Page images

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,
I sall gar bake thee to the Laird of Hillhouse,

To swelly thee instead of a pullt Hen;
Fazart Fowmart, fostert in Filth and Fen,

Foul frontit Feynd, Fule upon thy Physnomy,

Thy Dok ay dreips of Dirt, and will not dry;
To tume thy Tun wald tyre Carlings ten.
Curst Conspirator, Cockatrice, Hells Ka,

Turk, Trumper, Traytor, Tyranne, intemprate,
Thou yrefull Attercap, Pylat, Apostata,

Judas, Jew, Janglor, lollard Lawreat,
Sarazen, Symonite, proud Pagan, pronunceat,

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,
To leid the doun to Hell frae Licht and Leme.
Deilbeir, thy Speir of Weir, bot Feir, thou zeild,

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 sabill all the hevin arrayis,
Ouhan mystie vapours cludds the skyis,
Mature all curage me denyis
Of sangs, ballatis, and of playis.

Quhan that the nycht dois lenthin houris;
With wind, with haill, and havie schouris,
My dule spreit dois lurk for schoir.
My hairt for langour dois forloir,
For laik of Symmer with his flouris.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

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 ;
Saying, “Thir oppin sall ye byd;
*Albeid that yow wer never so stout,
• Undir this lyntall sall thow lout:
• Thair is nane uther way besyd.'

For feir of this all day I drowp.
No gold in kist, nor wyne in cowp,
No ladeis bewtie, nor luifis blis,
May lat me to remember this:
How glaid that ever I dyne or sowp.

Yit quhan the nicht begynnis to schort;
It dois my spreit sum pairt confort,
Of thocht oppressit with the schouris.
Cum, lustie Symmer! with thi flouris,
That I may leif in sum disport.


Ar beltane, quhen ilk bodie bownis

To Peblis to the Play,
To heir the singin' and the soundis ;

The solace, suth to say,
Be firth and forrest furth they found;

Thay graythit tham full gay;
God wait that wald they do that stound,
For it was thair feist day,

Thay said,
Of Peblis to the Play,
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,
To get an hude, I hald it best;
Be Goddis saull that is true,

Quod scho,
Of Peblis to the Play.
She tuik the tippet be the end,

To lat it hing scho leit not;
Quod he, thy bak sall beir ane bend;

In faith, quod scho, we meit not.
Scho was so guckit, and so gend,

That day ane byt scho eit nocht;
Than spak hir fallowis that hir kend;
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 evvil sone-brint;

Amang yon marchands my dudds do ?

Marie I sall anis mynt
Stand of far, and keik thaim to;
As I at hame was wont,

Quod scho.
Off Peblis to the Play.
Hop, Calye, and Cardronow

Gaderit out thik-fald,
With Hey and How rohumbelow;

The young folk were full bald.
The bagpype blew, and thai out threw

Out of the townis untald.
Lord sic ane schout was thame amang,
Quhen thai were our the wald

Thair west,
Off Peblis to the Play.
Ane young man stert in to that steid,

Als cant as ony colt,
Ane birkin hat upon his heid,

With ane bow and ane bolt;
Said, Mirrie Madinis, think not lang;

The wedder is fair and smolt.
He cleikit up ane hie ruf sang,
'Thair fure ane man to the holt.

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:
Ane said The fairest fallis me;

Tak ye the laif and fonne thame.
Ane uther said Wys me lat be.
On, I'wedell syd, and on thame

Of Peblis to the Play.

« PreviousContinue »