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Thy clouted Cloak, thy Scrip and Clam-schells,
Cleik on thy Cross, and fair on into France, And cum thou neir again without Mischance; The Feynd fair with the forward ower the Fells. Cankert Cayne, try'd Trowane, tute-villous,
Marmadin, Mynmerkin, Monster of all Men,
To swelly thee instead of a pullt Hen;
Foul frontit Feynd, Fule upon thy Physnomy,
Thy Dok ay dreips of Dirt, and will not dry;
Turk, Trumper, Traytor, Tyranne, intemprate,
Judas, Jew, Janglor, lollard Lawreat,
Mahomeit, mansworn, Atheist abominable,
Deil dampint Dog, in Vyce insatiable; With Gog and Magog greit Glorificat. Nero thy Nevoy, Goliah thy Grandsyre,
Pharo thy Fader, Egyppa thy Dame, Deilbeir thir ar, the Cause that I conspyre
"Gainst thee, and ilka sutie Deil thy Eme; Belzebub thy full Brudder he will claim
To be thy Air, and Cayphas thy Sector,
Pluto Heid of thy Kin and thy Protector,
Hangit, Mangit, Edder-stangit, Stryndie Stultoruni, To me, maist hie, Kennedie, and flie the Feild;
Picket, wicket, stricket, convickit, Lump lullardorune, Defamit, schamít, blamit, primus Paganorum;
Out out, I schout upon that Snout that snevils,
Tale-teller, Rebeller, Indweller with the Divels; Spink, sink, with Stink ad Țartara ternagorum,
The flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy, one of them at least among the most accomplished poets of his day, holding orders in the church, and a constant attendant upon the court, gives a very gross idea of the manners of our auld forbears. When men of learning, placed in the first rank of society, could so forcibly and freely scatter the language of Bilingsgate, what must have been the state of the middle and lower orders of society ?
What were the particular grounds of quarrel between the rival bards has not been recorded. Some have conjectured that it was merely a strite of words, without any thing of enmity on either side; but this we think extremely improbable. Such abusive language could only be prompted by the bitterest rancour, and behoved to excite in the parties eitlier the most consummate contempt or the deepest hatred.
Of Walter Kennedy there appears to be now no memorial except his satires on Dunbar, and two insignificant poems, entitled “ An envective against Mouth Thankless," and the “ Prais of Aige.” From Dunbar's account of him, he appears to have been a native of Carrick, and to have resided principally at Ayr; and from one of his poems we gather that he was, unlike the poets his contemporaries, a zealous disciple of what was then termed the old faith, or, in other words, a true Papist, for he complains bitterly of the “Tempestous wind and rain of Lollèrdry," the term of reproach used at that time to designate those that derived their religion from the Scriptures.
Of William Dunbar, a poet who has been compared with Chaucer, al. most nothing is known but what is gathered from his own writings. He 19 supposed to have been born about the year 1465, and the place of his birth, from his boast of having " Ane pair of Lothian hipps,' is supposed to have been somewhere in the counties that go by that name. Others have supposed that he was of the county of Fife Wherever was the place of his birth, it appears that Edinburgh was generally the place of his residence; that he was educated for, and had his expectations centered in the church. In his youth he appears to have been a travelling noviciate of the order of St. Francis. He appears to have been most assiduous in bis attendance upon the court, and to have omitted no opportunity of bringing himself into notice, yet neglect and poverty seems to have accompanied him even to old age. Whether his own imprudenco retarded his ad. vancement, or if he was neglected merely through the caprice of those who had preferment to bestow, we have no means of ascertaining. From the strain of his writings in general, we should be inclined to judge rather unfavourably for the poet, did we not know the general licentiousness of churchmen in that age, as well as of the age itself. The man who wrote such a production as “The Dregy addressed to the King at Stirvling," was certainly not the man whom a considerate person would have wished to see promoted to influence and dignity in the church.
The works of Dunbar are numerous, and a great part of them, both in sentiment and expression, truly abominable. Others of them are sufficiently chaste, and almost all of them display poetical talent of no common order. Of his superior talents, The Thistle and the Rose, and The Golden Terge, will probably remain monuments, as enduring as the language in which they are written,
The following." Meditation, written in Wynter," will give every reader of taste a very high opinion of his talents, and will be perused with no common interest as the solitary musings of neglected genius.
Into thir dark and drublie dayis,
Quhan that the nycht dois lenthin houris;
And than sayis Age, My friend cum neir; And be not strange, 1 thee requeir.
Cum, brudir, by the hand me tak: • Remember thow hes compt to mak
Of all the tyme thow spendit heir.'
Syne Deid casts up his yettis wyd ;
For feir of this all day I drowp.
Yit quhan the nicht begynnis to schort;
PERLIS TO THE PLAY.
Ar beltane, quhen ilk bodie bownis
To Peblis to the Play,
The solace, suth to say,
Thay graythit tham full gay;
War up or the cok crew;
For garray, and for glew :
Than answerit Meg full blew,
To lat it hing scho leit not;
In faith, quod scho, we meit not.
That day ane byt scho eit nocht;
Am I nocht cleirlie tynt ?
I am so evvil sone-brint;
Amang yon marchands my dudds do ?
Marie I sall anis mynt
Gaderit out thik-fald,
The young folk were full bald.
Out of the townis untald.
Als cant as ony colt,
With ane bow and ane bolt;
The wedder is fair and smolt.
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 consait,
How at thai wald dispone thame:
Tak ye the laif and fonne thame.