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any besides that of Chaucer, produced in England | Of her array the form if I shall write, before the reign of Elizabeth—as will be testified by Towards her golden hair and rich attire, the following verses :
In fretwise couchitl with pearlis white
And great balas2 leaming? as the fire, (Jena 1., a Prisoner in Windsor, first secs Lady Jane With mony ane emeraut and fair sapphire; Beaufort, who afterwards was his Queen.]
And on her head a chaplet fresh of hue, Bewailing in my chamber, thus alone,
Of plumis parted red, and white, and blue. Despaired of all joy and remedy,
Full of quaking spangis bright as gold, For-tired of my thought, and woe-begone,
Forged of shape like to the amorets, And to the window gan I walk in hyl
So new, so fresh, so pleasant to behold, To see the world and folk that went forbye, 2
The plumis eke like to the flower jonets,4 As, for the time, though I of mirthis food
And other of shape, like to the flower jonets ;
And above all this, there was, well I wot,
About her neck, white as the fire amail,5
A goodly chain of small orfevory,6 Railed about, and so with trees set
Whereby there hung a ruby, without fail, Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet,
Like to ane heart shapen verily, That lyf was none walking there forbye,
That as a spark of low, so wantonly That might within scarce any wight espy
Seemed burning upon her white throat, So thick the boughis and the learis green
Now if there was good party,8 God it wot. Beshaded all the alleys that there were,
And for to walk that fresh May's morrow, And mids of every arbour might be seen
Ane hook she had upon her tissue white, The sharpe greene sweete juniper,
That goodlier had not been seen to-forow,9 Growing so fair with branches here and there,
As I suppose ; and girt she was alite, 10 That as it seemed to a lyf without,
Thus halflings loose for haste, to such delight The boughis spread the arbour all about.
It was to see her youth in goodlihede, And on the smalle greene twistis3 sat,
That for rudeness to speak thereof I dread. The little sweete nightingale, and sung
In her was youth, beauty, with humble aport, S loud and clear, the hymnis consecrat
Bounty, richess, and womanly feature, Of loris use, now soft, now loud among,
God better wot than my pen can report: That all the gardens and the wallis rung
Wisdom, largess, estate, and cunning 11 sure,
In every point so guided her measure,
In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance, bere as I saw, walking under the tower,
That nature might no more her child avance !
And when she walked had a little thraw
Her fair fresh face, as white as any snaw, The blood of all my body to my heart.
She turned has, and furth her wayis went ;
But tho began mine aches and torment, And though I stood abasit tho a lite,5
To see her part and follow I na might;
Methought the day was turned into night.
JOHN THE CHAPLAIN, THOMAS OCCLEVE, a lawyer, There was no token in her sweete face.
and John LYDGATE, were the chief immediate folAnd in my head I drew right hastily,
lowers of Chaucer and Gower. The performances And eftesoons I leant it out again,
of the two first are of little account. Lydgate, who And saw her walk that very womanly,
was a monk of Bury, flourished about the year 1430. With no wight mo', but only women twain. His poetical compositions range over a great variety Then gan 1 study in myself, and sayn,6
of styles. His muse,' says Warton, was of uni* Ah, sweet! are ye a worldly creature,
versal access; and he was not only the poet of the Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature ?
monastery, but of the world in general. If a dis
guising was intended by the company of goldsmiths, Or are ye god ('upidis own princess,
a mask before his majesty at Eltham, a Maygame And comin are to loose me out of band !
for the sheriffs and aldermen of London, a mumming Or are ye rery Nature the goddess,
before the Lord Mayor, a procession of pageants That hare de painted with your heavenly hand,
from the Creation for the festival of Corpus Christi, Il is garden jull of forrers as they stand!
or a carol for the Coronation, Lydgate was consulted, What shall I think, alas ! what reverence
and gave the poetry.' The principal works of this Shall I mister7 unto your excellence ?
versatile writer are entitled, The History of Thebes, If ye a goddess be, and that ye like
The Fall of Princes, and The Destruction of Troy. He To do me pain, I may it not astart :8
had travelled in France and Italy, and studied the If ye be warldly wight, that doth me sike, 9
poetry of those countries; and though his own writWhy list 10 God make you so, my dearest heart, To do a seely Il prisoner this smart,
1 Inlaid like fretwork. 2 A kind of precious stone. That loves you all, and wot of nought but wo?
3 Glittering. 4 A kind of lily. It is conjectured that And therefore mercy, sweet ! sin' it is so.'
the royal poet may here allude covertly to the name of his mis
tress, which, in the diminutive, was Janet or Jonet.-Thom" Haste. 2 Past. 3 Twigs.
4 Went and came.
son's Edition of King's Quhair. Ayr, 1824. Coufounded for a little while. 7 Minister. 5 Enamel
7 Flame. 8 Match. & Fly. > Makes me sigh. 10 Pleased. 11 Wretched.
6 Gold work.
ings contain only a few good passages, he is allowed One bade me buy a hood to cover my head ;
There was harp, pipe, and minstrelsy ; few who acquired any tincture of letters in that age.
Yea by cock ! nay by cock ! some began cry; In the words of Mr Warton, “ there is great soft- Some sung of Jenkin and Julian for their meed; ness and facility” in the following passage of Lyd. But, for lack of money, I might not speed. gate's Destruction of Troy :
Then into Cornhill anon I yode, [Description of a Sylran Retreat.]
Where was much stolen gear among ; Till at the last, among the bowes glade,
I saw where hung mine owne hood, Of adventure, I caught a pleasant shade ;
That I had lost among the throng; Full smooth, and plain, and lusty for to seen,
To buy my own hood I thought it wrong: And soft as velvet was the yonge green:
I knew it well, as I did my creed ; Where from my horse I did alight as fast,
But, for lack of money, I could not speed. And on the bow aloft his reine cast.
The taverner took me by the sleeve, So faint and mate of weariness I was,
Sir,' saith he, will you our wine assay ? That I me laid adown upon the grass,
I answered, “That can not much me grieve, Upon a brinke, shortly for to tell,
A penny can do no more than it may;' Beside the river of a crystal well;
I drank a pint, and for it did pay ; And the water, as I reherse can,
Yet, sore a-hungered from thence 1 yede,
And, wanting money, I could not speed, &c.
The reigns of Edward IV., Richard III., and Henry
VII., extending between the years 1461 and 1509, A fugitive poem of Lydgate, called the London Lyck- were barren of true poetry, though there was no penny, is curious for the particulars it gives respect- lack of obscure versifiers. It is remarkable, that ing the city of London in the early part of the this period produced in Scotland a race of genuine fifteenth century. The poet has come to town in poets, who, in the words of Mr Warton, displayed search of legal redress for some wrong, and visits, in a degree of sentiment and spirit, a command of phrasuccession, the King's Bench, the Court of Common seology, and a fertility of imagination, not to be Pleas, the Court of Chancery, and Westminster found in any English poet since Chaucer and LydHall.
gate.' Perhaps the explanation of this seeming The London Lyckpenny.
mystery is, that the intiuences which operated upon
Chaucer a century before, were only now coming Within the hall, neither rich, nor yet poor
with their full force upon the less favourably situWould do for me ought, although I should die : ated nation which dwelt north of the Tweed. Over. Which seeing, I gat me out of the door,
looking some obscurer names, those of Henryson, Where Flemings began on me for to cry,
Dunbar, and Douglas, are to be mentioned with Master, what will you copen' or buy?
Of this poet there are no ers memorials, When the sun was at high priine :
except that he was a schoolmaster at Dunfermline, Cooks to me they took good intent, 2
and died some time before 1508. His principal poem And proffered me bread, with ale, and wine, is The Testament of Cresseid, being a sequel to Ribs of beef, both fat and full fine ;
Chaucer's romantic poem, Troylus and Cresseide. A fair cloth they gan for to spread,
He wrote a series of fables, thirteen in number, and But, wanting money, I might not be sped.
some miscellaneous poems, chietly of a moral cha
racter. One of his fables is the common story of Then unto London I did me hie, Of all the land it beareth the price ;
the Town Mouse and Country Mouse, which he treats
with much humour and characteristic description, ‘Hot peascods !' one began to cry,
and concludes with a beautifully expressed moral. Strawberry ripe, and cherries in the rise !' 3
One bade me come near and buy some spice ; [Dinner given by the Town House to the Country Mouse.] Pepper, and saffron they gan me beed ;4
their harboury was tane But, for lack of money, I might not speed.
Intill a spence, where victual was plenty, Then to the Cheap I gan ie drawn,
Baith cheese and butter on lang shelves richt hie, Where much people I saw for to stand ;
With fish and flesh enough, baith fresh and salt, One offered me velvet, silk, and lawn,
And pockis full of groats, baith ineal and malt. Another he taketh me by the hand,
After, when they disposit were to dine, Here is Paris thread, the finest in the lan 1!'
Withouten grace they wuish! and went to meat, I never was used to such things, indeed ;
On every dish that cookmen can divine, And, wanting money, I might not speed.
Mutton and beef stricken out in telyies grit; Then went I forth by London Stone,5
Ane lordis fare thus can they counterfeit, Throughout all Canwick Street :
Except ane thing--they drank the water clear
Instead of wine, but yet they made gude cheer.
Gif that sho thoucht by reason difference 1 Koopen, (Flem.) is to buy. .2 Took notice ; paid attention.
Betwixt that chalmer and her sairy? nest. 3 On the twig. 4 Offer. 5 A fragment of
* Yea, dame,' quoth sho, ' but how lang will this last?' London stone is still preserved in Cannon Street, formerly called Canwick, or Candlewick Street.
“For erermair, I wait,' and langer too ;'
Of my defence now frae yon cruel beast; * Gif that be true, ye are at ease,' quoth sho.
Almighty God, keep me fra sic a feast ! To tik the cheer, in plenty furth they broucht
Were I into the place that I cam frae, A plate of groatis and a dish of meal,
For weel nor wae I shouk ne'er come again.' threií? of cakes, I trow sho spared them noucht, With that sho took her leave, and forth can gae, Abundantly about her for to deal.
While through the corn, while through the plain. Furmage full fine sho broucht instead of jeil,
When she was furth and free she was right fain, A white candle out of a coffer staw,
And merrily linkit unto the muir, Instead of spice, to creish their teeth witha'.
I cannot tell how afterward sho fure. | Thus made they merry, while they micht nae mair, And, ' Hail Yule, hail !' they cryit up on hie ;
But I heard syne she passit to her den, ! But after joy aftentimes comes care,
As warm as woo', suppose it was not grit, And trouble after grit prosperity.
Full beinly stuffit was baith butt and ben, Thus as they sat in all their solity,
With peas and nuts, and beans, and rye and wheat ;
Whene'er sho liked, sho had enough of meat,
In quiet and ease, withouten [ony) dread,
But till her sister's feast nae mair sho gaed.
[From the Moral.] The burgess had a hole and in sho goes,
Blissed be simple life, withouten dreid ; Her sister had nac place to hide her in ;
Blissed be sober fcast in quieté ; To see that silly mouse it was great sin,
Wha has eneuch of no more has he neid, Sae desolate and wild of all gude rede,
Though it be little into quantity. For very fear sho fell in swoon, near dead.
Grit abundance, and blind prosperity, Then as God wald it fell in happy case,
Oft timis make ane evil conclusion ; The Spenser had nae leisure for to bide,
The sweetest lise, theirfor, in this country, Xwther to force, to seek, nor scare, nor chase,
Is of sickerness, with small possession.
The Garment of Good Ladies.
Would my good lady love me best, How, fair sister, cry peep, where'er thou be.'
And work after my will, The rural mouse lay flatlings on the ground,
I should a garment goodliest And for the deid sho was full dreadland,3
Gar make her body till. For till her heart strake mony waeful stound,
Of high honour should be her hood, As in a ferer trembling foot and hand ;
Upon her head to wear, Ani when her sister in sic plight her fand,
Garnish'd with governance, so good
Na deeming should her deir.2
Her sark3 should be her body next,
Of chastity so white : The other answered with a heavy cheer,
With shame and dread together mixt, I may nought eat, sae sair I am aghast.
The same should be perfyte.4 Lerert I had this forty dayis fast,
Her kirtle should be of clean constance, With water kail, and green beans and peas.
Lacit with lesum5 love; Then all your feast with this dread and disease.
The mailiest of continuance,
For never to remove.
Her gown should be of goodliness,
Well ribbon'd with renown ;
Purfill'd 7 with pleasure in ilk8 place,
Furrit with fine fashioùn. Bawdrons the other by the back has hent.
Her belt should be of benignity, Frae foot to foot he cast her to and frae,
About her middle meet ; While up, while down, as cant as only kid ;
Her mantle of humility, While wald he let her run under the strae
To thole 9 both wind and weit. 10
Her hat should be of fair having,
And her tippet of truth ;
Her patelet of good pansing, 11
Her hals-ribbon of ruth.12
Her sleeves should be of esperance,
To keep her fra despair : Till he was ganc, her cheer was all the better :
Her glovis of good governance, Syne down sho lap, when there was nane to let her ;
To hide her fingers fair. Then on the burgess mouth loud couth sho cry,
Her shoen should be of sickerness, * Fareweel sister, here I thy feast defy.
In sign that she not slide ; Thy mangery is minget) all with care,
Her hose of honesty, I guess,
I should for her provide.
1 Cause to be made to her shape. 2 No opinion should
injure her. I thank yon curtain, and yon parpane wall,
3 Shift. 4 Perfect.
5 Lawful. 6 Eyelet-holes for lacing her kirtle. 7 Parfilé (French),
8 Each. fringed, or bordered.
9 Endure. * Suppose.
10 Wet. 9 A set of twenty-four. 3 She was in fear of immediate death. 4 Rather. 6 Mixed.
Would she put on this garment gay,
allegorical poems are the Thistle and the Rose (a I durst swear by my seill,
triumphant nuptial song for the union of James and That she wore never green nor gray
the Princess Margaret), the Dance, and the Golden That set2 her half so weel.
Terge ; but allegory abounds in many others, which do not strictly fall within this class. Perhaps the
most remarkable of all his poems is one of those WILLIAM DUNBAR, a poet,' says Sir Walter sion of the seven deadly sins in the infernal regions,
here enumerated, the Dance. It describes a procesScott, • unrivalled by any that Scotland has ever and for strength and vividness of painting, would produced,' flourished at the court of James IV., at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the six- stand a comparison with any poem in the language. teenth centuries. His works, with the exception of clusively moral poems of Dunbar, is one in which he
The most solemn and impressive of the more exone or two pieces, were confined, for above two centuries, to an obscure manuscript, from which they represents a thrush and nightingale taking opposite were only rescued when their language had become the thrush ending every speech or stanza with a
sides in a debate on earthly and spiritual affections, so antiquated, as to render the world insensible in a great measure to their many excellencies. To no other and the nightingale with the more melodious decla- !
recommendation of .a lusty life in Love's service,' circumstance can we attribute the little justice that ration, · All Love is lost but upon God alone.' is done by popular fame to this highly-gifted poet, There is, however, something more touching to comwho was alike master of every kind of verse, the solemn, the descriptive, the sublime, the conic, and mon feelings in the less laboured verses in which he the satirical. Having received his education at the moralises on the brevity of existence, the shortness university of St Andrews, where, in 1479, he took and uncertainty of all ordinary enjoyments, and the
wickedness and woes of mankind. the degree of master of arts, Dunbar became a friar of the Franciscan order (Grey Friars), in which ca
This wavering warld's wretchedness pacity he travelled for some years not only in Scot
The failing and fruitless business, sand, but also in England and France, preaching, as
The misspent time, the service vain, was the custom of the order, and living by the alms
For to consider is ane pain. of the pious, a mode of life which he himself acknowledges to have involved a constant exercise of false- The sliding joy, the gladness short, hood, deceit, and flattery. In time, he had the grace, The feigned love, the false comfort, or was enabled by circumstances, to renounce this
The sweir abade, the slightful train, sordid profession. It is supposed, from various al
For to consider is ane pain. lusions in his writings, that, from about the year
The suggared mouths, with minds therefra, 1491 to 1500, he was occasionally employed by the
The figured speech, with faces tway; king (James IV.) in some subordinate, but not un
The pleasing tongues, with hearts unplain, important capacity, in connexion with various fo
For to consider is ane pain. reign embassies, and that he thus visited Germany, Italy, Spain, and France, besides England and Ire- Or, in another poemland. He could not, in such a life, fail to acquire
Evermair unto this warld's joy, much of that knowledge of mankind which forms so
As nearest heir, succeeds annoy ; important a part of the education of the poet. In
Therefore when joy may not remain, 1500, he received from the king a pension of ten
His very heir, succeedés Pain. pounds, afterwards increased to twenty, and finally to eighty. He is supposed to have been employed He is, at the same time, by no means disposed habituby James in some of the negotiations preparatory to ally to take gloomy or desponding views of life. He his marriage with the Princess Margaret, daughter has one poem, of which each stanza ends with ‘For of Henry VII., which took place in 1503. For some
to be blyth methink it best.' In another, he advises, years ensuing, he seems to have lived at court, re- since life is so uncertain, that the good things of this galing his royal master with his poetical composi- world should be rationally enjoyed while it is yet tions, and probably also his conversation, the charms possible. Thine awn gude spend,' says he, “while of which, judging from his writings, must have been thou has space. There is yet another, in which very great. It is sad to relate of one who possessed these Horátian maxims are still more pointedly so buoyant and mirthful a spirit, that his life was enforced, and from this we shall select a few not, as far as we can judge, a happy one.
He ap- stanzas :pears to have repined greatly at the servile courtlife which he was condemned to lead, and to have Be merry, man, and tak not sair in mind longed anxiously for some independent source of in- The wavering of this wretched world of sorrow;
Amongst his poems, are many containing To God be humble, to thy friend be kind, nothing but expressions of solicitude on this subject. And with thy neighbours gladly lend and borrow; He survived the year 1517, and is supposed to have His chance to-night, it may be thine to-morrow; died about 1520, at the age of sixty; but whether Be blyth in hearte for my aventure, he ultimately succeeded in obtaining preferment, is For oft with wise men it has been said aforow, not known. His writings, with scarcely any excep- Without Gladness availes no Treasure. tion, remained in the obscurity of manuscript till the beginning of the last century ; but his fame has Make thee gude cheer of it that God thee sends, been gradually rising since then, and it was at
For warld's wrak but welfare3 nought avails ; length, in 1834, so great as to justify a complete Nae gude is thine save only that thou spends, edition of his works, by Mr David Laing.
Remanant all thou bruikes but with bails A The poems of Dunbar may be said to be of three Seek to solace when sadness thee assails; classes, the Allegorical, the Moral, and the Comic; In dolour lang thy life may not endure, besides which there is a vast number of productions
Wherefore of comfort set up all thy sails; composed on occasions affecting himself, and which Without Gladness availes no Treasure. may therefore be called personal poems. His chief
8 World's trash without health.
Follow on pitv, flee trouble and debate,
And died himself, fro' dead him to succour; With famous folkis hald thy company ;
0, whether was kythit) there true love or none ? Be charitable and hum’le in thine estate,
He is most true and stedfast paramour,
And love is lost but upon him alone.
The Merle said, Why put God so great beauty
In ladies, with sic womanly having, Without Gladness availes no Treasure.
But gif he would that they suld lovit be?
To love eke nature gave them inclining, The philosophy of these lines is excellent.
And He of nature that worker was and king, Dunbar was as great in the comic as in the solemn Would nothing frustir put, nor let be seen, strain, but not so pure. His Tua Married Women Into his creature of his own making ;
and the Il'idow is a conversational piece, in which | A lusty life in Lovis service been, lo
three gay ladies discuss, in no very delicate terms, The Nightingale said, Not to that behoof 1, the merits of their husbands, and the means by Put God sic beauty in a lady's face, | The Friars of Berwick (not certainly hislistat crester
: That she suld
høve the thank therefor or luve, but licentious tale. There is one piece of peculiar Of beauty, bounty, riches, time, or space,
her sic grace ; hamour, descriptive of an imaginary tournamen between a tailor and a shoemaker, in the same low And every gudeness that been to come or gone region where he places the dance of the seven deadly All love is lost, but upon God alone.
The thank redounds to him in every place : sins. It is in a style of the broadest farce, and full of very offensive language, yet as droll as anything o Nightingale ! it were a story nice, in Scarron or Smollett.
That lore suld not depend on charity;
And, gif that virtue contrar be to vice,
Then love maun be a virtue, as thinks me;
For, aye, to love envy maun contrar be : In May, as that Aurora did upspring,
God både eke love thy neighbour fro the spleen ;2 With crystal een chasing the cluddes sable,
And who than ladies sweeter neighbours be ? I heard a Merle with merry notis sing
A lusty life in Lovis service been. of love, with voice right comfortable,
The Nightingale said, Bird, why does thou rave ? Again' the orient beamis, amiable,
Man may take in his lady sie delight, pon a blissful branch of laurel green ;
Him to forget that her sic virtue gave, This was her sentence, sweet and delectable,
And for his heaven receive her colour white: A lusty life in Lovis service been.
Her golden tressit hairis redomite, 3 Onder this branch ran down a river bright,
Like to Apollo's beamis tho' they shone,
Suld not him blind fro’ love that is perfite;
All love is lost but upon God alone.
The Merle said, Love is cause of honour aye, A lightingale, with sugared notis new,
Love makis cowards manhood to purchase, Whose angel feathers as the peacock shone ;
Love makis knichtis hardy at essay, This was her song, and of a sentence true,
Love makis wretches full of largéness, All lore is lost but upon God alone.
Love makis sweir + folks full of business, With potis glal, and glorious harmony,
Love makis sluggards fresh and well be seen, This joyful merle, so salust she the day,
Love changes vice in virtuous nobleness ; While rung the woodis of her melody,
A lusty life in Lovis service been. ! Saying, Awake, ye lovers of this May ;
The Nightingale said, True is the contrary ; Lo, fresh Flora las flourished every spray,
Sic frustis love it blindis men so far, As nature has her taught, the noble
Into their minds it makis them to vary ; The field been clothit in a new array ;
In false vain glory they so drunken are, A lusty life in Lovis service been.
Their wit is went, of woe they are pot waur, Ne'er sweeter noise was heard with living man,
While that all worship away be fro' them gone, Na ma le this merry gentle nightingale ;
Fame, goods, and strength ; wherefore well say I daur, Her sound went with the river as it ran,
All love is lost but upon God alone.
Blind ignorance me gave sic hardiness,
To argue so again' the verity ; Of every love but upon God alone.
Wherefore I counsel every man that he (ease, quoth the Merle, thy preaching, Nightingale : But love the love that did for his love die:
With love not in the feindis net be tone,
All love is lost but upon God alone.
Then sang they both with voices loud and clear, ain' the law of kind thou goes express,
The Merle sang, Man, love God that has thee wrought. That crookit age makes one with youth serene, The Nightingale sang, Man, love the Lord most dear, Whem nature of conditions made diverse :
That thee and all this world inade of ni ught. A lusty life in Lovis service been.
The Merle said, Love him that thy love has sought
Fro’ heaven to earth, and here took flesh and bone. The Nightingale said, Fool, remember thee, That both in youth and eild,' and every hour,
The Nightingale sang, And with his dead thee bought: The lore of God most dear to man suld be ;
All love is lost, but upon him alone. That him, of nought, wrought like his own figour,
1 Shown. 2 Equivalent to the modern phrase, from the 8 Bound, encircled.
6 Ta'en ; taken.