Page images
PDF
EPUB

Of tails I will no more indite,
[A Carman's Account of a Law-suit.]

For dread some duddroni me despite :
Marry, I lent my gossip my mare, to fetch hame coals, Notwithstanding, I will conclude,
And he her drounit into the quarry holes ;

That of side tails can come nae gude,
And I ran to the consistory, for to'pleinyie,

Sider nor may their ankles hide, And there I happenit amang ane greedie meinyie. The remanent proceeds of pride, They gave me first ane thing they call citandum; And pride proceeds of the devil, Within aucht days I gat but libellandum;

Thus alway they proceed of evil. Within ane month I gat ad opponendum;

Ane other fault, Sir, may be seen, In half ane year I gat inter-loquendum,

They hide their face all bot the een ; And syne I gat-how call ye it ?-ad replicandum ;

When gentlemen bid them gude day, Bot I could never ane word yet understand him :

Without reverence they slide away. * And then they gart me cast out mony placks,

Without their faults be soon amended, And gart me pay for four-and-twenty acts.

My flyting,2 Sir, shall never be ended; Bot or they came half gate to concludendum,

But wald your grace my counsel tak, The fiend ane plack was left for to defend him.

Ane proclamation ye should mak, Thus they postponed me twa year with their train,

Baith through the land and burrowstouns, Syne, hodie ad octo, bade me come again :

To shaw their face and cut their gowns. And then thir rooks they rowpit wonder fast

Women will say, this is nae bourds, 3 For sentence, silver, they cryit at the last.

To write sic vile and filthy words: Of pronunciandum they made me wonder fain,

But wald they clenge their filthy tails, Bot I gat never my gude grey mare again.

Whilk over the mires and middings trails,

Then should my writing clengit be,
Supplication in Contemption of Side Tails.2

None other mends they get of me.
(1538.)

Quoth Lindsay, in contempt of the side tails, Sovereign, I mean3 of thir side tails,

That duddrons and duntibours through the dubs triks Whilk through the dust and dubs trails, Three quarters lang behind their heels,

[The Building of the Tower of Babel, and Express again' all commonweals.

Confusion of Tongues.]
Though bishops, in their pontificals,
Have men for to bear up their tails,

(From the Monarchie.) For dignity of their office;

Their great fortress then did they found, Richt so ane queen or ane emprice;

And cast till they gat sure ground. Howbeit they use sic gravity,

All fell to work both man and child, Conformand to their majesty,

Some howkit clay, some burnt the tyld. Though their robe-royals be upborne,

Nimron, that curious champion, I think it is ane very scorn,

Deviser was of that dungeon. That every lady of the land .

Nathing they spared their labours, Should have her tail so side trailand;

Like busy bees upon the flowers, Howbeit they been of high estate,

Or emmets travelling into June; The queen they should not counterfeit.

Some under wrocht, and some aboon,

With strang ingenious masonry, Wherever they go it may be seen

Upward their wark did fortify; * How kirk and causay they soop clean.

The land about was fair and plain, The images into the kirk

And it rase like ane heich montane, May think of their side tails irk ;4

Those fulish people did intend, For when the weather been maist fair,

That till the heaven it should ascend: The dust flies highest into the air,

Sae great ane strength was never seen And all their faces does begary,

Into the warld with men's een. Gif they could speak, they wald them wary. * *

The wallis of that wark they made, But I have maist into despite

Twa and fifty fathom braid: Poor claggocks5 clad in Raploch white,

Ane fathom then, as some men says, Whilk has scant twa merks for their fees,

Micht been twa fathom in our days; Will have twa ells beneath their knees.

Ane man was then of mair stature
Kittock that cleckit 6 was yestreen,

Nor twa be now, of this be sure.
The morn, will counterfeit the queen. *
In barn nor byre she will not bide,

The translator of Orosius
Without her kirtle tail be side.

Intil his chronicle writes thus ; In burghs, wanton burgess wives

That when the sun is at the hicht, Wha may have sidest tails strives,

At noon, when it doth shine maist bricht, Weel bordered with velvet fine,

The shadow of that hideous strength But followand them it is ane pyne :

Sax mile and mair it is of length: In summer, when the streets dries,

Thus may ye judge into your thocht, They raise the dust aboon the skies ;

Gif Babylon be heich, or nocht. Nane may gae near them at their ease,

Then the great God omnipotent, Without they cover mouth and neese.

To whom all things been present, I think maist pane after ane rain,

He seeand the ambition, To see them tuckit up again;

And the prideful presumption, Then when they step furth through the street,

How thir proud people did pretend, Their fauldings flaps about their feet;

Up through the heavens till ascend, They waste mair claith, within few years,

Sic languages on them he laid, Nor wald cleid fifty score of freirs. *

That nane wist what ane other said;

Where was but ane language afore, i Company. 2 The over-long skirts of the ladies' dresses God send them languages three score; of those days. 3 Complain. 4 May feel annoyed. 5 Draggle tails. 6 Born.

1 Slut.
2 Scolding.

3 Jest

e.

Afore that time all spak Hebrew,

Ilow might I do to get a graff Then some began for to speak Grew,

Of this unspotted tree? Some Dutch, some language Saracen,

For all the rest are plain but chaff And some began to speak Latin.

Which seem good corn to be. The maister men gan to ga wild,

This gift alone I shall her give: Cryand for trees, they brocht them tyld.

When Death doth what he can, Some said, Bring mortar here at ance,

Her honest faine shall ever live
Then brocht they to them stocks and stanes;

Within the mouth of man.
And Nimrod, their great champion,
Ran ragand like ane wild lion,
Menacing them with words rude,

Amantium Irã amoris redintegratio est.
But never ane word they understood. * *

[By Richard Edwards, a court musician and poet, 1323-1566.] for final conclusion, Constrained were they for till depart,

| In going to my naked bed, as one that would have Ilk company in ane sundry airt. *

slept, I heard a wife sing to her child, that long before had

wept. MISCELLANEOUS PIECES OF THE PERIOD 1400-1558. She sighed sore, and sang full sweet, to bring the

babe to rest. A few pieces of the reigns of Henry VIII. and

That would not cease, but cried still, in sucking at Edward VI., some of which are by uncertain authors,

her breast. may be added, as further illustrative of the literary

She was full weary of her watch, and grieved with history of that period. The first two are amongst

her child, the earliest verses in which the metaphysical re

She rocked it, and rated it, until on her it smil'd; finements, so notable in the subsequent period, are Then did she sa

Then did she say, 'Now have I found the proverb truc observable.

to prove,

The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of A Praise of his (the Pocts) Lady.

love.' Give place, you ladies, and be gone.

Then took I paper, pen, and ink, this proverb for to Boast not yourselves at all!

write, For here at hand approacheth one,

In register for to remain of such a worthy wight. Whose face will stain you all !

As she proceeded thus in song unto her little brat, The virtue of her lively looks

Much matter utter'd she of weight in place whereas Excels the precious stone:

she eat; I wish to have none other books

And proved plain, there was no beast, nor creature To read or look upon.

bearing life,

Could well be known to live in love without discord In each of her two crystal eyes

and strife : Smileth a naked boy:

Then kissed she her little babe, and sware by God It would you all in heart suflice

above, To see that lamp of joy.

"The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of I think Nature hath lost the mould,

love.
Where she her shape did take;
Or else I doubt if Nature could

'I marvel much, pardie,' quoth she, 'for to behold So fair a creature make.

the rout, She may be well compared

To see man, woman, boy, and beast, to toss the world Unto the phenix kind,

about; Whose like was never seen nor heard, Some kneel, some crouch, some beck, some check, and That any man can find.

some can smoothly smile, In life she is Diana chaste,

And some embrace others in armis, and there think In troth Penelope,

many a wile. In word and eke in deed steadfast:

Some stand aloof at cap and knee, some humble, and What will you more we say?

some stout,

Yet are they never friends indeed until they once fall Her roseal colour comes and goes

out.' With such a comely grace,

Thus ended she her song, and said, before she did More ruddier too than doth the rose,

remove, Within her lively face.

* The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of

love.'
At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet,

Ne at no wanton play ;
Nor gazing in an open street,

[Characteristic of an Englishman.]
Nor gadding as a stray.

[By Andrew Bourd, physician to Henry VIII. The lines

form an inscription under the picture of an Englishman, naked, The modest mirth that she doth use

with a roll of cloth in one hand, and a pair of scissors in the Is mix'd with shamefac'dness ;

other.)
All vice she doth wholly refuse,
And hateth idleness,

I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here,
O Lord, it is a world to see

Musing in my mind what garment I shall wear,

For now I will wear this, and now I will wear that.
How virtue can repair,
And deck in her such honesty

Now I will wear I cannot tell what :

All new fashions be pleasant to me,
Whom Nature made so fair!

I will have them whether I thrive or thco :
Truly she doth as far exceed

Now I am a fisher, all men on me look
Our women now-a-days,

What should I do but set cock on the hoop?
As doth the gilly flower a weed,

What do I care if all the world me fail,
And more a thousand ways.

I will have a garment reach to my tail.

[ocr errors]

Then I am a ininion, for I wear the new guise,
The next year after I hope to be wise-
Not only in wearing my gorgeous array,
For I will go to learning a whole summer's day;
I will leam Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and French,
And I will learn Dutch sitting on iny bench.
I do fear no man, each man feareth me;
I overcome my adversaries by land and by sea :
I had no peer if to myself I were true;
Because I am not so direrse times do I rue:
Yet I lack nothing, I have all things at will,
If I were wise and would hold myself still,
And meddle with no matters but to me pertaining,
But ever to be true to God and my king.
But I have such matters rolling in my pate,
That I will and do I cannot tell what.
No man shall let me, but I will have my mind,
And to father, mother, and friend, I'll be unkind.
I will follow mine own mind and mine old trade :
Who shall let me? The devil's nails are unpared.
Yet above all things new fashions I love weli,
And to wear them iny thrift I will sell.
In all this world I shall have but a time:
Hold the cup, good fellow, here is thine and mine!

SHE.-Now sith that ye have showed to me

The secret of your mind,
I shall be plain to you again,

Like as ye shall me find.
Sith it is so that ye will go,

I will not live behind; Shall never be said, the Nut-Brown Muid

Was to her love unkind :
Make you ready, for so am I,

Although it were anon;
For in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.

IE.--I counsel you, remember how

It is no maiden's law
Nothing to doubt, but to run out

To wood with an outlàır;
For ye must there in your hand bear

A bow, ready to draw ;
And as a thief, thus must you live,

Ever in dread and awe.
Whereby to you great harm might grow :

Yet had I lever than,
That I had to the green wood so,

Alone, a banished man.

The Nut-Brown Mail.

(Regarding the date and author of this piece no certainty exists. Prior, who founded his Henry and Emma upon it, fixes its date about 1400 ; but others, judging from the comparatively modern language of it, suppose it to have been comrosed subsequently to the time of Surrey. The poem opens with a declaration of the author, that the faith of woman is stronger than is generally alleged, in proof of which he proposes to relate the trial to which the Not-Browne Mayde' was exposed by her lover. What follows consists of a dialogue between the pair.]

HE.-It standeth so; a deed is do',

Whereof great harın shall grow :
My destiny is for to die

A shameful death, I trow;
Or else to flee : the one must be,

None other way I know,
But to withdraw as an outlaw,

And take me to my bow.
Wherefore adieu, my own heart true!

None other rede I can:
For I must to the green wood go,

Alone, a banished man.
ShE.-0 Lord, what is this world's bliss,

That changcth as the moon !
My summer's day in lusty May

Is darked before the noon.
I hear you say, Farewell : Nay, nay,

We depart not so soon.
Why say ye so? whither will ye go?

Alas! what have ye donc ?
All my welfare to sorrow and care

Should change if ye were gone;
For in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.

She.--I think not nay, but, as ye say,

It is no maiden's lore :
But love may make me for your sake,

As I have said before,
To come on foot, to hunt and shoot

To get us meat in store ;
For so that I your company

May have. I ask no more :
From which to part it makes my heart

As cold as any stone ;
For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone. lle.—Yet take good heed, for ever I dread

That ye could not sustain
The thorny ways, the deep vallèys,

The snow, the frost, the rain,
The cold, the heat ; for, dry or weet,

We must lodge on the plain ;
And us above. none other roof

But a brake bush or twain : Which soon should griere you, I beliere,

And ye would gladly than
That I had to the greenwood go,

Alone, a banished man.
ShE.-Sith I have here been partiner

With you of joy and bliss,
I must also part of your wo

Endure, as reason is.
Yet I am sure of one pleasure,

And, shortly, it is this,
That, where ye be, me seemeth, pardie,

I could not fare amiss.
Without more speech, I you bescech

That ye were soon agone,
For, to my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.
He.-If ye go thither, ye must consider,

When ye have list to dine,
There shall no meat be for you gete,

Nor drink, beer, ale, nor wine,
No sheetes clean, to lie between,

Made of thread and twine;
None other house but leaves and boughs,

To cover your head and mine.
Oh mine heart sweet, this evil diet,

Should make you pale and wan; Wherefore I will to the green wood go,

Alone, a banished man.

HE.-I can beliere, it shall you grieve,

And somewhat you distrain :
But afterward, your paines hard

Within a day or twain
Shall soon aslake ; and ye shall take

Comfort to you again.
Why should ye ought, for to make thought ?

Your labour were in vain.
And thus I do, and pray to you,

As heartily as I can;
For I must to the green wood go,

Alone, a banished man,

Sue.-Among the wild deer, such an archér,

As men say that ye be,
Ye may not fail of good vittail,

Where is so great plentie.
And water clear of the river,

Shall be full sweet to me.
With which in heal, I shall right weel

Endure, as ye shall see ;
And, ere we go, a bed or two

I can provide anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.
HE.—Lo yet before, ye must do more,

If ye will go with me;
As cut your hair up by your ear,

Your kirtle to the knee ;
With bow in hand, for to withstand

Your enemies, if need be ;
And this same night, before day-light,

To wood-ward will I flee.
If that ye will all this fulfill,

Do't shortly as ye can :
Else will I to the green wood go,

Alone, a banished man.
Sue.-I shall, as now, do more for you,

Than 'longeth to womanheed,
To short my hair, a bow to bear,

To shoot in time of need.
Oh, my sweet mother, before all other

For you I have most dread ;
But now adieu ! I must ensue

Where fortune doth me lead.
All this make ye : Now let us flee;

The day comes fast upon :
For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.
He.- Nay, nay, not so ; ye shall not go,

And I sball tell you why :
Your appetitel is to be light

Of love, I weel espy :
For like as ye have said to me,

In like wise, hardily,
Ye would answer whoever it were,

In way of company.
It is said of old, soon hot, soon cold ;

And so is a woman,
Wherefore I to the wood will go,

Alone, a banished man.
She.--If ye take heed, it is no need

Such words to say by me;
For oft ye prayed and me assayed,

Ere I loved you, pardie :
And though that I, of ancestry,

A baron's daughter be,
Yet have you proved how I you loved,

A squire of low degree ;
And ever shall, whatso befal ;

To die therefore anon ;
For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.
HIE.—A baron's child to be beguiled,

It were a cursed deed !
To be fellàw with an outlaw,

Almighty God forbid !
It better were, the poor squièr

Alone to forest yede,
Than I should say, another day,

That, by my cursed deed,
We were betrayed : wherefore, good maid,

The best rede that I can,
Is, that I to the greenwood go,
Alone, a banished man,

1 Disposition.

SHE.- Whatever befall, I never shall,

Of this thing you upbraid ; But, if ye go, and leave me so,

Than have ye me betrayed.
Remember weel, how that you deal ;

For if ye, as ye said,
Be so unkind to leave behind,

Your love, the Nut-Brown Maid,
Trust me truly, that I shall die

Soon after ye be gone ;
For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.
IIE.- If that ye went, ye should repent ;

For in the forest now
I have purveyed me of a maid,

Whom I love more than you ;
Another fairer than ever ye were,

I dare it weel avow,
And of you both each should be wroth

With other, as I trow :
It were mine ease to live in peace;

So will I, if I can ;
Wherefore I to the wood will go,

Alone, a banished man.
ShE.—Though in the wood I understood

Ye had a paramour,
All this may not remove my thought,

But that I will be your.
And she shall find me soft and kind

And courteous every hour;
Glad to fulfill all that she will

Command me to my power.
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo,

Of them I would be one ;
For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.
He.—Mine own dear love, I see thee prore

That ye be kind and true;
Of maid and wife, in all my life,

The best that ever I knew.
Be merry and glad ; no more be sad ;

The case is changed now ;
For it were ruth, that, for your truth,

Ye should have cause to rue.
Be not dismayed ; whatever I said

To you, when I began ;
I will not to the greenwood go,

I am no banished man.
She.—These tidings be more glad to me,

Than to be made a queen,
If I were sure they would endure :

But it is often seen,
When men will break promise, they speak

The wordes on the spleen.
Ye shape some wile me to beguile,

And steal from me, I ween :
Than were the case worse than it was,

And I more woc-begone :
For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.
He.--Ye shall not necd further to dread :

I will not disparàge,
You (God defend !) sith ye descend

Of so great a lineage.
Now understand ; to Westmoreland,

Which is mine heritage,
I will you bring ; and with a ring,

By way of marriage,
I will you take, and lady make,

As shortly as I can :
Thus have you won an earl's son,
And not a banished man.

is to say, they that seen few things woll soon say their PROSE WRITERS.

advice. Forsooth those folks consideren little the SIR JOHN FORTESCUE.

good of the realm, whereof the might most stondeth

upon archers, which be no rich men. And if they Not long after the time of Lydgate, our attention were made poorer than they be, they should not have is called to a prose writer of eminence, the first wherewith to buy them bows, arrows. jacks. or any since the time of Chaucer and Wickliffe. This was l other armour of defence, whereby they might be able SIR JOHN FORTESCUE, Chief Justice of the King's to resist our enemies when they list to come upon us, Bench under Henry VI., and a constant adherent of which they may do on every side, considering that we the fortunes of that monarch. He flourished be- | be an island ; and, as it is said before, we may not tween the years 1430 and 1470. Besides several Latin have soon succours of any other realm. Wherefore tracts, Chief Justice Fortescue wrote one in the we should be a prey to all other enemies, but if we be common language, entitled, The Difference between an mighty of ourself, which might stondeth most upon Absolute and Limited Monarchy, as it more particularly our poor archers ; and therefore they needen not only regards the English Constitution, in which lie draws a to have such habiliments as now is spoken of, but also striking, though perhaps exaggerated, contrast be- they needen to be much exercised in shooting, which tween the condition of the French under an arbi- | may not be done without right great expenses, as trary monarch, and that of his own countrymen, every man expert therein knoweth right well. Wherewho even then possessed considerable privileges as fore the making poor of the commons, which is the subjects. The following extracts convey at once an making poor of our archers, should be the destruction idea of the literary style, and of the manner of of the greatest might of our realm. Item, if poor men thinking, of that age.

may not lightly rise, as is the opinion of those men,

which for that cause would have the commons poor ; [English Courage.]

how then, if a mighty man made a rising, should he

be repressed, when all the commons be so poor, that Original spelling. It is cowardise and lack of hartes and

after such opinion they may not fight, and by that corage, that kepith the Frenchmen from rysyng, and not po

reason not help the king with fighting? And why vertye; which corage no Frenche man hath like to the English

maketh the king the commons to be every year musman. It hath ben often seen in Englond that iij or iv thefes,

tered, sithen it was good they had no harness, nor for povertie, hath sett upon vij or viij true men, and robbyd

were able to fight? Oh, how unwise is the opinion of them al. But it hath not ben seen in Fraunce, that vij or viij thefes have ben hardy to robbe ijj or iy true men. Wherfor

these men ; for it may not be maintained by any it is right seld that French men be hangyd for robberye, for reason! Item, when any rising hath been made in that thay have no hertys to do so terryble an acte. There be this land, before these days by commons, the poorest therfor mo men hangyd in Englond, in a yere, for robberye men thereof hath been the greatest causers and doers and manslaughter, than ther be hangid in Fraunce for such therein. And thrifty men have been loth thereto, for cause of crime in vij yers, &c.]

dread of losing of their goods, yet often times they

have gone with them through menaces, or else the It is cowardice and lack of hearts and courage, that same poor men would have taken their goods; wherein keepeth the Frenchmen from rising, and not poverty ; l it seemeth that poverty hath been the whole and chief which courage no French man hath like to the

cause of all such rising. The poor man hath been English man. It hath been often seen in England | stirred thereto by occasion of his poverty for to get that three or four thieves, for poverty, hath set upon

good ; and the rich men have gone with them because seven or eight true men, and robbed them all. But I they wold not be poor by losing of their goods. What it hath not been seen in France, that seven or eight then would fall, if all the commons were poor? thieves have been hardy to rob three or four true men. Wherefore it is right seldi that Frenchmen be hanged for robbery, for that they have no hearts to do so

WILLIAM CAXTON. terrible an act. There be therefore mo men hanged in England, in a year, for robbery and manslaughter,

The next writer of note was WILLIAM CAXTON, than there be hanged in France for such cause of

the celebrated printer; a man of plain understandcrime in seven years. There is no man hanged in ing, but great enthusiasm in the cause of literature. Scotland in seven years together for robbery, and yet While acting as an agent for English merchants in they be often times hanged for larceny, and stealing | Holland, he made himself master of the art of printof goods in the absence of the owner thereof ; but

ing, then recently introduced on the Continent; and, their hearts serve them not to take a man's goods having translated a French book styled, The Recuyell while he is present and will defend it ; which manner of the Histories of Troye, he printed it at Ghent, in of taking is called robbery. But the English man be 1471, being the first book in the English language of another courage ; for if he be poor, and see another ever put to the press.* Afterwards he established man having riches which may be taken from him by a printing-office at Westminster, and in 1474, promight, he wol not spare to do so, but if2 that poor man duced The Game of Chess, which was the first book be right true. Wherefore it is not poverty, but it is printed in Britain. Caxton translated or wrote about lack of heart and cowardice, that keepeth the French sixty different books, all of which went through his men from rising.

own press before his death in 1491. As a specimen

of his manner of writing, and of the literary language That harm would come to England if the Commons

of this age, a passage is here extracted, in modern thereof were Poor.

* In a note to this publication, Caxton says-"Forasmuch Some men have said that it were good for the king as age creepeth on me daily, and feebleth all the bodie, and also that the commons of England were made poor, as be because I have promised divers gentlemen, and to my friends, the commons of France. For then they would not | to address to them, as hastily as I might, this said book, there. rebel, as now they done often times, which the com fore I have practised and learned, at my great charge and dismons of France do not, nor may do ; for they have no pence, to ordain this said book in print, after the manner and weapon, nor armour, nor good to buy it withall. To form as ye may here see, and is not written with pen and ink, these manner of men may be said, with the philoso

as other books ben, to the end that all men may have thern at pher, Ad parva respicientes, de facili enunciant; that

once, for all the books of this story, named . The Recule of the

Historcys of Troyes,' thus emprinted, as ye here see, were begun 1 Seldom. 2 But if-unless.

| in one day, and also finished in one day."

« PreviousContinue »