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[A Carman's Account of a Law-suit.]
Marry, I lent my gossip my mare, to fetch hame coals, Notwithstanding, I will conclude,
And he her drounit into the quarry holes;
That of side tails can come nae gude,
And I ran to the consistory, for to pleinyie,
Sider nor may their ankles hide,
And there I happenit amang ane greedie meinyie.1 The remanent proceeds of pride,
And pride proceeds of the devil,
They gave me first ane thing they call citandum;
Within aucht days I gat but libellandum;
Thus alway they proceed of evil.
Within ane month I gat ad opponendum;
Ane other fault, Sir, may be seen,
In half ane year I gat inter-loquendum,
They hide their face all bot the een;
And syne I gat-how call ye it ad replicandum;
When gentlemen bid them gude day,
Bot I could never ane word yet understand him :
Without reverence they slide away.
And then they gart me cast out mony placks,
Without their faults be soon amended,
And gart me pay for four-and-twenty acts.
My flyting,2 Sir, shall never be ended;
Bot or they came half gate to concludendum,
But wald your grace my counsel tak,
The fiend ane plack was left for to defend him.
Ane proclamation ye should mak,
Thus they postponed me twa year with their train,
Baith through the land and burrowstouns,
Syne, hodie ad octo, bade me come again :
To shaw their face and cut their gowns.
And then thir rooks they rowpit wonder fast
Women will say, this is nae bourds, 3
For sentence, silver, they cryit at the last.
To write sic vile and filthy words;
Of pronunciandum they made me wonder fain,
But wald they clenge their filthy tails,
Bot I gat never my gude grey mare again.
Whilk over the mires and middings trails,
Then should my writing clengit be,
None other mends they get of me.
Supplication in Contemption of Side Tails.2 (1538.)
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 claggocks 5 clad in Raploch white,
Whilk has scant twa merks for their fees,
Will have twa ells beneath their knees.
Kittock that cleckit6 was yestreen,
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.
1 Company. of those days. 5 Draggle-tails.
Of tails I will no more indite,
For dread some duddron1 me despite :
2 The over-long skirts of the ladies' dresses
* May feel annoyed.
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;
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.
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 Maid.
[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.]