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Would she put on this garment gay,
I durst swear by my seill,1
That she wore never green nor gray
That set her half so weel.

allegorical poems are the Thistle and the Rose (a triumphant nuptial song for the union of James and the Princess Margaret), the Dance, and the Golden 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 here enumerated, the Dance. It describes a procession of the seven deadly sins in the infernal regions, and for strength and vividness of painting, would stand a comparison with any poem in the language. The most solemn and impressive of the more exclusively moral poems of Dunbar, is one in which he sides in a debate on earthly and spiritual affections, represents a thrush and nightingale taking opposite the thrush ending every speech or stanza with a recommendation of a lusty life in Love's service," ration, All Love is lost but upon God alone.' and the nightingale with the more melodious declaThere is, however, something more touching to common feelings in the less laboured verses in which he moralises on the brevity of existence, the shortness and uncertainty of all ordinary enjoyments, and the

wickedness and woes of mankind.


WILLIAM DUNBAR, a poet,' says Sir Walter Scott, unrivalled by any that Scotland has ever produced,' flourished at the court of James IV., at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries. His works, with the exception of one or two pieces, were confined, for above two centuries, to an obscure manuscript, from which they were only rescued when their language had become so antiquated, as to render the world insensible in a great measure to their many excellencies. To no other circumstance can we attribute the little justice that is done by popular fame to this highly-gifted poet, who was alike master of every kind of verse, the solemn, the descriptive, the sublime, the comic, and the satirical. Having received his education at the university of St Andrews, where, in 1479, he took the degree of master of arts, Dunbar became a friar of the Franciscan order (Grey Friars), in which capacity he travelled for some years not only in Scotland, but also in England and France, preaching, as was the custom of the order, and living by the alms of the pious, a mode of life which he himself acknowledges to have involved a constant exercise of falsehood, deceit, and flattery. In time, he had the grace, or was enabled by circumstances, to renounce this sordid profession. It is supposed, from various allusions in his writings, that, from about the year 1491 to 1500, he was occasionally employed by the king (James IV.) in some subordinate, but not unimportant capacity, in connexion with various foreign embassies, and that he thus visited Germany, Italy, Spain, and France, besides England and Ireland. He could not, in such a life, fail to acquire much of that knowledge of mankind which forms so important a part of the education of the poet. In 1500, he received from the king a pension of ten 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 Horatian 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 longed anxiously for some independent source of income. Amongst his poems, are many containing nothing but expressions of solicitude on this subject. He survived the year 1517, and is supposed to have died about 1520, at the age of sixty; but whether he ultimately succeeded in obtaining preferment, is not known. His writings, with scarcely any exception, remained in the obscurity of manuscript till the beginning of the last century; but his fame has been gradually rising since then, and it was at length, in 1834, so great as to justify a complete edition of his works, by Mr David Laing..

The poems of Dunbar may be said to be of three classes, the Allegorical, the Moral, and the Comic; besides which there is a vast number of productions composed on occasions affecting himself, and which may therefore be called personal poems. His chief

1 Salvation.

2 Became.

This wavering warld's wretchedness
The failing and fruitless business,
The misspent time, the service vain,
For to consider is ane pain.

The sliding joy, the gladness short,
The feigned love, the false comfort,
The sweir abade, the slightful train,
For to consider is ane pain.

The suggared mouths, with minds therefra,
The figured speech, with faces tway;
The pleasing tongues, with hearts unplain,
For to consider is ane pain.

Or, in another poem

Evermair unto this warld's joy,
As nearest heir, succeeds annoy;
Therefore when joy may not remain,
His very heir, succeedés Pain.

Be merry, man, and tak not sair in mind

The wavering of this wretched world of sorrow; To God be humble, to thy friend be kind,

And with thy neighbours gladly lend and borrow; His chance to-night, it may be thine to-morrow; Be blyth in hearte for my aventure,

For oft with wise men it has been said aforow, Without Gladness availes no Treasure.

Make thee gude cheer of it that God thee sends,

For warld's wrak but welfare3 nought avails;
Nae gude is thine save only that thou spends,
Remanant all thou bruikes but with bails
Seek to solace when sadness thee assails;
In dolour lang thy life may not endure,
Wherefore of comfort set up all thy sails;
Without Gladness availes no Treasure.

2 Snare. 3 World's trash without health.

1 Delay.
4 Injuries.

Follow on pity, flee trouble and debate,

With famous folkis hald thy company; Be charitable and hum'le in thine estate,

For warldly honour lastes but a cry. For trouble in earth tak no melancholy; Be rich in patience, if thou in gudes be poor; Who lives merrily he lives mightily; Without Gladness availes no Treasure. The philosophy of these lines is excellent. Dunbar was as great in the comic as in the solemn strain, but not so pure. His Twa Married Women and the Widow is a conversational piece, in which three gay ladies discuss, in no very delicate terms, the merits of their husbands, and the means by which wives may best advance their own interests. The Friars of Berwick (not certainly his) is a clever but licentious tale. There is one piece of peculiar humour, descriptive of an imaginary tournament between a tailor and a shoemaker, in the same low region where he places the dance of the seven deadly sins. It is in a style of the broadest farce, and full of very offensive language, yet as droll as anything in Scarron or Smollett.

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And died himself, fro' dead him to succour ;
O, whether was kythit there true love or none !
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,
But gif he would that they suld lovit be?
To love eke nature gave them incliníng,
And He of nature that worker was and king,
Would nothing frustir put, nor let be seen,
Into his creature of his own making;
A lusty life in Lovis service been.
The Nightingale said, Not to that behoof
Put God sic beauty in a lady's face,

That she suld have the thank therefor or luve,
But He, the worker, that put in her sic grace;
And every gudeness that been to come or gone
Of beauty, bounty, riches, time, or space,
The thank redounds to him in every place:
All love is lost, but upon God alone.

O Nightingale ! it were a story nice,
That love 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:
God bade eke love thy neighbour fro the spleen;8
And who than ladies sweeter neighbours be?
A lusty life in Lovis service been.

The Nightingale said, Bird, why does thou rave!
Man may take in his lady sic delight,
Him to forget that her sic virtue gave,
And for his heaven receive her colour white:
Her golden tressit hairis redomite, 3
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,
Love makis cowards manhood to purchase,
Love makis knichtis hardy at essay,
Love makis wretches full of largéness,
Love makis sweir folks full of business,
Love makis sluggards fresh and well be seeni,
Love changes vice in virtuous nobleness;
A lusty life in Lovis service been.

The Nightingale said, True is the contrary,
Sic frustis love it blindis men so far,
Into their minds it makis them to vary;
In false vain glory they so drunken are,
Their wit is went, of woe they are not wau,
While that all worship away be fro' them gone,
Fame, goods, and strength; wherefore well say I daur,
All love is lost but upon God alone.

Then said the Merle, Mine error I confess :
This frustis love is all but vanity :
Blind ignorance me gave sic hardiness,
To argue so again' the verity;
Wherefore I counsel every man that he
With love not in the feindis net be tone, 5

But love the love that did for his love die:
All love is lost but upon God alone.

Then sang they both with voices loud and clear,
The Merle sang, Man, love God that has thee wrought.
The Nightingale sang, Man, love the Lord most dear,
That thee and all this world made of nought.

The Merle said, Love him that thy love has sought Fro' heaven to earth, and here took flesh and bone. The Nightingale sang, And with his dead thee bought: All love is lost, but upon him alone.

1 Shown. * Equivalent to the modern phrase, from the heart. $ Bound, encircled. 4 Slothful. 5 Ta'en; taken.

Then flew thir birdis o'er the boughis sheen,
Singing of love amang the leavis small;
Whose eidant plead yet made my thoughtis grein,
Both sleeping, waking, in rest and in travail:
Me to recomfort most it does avail,
Again for love, when love I can find none,
To think how sung this Merle and Nightingale ;
All love is lost but upon God alone.

The Dance.*

Of Februar the fifteenth nicht,

Full lang before the dayis licht,
I lay intill a trance;

And then I saw baith heaven and hell:
Methocht amangs the fiendis fell,

Mahoun gart cry ane Dance Of shrewis that were never shriven,3 Agains the fast of Fastern's Even,4 To mak their observance He bade gallands gae graith a guise,5 And cast up gamonds in the skies, As varlots does in France.

Heillie 7 harlots, haughten-wise, 8
Came in with mony sundry guise,

But yet leuch never Mahoun;
While precsts came in with bare shaven necks,
Then all the fiends leuch and made gecks,
Black-belly and Bausy-broun.9

Let see, quoth he, who now begins.
With that the foul Seven Deadly Sins
Begoud to leap at anes.

And first in all the Dance was PRIDE,
With hair wiled back, and bonnet on side,
Like to mak vaistie wanes ;10
And round about him, as a wheel,
Hang all in rumples to the heel
His kethat12 for the nanes.13
Mony proud trumpour with him trippit ;
Through scaldand fire aye as they skippit,
They grinned with hideous granes.
Then IRE came in with sturt and strife;
His hand was aye upon his knife,
He brandished like a bear;
Boasters, braggarts, and bargainers,
After him, passit in to pairs,

All boden in 'feir of weir,14

In jacks, and scrips, and bonnets of steel;
Their legs were chained down to the heel;
Froward was their effeir:
Some upon other with brands beft,15
Some jaggit others, to the heft,

With knives that sharp could shear.

1 Whose close disputation yet moved my thoughts. 2 The Devil. 3 Accursed men, who had never been absolved in the other world. 4 The eve of Lent. 5 Prepare a masque. 6 Gambols. 7 Proud. 8 Haughtily. 9 The names of popular spirits in Scotland. 10 Something touching puffed up manners appears to be hinted at in this obscure line. 11 Large folds. 12 Robe. 13 For the occasion. 14 Arrayed in the accoutrements of war. 15 Gave blows.

*Dunbar is a poet of a high order. ** His Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins, though it would be absurd to compare it with the beauty and refinement of the celebrated Ode on the Passions, has yet an animated picturesqueness not unlike that of Collins. The effect of both pieces shows how much more potent allegorical figures become, by being made to fleet suddenly before the imagination, than by being detained in its view by prolonged description. Dunbar conjures up the personified sins, as Collins does the passions, to rise, to strike, to disappear. "They come like shadows, so depart."'-CAMP


Next in the Dance followed ENVY,
Filled full of feid and felony,
Hid malice and despite :

For privy hatred that traitor trembled ;
Him followed mony freik1 dissembled,
With feigned wordis white:
And flatterers into men's faces;
And backbiters in secret places,
To lee that had delight;
And rouners of fals lesings,
Alas! that courts of noble kings,
Of them can never be quit.


Next him in Dance came COVETICE,
Root of all evil and grund of vice,

That never could be content:
Caitiffs, wretches, and ockerars,2
Hood-pykes,3 hoarders, and gatherers,
All with that warlock went :
Out of their throats they shot on other
Het molten gold, methought, a fother,4
As fire-flaught maist fervent ;
Ay as they toomit them of shot,
Fiends filled them new up to the throat
With gold of all kind prent.5
Syne SWEIRNESS,6 at the second bidding,
Came like a sow out of a midden,
Full sleepy was his grunyie ;7
Mony sweir bumbard belly-huddron,
Mony slute daw, and sleepy duddron,9
Him servit ay with sunyie.10
He drew them furth intill a chenyie,
And Belial with a bridle reinvie

Ever lashed them on the lunyie :"1
In dance they were sae slaw of feet,
They gave them in the fire a heat,

And made them quicker of counyie.18




Then the foul monster GLUTTONY,
Of wame insatiable and greedy,

To dance he did him dress:
Him followed mony foul drunkart,
With can and collop, caup and quart,
In surfeit and excess;
Full mony a waistful wally-drag,
With wames unweildable, did forth wag,
In creish that did incress.
Drink ay they cried, with mony a gape;
The Fiends gave them het lead to lap,
Their levery13 was nae less.



Nae menstrals playit to them, but doubt,
For gleemen there were halden out,
By day and eke by nicht ;14
Except a menstral that slew a man,
Sae till his heritage he wan,

And entered by brief of richt.
Then cried Mahoun for a Hieland padian :15
Syne ran a fiend to fetch Macfadyan,
Far northward in a nook:
By he the coronach had done shout,
Erschemen so gathered him about,

In hell great room they took: Thae termagants, with tag and tatter, Full loud in Ersche begond to clatter, And roop like raven and rook.

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6 Laziness.

4 Great quantity. 7 Visage. 9 Slow and sleepy drabs. 12 Circulation, as of coin. 14 A compliment, obviously, to the poetical profession. 15 Pageant. In this stanza Dunbar satirises the outlandish habits and language of the Highlanders.

The Devil sae deavit was with their yell, That in the deepest pot of hell,

He smoorit them with smook.

Tidings fra the Session.

[A conversation between two rustics, designed to satirise the proceedings in the supreme civil law court of Scotland.]

Ane muirland man, of upland mak,
At hame thus to his neighbour spak,
What tidings, gossip, peace or weir?
The tother rounit' in his ear,

I tell you under this confession,
But lately lichtit off my meare,

I come of Edinburgh fra the Session. What tidings heard you there, I pray you? The tother answerit, I sall say you: Keep well this secret, gentle brother;

Is na man there that trusts another: Ane common doer of transgression,

Of innocent folk preveens a futher :2 Sic tidings heard I at the Session.

Some with his fallow rouns him to please,
That wald for envy bite aff his nese ;3
His fa' some by the oxter1 leads ;
Some patters with his mouth on beads,

That has his mind all on oppression;
Some becks full law and shaws bare heads,

Wad look full heigh were not the Session. Some, bydand the law, lays land in wed ;5 Some, super-expended, goes to bed; Some speeds, for he in court has means; Some of partiality compleens,

How feid and favour flemis7 discretion; Some speaks full fair, and falsely feigns: Sic tidings heard I at the Session.

Some castis summons, and some excepts; Some stand beside and skailed law kepps; Some is continued; some wins; some tynes; Some maks him merry at the wines;

Some is put out of his possession; Some herried, and on credence dines:

Sic tidings heard I at the Session. Some swears, and some forsakes God, Some in ane lamb-skin ane tod Some in his tongue his kindness turses ;9 Some cuts throats, and some pykes purses;

Some goes to gallows with procession; Some sains the seat, and some them curses: Sic tidings heard I at the Session. Religious men of diverse places Comes there to woo and see fair faces;


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Some gives for thank, and some for threat;
Some gives money, and some gives meat;
Some givis wordis fair and slie;
And gifts fra some may na man treit:
In Giving sould Discretion be.
Some is for gift sae lang required,
While that the craver be so tired,

That ere the gift delivered be, The thank is frustrate and expired:

In Giving sould Discretion be.
Some gives so little full wretchedly,
That all his gifts are not set by,1

And for a hood-pick halden is he,
That all the warld cries on him, Fye!
In Giving sould Discretion be.
Some in his giving is so large,
That all o'er-laden is his barge;

Then vice and prodigalitie,
There of his honour does discharge:

In Giving sould Discretion be. Some to the rich gives his gear, That might his giftis weel forbear;

And, though the poor for fault2 sould die, His cry not enters in his ear:

In Giving sould Discretion be.
Some gives to strangers with faces new,
That yesterday fra Flanders flew; 3

And to auld servants list not see,
Were they never of sae great virtue:
In Giving sould Discretion be.
Some gives to them can ask and pleinyie,4
Some gives to them can flatter and feignie;
Some gives to men of honestie,
And halds all janglers at disdenyie :

In Giving sould Discretion be.
Some gettis gifts and rich arrays,
To swear all that his master says,

Though all the contrair weel knaws he; Are mony sic now in thir days:

In Giving sould Discretion be.

Some gives to gude men for their thews;
Some gives to trumpours and to shrews;
Some gives to knaw his authoritie,
But in their office gude fund in few is:
In Giving sould Discretion be.
Some givis parochines full wide,
Kirks of St Bernard and St Bride,

The people to teach and to o'ersee, Though he nae wit has them to guide: In Giving sould Discretion be.

Of Discretion in Taking.
After Giving I speak of Taking,
But little of ony gude forsaking;

Some takes o'er little authoritie, And some o'er mickle, and that is glaiking:5 In Taking sould Discretion be.

The clerks takes benefices with brawls, Some of St Peter and some of St Paul's; Tak he the rents, no care has he, Suppose the devil tak all their sauls:

In Taking sould Discretion be.

Barons taks fra the tenants puir All fruit that growis on the fur,

In mails and gersoms6 raisit o'er hie; And gars them beg fra door to door: In Taking sould Discretion be.

1 Appreciated.

2 Starvation.

3 A large proportion of the strangers who visited Scotland at this early period were probably from Flanders. 5.Foolish. 6 Rents and fines of entry.

4 Complain.

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1 Unlawful. 2 Leases. 4 In its whole breadth. court of law.

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pying a prominent place in the history of his country, he died of the plague in London in the year 1522. Douglas shines as an allegorical and descriptive poet. He wants the vigorous sense, and also the graphic force, of Dunbar; while the latter is always close and nervous, Douglas is soft and verbose. The genius of Dunbar is so powerful, that manner sinks beneath it; that of Douglas is so much matter of culture, that manner is its most striking peculiarity. This manner is essentially scholarly. He employs an immense number of words derived from the Latin, as yet comparatively a novelty in English composition. And even his descriptions of nature involve many ideas, very beautiful in themselves, and very beautifully expressed, but inappropriate to the situation, and obviously introduced merely in accordance with literary fashion.

The principal original composition of Douglas is a long poem, entitled The Palace of Honour. It was designed as an apologue for the conduct of a king. and therefore addressed to James IV. The poet represents himself as seeing, in a vision, a large company travelling towards the Palace of Honour. He joins them, and narrates the particulars of the pilgrimage. The well-known Pilgrim's Progress bears so strong a resemblance to this poem, that Bunyan could scarcely have been ignorant of it. King Hart, the only other long poem of Douglas, presents a metaphorical view of human life. But the most remarkable production of this author was a translation of Virgil's Eneid into Scottish verse, which he executed in the year 1513, being the first version of a Latin classic into any British tongue. It is generally allowed to be a masterly performance, though in too obsolete a language ever to regain its popularity. The original poems, styled prologues, which the translator affixes to each book, are esteemed amongst his happiest pieces.

[Apostrophe to Honour.]

(Original Spelling.)

2 Without equal.
4 Opened.

5 Purple streaks mingled with gold and azure.
6 Yellowish brown. 7 Nostrils. 8 Glittering.
*Part of the prologue to the 12th book of the Æneid.


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