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Then flew thir birdis o'er the boughis sheen,
Singing of love amang the leavis small;
Whose eidant plead yet made my thoughtis grein,1
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 preests 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. The Devil. 3 Accursed men, who had never been absolved in the other world. 4 The eve of Lent.

5 Prepare a masque. 8 Haughtily.

6 Gambols. 7 Proud. 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


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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 freik 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,
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, Him servit ay with sunyie.10 He drew them furth intill a chenyie, And Belial with a bridle reinyie

Ever lashed them on the lunyie :11 In dance they were sae slaw of feet, They gave them in the fire a heat,

And made them quicker of counyie.12

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 levery 13 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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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 at his nese ;3
His fa' some by the oxter 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 is ane tod;8
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;

And are unmindful of their profession,
The younger at the elder leers :

Sic tidings heard I at the Session.

Of Discretion in Giving.

To speak of gifts and almos deeds:
Some gives for merit, and some for meeds;
Some, wardly honour to uphie ;
Some gives to them that nothing needs;
In Giving sould Discretion be.
Some gives for pride and glory vain ;
Some gives with grudging and with pain;

Some gives on prattick for supplie;
Some gives for twice as gude again:
In Giving sould Discretion be.

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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 fault? 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 gersoms raisit o'er hie;
And gars them beg fra door to door :
In Taking sould Discretion be.

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6 Rents and fines of entry.

4 Complain.

Some merchands taks unleesomel wine,
Whilk maks their packs oft time full thin,
By their succession, as ye may see,
That ill-won gear 'riches not the kin:

In Taking sould Discretion be.

Some taks other mennis tacks,2
And on the puir oppression maks,

And never remeinbers that he maun die, Till that the gallows gars him rax :3

In Taking sould Discretion be.

Some taks by sea, and some by land,
And never fra taking can hald their hand,
Till he be tyit up to ane tree;
And syne they gar him understand,

In Taking sould Discretion be.
Some wald tak all his neighbour's gear;
Had he of man as little fear

As he has dread that God him see; To tak then sould he never forbear:

In Taking sould Discretion be. Some wald tak all this warld on breid ;4 And yet not satisfied of their need,

Through heart unsatiable and greedie;
Some wald tak little, and can not speed:
In Taking sould Discretion be.

Great men for taking and oppression,
Are set full famous at the Session,5

And puir takers are hangit hie,
Shawit for ever, and their succession:

In Taking sould Discretion be.

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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. 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.)



O hie honour, sweit heuinlie flour digest,
Gem verteuous, maist precious, gudliest,
For hie honour thou art guerdoun conding,
Of worschip kend the glorious end and rest,
But whome in richt na worthie wicht may lest,
Thy greit puissance may maist auance all thing,
And pouerall to meikall auail sone bring,
I the require sen thow but peir art best,
That eftir this in thy hie blis we ring.
[Morning in May.*]

As fresh Aurore, to mighty Tithon spouse,
Ished of her saffron bed and ivor house,
In cram'sy clad and grained violate,
With sanguine cape, and selvage purpurate,
Unshet the windows of her large hall,

Spread all with roses, and full of balm royal,
And eke the heavenly portis chrystalline

Unwarps braid, the warld till illumine;

The twinkling streamers of the orient

Shed purpour spraings, with gold and azure ment;5 Fous, the steed, with ruby harness red,

Above the seas liftis furth his head,

Of colour sore, and somedeal brown as berry,

For to alichten and glad our emispery;

The flame out-bursten at the neisthirls,7
So fast Phaeton with the whip him whirls. *
While shortly, with the bleezand torch of day,
Abulyit in his lemand" fresh array,

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Furth of his palace royal ishit Phoebus,
With golden crown and visage glorious,
Crisp hairs, bricht as chrysolite or topaz;
For whase hue micht nane behald his face.
The auriate vanes of his throne soverane
With glitterand glance o'erspread the oceane;1
The large fludes, lemand all of licht,
But with ane blink of his supernal sicht.
For to behald, it was ane glore to see
The stabled windis, and the calmed sea,
The soft season, the firmament serene,
The loune illuminate air and firth amene.
And lusty Flora did her bloomis spread
Under the feet of Phoebus' sulyart steed;
The swarded soil embrode with selcouth3 hues,
Wood and forest, obnumbrate with bews.4
Towers, turrets, kirnals,5 and pinnacles hie,
Of kirks, castles, and ilk fair citie,
Stude painted, every fane, phiol,6 and stage,7
Upon the plain ground by their awn umbrage.
Of Eolus' north blasts havand no dreid,
The soil spread her braid bosom on-breid;
The corn crops and the beir new-braird
With gladsome garment revesting the yerd.8
The prai3 besprent with springand sprouts dispers
For caller humours10 on the dewy nicht
Rendering some place the gerse-piles their licht;
As far as cattle the lang summer's day
Had in their pasture eat and nip away;
And blissful blossoms in the bloomed yerd,
Submits their heids to the young sun's safeguard.
Ivy leaves rank o'erspread the barmkin wall;
The bloomed hawthorn clad his pikis all;
Furth of fresh bourgeons the wine grapes ying12
Endland the trellis did on twistis hing;
The loukit buttons on the gemmed trees
O'erspreadand leaves of nature's tapestries;
Soft grassy verdure after balmy shouirs,
On curland stalkis smiland to their flouirs.
The daisy did on-breid her crownal small,
And every flouer unlappit in the dale.
Sere downis small on dentilion sprang,
The young green bloomed strawberry leaves amang;
Jimp jeryflouirs thereon leaves unshet,
Fresh primrose and the purpour violet;


Heavenly lillies, with lockerand toppis white, Opened and shew their crestis redemite.

Ane paradise it seemed to draw near


So dusty powder upstours in every street,
While corby gaspit for the fervent heat.
Under the bowis bene in lufely vales,
Within fermance and parkis close of pales,
The busteous buckis rakis furth on raw,
Herdis of hertis through the thick wood-shaw.
The young fawns followand the dun daes,
Kids, skippand through, runnis after raes.
In leisurs and on leyis, little lambs
Full tait and trig socht bletand to their dams.
On salt streams wolk Dorida and Thetis,
By rinnand strandis, Nymphis and Naiadis,
Sic as we clepe wenches and damysels,
In gersy graves3 wanderand by spring wells;
Of bloomed branches and flowers white and red,
Plettand their lusty chaplets for their head.
Some sang ring-songes, dances, leids, and rounds.
With voices shrill, while all the dale resounds.
Whereso they walk into their caroling,

Thir galyard gardens and each green herbere
Maist amiable wax the emeraut meads;
Swarmnis souchis through out the respand reeds.
Over the lochis and the fludis gray,
Searchand by kind ane place where they should lay.
Phoebus' red fowl,13 his cural crest can steer,
Oft streikand furth his heckle, crawand cleer.
Amid the wortis and the rutis gent
Pickand his meat in alleys where he went,
His wivis Toppa and Partolet him by-
A bird all-time that hauntis bigamy.

The painted pownel4 pacand with plumes gym,
Kest up his tail ane proud plesand wheel-rim,
Ishrouded in his feathering bright and sheen,
Shapand the prent of Argus' hundred een.
Amang the bowis of the olive twists,
Sere small fowls, workand crafty nests,
Endlang the hedges thick, and on rank aiks
Ilk bird rejoicand with their mirthful makes.
In corners and clear fenestres of glass,
Full busily Arachne weavand was,
To knit her nettis and her wobbis slie,
Therewith to catch the little midge or flie.

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For amorous lays does all the rockis ring.
Ane sang,' The ship sails over the salt faem,
Will bring the merchants and my leman hame."5
Some other sings, I will be blythe and licht,
My heart lent upon so goodly wicht.'5
And thoughtful lovers rounis6 to and fro,
To leis7 their pain, and plein their jolly woe.
After their guise, now singand, now in sorrow,
With heartis pensive the lang summer's morrow.
Some ballads list indite of his lady;
Some livis in hope; and some all utterly
Despairit is, and sae quite out of
His purgatory he finds in every place.
Dame Nature's menstrals, on that other part,
Their blissful lay intoning every art,
And all small fowlis singis on the spray,
Welcome the lord of licht, and lampe of day,
Welcome fosterer of tender herbis green,
Welcome quickener of flourist flouirs sheen,
Welcome support of every rute and vein,
Welcome comfort of all kind fruit and grain,
Welcome the birdis beilds upon the brier,
Welcome master and ruler of the year,
Welcome weelfare of husbands at the plews,
Welcome repairer of woods, trees, and bews,
Welcome depainter of the bloomit meads,
Welcome the life of every thing that spreads
Welcome storer of all kind bestial,
Welcome be thy bricht beamis, gladdand all.




JOHN SKELTON flourished as a poet in the earlier part of the reign of Henry VIII. He was rector of Dysse, in Norfolk, and chiefly wrote satires upon his own order, for which he was at one time compelled to fly from his charge. The pasquils of Skelton are copious and careless effusions of coarse humour, displaying a certain share of imagination, and much rancour; but he could also assume a more amiable and poetical manner, as in the following canzonet:To Mistress Margaret Hussey.

Merry Margaret,

As midsummer flower,
Gentle as falcon,

Or hawk of the tower;
With solace and gladness,
Much mirth and no madness,
All good and no badness;

So joyously,
So maidenly,

So womanly,
Her demeaning,

2 Sultry.

12 Young.

9 Meadow. 13 The cock.

10 Cool vapours.

11 Sprouts.

1 Rises in clouds.

14 The peacock.

6 Songs then popular.

2 Walked.

3 Grassy groves.

6 Whisper. 7 Relieve.

4 Lays.

8 Shelter.


In everything,
Far, far passing
That I can indite,
Or suffice to write,
Of merry Margaret,
As midsimmer flower,
Gentle as falcon
Or hawk of the tower;
As patient and as still,
And as full of goodwill,
As fair Isiphil,
Sweet Pomander,
Good Cassander;
Stedfast of thought,

Well made, well wrought
Far may be sought,
Ere you can find
So courteous, so kind,
As merry Margaret,

This midsimmer flower,
Gentle as falcon,

Or hawk of the tower.


From Chaucer, or at least from James I., the writers of verse in England had displayed little of the grace and elevation of true poetry. At length a worthy successor of those poets appeared in Thomas Howard, eldest son of the Duke of Norfolk, and usually denominated the EARL OF SURREY. This nobleman was born in 1516. He was educated

at Windsor, in company with a natural son of the

Howard, Earl of Surrey.

king, and in early life became accomplished, not only in the learning of the time, but in all kinds of courtly

and chivalrous exercises. Having travelled into Italy, he became a devoted student of the poets of that country-Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Ariosto-and formed his own poetical style upon theirs. His poetry is chiefly amorous, and, notwithstanding his having been married in early life, much of it consists of the praises of a lady whom he names Geraldine, supposed to have been a daughter of the Earl of Kildare. Surrey was a gallant soldier as well as a poet, and conducted an important expedition, in 1542, for the devastation of the Scottish borders. Te finally fell under the displeasure of Henry VIII., and was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1547. The poetry of Surrey is remarkable for a flowing melody,

correctness of style, and purity of expression; he was the first to introduce the sonnet and blank verse into English poetry. The gentle and melancholy pathos of his style is well exemplified in the verses which he wrote during his captivity in Windsor Castle, when about to yield his life a sacrifice to tyrannical caprice :

Prisoner in Windsor, he recounteth his Pleasure there passed.

So cruel prison how could betide, alas!

As proud Windsor? where I, in lust and joy, With a king's son, my childish years did pass, In greater feast than Priam's son of Troy: Where each sweet place returns a taste full sour! The large green courts where we were wont to hove, With eyes cast up into the Maiden Tower,

And easy sighs such as folk draw in love.

The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue;
The dances short, long tales of great delight,
With words and looks that tigers could but rue,
Where each of us did plead the other's right.
The palm-play, where, despoiled for the game;
Have missed the ball and got sight of our dame,
With dazed eyes oft we by gleams of love,
To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above.
The gravel ground, with sleeves tied on the helm
Of foaming horse,2 with swords and friendly hearts;
With cheer, as though one should another whelm,
Where we have fought, and chased oft with darts;

With silver, drops the mead yet spread for ruth,

In active games of nimbleness and strength, Where we did strain, trained with swarms of youth, Our tender limbs that yet shot up in length: The secret groves which oft we made resound, Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies' praise, Recording oft what grace each one had found, What hope of speed what dread of long delays: The wild forest, the clothed holts with green, With reins availed 3 and swift ybreathed horse; With cry of hounds and merry blasts between, Where we did chase the fearful hart of force. The wide vales, eke, that harboured us each night, Wherewith, alas, reviveth in my breast, The sweet accord such sleeps as yet delight, The pleasant dreams, the quiet bed of rest: The secret thoughts imparted with such trust, The wanton talk, the divers change of play, The friendship sworn, each promise kept so just; Wherewith we passed the winter night away. And with this thought, the blood forsakes the face, The tears berain my cheeks of deadly hue, The which, as soon as sobbing sighs, alas, Upsupped have, thus I my plaint renew:

O place of bliss! renewer of my woes,

Give me accounts, where is my noble fere ;4
Whom in thy walls thou dost each night enclose;
To other leef,5 but unto me most dear:
Echo, alas! that doth my sorrow rue,
Returns thereto a hollow sound of plaint.
Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew,

In prison pine with bondage and restraint,
And with remembrance of the greater grief
To banish the less, I find my chief relief.

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