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IV.* ANDREW WINTON, about 1420.


This holy man had a ram

That he had fed up of a lamb,
And used him till follow aye,
Wherever he passed in his way.
A thief this sheep in Achren stale,
And ate him up in pieces smale.
When Saint Serf his ram had missed,
Wha that it stale was few that wist:
On presumption nevertheless

He that it stale arrested was;

And till Saint Serf syne was he brought;
That sheep he said that he stale nought,
And therefore for to swear an aith
He said that he would rob be laith.
But soon he werthed red for shame;
The sheep there bleated in his wamb,
So was he tainted shamefully,
And at Saint Serf asked mercy.

IV.** ROBERT HENRYSON, 1425-1495.


Blessed be simple life, withouten dread;
Blessed be sober feast in quieté;
Who has enough, of no more has he need,
Though it be little into quantity.
Great abundance, and blind prosperity,
Oft-times make an evil conclusion ;
The sweetest life, therefore, in this country,
Is of sickness, with small possession.

.*** BLIND HARRY, about 1460.



On Wednesday the false Southron forth him brought
To martyr him, as they before had wrought.
Of men in arms led him a full great rout,
With a bold sprite good Wallace blent about:
A priest he asked, for God that died on tree
King Edward then commanded his clergy,

And said, "I charge you, upon pain of loss of life,
None be so bold yon tyrant for to shrive.
He has reigned long in contrar my highness."
A blith bishop soon, present in that place;
Of Canterbury he then was righteous lord:
Against the king he made this right record,
And said, "Myself shali hear his confession,
If I have might in contrar of thy crown.
An thou through force will stop me of this thing.
I vow to God, who is mv righteous king,
O'er all England I shall thee interdict,
And make it known thou art an heretic.
The sacrament of kirk I shall him give:
Syne take thy choice, to starve or let him live.
It were more well, in worship of thy crown,
To keep sic one in life in thy bandoun,

Than all the land and good that thou hast reived,
But cowardice thee aye from honour drived.
Thou hast thy life rougin in wrongeous deed,
That shall be seen on thee or on thy seed."

The king garr'd charge they should the bishop ta', But sad lords counselled to let him ga.

All Englishmen said that his desire was right,
To Wallace then he rakit in their sight,
And sadly heard his confession till an end:
Humbly to God his sprite he there commend
Lowly him served with hearty devotion
Upon his knees, and said an oration.

A prayer-book Wallace had on him ever
From his childhood-from it would nought dissever:
Better he trowet in voyage for to speed.
But then he was dispalyed of his weed.

This grace he asked at Lord Clifford, that knight,
To let him have his psalter-book in sight.
He garr d a priest it open before him hold,
While they till him had done all that they would.
Steadfast he read for aught they did him there;
Fiel Southrons said that Wallace felt no sair.
Guid devotion, sae, was his beginning,
Contained therewith, and fair was his ending.



Fortitude then stood steadfast in his might, Defended widows; cherished chastity; Knighthood in prowess gave so clear a light. Girt with his sword of truth and equity.


God hath a thousand handes to chastise;
A thousand dartes of punition;

A thousand bowes made in divers wise;
A thousand arblastes bent in his dungeon



Have mind that eld aye follows youth,
Death follows life with gaping mouth,
Devouring fruit and flowering grain;
All earthly joy returns in pain.

Wealth, worldly gloir, and rich array,
Are all but thorns laid in thy way,
O'ercower'd with flowers laid in a train :
All earthly joy returns in pain.

Freedom returns in wretchedness,
And truth returns in doubleness,
With feigned words to make men fain:
All earthly joy returns in pain.

Virtue returnes into vice,
And honour into avarice;

With covetise in conscience slain :
All eathly joy returns in pain.

Since earthly joy abideth never,
Work for the joy that lastis ever;
For other joy is all but vain ;
All earthly joy returns in pain.

VI. JOHN SKELTON, 15**-15**


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,

In everything, Far, far passing

That I can indite, Or suffice to write,
Of merry Margaret, As Midsummer flower,
Gentle as falcon, or hawk of the tower;
As patient and as still,

And as full of good will, As fair Isiphil,
Coliander, Sweet Pomander, Good Cassander;
Steadfast of thought, Well-made, well-wrought
Far may be sought,

Ere you can find, So courteous, so kind,
As merry Margaret, This midsummer flower,
Gentle as falcon, Or hawk of the tower.

VI.** SIR THOMAS WYATT, 1503—1541


Blame not my lute! for he must sound
Of this or that, as liketh me;

For lack of wit the lute is bound

To give such tunes as pleaseth me; Though my songs be somewhat strange, And speak such words as touch my change. Blame not my lute!

My lute, alas! doth not offend,

Though that perforce he must agree
To sound such tunes as I intend,

To sing to them that heareth me;
Thou, though my songs be somewhat plain,
And toucheth some that used to feign,
Blame not my lute!

My lute and strings may not deny,
But as I strike they must obey;
Break rot them then so wrongfully,

But wreak thyself some other way;
And though the songs which I indite,
Do quit thy change with rightful spite,
Blame not my lute!

VI.*** ANDREW BOURD, about 1530.


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 sit cock-o' 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 minnow, 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 sumner'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.
1 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 even to be true to God and my king.

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