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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.
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,
Farewell, Falkland, the forteress of Fife,
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.
Saying, thy burgh bene of all burrows baill,
FROM THE "SATIRE OF THE THREE ESTATES."
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.
And halds me yet under that same process,
THE EXACTIONS AND DELAY OF A LAW SUIT SATIRIZED.
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;
But I gat ne'er my gude grey meir again.
Then speedily they spurr'd their horse,
• 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 !"
13 Since. # Ather; either; at each other.