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Than callit scho all flouris that grew on feild,
Discirnyng all thair fassionis and effeiris.'
Upone the awfull Thrissil scho beheld,
And saw him kepit with a busche of speiris; 130
Considering him so able for the weiris,
A radius 10 crown of rubeis scho him gaif,
And said, “In feild go furth, and fend the laif."




“And sen thow art a king, thow be discreit; Herb without vertew thow hald nocht of sic 13

As herb of vertew and of odor sueit;
And lat no nettill, vyle and full of vyce,
Hir fallow 13 to the gudly flour-de-lyce;
Nor latt no wyld weid," full of churlicheness,
Compair hir till the lilleis nobilness;


WILLIAM DUNBAR (1460 ?-1513 +)

FROM THE THRISSILL AND THE ROIS Quhen Merch wes with variand' windis past, And Appryll had, with hir silver schouris, Tane leif at’ Nature with ane orient blast, And lusty May, that muddir is of flouris, Had maid the birdis to begyn thair houris, Amang the tendir odouris reid and quhyt," Quhois o armony to heir it wes delyt; In bed at morrow,' sleiping as I lay, Methocht & Aurora, with hir cristall ene, In at the window lukit, by the day, And halsit" me, with visage paill and grene; On quhois hand a lark sang fro the splene," “Awalk, luvaris,' out of your slomering, Se how the lusty morrow dois up-spring !" Me thocht, fresche May befoir my bed up-stude, In weid depaynt " of mony diverss hew, Sobir, benyng,15 and full of mansuetude, 18 In brycht" atteir of flouris forgit 18 new, Hevinly of color, quhyt,“ reid, broun, and blew, Balmit 1' in dew, and gilt with Phebus bemys, Quhill 20 all the houss illumynit of his lemys.21 “Slugird,” scho said, “awalk annonefor schame, And in my honour sum thing thow go wryt; The lark hes done the mirry day proclame, To raiss up luvaris with confort and delyt; Yit nocht incressis thy curage to indyt,23 Quhois hairt sum-tyme hes glaid and blisfull bene, Sangis to mak undir the levis grene."

Quhairto," quod I, “sall I upryss at morrow, For in this May few birdis herd I sing? 30 Thai haif 25 moir causs to weip and plane thair

sorrow, Thy air it is nocht holsum nor benyng. 15 Lord Eolus dois in thy sessone 28 ring; 29 So busteous the blastis of his horne Amang thy bewis, 31 to walk 53 I haif forborne."


Nor hald non udir flour in sic denty 16
As the fresche Ross, of cullour reid and quhyt;
For gife 16 thow dois, hurt is thyne honesty,
Considdering that no flour is so perfyt,
So full of vertew, plesans," and delyt,
So full of blisful angellik bewty,
Imperiall birth, honour and dignite."
Than to the Ross scho turnit hir visage,
And said, “O lusty dochtir most benyng,
Aboif the lilly, illustare 18 of lynnage,

Fro the stok ryell 's rysing fresche and ying, 20
But a ony spot or macull 22 doing spring:
Cum, blowme of joy, with jemis to be cround,
For oure the laif a thy bewty is renownd.”
A coistly 25 croun, with clarefeid 20 stonis brycht,
This cumly quene did on hir heid incloiss,
Quhill 28 all the land illumynit of the licht;
Quhairfoir, me thocht, all flouris did rejoiss,
Crying attonis, “Haill be thow, richest Ross!
Haill hairbis 20 empryce, haill freschest quene of

160 To the be glory and honour at all houris.”





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1 varying ? taken leave of 3 hours, services of praise • white bwhose hear ? morning 8methought eyes 10 looked, dawn 11 greeted 12 from the spleen, fervently 18 awake, lovers

14 in garment colored 15 benign 18 mildness 17 bright 18 forged, made 19 balmed 20 while 21 beams 22 awake at once 23 compose 24 songs 26 have 2 more 27 does

season reign 30 noisy 31 boughs 32 wake

promise ? season

3 over

• enameled azure • distinguishing qualities guarded by 10 shining 11 defend the rest 12 such 18 make herself fellow 14 weed 16 such esteem 16 if 17 pleasance 18 illustrious 19 royal 20 young 21 without 2 blemish 23 springing 24 above the rest 25 costly * clear 27 in close 28 while 29 herbs



Thane all the birdis song with voce on hicht,'
Quhois mirthfull soun wes mervelus to heir;
The mavyss sang, “Haill, Ross, most riche and

That dois up-flureiss ? undir Phebus speir ! 3
Haill, plant of yowth! haill, princes dochtir deir !
Haill, blosome breking out of the blud royall,
Quhois pretius vertew is imperiall !”


The merle scho sang, “Haill, Roiss of most delyt ! Haill, of all flouris quene and soverane!” 170 The lark scho sang, “Haill, Roiss, both reid and

quhyt, Most plesand flour, of michty cullouris twane !" The nychtingaill sang, “Haill, Naturis suffragane, In bewty, nurtour,' and every nobilness, In riche array, renown, and gentilness !”

The common voce upraissé of birdis small,
Apon this wyss, “O blissit be the hour
That thow wes chosin to be our principall !
Welcome to be our princes of honour,
Our perle, our plesans, and our paramour,"
Our peax, our play, our plane felicite !
Chryst the conserf. frome all adversite!”

And right anone La Bell Pucell me sent
Agaynst my weddyng of the saten fyne,
White as the mylke, a goodly garment
Braudred with pearle that clearely dyd shine.
And so, the mariage for to determine,
Venus me brought to a royal chapell,
Whiche of fine golde was wrought everydell.

And after that the gay and glorious
La Bell Pucell to the chapell was leade
In a white vesture fayre and precious,
With a golden chaplet on her yelowe heade;
And Lex Ecclesie did me to her wedde.
After whiche weddyng then was a great feast;
Nothing we lacked, but had of the best.

What’ shoulde I tary by longe continuance
Of the fest? for of my joy and pleasure

Wisdome can judge, without variaunce,
That nought I lacked, as ye may be sure,
Paiyng the swete due dette of nature.
Thus with my lady, that was fayre and cleare,
In joy I lived full ryght, many a yere.

O lusty youth and yong tender hart,
The true companion of my lady bryght!
God let us never from other astart,
But all in joye to live bothe daye and nyght.
Thus after sorowe joye arived aryght;
After my payne I had sport and playe;
Full litle thought I that it shoulde decaye,

Tyll that Dame Nature Naturyng* had made
All thinges to growe unto their fortitude; 5
And Nature Naturyng waxt retrograde,
By strength my youthe so far to exclude,
As was ever her olde consuetude
First to augment and then to abate, -
This is the custome of her hye estate.









Then Perceveraunce in all goodly haste Unto the stewarde called Liberalitie Gave warnyng for to make ready fast Agaynst this tyme of great solemnitie That on the morowe halowed shoulde be. She warned the cooke called Temperaunce And after that the ewres,o Observaunce,

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With Pleasaunce, the panter," and dame

The gentle butler, with the ladyes all.
Eche in her office was prepared shortly
Agaynst this feast so muche triumphall;
And La Bell Pucell then in speciall
Was up by time in the morowe graye;
Right so was I when I sawe the daye.

O erth! on erth it is a wonders case That thou art blynde and wyll not the know; Though upon erth thou hast thy dwelling place, Yet erth at last must nedes the ? overthrow. Thou thinkest thou do be no erth, I trow; For if thou diddest, thou woldest than apply To forsake pleasure and to lerne to dye. 7

O erth, of erth why art thou so proud ? Now what thou art, call to remembraunce;

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1 aloud ' flourish 3 sphere nurture uprose o wise 7 beloved

peace preserve

10 eweress, servant in charge of ewers, napkins, etc. 11 servant in charge of pantry

1 broidered why start away · Natura naturans, Nature as a creative being. 6 strength o wondrous 7 thee, thyself 8then


The vyle carkes: set upon a fyre? Doth often haunte the synne of lechery, Fulfyllyng the foule carnall desyre: Thus erth with erth is corrupt mervaylously, And erth on erth wyll nothing purify, Till erth to erth be nere: subverted For erth with erth is so pervcrted.




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Open thine eares unto my song aloude.
Is not thy beauté, strength, and puyssance,
Though becladde with cloth of pleasaunce,
Very erth and also wormes fode,
When erth to erth shall turne to the blode?

And erth, with erth why art thou so wroth?
Remembre the that it vayleth? right nought;
For thou mayst thinke, of a perfyte trothe,
If with the erth thou hast a quarell sought,
Amyddes the erth there is a place ywrought,
Whan erth to erth is torned properly,
The' for thy synne to perrysh wonderly.

And erth, for erth why hast thou envy?
And the erth upon erth to be more prosperous
Than thou thyselfe, fretting the inwardly?
It is a sinne right foul and vicious
And unto God also full odious.
Thou thinkest, I trow, there is no punishment
Ordeyned for sinne by egall judgement.

Toward heven to folow on the way
Thou arte full slow, and thinkest nothing*
That thy nature doth full sore decaye
And deth right fast is to the comyng.
God graunte the mercy, but no time enlongyng.
Whan thou hast time, take tyme and space;
Whan time is past, lost is the tyme of grace. 35

And whan erth to erth is nexte to reverte
And nature low in the last age,
Of erthly treasure erth doth sette his herte
Insaciately upon covetyse o to rage;
He thynketh not his lyfe shall asswage;?
His good is his God, with his great ryches;
He thinketh not for to leve it doutles. 8

The pomped clerkes, with foles delicious, 10
Erth often fedeth with corrupt glotony,
And nothing with werkes vertuous;
The soule doth fede ryght well ententifly,"
But without mesure full inordinatly
The body lyveth and wyll not remember
Howe erth to erth must his strength surrender. 49

Unto all poetes I do me excuse, If that I offende for lacke of science. This little boke yet do ye not refuse, Though it be devoyde of famous eloquence. Adde or detray * by your hye sapience, And pardon me of my hye enterprise, Whiche of late this fable did fayne and devise.


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1 thee? availeth 3 equal, just not at allo prolonging covetousness cease 8 doubtless

fools 10 fond of pleasure 11 carefully

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And prytely he wold pant JOHN SKELTON (1460 7-1529)

Whan he saw an ant;

Lord, how he wolde pry

After the butterfly!

Lorde, how he wolde hop

After the gressop !!
Do mi nus,

And whan I sayd, “Phyp! Phyp!"
Helpe nowe, swete Jesus!

Than he wold lepe and skyp,
Levavi oculos meos in montes ::

And take me by the lyp.

140 Wolde God I had Zenophontes,

Alas, it wyll me slo,
Or Socrates the wyse,

That Phillyp is gone me fro!
To shew me their devyse,
Moderatly to take

But my sparowe dyd pas :
This sorrow that I make

All the sparows of the wode
For Phyllip Sparowes sake

That were syns Noes flode;
So fervently I shake,

Was never none so good;
I fele my body quake;

Kynge Phylyp of Macedony

270 So urgently I am brought

Had no such Phylyp as I,
Into carefull thought.

No, no, syr, hardely."
Like Andromach, Hectors wyfe,

That vengeaunce I aske and crye,
Was wery of her lyfe,

By way of exclamacyon,
Whan she had lost her joye,

On all the hole nacyon
Noble Hector of Troye;

Of cattes wylde and tame;
In lyke manner also

God send them sorowe and shame!
Encreaseth my dedly wo,

The cat specyally
For my sparowe is go.

That slew so cruelly
It was so prety a fole,

My lytell pretty sparowe

280 It wold syt on a stole,

That I brought up at Carowe.
And lerned after my scole

O cat of carlyshe kynde,
For to kepe his cut,"

The fynde was in thy mynde
With, “Phyllyp, kepe your cut!”

Whan thou my byrde untwynde !
It had a velvet cap,

I wold thou haddest ben blynde !
And wold syt upon my lap,

The leopardes savage,
And seke after small wormes,

The lyons in theyr rage,
And somtyme white-bred crommes;

Myght? catche the in theyr pawes,
And many tymes and ofte

And gnawe the in theyr jawes !
Betwene my brestes softe

The serpentes of Lybany

290 It wolde lye and rest;

Myght stynge the venymously!
It was propre and prest.

The dragones with their tonges
Somtyme he wolde gaspe

Might poyson thy lyver and longes !
Whan he sawe a waspe;

The mantycors 8 of the mountaynes A fly or a gnat,


Myght fede them on thy braynes !
He wolde flye at that;

grasshopper? slay 8 surpass certainly chur1 Lord ? I have lifted up mine eyes to the moun- lish nature fiend ? I would they might 8a tains. : fool to act shy? to keep his distance ? fabulous monster, with a human head and the body • ready

of a beast of prey.

I 20





But all he bringeth to nought,

By God, that me dere bought!

He bereth the kyng on hand,
Ones yet agayne

That he must pyll’ his lande, 450
Of you I wolde frayne,

To make his cofers ryche;
Why come ye nat to court ?

But he laythe all in the dyche,
To whyche court ?

And useth suche abusyoun,
To the kynges courte,

That in the conclusyoun
Or to Hampton Court ? -

All commeth to confusyon.
Nay, to the kynges court!

Perceyve the cause why!
The kynges courte

To tell the trouth playnly,
Shulde have the excellence;

He is so ambicyous,
But Hampton Court

So shamles, and so vicyous,
Hath the preemynence,

And so supersticyous,

460 And Yorkes Place,

And so moche oblivyous
With my lordes grace,

From whens that he came,
To whose magnifycence

That he falleth into a caeciam,
Is all the conflewence,


Whiche, truly to expresse,
Sutys and supplycacyons,

Is a forgetfulnesse,
Embassades of all nacyons.

Or wylfull blyndnesse,
Strawe for lawe canon!

Wherwith the Sodomites
Or for the lawe common !

Lost theyr inward syghtes,
Or for lawe cyvyll !

The Gommoryans also
It shall be as he wyll:

Were brought to deedly wo,

470 Stop at law tancrete,

As Scrypture recordis.
An obstract ' or a concrete;

A caecitate cordis,'
Be it soure, be it swete,

In the Latyne synge we,
His wysdome is so dyscrete,

Libera nos, Domine / s
That in a fume or an hete,

But this madde Amalecke,
Wardeyn of the Flete,

Lyke to a Mamelek,
Set hym fast by the fete!

He regardeth lordes
And of his royall powre

No more than potshordes;
Whan him lyst to lowre,

He is in suche elacyon
Than, have him to the Towre,

Of his exaltacyon,

480 Saunz aulter * remedy,

And the supportacyon
Have hym forthe by and by :

Of our soverayne lorde,
To the Marshalsy,

That, God to recorde,?
Or to the Kynges Benche!


He ruleth all at wyll,
He dyggeth so in the trenche

Without reason or skyll:
Of the court royall,

How be it the primordyall
That he ruleth them all.

Of his wretched originall,
So he dothe undermynde,

And his base progeny,
And suche sleyghtes dothe fynde,

And his gresy genealogy,
That the kynges mynde

He came of the sank royall ® 490
By hym is subverted,

That was cast out of a bochers stall.
And so streatly coarted
In credensynge his tales,
That all is but nutshales ?

That any other sayth;
He hath in him suche fayth.

My name is Colyn Cloute.
Now, yet all this myght be

I purpose to shake oute
Suffred and taken in gre,

All my connyng bagge,
If that that he wrought

Lyke a clerkely hagge;
To any good ende were brought;

1 insists to the king. plunder 'blind vertigo inquire a transcribed 3 abstract - without other " from blindness of heart. 5 free us, O Lord! immediately 6 coërced ? nut-shells $ in good part potsherds ? I call God to witness. 8 blood royal



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