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[A Carman's Account of a Law-suit.]

Of tails I will no more indite,
For dread some duddron1 me despite :

Marry, I lent my gossip my mare, to fetch hame coals, Notwithstanding, I will conclude,
And he her drounit into the quarry holes;
And I ran to the consistory, for to pleinyie,

And there I happenit amang ane greedie meinyie.1
They gave me first ane thing they call citandum;
Within aucht days I gat but libellandum;
Within ane month I gat ad opponendum;
In half ane year I gat inter-loquendum,
And syne I gat-how call ye it ?-ad replicandum;
Bot I could never ane word yet understand him:
And then they gart me cast out mony placks,
And gart me pay for four-and-twenty acts.
Bot or they came half gate to concludendum,
The fiend ane plack was left for to defend him.
Thus they postponed me twa year with their train,
Syne, hodie ad octo, bade me come again :
And then thir rooks they rowpit wonder fast
For sentence, silver, they cryit at the last.
Of pronunciandum they made me wonder fain,
Bot I gat never my gude grey mare again.

Supplication in Contemption of Side Tails.

Sovereign, I mean3 of thir side tails,
Whilk through the dust and dubs trails,
Three quarters lang behind their heels,
Express again' all commonweals.
Though bishops, in their pontificals,
Have men for to bear up their tails,
For dignity of their office;

Richt so ane queen or ane emprice;
Howbeit they use sic gravity,
Conformand to their majesty,
Though their robe-royals be upborne,
I think it is ane very scorn,
That every lady of the land

Should have her tail so side trailand;
Howbeit they been of high estate,
The queen they should not counterfeit.
Wherever they go it may be seen

How kirk and causay they soop clean.
The images into the kirk

May think of their side tails irk ;4
For when the weather been maist fair,
The dust flies highest into the air,
And all their faces does begary,

Gif they could speak, they wald them wary.
But I have maist into despite
Poor claggocks5 clad in Raploch white,
Whilk has scant twa merks for their fees,
Will have twa ells beneath their knees.
Kittock that cleckit6 was yestreen,
The morn, will counterfeit the queen.
In barn nor byre she will not bide,
Without her kirtle tail be side.
In burghs, wanton burgess wives
Wha may have sidest tails strives,
Weel bordered with velvet fine,
But followand them it is ane pyne:
In summer, when the streets dries,
They raise the dust aboon the skies;
Nane may gae near them at their ease,
Without they cover mouth and neese.
I think maist pane after ane rain,
To see them tuckit up again;

Then when they step furth through the street,
Their fauldings flaps about their feet;
They waste mair claith, within few years,
Nor wald cleid fifty score of freirs.

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That of side tails can come nae gude,
Sider nor may their ankles hide,
The remanent proceeds of pride,
And pride proceeds of the devil,
Thus alway they proceed of evil.
Ane other fault, Sir, may be seen,
They hide their face all bot the een;
When gentlemen bid them gude day,
Without reverence they slide away.
Without their faults be soon amended,
My flyting,2 Sir, shall never be ended;
But wald your grace my counsel tak,
Ane proclamation ye should mak,
Baith through the land and burrowstouns,
To shaw their face and cut their gowns.
Women will say, this is nae bourds,3
To write sic vile and filthy words;
But wald they clenge their filthy tails,
Whilk over the mires and middings trails,
Then should my writing clengit be,
None other mends they get of me.

Quoth Lindsay, in contempt of the side tails,
That duddrons and duntibours through the dubs trails.

[The Building of the Tower of Babel, and
Confusion of Tongues.]

(From the Monarchie.)

Their great fortress then did they found,
And cast till they gat sure ground.
All fell to work both man and child,
Some howkit clay, some burnt the tyld.
Nimron, that curious champion,
Deviser was of that dungeon.
Nathing they spared their labours,
Like busy bees upon the flowers,
Or emmets travelling into June;
Some under wrocht, and some aboon,
With strang ingenious masonry,
Upward their wark did fortify;
The land about was fair and plain,
And it rase like ane heich montane.
Those fulish people did intend,
That till the heaven it should ascend:
Sae great ane strength was never seen
Into the warld with men's een.
The wallis of that wark they made,
Twa and fifty fathom braid:
Ane fathom then, as some men says,
Micht been twa fathom in our days;
Ane man was then of mair stature
Nor twa be now, of this be sure.

The translator of Orosius
Intil his chronicle writes thus ;
That when the sun is at the hicht,

At noon, when it doth shine maist bricht,
The shadow of that hideous strength
Sax mile and mair it is of length:
Thus may ye judge into your thocht,
Gif Babylon be heich, or nocht.
Then the great God omnipotent,
To whom all things been present,
He seeand the ambition,
And the prideful presumption,
How thir proud people did pretend,
Up through the heavens till ascend, *
Sic languages on them he laid,
That nane wist what ane other said;
Where was but ane language afore,
God send them languages three score ;

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Afore that time all spak Hebrew,
Then some began for to speak Grew,
Some Dutch, some language Saracen,
And some began to speak Latin.
The maister men gan to ga wild,
Cryand for trees, they brocht them tyld.
Some said, Bring mortar here at ance,

Then brocht they to them stocks and stanes;
And Nimrod, their great champion,
Ran ragand like ane wild lion,
Menacing them with words rude,

But never ane word they understood. *
for final conclusion,
Constrained were they for till depart,
Ilk company in ane sundry airt.

* *


A few pieces of the reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., some of which are by uncertain authors, may be added, as further illustrative of the literary history of that period. The first two are amongst the earliest verses in which the metaphysical refinements, so notable in the subsequent period, are observable.

A Praise of his (the Poet's) Lady.
Give place, you ladies, and be gone.
Boast not yourselves at all!
For here at hand approacheth one,
Whose face will stain you all!
The virtue of her lively looks

Excels the precious stone:

I wish to have none other books
To read or look upon.

In each of her two crystal eyes
Smileth a naked boy:

It would you all in heart suffice
To see that lamp of joy.

I think Nature hath lost the mould,
Where she her shape did take;

Or else I doubt if Nature could
So fair a creature make.

She may be well compared

Unto the phoenix kind,

Whose like was never seen nor heard,
That any man can find.

In life she is Diana chaste,
In troth Penelope,

In word and eke in deed steadfast:
What will you more we say?


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Her roseal colour comes and goes

With such a comely grace,
More ruddier too than doth the rose,
Within her lively face.

At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet,
Ne at no wanton play;
Nor gazing in an open street,
Nor gadding as a stray.

The modest mirth that she doth use
Is mix'd with shamefac'dness;
All vice she doth wholly refuse,
And hateth idleness.

O Lord, it is a world to see
How virtue can repair,
And deck in her such honesty
Whom Nature made so fair!
Truly she doth as far exceed
Our women now-a-days,

As doth the gilly flower a weed,
And more a thousand ways.


How might I do to get a graff
Of this unspotted tree?
For all the rest are plain but chaff
Which seem good corn to be.
This gift alone I shall her give:

When Death doth what he can, Her honest fame shall ever live Within the mouth of man.

Amantium Iræ amoris redintegratio est.

[By Richard Edwards, a court musician and poet, 1523-1566.] In going to my naked bed, as one that would have slept,

I heard a wife sing to her child, that long before had wept.

She sighed sore, and sang full sweet, to bring the That would not cease, but cried still, in sucking at babe to rest.

her breast.

She was full weary of her watch, and grieved with She rocked it, and rated it, until on her it smil'd; her child, Then did she say, 'Now have I found the proverb truc to prove,

The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.'

Then took I paper, pen, and ink, this proverb for to write,

In register for to remain of such a worthy wight.
As she proceeded thus in song unto her little brat,
Much matter utter'd she of weight in place whereas

she sat ;

And proved plain, there was no beast, nor creature bearing life,

Could well be known to live in love without discòrd and strife:

Then kissed she her little babe, and sware by God above,

"The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.'

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[Characteristic of an Englishman.]

[By Andrew Bourd, physician to Henry VIII. The lines form an inscription under the picture of an Englishman, naked, with a roll of cloth in one hand, and a pair of scissors in the other.]

I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here, Musing in my mind what garment I shall wear, For now I will wear this, and now I will wear that, Now I will wear I cannot tell what :

All new fashions be pleasant to me,

I will have them whether I thrive or thee:
Now I am a fisher, all men on me look
What should I do but set cock on the hoop?
What do I care if all the world me fail,
I will have a garment reach to my tail.

Then I am a minion, for I wear the new guise,
The next year after I hope to be wise-
Not only in wearing my gorgeous array,
For I will go to learning a whole summer's day;
I will learn Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and French,
And I will learn Dutch sitting on my bench.
I do fear no man, each man feareth me;

I overcome my adversaries by land and by sea:
I had no peer if to myself I were true;
Because I am not so diverse times do I rue:
Yet I lack nothing, I have all things at will,
If I were wise and would hold myself still,
And meddle with no matters but to me pertaining,
But ever to be true to God and my king.
But I have such matters rolling in my pate,
That I will and do-I cannot tell what.

No man shall let me, but I will have my mind,
And to father, mother, and friend, I'll be unkind.
I will follow mine own mind and mine old trade:
Who shall let me? The devil's nails are unpared.
Yet above all things new fashions I love well,
And to wear them my thrift I will sell.
In all this world I shall have but a time:
Hold the cup, good fellow, here is thine and mine!

The Nut-Brown Mail.

[Regarding the date and author of this piece no certainty exists. Prior, who founded his Henry and Emma upon it, fixes its date about 1400; but others, judging from the comparatively modern language of it, suppose it to have been composed subsequently to the time of Surrey. The poem opens with a declaration of the author, that the faith of woman is stronger than is generally alleged, in proof of which he proposes to relate the trial to which the Not-Browne Mayde' was exposed by her lover. What follows consists of a dialogue between the pair.]

HE. It standeth so; a deed is do',
Whereof great harm shall grow:

My destiny is for to die

A shameful death, I trow;

Or else to flee: the one must be,
None other way I know,

But to withdraw as an outlaw,
And take me to my bow.

Wherefore adieu, my own heart true!
None other rede I can:

For I must to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

SHE. O Lord, what is this world's bliss,

That changeth as the moon!

My summer's day in lusty May
Is darked before the noon.

I hear you say, Farewell: Nay, nay,
We depart not so soon.

Why say ye so? whither will ye go?
Alas! what have ye done?
All my welfare to sorrow and care
Should change if ye were gone;
For in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

HE.-I can believe, it shall you grieve,
And somewhat you distrain:

But afterward, your paines hard
Within a day or twain

Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take
Comfort to you again.

Why should ye ought, for to make thought?
Your labour were in vain.

And thus I do, and pray to you,

As heartily as I can ;

For I must to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

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Shall never be said, the Nut-Brown Maid
Was to her love unkind:
Make you ready, for so am I,
Although it were anon;

For in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

IIE. I counsel you, remember how
It is no maiden's law
Nothing to doubt, but to run out
To wood with an outlaw;


ye must there in your hand bear A bow, ready to draw;

And as a thief, thus must you live,
Ever in dread and awe.

Whereby to you great harm might grow:
Yet had I lever than,

That I had to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

SHE. I think not nay, but, as ye say,
It is no maiden's lore:

But love may make me for your sake,
As I have said before,

To come on foot, to hunt and shoot
To get us meat in store;
For so that I your company
May have, I ask no more:
From which to part it makes my heart
As cold as any stone;

For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.

HE. Yet take good heed, for ever I dread That ye could not sustain

The thorny ways, the deep vallèys,

The snow, the frost, the rain,

The cold, the heat; for, dry or weet,

We must lodge on the plain;

And us above, none other roof

But a brake bush or twain:
Which soon should grieve you, I believe,
And ye would gladly than

That I had to the greenwood go,
Alone, a banished man.

SHE. Sith I have here been partinèr
With you of joy and bliss,

I must also part of your wo
Endure, as reason is.

Yet I am sure of one pleasure,
And, shortly, it is this,

That, where ye be, me seemeth, pardic,
I could not fare amiss.

Without more speech, I you beseech
That ye were soon agone,

For, to my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.

HE. If ye go thither, ye must consider, When ye have list to dine,

There shall no meat be for you gete,

Nor drink, beer, ale, nor wine,

No sheetes clean, to lie between,
Made of thread and twine;

None other house but leaves and boughs,

To cover your head and mine.

Oh mine heart sweet, this evil diet,
Should make you pale and wan;
Wherefore I will to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

SHE. Among the wild deer, such an archér,

As men say that ye be,

Ye may not fail of good vittail,

Where is so great plentie. And water clear of the river,

Shall be full sweet to me.

With which in heal, I shall right weel
Endure, as ye shall see ;
And, ere we go, a bed or two
I can provide anone;

For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

HE.-Lo yet before, ye must do more,

If ye will go with me;

As cut your hair up by your ear,
Your kirtle to the knee;
With bow in hand, for to withstand
Your enemies, if need be ;

And this same night, before day-light,
To wood-ward will I flee.

If that ye will all this fulfill,

Do't shortly as ye can:

Else will I to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

SHE. I shall, as now, do more for you,
Than 'longeth to womanheed,
To short my hair, a bow to bear,
To shoot in time of need.

Oh, my sweet mother, before all other
For you I have most dread;
But now adieu! I must ensue

Where fortune doth me lead.
All this make ye: Now let us flee ;
The day comes fast upon :
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

HE.-Nay, nay, not so; ye shall not go,
And I shall tell you why:
Your appetite is to be light
Of love, I weel espy:

For like as ye have said to me,
In like wise, hardily,

Ye would answer whoever it were,

In way of company.

It is said of old, soon hot, soon cold;
And so is a woman,

Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.
SHE.-If ye take heed, it is no need
Such words to say by me;
For oft ye prayed and me assayed,
Ere I loved you, pardie:
And though that I, of ancestry,
A baron's daughter be,

Yet have you proved how I you loved,
A squire of low degree;

And ever shall, whatso befal;
To die therefore anon;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

HE.-A baron's child to be beguiled,
It were a cursed deed!

To be fellàw with an outlaw,
Almighty God forbid !

It better were, the poor squièr
Alone to forest yede,

Than I should say, another day,

That, by my cursed deed,

We were betrayed: wherefore, good maid,

The best rede that I can,

Is, that I to the greenwood go,
Alone, a banished man,

1 Disposition.

SHE. Whatever befall, I never shall,
Of this thing you upbraid;
But, if ye go, and leave me so,
Than have ye me betrayed.
Remember weel, how that you deal;
For if ye, as ye said,

Be so unkind to leave behind,
Your love, the Nut-Brown Maid,
Trust me truly, that I shall die
Soon after ye be gone;

For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

IIE. If that ye went, ye should repent;
For in the forest now

I have purveyed me of a maid,
Whom I love more than you;
Another fairèr than ever ye were,

I dare it weel avow,

And of you both each should be wroth
With other, as I trow:

It were mine ease to live in peace;
So will I, if I can


Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.

SHE.-Though in the wood I understood
Ye had a paramour,

All this may not remove my thought,
But that I will be your.

And she shall find me soft and kind
And courteous every hour;
Glad to fulfill all that she will

Command me to my power.
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo,
Of them I would be one;

For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

HE.-Mine own dear love, I see thee prove
That ye be kind and true;

Of maid and wife, in all my life,

The best that ever I knew.

Be merry and glad; no more be sad;
The case is changed now;

For it were ruth, that, for your truth,
Ye should have cause to rue.

Be not dismayed; whatever I said
To you, when I began ;

I will not to the greenwood go,

I am no banished man.

SHE. These tidings be more glad to me,
Than to be made a queen,

If I were sure they would endure:
But it is often seen,

When men will break promise, they speak

The wordes on the spleen.

Ye shape some wile me to beguile,

And steal from me, I ween:

Than were the case worse than it was,

And I more woe-begone:

For, in my mind, of all mankind

I love but you alone.

HE.-Ye shall not need further to dread:

I will not disparage,

You (God defend !) sith ye descend Of so great a lineage.

Now understand; to Westmoreland, Which is mine heritage,

I will you bring; and with a ring,

By way of marriage,

I will you take, and lady make,

As shortly as I can :

Thus have you won an earl's son,
And not a banished man.



Nor long after the time of Lydgate, our attention is called to a prose writer of eminence, the first

since the time of Chaucer and Wickliffe. This was SIR JOHN FORTESCUE, Chief Justice of the King's Bench under Henry VI., and a constant adherent of the fortunes of that monarch. He flourished between the years 1430 and 1470. Besides several Latin tracts, Chief Justice Fortescue wrote one in the common language, entitled, The Difference between an Absolute and Limited Monarchy, as it more particularly regards the English Constitution, in which he draws a striking, though perhaps exaggerated, contrast between the condition of the French under an arbitrary monarch, and that of his own countrymen, who even then possessed considerable privileges as subjects. The following extracts convey at once an idea of the literary style, and of the manner of thinking, of that age.

[English Courage.]

[Original spelling.—It is cowardise and lack of hartes and corage, that kepith the Frenchmen from rysyng, and not po

vertye; which corage no Frenche man hath like to the English

man. It hath ben often seen in Englond that iij or iv thefes,

for povertie, hath sett upon vij or viij true men, and robbyd them al. But it hath not ben seen in Fraunce, that vij or viij thefes have ben hardy to robbe iij or iv true men. Wherfor it is right seld that French men be hangyd for robberye, for that thay have no hertys to do so terry ble an acte. There be therfor mo men hangyd in Englond, in a yere, for robberye and manslaughter, than ther be hangid in Fraunce for such cause of crime in vij yers, &c.]

It is cowardice and lack of hearts and courage, that keepeth the Frenchmen from rising, and not poverty; which courage no French man hath like to the English man. It hath been often seen in England that three or four thieves, for poverty, hath set upon seven or eight true men, and robbed them all. But it hath not been seen in France, that seven or eight thieves have been hardy to rob three or four true men. Wherefore it is right seld that Frenchmen be hanged for robbery, for that they have no hearts to do so terrible an act. There be therefore mo men hanged in England, in a year, for robbery and manslaughter, than there be hanged in France for such cause of crime in seven years. There is no man hanged in Scotland in seven years together for robbery, and yet they be often times hanged for larceny, and stealing of goods in the absence of the owner thereof; but their hearts serve them not to take a man's goods while he is present and will defend it; which manner of taking is called robbery. But the English man be of another courage; for if he be poor, and see another man having riches which may be taken from him by might, he wol not spare to do so, but if that poor man be right true. Wherefore it is not poverty, but it is lack of heart and cowardice, that keepeth the French men from rising.

is to say, they that seen few things woll soon say their advice. Forsooth those folks consideren little the good of the realm, whereof the might most stondeth And if they

upon archers, which be no rich men. were made poorer than they be, they should not have wherewith to buy them bows, arrows, jacks, or any other armour of defence, whereby they might be able to resist our enemies when they list to come upon us, which they may do on every side, considering that we be an island; and, as it is said before, we may not have soon succours of any other realm. Wherefore we should be a prey to all other enemies, but if we be mighty of ourself, which might stondeth most upon our poor archers; and therefore they needen not only to have such habiliments as now is spoken of, but also they needen to be much exercised in shooting, which may not be done without right great expenses, as every man expert therein knoweth right well. Wherefore the making poor of the commons, which is the making poor of our archers, should be the destruction of the greatest might of our realm. Item, if poor men may not lightly rise, as is the opinion of those men, which for that cause would have the commons poor; how then, if a mighty man made a rising, should he be repressed, when all the commons be so poor, that after such opinion they may not fight, and by that maketh the king the commons to be every year musreason not help the king with fighting? And why tered, sithen it was good they had no harness, nor were able to fight? Oh, how unwise is the opinion of these men; for it may not be maintained by any reason! Item, when any rising hath been made in this land, before these days by commons, the poorest men thereof hath been the greatest causers and doers therein. And thrifty men have been loth thereto, for dread of losing of their goods, yet often times they have gone with them through menaces, or else the same poor men would have taken their goods; wherein it seemeth that poverty hath been the whole and chief cause of all such rising. The poor man hath been stirred thereto by occasion of his poverty for to get good; and the rich men have gone with them because they wold not be poor by losing of their goods. What then would fall, if all the commons were poor?


The next writer of note was WILLIAM CAXTON, the celebrated printer; a man of plain understanding, but great enthusiasm in the cause of literature. While acting as an agent for English merchants in Holland, he made himself master of the art of printing, then recently introduced on the Continent; and, having translated a French book styled, The Recuyell of the Histories of Troye, he printed it at Ghent, in 1471, being the first book in the English language ever put to the press. Afterwards he established a printing-office at Westminster, and in 1474, produced The Game of Chess, which was the first book printed in Britain. Caxton translated or wrote about sixty different books, all of which went through his own press before his death in 1491. As a specimen of his manner of writing, and of the literary language

What harm would come to England if the Commons of this age, a passage is here extracted, in modern

thereof were Poor.

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* In a note to this publication, Caxton says-" Forasmuch as age creepeth on me daily, and feebleth all the bodie, and also because I have promised divers gentlemen, and to my friends, to address to them, as hastily as I might, this said book, therefore I have practised and learned, at my great charge and dispence, to ordain this said book in print, after the manner and form as ye may here see, and is not written with pen and ink, as other books ben, to the end that all men may have them at once, for all the books of this story, named The Recule of the Historeys of Troyes,' thus emprinted, as ye here see, were begun in one day, and also finished in one day."

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