صور الصفحة
PDF

LYNDSAY.

SIR DAVID LYNDSAY.

(1490 ?- 1553 ?) “ The progenitors of Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount,” says Chalmers, * were undoubtedly derived from the family of Lord Lyndsay of Byres, in Haddingtonshire.” The Mount is an estate in Fifeshire, in the parish of Mo nimail. The poet was born probably about 1490 He was " sent to St Andrew's University in 1505, the year of Knox's birth.” After making the tour of Europe, he seems to have filled some office in the court of James IV., and was made page of honour to the prince, afterwards James V., on his birth in 1512. His poems contain affecting allusions to his intercourse with the king during his boyhood. Though excluded from his offices about the king's person by the factions of the time, James seems to have retained a strong affection for his earliest servant and companion. Lyndsay was afterwards elevated, with knighthood, to the dignity of “ Lord Lyon King at Arms," " an office of more honour than emolument." During James's reign he was frequently employed by that prince in interesting and important missions, The Reformation was at that period in the fervour of its career on the continent; and Lyndsay's masculine understanding had seized with enthusiasm on its tenets. The theory and practice of the Romish establishment, inde pendently of the religious questions involved in its creed, had become utterly unsuited to the social condition of many of the Western States of Europe. Lyndsay lashes with unsparing severity both the doctrinal tenets and the feudal relations of the church as the religious establishment of the kingdom. His writings are considered to have acted as a powerful instrument in the production of the Reformation in Scotland. “ Lyndsay," says Pinkerton, “had prepared the ground, and John Knox only sowed the seed.” In 1542 he closed the eyes of his royal pupil, whose course he had seen from the cradle to the grave. After this period his name sometimes occurs in the history of the country ; but the latter portion of his life was spent in retire ment on his estate in Fifeshire. The exact period of his death can scarcely be ascertained. He left no issue.

The name of Lyndsay has been cherished by the Scottish people with pe culiar affection. His language is their vernacular dialect, patent to all their associations and familiar feelings. His themes, while they embrace subjects of interest to all humanity, have still an aim peculiarly and immediately Scottish. Few of his pieces boast many of the charms which we associate with the term poetry ; but graphicness of painting, pungency of sarcasm, and depth of wisdom and reflection, are qualities which secure to Lyndsay perpetual admiration. His humour is coarse ; but what writer of his age is exempt from this censure ?

Lyndsay's works are, as Chalmers has chronologically enumerated them, 1. The“ Dreme;" an exposure of the miseries of Scotland under the supremacy of the Angus Douglasses. II. The “ Complaint,” viz. of the poet to the king respecting the insufficient reward of his services. III. The Complaint of the King's Papingo," (i. e. parrot or popinjay); a satire on “ The Spiritualitie." IV. The “ Satyre on the Three Estates;" a play constructed on the principle of the mysteries of an earlier age. Then follow a number of minor pieces ; till XII.“ The History of Squire Meldrum," the liveliest of Lyndsay's works, and considered the last specimen of the metrical romances. XIII. “ The Monarchie ;" a view of the whole history of the world from the creation, including specially Scotland, and ending with the day of judgment,

FROM " THE COMPLAINT."

JAMES FIFTH'S CHILDHOOD.
As ane chapmand bears his pack,
I bure thy Grace upon my back;
And, sometimes, stridlings on my neck,
Dansand with mony bend and beck.
The first syllabes that thou did mute,
Were pa-da-lyn ; upon the lute,
Then played I twenty springs perquier,
Whilk was great pleasour for to hear;
Fra play thou leitt me never rest,
But * Gynkertoun"5 thou loved ay best ;
And aye when thou cam frae the scule
Then I behoov'd to play the fule.

FROM " THE COMPLAINT OF THE PAPINGO."

THE PAPINGO'S FAREWEEL. ADIEU, Edinburgh, thou hie triumphant town, Within whose bounds right blythful have I been ; Of true merchandis,6 the root of this region, Most ready to receive court, king and queen ; Thy policy and justice may be seen; Were dévotion, wisdom, and honesty, And credence, tint,--they might be found in thee.'

Adien, fair Snawdon,8 with thy towers hie,
Thy chapel royal, park, and table round ;9
May, June, and July wad I dwell in thee,
Were I ane man to hear the birdis sound
Whilk doth again10 thy royal rock redound.
Adieu, Lithquo, whose palace of pleasance
Might be ane patron in Portugal or France. 11

Farewell, Falkland, the forteress of Fife,
Thy polite park, under the Lomond Law ;13
Some time in thee I led ane lustie life,
The fallow deer to see them raik 13 on raw.
Court men to come to thee they stand great awe,

I A pedlar. See note 8, r. 17. ? Mute or moot, to articulate; connected with mouth.

8 By heart (Fr. par caur); off hand. Chaucer writes the word par cuere. See note 4. p. 20. 4 Let. 5 The name of some old tune.

6 Merchants. TA noble compliment to the Edinburgh citizens. . Stirling -See Scott's Lady of the Lake, Appendix, note 3, Z.

"The ring within which jousts were formerly practised in the Castle park (at Stirling is still called the round table."--See the reference in note 8.

10 Against. 11 Scott seems to refer to this passage in Lyndsay's tale, in Marmion, Canto IV.

12 The village and palace of Falkland lie at the foot of the Eastern Lomond in Fife. Lar, a hill; Ang. Sax. hleano. 13 Range or walk in a row see note 5, p. 36 ; on rau, in order ; also in line of battle.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Saying, thy burgh bene of all burrows baill,
Because in thee they never gat gude aill.2

FROM THE "SATIRE OF THE THREE ESTATES."
GRIEVANCES OF A SCOTTISH PEASANT OF THE SIXTEENTH

CENTURY.

Pauper.
My father was an auld man and ane hoar,
And was of age four score (of) years or more.
And Mald, my mother, was four score and fifteen,
And with my labour I did them baith sustene.
We had ane meirt that carryit salt and coal,
And ever ilk year she brought us hame ane foal.
We had three ky, that was baith fat and fair,
Nane tidier into the toun of Ayr.
My father was sae waik of bluid and bane
That he deit, wherefore my mother made great mane;
Then she deit within ane day or two,
And there began my poverty and wo.
Our gude grey meir was baitand? on the field,
And our land's laird took her for his heryield.
The vicar took the best cow by the heid
Incontinent, when my father was deid.
And when the vicar heard tell how that my mother
Was deid, fra hand, he took till him the other.
Then Meg, my wife, did murn baith even and morrow,
Till at the last she deit for verie sorrow;
And when the vicar heard tell my wife was deid,
The thrid cow he cleiket by the head.
Their upmest clais, that was of raploch10 grey,
The vicar gart his clark bear them away.
When all was gane, I micht mak nae debeat, 11
But with my bairns passed for till beg iny meat.
Now have I tauld you the black veritie,
How I am brocht into this misery.

Diligence.
How did the parson ? was he not thy gude freend ?

Pauper.

he curst me for my tiend, 12 I Worst of all borough towns.-See note 7, p. 33.

Cupar, as well as Falkland, comes under Lyndsay's lash for this defect in brewage. $ Hoary.

4 Mare. s Often in Scotch inlill; used for in.--See note 14, p. 30. Ky; kine. Died.

I Feeding, pasturing: end or and, the old form of the termination ing; Ang. Sax. bat lan; hence perhaps fat, and batten, to fatten by feeding.

• The feudal tribute paid to the landlord on the death of a tenant. " It was the best horse, ox, cow, or other beast in the tenant's possession. It is the same as the heriot of English law. Spelman."-Chalmers.

9 Hooked, seized. 10 Coarse woollen cloth; probably from Ang. Sax. roplic, ropy or stringy; or it may be a corruption of ray-cloth, which in old English meant cloth made in the natural colour of the wool.-Chalmers, 11 Complaint, contest. 2 Excommunicated me for my tythe.

D

And halds me yet under that same process,
That gart? me want the sacrament at Pasche.
In gude faith, Sir, thocht he wad cut my throat,
I have nae gear except ane English groat,
Whilk I parpose to give ane man of law.

Diligence.
Thou art the daftest fule3 that e'er I saw.
Trows thou, man, by the law to get remeid
Of men of kirk? Na, nocht till thou be deid.

Pauper.
Sir, by what law, tell me, wherefore or why?
That ane vicar should tak fra me three ky?

Diligence.
They have nae law excepting consuetude,
Whilk law to them is sufficient and gude.

Pauper.
Ane consuetude aganes the common weil,
Should be nae law, I think, by sweet Sanct Geill.
Whaur will ye find that law, tell gif ye can,
To tak three ky fra ane puir husband man?
Ane for my father, and for my wife ane other,
An the thrid cow he took for Mald, my mother.

Diligence.
It is their law; all that they have in use,
Thocht it be cow, sow, ganer, gryce, or guse."

Pauper.
Sir I wad speir8 at you ane question ;
Behald some prelates of this region-

Diligence.
Hald thy tongue, man, it seems that thou were mangit.
Speak thou of priests, but10 doubt, thou will be hangit.

THE EXACTIONS AND DELAY OF A LAW SUIT SATIRIZED.

Pauper.
I lent my gossop 11 my meir to fetch hame coals,
And he her droun'd into the querrel19 holes.
And I ran to the consistory13 for to plenyé, 14
And there I happened amang ane greedy menyé.15
They gave me first ane thing they call citandum ;
Within aucht days I gat but libellandum ;

1 Forced.
2 Easter; pronounced in Scotch pace.

8 Maddest fool. • Remedy, satisfaction. 5 Dead. 6 St Giles is the patron saint of Edinburgh

Gander, pig, or goose. 8 Ask.

Mad; literally mixed, confounded. Ang. Sax. maengan, to mix. 10 Without-See note 3, p. 6. 11 Gossip; syb (Gothic) is peace, alliance ; gossip is God-sib; of kin in God; a spossor; applied to the familiar connections of neighbourhood. 12 Quarry. 13 The ecclesiastical court.

14 Complain. IS Group : assemblage ; also household, retinue Chaucer uses meiny in this sense; "They summoned up their meiny, straight took horse." Shakespeare.-Chalmers. The word seems connected with many, and derived apparently from Ang. Sax, maengan, to mix

bourhood. - Complancing in meis. The

SQUIRE MELDRUM'S COMBAT.

Within ane month I gat ad opponendum;
In ane half year I gat inter loquendum;
An syne I gat-how call ye it?-ad replicandum ;
But, I could never ane word yet understand him.
An then, they gart1 me cast out mony placks,
And gart me pay for four and twenty acts;
But or they came half gate to concludendum,
The fienté a plack was left for to defend him.
Thus they postpon'd me twa year, with their train,
Syne, hodie ad octo, bade me come again.
An then thir rooks they roupit wonder fast,
For sentence silver they cryit at the last.
Of pronunciandum? they made me wonder fain;

But I gat ne'er my gude grey meir again.
SQUIRE MELDRUM'S COMBAT WITH THE ENGLISH KNIGHT

TALBERT.
WHEN thirs twa noble men of weir
Were weil accownter'd in their gear,
And in their handis strang bourdones, 10
Then trumpets blew and clarions,
And heralds cryit hie on hicht,
“Now, let them go !11_God schaw the richt !"

Then speedily they spurr'd their horse,
And ran to other with sic force
That baith their spears in sindrie flaw;18
Then said they all that stood on raw,
Ane better course than they twa ran
Was not seen sen13 the warld began.
Then baith the parties were rejoicit.
The champions ane while repoisit,
Till they had gotten speiris new :
Then with triumph the trumpet blew;
And they, with all the force they can,
Wonder rudely at ather24 ran,
And straik at other with sae great ire,
That fra15 their harness16 flew the fire.
Their speiris were sae teuch17 and lang,
That ather other to earth doun dang.
Baith horse and man with speir and shield,
Then flatling's lay into the field.

1 Caused.
2 Plack, one-third of a penny.

I Way.

• Devil. 6 Snare, stratagem.

6 These rooks they chattered wondrously fast. The rook is a cunning, plundering bird, To rook, to cheat, however, is said to be connected with rogue. To rook is also to lie covered; to protect." The raven rooked her on the chimney top."-Shakesp.

1 An idea of the law terms in the passage may be got from a Latin dictionary, if no bet. ter authority may be had. Their explanation would swell the notes too much. & These.

10 Strong spears. Chalmers. 11 “Laissez aller !"

12 Flew.

13 Since. # Ather; either; at each other.

15 From.
16 Armour

1 Tough.

9 War.

« السابقةمتابعة »