbit. 



' polecat. 
' skipping. 

3 kept their 

The hart, the hytid, the dac, the rac, 

The fowmart', and the foxc 
War skowping- all fra brae to brae, 
Amang the water broxe; 
Sum feidiiig, sum dreiding 

In cais of suddain snairis ; 
With skipping and tripping 
Thay hantit^ all in pairis. 

4 wild. 

5 bough. 
* cliff. 

7 budding. 

The air was sa attcmpcrate, 
But ony myst immaculate, 

Bot purefeit and clcir ; 
The flowris fair wer flurischit, 
As Nature had them nurischit 

IJailh delicate and deir<; 
And euer)' blomc on branche and liewch* 

So prettily wer spred, 
And hang their heidis out-ouir the hewch*^ 
In Mayis colour cled ; 

Sum knopping', sum dropping 

Of balmie liquor sweit, 
Distelling and smelling 

Throw Phrebus hailsum heit. 

8 ringdove. 

9 shrill. 

The cukkow and the cuschet* crydc, 
The turtle, on the vther syde, 

Na plcsure had to play ; 
So schil' in sorrow was her sang 
That, throw hyr voice, the roches rang ; 

For Eccho answerit ay, 


Lamenting sair Narcissus' cace, 

Quha staruit ' at the well ; ' stared. 

Quha with the schaddow of his face 
For lufe did slay himsell.* 
Quhylis weiping and creiping 

About the well he baid ; 

Quhylis lying, quhylis crying, 

Bot it na answere maid. 

The dew as diamondis did hing 

Vpon the tender twistis^ and ying, 2 twigs. 

Owir-twinkling all the treis ; 
And ay quhair flowris flourischit faire 
Thair suddainly I saw repaire 

In swarmes the sounding beis. 
Sum sweitly hes the hony socht, 

QuhiU they war cloggit soir : ^xiii. 

Sum willingly the waxe hes wrocht, 
To help it vjD in stoir. 
So helping with keiping, 

Into thair hyuis they hyde it, 
Precyselie and wyselie 

For winter they prouyde it. 

To pen the pleasures of that park, 
How euery blossome, branche, and bark, 
Agaynst the sun did schyne, 

•Ovid, Metamorphoses, iii. 407, '"^nd on. The legend is 
alluded lo by Shelley in "The Sensitive Plant, when he 
describes the narcissus flowers, 

•• Who gaze on thine eyes in the stream's recess 
Till they die of their own dear loveliness. 



■ |Mx>l unilcr • 

' dcM:cn<ling. 

I Icif to poctis to compylc 

In staitlie verse and lofty style : 

It passis my ingyne. 
Bot as I mussit myne allanc, 

I saw an river rin 
Out-ouir anc craggic rok of stanc, 
Sync lichtit in anc lin", 

With tumljling and rumbling 

Aniang the rochis round, 
Dcwalling' and falling 
Into that pit profound. 

3 i.t. the throat 
of Kcho, one 
of the cavern 

^ are accustomed 
to be. 

To heir thae startling strcmis clcir 
Me-thocht it musi(jue to the cir, 

Quhat deskant did al)Ound 
With trihlc sweit, an tenor iust, 
And ay the echo repercust 

Hir diapason sound, 
Set with the Ci-sol-fa-uth clcife,* 

Thairby to knaw the note ; 
Thair soundit a michtie semibreif 
Out of the elphis throte^. 
Discreitlic, mair sweetlie 
Nor craftie Amphion. 
Or Musis that vsis^ 
At fountaine Helicon. 

* The syllables, ut, re, mi, fa, so, la, .ore s-iid, says Dr. 
Cranstoun, " to have l)ccn hrst used in the teaching of sinfjinjj 
by Guido of Arezzo in the eleventh century. Lc Mairc, a 
French musician of the seventeenth century, added si for the 
seventh of the scale." 


Quha wald haue tyrit to heir that tune, 
Quhilk birdis corroborate ay abune', 

Throw schowting of the larkis? 
Sum flics sa high into the skies, 
Quhill Cupid walkinnes= with the cryis 

Of Nature's chappell clarkis, 
Quha, leving all the hevins aboue 

Alighted in the eird^. 
Lo, how that little God of Loue 
Befoir me thair appcrid ! 
So niyld-lyke and chyld-lyke. 

With bow thrie quarteris scant, 
So moylie and coylie'», 
He lukit like ane sant. 


' above. 

2 Till Cupid 

3 earth. 

4 mildly and 

Anc cleinlie crisps hang ouir his eyis 
His quauer by his naked thyis 

Hang in ane siluer lace. 
Of gold, betwix his schoulders, grew 
Twa pretty wingis quhairwith he flew; 

On his left arme ane brace ^. 
This god aff all his geir he schuik 

And laid it on the grund. 
I ran als busie for to luik 
Quhair fcrleis^ micht be fund. 
Amasit I gasit 

To see that geir sa gay 
Persawing my hawing^ 
He countit me his pray. 

5 veil of cobweb 

' arm-covering. 

7 marvels. 

Perceiviiic; niy 



> to hold sway. 

3 wooed, made 
sign for. 


His youth and stature made mc stout; 
Of douhlcness I had na doubt, 

IJot bourded' with my boy. 
Quod I, "How call they thee, my chyld?" 
" Cupido, Sir," quod he, and smyld : 

" Please you me to imploy ; 
For I can serve you in your suite, 

If you please to impyrc', 
With wingis to flie, and schafts to schute, 
Or flamis to set on fyre. 

Mak choice then out of those then, 

Or of a thousand things ; 
Bot craue them, and haue them." 
With that I wowed ^ his wings. 

4 have it gladly. 

"Quhat wald thou giue, my friend," quod lie, 
"To haf thae prettie wingis to flie, 

To sport thee for a quhyle? 
Or quhat, gif I suld len thee heir 
My bow and all my shuting geir, 

Sum bodie to begyle?" 
"That geir," quod I, "can not be bocht, 

Yet I wald haif it faine*." 
"Quhat gif," quod he, "it coist thee nocht 
Bot randring it againe?" 

His wingis than he bringis than, 
And band them on my back : 
"Go flie now," quod he now, 
"And so my leif I tak." 



I sprang vp on Cupidoes wingis, 
Quha bow and quauir baith resingis' 

To lend me for ane day. 
As Icarus with borrowit flicht 
I niountit hichar nor= I micht; 

Ouir perrelous ane play. 
Than furth I drew that deadlie dairt 
Quhilk sumtyme schot his mother, 
Quhair-with I hurt my wanton heart, 
In hope to hurt ane-vther. 
It hurt me, it burt3 me, 
The ofter I it handill. 
Cum se now, in me now, 
The butter-flie and candill. 


2 higher than. 

i burned. 

As sclio delytis into the low*, 
Sa was I browdin ins my bow, 

Als ignorant as scho ; 
And als scho flies quhill sche be fyrit, 
Sa, with the dart that I desyrit. 

My hand hes hurt me to. 
As fulisch Phaeton, be sute^ 

His fatheris cart obteind, 
I langt in Luiffis bow to shute, 
Bot weist not what it meind. 
Mair wilfuU than skilfull 
To flie I was so fond, 
Desyring, impyring. 

And sa was sene vpond^. 

4 flame. 

5 foolishly fond of. 

^ by suit. 

7 upon It. 



• hews (a tree) 
too higK. 

» splinter. 

3 bhut. 

4 stolen. 

To late I knaw, quha hewis to hie', 
The spail- sail fall into his eie ; 

To late I went to scuillis. 
To late I heard the swallow prcichc,* 
To late Experience dois teiche — 

The skuill-maister of fuillis. 
To late to fynde the nest I seik, 

Quhcn all the hirdis arc flowin ; 
To late the stabill dore I steik^, 
Quhen all the steids are stowin*. 
To lait ay their stait ay 

All fulische folke espye ; 
Behynd so, they fynd so 
Remeid, and so do I. 

5 is ignorant of, 

refuses to 

6 From the time 


7 groaning. 

Gif I had rypelie bene aduysit 
I had not rashlie enterprysit 

To soir with borrowit pennis, 
Nor yit had saied the archer craft, 
Nor schot myself with sik a schaft 

As resoun quite miskenniss. 
Fra^' wilfulnes gaue me my wound 

I had na force to flie, 
Then came I granand^ to the ground: 

*' Freind, welcome hame!" quod he. 

* An allusion to the fable of .Esop, versified by Henryson. 
The swallow, seeing a farmer sowing flax, begged the other birds 
to help her to pick up the seed, as the thread produced from it 
should compose the fowler's snare. Being twice refused and 
ridiculed, she resolved to quit the society of her thoughtless 
fellows, and has ever since frequented the dwellings of men. 



"Quhair flew ye, quhome slew ye, 
Or quha bringis hame the buiting'? 

I sie now," quod he now, 

"Ye haif bene at the schuting." 

■ booty. 

As skorne cummis commonhe with skaith^ 
Sa I bchuifit to byde them baith : 

quhat an stakkering stait3! 
For vnder cure I gat sik chek'' 
Quhilk I micht nocht remuif nor neks, 

Bot eyther stail or mait^. 
My agonie was sa extreme 

1 swelt and soundt^ for feir; 
Bot, or I walkynnit of^ my dreme 

He spulyied9 me of my geir. 
With flicht than on hicht than 

Sprang Cupid in the skyis, 
Foryetting and setting 

At nocht my cairfuU cryis. 

■ hurt. 

3 staggering 


4 under (beyond) 

cure I got 
such check. 

5 prevent (re- 

ceiving check). 

6 either be stale 
or checkmated. 

7 fainted and 


8 ere I wakened 


9 spoiled. 

Sa lang with sicht I followit him 
Quhill baith my feibHt eyis grew dim 

With staruing on the starnis ^°; 
Quhilk flew sa thick befoir my ein, 
Sum reid, sum yellow, blew, and grein, 

Sa trublit all my harnis"; 
Quhill euery-thing apperit two 

To my barbuilyiet'^ braine. 

'0 staring at the 

" brains. 

" disordered. 



Hot lang michl I lye linking so 
Or Cupid come againc ; 

Quhais thundring, with wondring 

I hard vp throw the air ; 
Throw cluddis sb he ihuddis so 
And flew I wist not quhair. 

sighetl till. 

' by such n boy. 

3 shnlce fist nt 
and curse. 

* disorder, con- 

Fra that I saw that god was ganc, 
And I in langour left allanc, 

And sair tormcnlit, to, 
Sum-tymc I sicht quhill' I was sad, 
Sum-tymc I musit and maist gane mad, 

I wist not quhat to do. 
Sum-tyme I ravit, halfc in a rage, 

As ane into dispaire ; 
To be opprcst with sic anc page* 
Lord ! gif my heart was saire ! 
Like Dido, Cupido 

I widill and [I] waryc\ 
Quha reft me, and left me 
In sik a feiric-faryc*. 

5 strange. 

* Unbumt and 

7 By love's bel- 
lows blown. 

Then felt I Curage and Desyrc 
Inflame my heart with vncouth? fyre, 

To me befoir vnknawin ; 
Bot now na blud in me remaines 
Vnbrunt and boyld'' within my vaines, 

By luffis bellies blawin'. 


To quench it, or 1 was deuorit, 

With sichcs I went about; 
Bot ay the mair I schape to smor it' 
The baulder it brak out: 
Ay preising but ceising^ 

Quhill it may breik the boundis. 
My hew so furth schew so 
The dolour of my woundis. 


' to smother it. 

^ endeavouring 
without ceasing. 

With dcidhe visage, paill and wan, 
Mair hke ane atomic^ nor man, 

I widderit^ cleine away. 
As wax befoir the fyre, I felt 
My hart within my bosomc melt 

And pece and pece decay. 
My vaines with branglings like to brek 

My punsis lap^ with pith — 
Sa feruently did me infek 
That I was vext thairwith. 
My hart ay did start ay 

The fyrie flamis to flie, 
Ay houping, throu louping, 
To win' to liberty. 

3 skeleton. 

4 withered. 

5 throbbing. 

6 My pulses 

7 get. 

Bot O ! alace ! byde it behuissit^ 
Within my cairfull corpis incluissit9, 

In presoun of my breist; 
With sichis sa sowpit and ouirset'", 

8 it behoved to 


9 enclosed. 

'o overcome and 



■ In death-.-iKony 

still liviiiK. 
' thoufth. 

1 deftlh. 

4 kirninini; ami 

Like to an fischc fast in the net, 

In dcid-thraw vndeccist', 
Quha, ihochl' in vainc, dois striuc for strcnlh 

For to pull out hir hcid, 
Quhilk profuis nathing at the Icnth 
Dot haistcs hir to hir dcid\ 
With wristing and thristing* 

The faster still is scho ; 
Thair I so did lye so, 
My death advancing to. 

S more troubled. 


7 anno>'arcc. 
* opprcssctl. 

9 drought. 

» No token. 

" at once. 

«J groans 

The mair I wrestlit with the wynd 
The faschtcr' still myself I fynd ; 

Na mirth my mynd micht mease*. 
Mair n()y^ nor I, had neuer nana, 
I was sa alterit and ouirgane* 

Throw drowth9 of my disease. 
Than weakly, as I micht, I rayis; 
My sicht grewe dim and dark ; 
I stakkerit at the windilstrayis'", 
Na takin" I was stark. 

IJaiih sichiles and michtles, 
I grew almaist at ainis**; 
In angwische I langwische 
With mony grievous grainis'\ 

With sol>cr pace I did approche 
Hard to the riuer and the roche 

Quhairof I spak befoir ; 
Quhais running sic a murmure maid, 


That to the sey it softlie slaid; 

The craig was high and schoir'. 
Than plcasur did me so prouok 

Perforce thair to repaire, 
Bctuix the riuer and the rok, 
Quhair Hope grew with Dispaire. 
A trie than I sie than 

Of Cherries in the braes. 
Bclaw, to, I saw, to, 

Anc buss of bitter Slaes^ 


' sheer. 

^ A bush of sloes. 

The Cherries hang abune my heid, 
Like twinkland rubies round and reid, 

So hich vp in the hewch3, 
Quhais schaddowis in the riuer schew, 
Als graithlie* glansing, as they grewe, 

On trimbhng twistis tewchs, 
Quhilk l)owed throu burding of thair birth^, 

Inchning downe thair toppis, 
Reflex of Phoebus of the firth 7 
Newe colourit all thair knoppis^, 
With dansing and glansing 
In tirles dornik champ9, 
Ay streimand and gleimand 
Throw brichtnes of that lamp. 

3 crag. 

4 perfectly. 

5 tough twigs. 

* throuRh burden 
of their produce. 

7 sheltered place. 
3 knobs. 

9 In ripples like 
diaper figuring. 

With earnest eye quhil I cspye 
The fruit betuixt me and the skye, 

Halfe-gaite'°, almaist, to hevin, 
The craig sa cumbersume to dim, 


'o Half-way. 



> without liriiii;. 

The trie sa hich of growth, and trim 

As ony arrowe cvin, 
I cald to mind how Daphne did 

Within the laurcll schriiik, 
Quhcn from Apollo scho hir hid.* 
A thousand times I think 
That trie then to me then. 
As he his laurell thocht ; 
Aspyring hut tyring' 

To get that fruit I sochl. 

» u»e. 

1 endeavour. 

4 steep and 

% for up, tall, and 

( to emy it. 

7 At timM try- 
ing, at times 

To clime the craigc it was na buil" 
I^t l)C to prcssc' to pull the fruit 

In top of all the trie. 
I saw na way cjuhairhy to cum 
Be ony craft to get it clum, 

Appcirandly to mc. 
The craige was vgly, stay, and dreich*, 

The trie heich, lang, and smal*; 
I was affrayd to mount sa hich 
For fcir to get anc fall. 
AfTrayit to say it*, 

I luikit \*p on loft ; 
Quhiles minting, quhiles stinting', 
My purpose changit oft. 

* To <tretch above 
my reach. 

Then Dreid, with Danger and Dispairc, 
Forlxid my minting anie mair 
To raxe abouc my rcichc^ 
"Quhat, tusche!" quod Curage, "man, go to, 

• 0\-id, Metamorf hosts , i. 452, and on. 


He is hot daft that hes ado', 

And spairis for euery speiche. 
For I haue oft hard wise men say, 

And we may see our-sellis, 
That fortune helps the hardie ay. 
And pultrones plaine repellis. 
Than feir not, nor heir not 

Dreid, Danger, or Dispaire; 
To fazarts hard hazarts^ 
Is dcid or 3 they cum thair. 


but foolish that 
has aughi to do. 

2 To dastards 

hard hazards. 

3 Is death ere. 

" Quha speidis bot sic as heich aspyris ? 
Quha triumphis nocht bot sic as tyris 

To win a nobill name? 
Of schrinking quhat bot schame succeidis? 
Than do as thou wald haif thy dcidis 

In register of fame. 
I put the cais, thou nocht preuaild, 

Sa thou with honour die. 
Thy life, bot not thy courage, faild, 
Sail poetis pen of thee. 

Thy name than from Fame than 

Sail neuir be cut aff: 
Thy graif ay sail haif ay 
That honest epitaff. 

"Quhat can thou loose, quhen honour lyuis? 
Renowne thy vertew ay reuyuis 

Gif valiauntlie thou end." 
Quod Danger, " Hulie^ friend, talc heid ! "Softly. 



• Take care. 

' thou catch no 

Vntymous spurring .spillis the steid. 

Tak tent' (juhat ye pretend. 
Tliocht Courage counsel! thee to dim, 

Bewar thou kep na skaith'. 
Ilaif thou na help hot Hope and him, 
They may heguyle the haith. 
Thy-sell now can tell now 

The counsell of thae clarkis, 
Quhairthrow yit, I trow yit, 

Thy breist dois licir the markis. 

1 few limes thou 

4 Foolish haste. 

5 Beguiles. 

6 considers not. 

"Brunt bairn with fyre the danger dreidis ; 
Sa I heleif thy bosome bleidis 
Sen last that fyre thou felt. 
Besydis this, seindell tymis th^ seis' 
That euer Curage keipis the keyis 

Of knawledge at his lx;lt. 
Thocht he bid fordwart with the gunnis. 

Small powder he prouydis. 
Be nocht ane novice of the nunnis 
That saw nocht baith the sydis. 
Fuil-haist^ ay almaist ay 

Ouirsyliss the sicht of sum 
Quha huikis not**, nor luikis not 
Quhat eftir\s'ard may cum. 

7 learn. 

"Yit Wisdomc wischis the to wey 
This figour of philosophey — 
A lessoun worth to leir' — 
Quhilk is, in tyme for to tak tent, 



And not, when tyme is past, repent, 

And buy repentance deir. 
Is thair na honoure efter lyfe 

Except thou slay thy-sell? 
Quhairfoir hes Attropus' that knyfe? 
I trow thou cannot tell, 
That, but it, wald cut it 

That Clotho- skairse hes spun, 
Distroying thy joying 
Befoire it be begun. 

• Atropos, eldest 
of the Fates, 
presiding over 

= youngest of the 
Fates, presiding 
over birth. 

"All ouirs are repuit to be vyce* — 
Ore hich, ore law, ore rasche, ore nyce, 

Ore heit, or yit ore cauld. 
Thou seemes vnconstant be thy sings 3; 
Thy thocht is on ane thousand things; 

Thou wattis'' not quhat thou wald. 
Let Fame hir pittie on the powre 
Quhan all thy banis ar brokin : 
Yone Slae, suppose 5 you think it soure, 
May satisfie to slokkin^ 

Thy drouth? now, O youth now, 

Quhilk drownis thee with desyre. 
Aswage than thy rage, man, 
Foull water quenches fyre. 

3 signs. 

4 knowest. 

5 although. 

6 slake. 

7 drought. 

* •' Extremes are vicious." The poet here advocates Horace's 
"golden mean," the counsel of the Greek proverb M»S£» ayav, 
said to have been one of the inscriptions on the tripod of the 
oracle at Delphi. 



« Than fiRht with 
ten at once 

• practice. 

3 liefer, rather. 

"Quhat fulc art thou to die of thirst, 
And now may quench it, gif thou Usl, 

So easily, but paine ! 
Maire honor is to vanquisch anc 
Nor feicht with tensum' and be lane. 

And outhir hurt or slanc. 
The prattick' is, to bring to passe. 

And not to enterjjrise ; 
And als guid drinking out of glas 
As gold, in ony wise. 
I leuir^ haue euer 

Anc foulc in hand, or tway, 
Nor seand ten fleand 
About mc all the day." 

[The argument is t.-ikcn up l>y Hope, Will, Kcnv.n, r.xiH.iicncc, 
anti •ithcr alli-gorical qualities, who each urj;c their view <»f the 
cntcrnrise. Finally, by all in company, the ascent is essayed, 
and tnc Chcrric secured.] 


Hay! nou the day dauis' 
The joHe Cok crauis; 
Nou shroudis the shauis- 

Throu Natur anone. 
The thissell-cok3 cryis 
On louers vha lyis : 
Nou skailHs-t the skyis: 

The nicht is neir gone. 

' dawns. 

■the coverts attire 

3 throstle-cock. 

4 scatter. 

The feildis ouerflouis 
\Vith gouanss that grouis, 
Quhair HHes lyk lou^ is, 

Als rid as the rone 7. 
The turtill that treu is 
With nots that reneuis 
Hir pairtie^ perseuis; 

The night is neir gone. 

' "This lovely poem is one of the happiest efforts of Mont- 
gomerie's muse, and shows his lyric genius at its best. It is 
perhaps the oldest set of words extant to the air 'Hey tuttie, 
taittie ' — the war-note sounded for the Bruce on the field of 
Bannockburn, and familiarized to ever)'one by Burns' ' Scots 
wha hae.' The song was one of those chosen for adaptation by 
the Wedderburns in their ' Compendious Bulk of godly and 
spiritual! .Sangis.'" — (Cran.stoun, Notes, p. 371.) 

3 daisies. 

6 flame. 

7 As red as the 

rowan, moun- 
tain ash. 

8 partner. 



« Toss high their 
tino, aii(lcr>. 


Nou hairtis with hyndis 
Conformc to thair kyndis 
Hie tursis thair tyndis' 

On grund vhair they gronc. 
Nou hurchonis' with hairis 
Ay passis in pairis ; 
Quhilk deuly declairis 

The night is neir gont:. 

each one. 

4 attends. 

5 males. 

Thi- sesone cxcellis 

Thrugh sueetnes that sniellis ; 

Nou Cupid coniiK-'llis 

Our hairtis cchonc^ 
On Venus vha vaikis\ 
To muse on our niaikis\ 
Syn sing for thair saikis — 

The night is ncir gone. 

* pre para. 

7 foes. 

*i.t. The stallion. 


•0 Rallops. 

All curageous knichtis 

Aganis the day dichtis* 

The breist-plate that bright is 

To feght with thair fone'. 
The stoned .steed* stampis 
Throu curage, and crampis', 
Syn on the land lampis'°. 

The night is ncir gone. 

<■ men, stout 

'- strong 

' i throne. 

The freikis" on feildis, 
That wight wapins'- weildis, 
With shyning bright sheildis, 
[As] Titan in trone'-; 



Stiff speiris in reistis 
Ouer cursoris cristis 
Ar brok on thair breistis : 
The night is neir gone. 

So hard ar thair hittis, 
Some sueyis, some sittis, 
And some perforce flittis' 

On grund vhill they grone. 
Syn groomis- that gay is 
On blonkis that brayis^ 
With suordis assayis : 

The night is neir gone. 

• change 

- Then gallants. 

3 On white steeds 
that neigh. 





3 fcignini;. 

4 wrestle. 

S have ; i.t. po>- 
session .ilicady 
hair satisfies. 

* smith. 
7 boldly. 

A UONY " No," with smyling looks aganc, 

I wald yc Icirnd, sen ihcy so comely ar. 
As touching " Yes," if ye suld speik so plane, 

I might reprove you to haif said so far. 

Noght that your grant in ony wayis micht gar' 
Me loth the fruit that curage ocht to chuse ; 

Bot I wald only haif you seme to skar^ 
And let me tak it, fenzcing^ to refuse; 

And warsilH, a.s it war against your will, 

Appeiring angrie, thoght ye haif no yre : 
For haif5, ye heir, is haldin half a fill. 

I speik not this as trouing for to tyre ; 

Bot as the forger^, vhen he feeds his f)Te, 
With sparks of water maks it burnc more bald'; 

So sueet denyall doubillis bot desyr, 
And quickins curage fra becomming cald. 

' mu&t. 

9 plentiful. 

" learn. 

" for a time. 

Wald ye Ixj made of, yc man'' mak it nyce ; 

For dainties heir ar delicat and deir, 
Bot plenties things ar prysde to litill pryce. 

Then, thoght ye hearken, let no wit ye heir, 

Bot look auay, and len thame ay your eir. 
For, folou love, they say, and it will flie. 

Wald ye be lovd, this lessone mon ye leir »°; 
Flie vhylome" love, and it will folou thee. 



Bright amorous ee vhare Love in ambush [lyes] — 

Cleir cristall tear distilde at our depairt' 'parting. 

Sucet secreit sigh more peircing nor a dairt — 
Inchanting voce, beuitcher of the wyse — 
Quhyt ivory hand vhilk thrust my finger[s pryse] — 

I challenge you, the causers of my smarte, 

As homiceids and murtherers of my harte. 
In Resone's court to suffer ane assyse. 

Bot oh ! I fear, yea rather wot I weill, 

To be repledgt ye plainly will appeill 
To Love, whom Resone never culd comm[and]. 

Bot, since I can not better myn estate, 
Yit, vhill I live, at leist I sail regrate 

Ane ee, a teir, a sigh, a voce, a hand. 




' Since then. 
3 separate. 

< fcareU. 

So suetc a kis yislrcnc fra thcc I rcfl 
In Ixjuing doun thy Injdy on the l)cd, 

That cvin my lyfc within thy lippis I left. 

Scnsynt' from thcc my spirit wald ncucr shed 
To folou thcc it from my lx»dy fled, 

.\iid left my corj)s als cold as ony kic^ 
Bot vhcn the danger of my death I drcds 

To seik my spreit I sent my hartc to thee ; 

Bot it wes so inamored with thyn ce, 
With thee it myndit lyku>-se to rcmane. 

So thou hes keepit captive all the thrie, 
More glaid to byde then to rcturne agane. 

Except thy breath thare places had suppleit, 

Euen in thyn armcs thair doulles had I deiL 




SuF.TE Nichtingalc in holcne' grene that han[ts] 

To sport thy-sclf, and spcciall in the spring, 
Thy chivring chirHs^, vhilks changingHe thou [chants,] 

Males all the roches round about the ring ; 

Vhilk slaiks my sorou, so to heir the sing. 
And lights my louing langour at the leist ; 

Yit, thoght3 thou sees not, sillie, saikles'* thing! 
The piercing pykis brodss at thy bony breist^. 
Euin so am I, by plesur lykuyis preist?, 

In gritest danger vhair I most delyte. 
Bot since thy song for shoring^ hes not ceist 

Suld feble I for fcir my conqueis quyt?? 
Na, na, — I love the, freshest Phcenix fair ! 
In beuty, birth, in bounty but compair'". 


' quivering trills. 

3 though. 

4 frail, innocent. 

5 thorns prick. 

6 bonnie breast. 

7 likewise tried. 

3 threatening. 

9 my conquest (or 
object of con- 
quest) quit. 

»o w ithout peer. 

Williatn Hodge &' Co., Printers, Glasgow 



Bound in cloth, cro^wn Svo., 3J. 6ti. each volume. 

A limited number of copies printed on large antique paper, 
Roxburgh binding, price 5s. nett. 

This series is intended to reproduce in popular form the best 
Works of the Scottish Poets, from the earliest times onwards ; 
and it is hoped within a moderate number of volumes to furnish 
a comprehensive library of the Poetry of Scotland. 

No liberties whatever are taken with the texts, which are 
edited from the best editions, and furnished with necessary intro- 
ductions and glossaries. 

The first three volumes of the series are now ready : — 

EARLY SCOTTISH POETRY: Thomas the Rhymer, John 
Barbour, Androw of Wyntoun, and Henry the Minstrel. 

Rol)crt lienryson, William Dunljar, and Gavin Douglas. 

CENTURY: .Sir David Lyndsay, John Bellenden, 
James V., Sir Richard Maitland, Alexander Scot, and 
Alexander Montgomerie. 

The following volume is in preparation : — 

SCOTTISH BALLAD POETRY: The best historical, 
legendary, and imaginative ballads of Scotland. 

The particulars of succeeding volumes will be afterwards 



A good service i- ' -'■■ - ' • t lo ScoltUh litemturc !■>■ Mr. Eyrc-TwIil in 
his " Alilxjtsford Seri 'illt^. Min intrthluctory csvayv sliow Ic^niiliK, 

insight, nntl critical .^ .,. .^..ilc the dLscriniinatioii exercised in his Ireat- 

mcrit of (he text is excellent.— A valuable acquisition to the student's library. 
— Paity L hroniclt. 

Should (os-eNS great interest for all lovers of i>oetr\-. 'ITie volume fdK 
whnt apiMTOrs to tjc a gap in the ranks of our pulilishcd l>ooV.s of to-day. — 

I'he first instalment of the AbbotsTord 5ierie« Ls full of promise. — 

What Mr. RyTC-Todd hits undertaken has l>een carried out in a manner 
deserving of the hichest jir.'xise. Such ' ; ■ " '■ \ this 

" Alilioisfiird Scries, uIulIi, when ihr have 

apjicircil, will h-ive ■.' • ■ ' • ' « t, .. ,...^.icnsive 

libr.iry of the Piiclry i.'./. 

lliis (irst v.iliiiii. .%-onhy effort to open np 

what is to all la;: ■ ■•xt~<\.~Hritiih WttUy. 

It is a ^rati!) j in our early |><M.-lry that 

an attempt is made in su pratscwuttby a lurm as this lo attract a wider circle 
of readers to their study. . . . Kverjone who has the liest interests of 
literature at heart will wish them success. — Sccttman. 

Kvcryone must give a heart v weKoine to this new venture to bring the 
liest fjortions of Scottish i' 'of all. We hojic not a 

few teachers will liavc th.- of the volumes into their 

higher cl.'Lsses alongside ul i i..i.i'w, »ji.i il.i- muivrto been duniinanl, much 
to the loss of our home literature. — Aitrdten Journai. 


We that Mr. Eyre-l'odd may be encouraged to proceed with thi& 
.\bl)Otsford Series of the Scottish I'oels, for the two volumes which he has 
already published make it abundantly clear that he possesses the requisite 
knowledge, taste, iiisi-^ht, and critical skill neces.sary to the successful 
accomplishment of so liilTicult a task. — Th( Spiaker. 

We can .strongly recommend Mr. Kyre-'l'odd's " Medixval Scottish 
Poetry " as a work creditable alike to himself and to his publisher. — Literary 

" Media:val Scottish Poetry" is a meritorious and a welcome popularisa- 
tion of some of the IjCsI examples of our fifteenth century verse. — Scottish 
Ltadcr. • 

This volume more than fulfils the promise of the first. — MexUm Church. 

The second volume of Mr. Kyre-'l'odd's " .Abliotiford Series" amply 
fulfils the promise of the earlier instalment, as regards all that the editor 
himself could be responsible for. — C,lasg(ni' Ilcralti. 

The editor lias done his work wonderfully well, and, considering the aim 
of the series, with perfect thoroughness. — Freeman's Journal. 

A useful little volume of selections from the Media:val Poetry of Scotland. 
— Daily Nczvs. 

This series is a most excellent one, and its production deserves every 
encouragement. It promises to l>e a permanent addition to the very few- 
works we have which deal with Scottish poetical literature as a literature ; 
and one speciality in it worthy of all praise is the concise and .scholarly way 
in which the editing has been done. — Aberdeen Daily Free Press. 

The editor's work is well and conscientiously done. — British li''eekly. 


University of California 


405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which It was borrowed. 

1 REGl0^l^L