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All privily went hame their way;
whom nothing else is known, may be classed with At that time there nae mair did they.
the Prick of Conscience and Pierce Plowman's Vision, The king to London then was had,
English compositions of the immediately preceding That there a lang time after bade.
age. Thus, it appears as if literary tastes and modes After syne, with mediatioun
travelled northward, as more frivolous fashions do Of messengers, of his ransoun
at this day, and were always predominant in ScotWas treated, while a set day
land about the time when they were declining or Till Berwick him again brought they.
becoming extinct in England. And there was treated sae, that he
The last of the romantic or minstrel class of comShould of prison delivered be,
positions in Scotland was The Adventures of Sir And freely till his lands found,
William Wallace, written about 1460, by a wander. To pay ane hundred thousand pound
ing poet usually called Of silver, intil fourteen year And [while] the payment (payit] were,
BLIND HARRY. To make sae lang truce took they,
Of the author nothing is known but that he was And affirmed with seal and fay,
blind from his infancy; that he wrote this poem, Great hostage there levedl he,
and made a living by reciting it, or parts of it, beThat on their awn dispense should be.
fore company. It is said by himself to be founded Therefore, while they hostage were,
on a narrative of the life of Wallace, written in Expense but number made they there.
Latin by one Blair, chaplain to the Scottish hero, The king was then delivered free,
and which, if it ever existed, is now lost. The chief And held his way till his countrie.
materials, however, have evidently been the tradi. With him of English brought he nane,
tionary stories told respecting Wallace in the minWithout a chamber-boy alane.
strel's own time, which was a century and a half The whether, upon the mom, when he Should wend till his counsel privy,
subsequent to that of the hero. In this respect, The
Wallace resembles The Bruce; but the longer time The folk, as they were wont to do,
which had elapsed, the unlettered character of the Pressed right rudely in thereto : But he right suddenly can arrace?
author, and the comparative humility of the class Out of a macer's hand a mace,
from whom he would chiefly derive his facts, made
it inevitable that the work should be much less of a And said rudely, 'How do we now !
historical document than that of the learned archStand still, or the proudest of you Shall on the head have with this mace!'
deacon of Aberdeen. It is, in reality, such an acThen there was nane in all this place,
count of Wallace as might be expected of Montrose But all they gave him room in hy;
or Dundee from some unlettered but ingenious poet Durst nane press further that were by ;
of the present day, who should consult only HighHis council door might open stand,
land tradition for his authority. It abounds in That nane durst till it be pressand.
marvellous stories respecting the prowess of its hero, Radure3 in prince is a gude thing;
and in one or two places grossly outrages real hisFor, but radure,4 all governing
tory; yet its value has on this account been perShall all tiine but despised be:
haps understated. Within a very few years past, And where that men may radure see,
several of the transactions attributed by the blind They shall dread to trespass, and sae
minstrel to Wallace, and heretofore supposed to be Peaceable a king his land may ma'.
fictitious—as, for example, his expedition to France Thus radure dred that gart him be.
-have been confirmed by the discovery of authentic Of Ingland but a page brought he,
evidence. That the author meant only to state real And by his sturdy 'ginning
facts, must be concluded alike from the simple unHe gart them all have sic dreading,
affectedness of the narration, and from the rarity of That there was nane, durst nigh him near, deliberate imposture, in comparison with credulity, But wha by name that called were.
as a fault of the literary men of the period. The He led with radure sae his land,
poem is in ten-syllable lines, the epic verse of a later In all time that he was regnand,
age, and it is not deficient in poetical effect or eleThat nane durst well withstand his will, vated sentiment. A paraphrase of it into modern All winning bowsome to be him till.
Scotch, by William Hamilton of Gilbertfield, has Wyntoun has been included in this section of long been a favourite volume amongst the Scottish our literary history, because, although writing peasantry: it was the study of this book which had after 1400, his work is one of a class, all the rest of so great an effect in kindling the genius of Robert
Burns.* which belong to the preceding period. Some other Scottish writers who were probably or for certain of [Adventure of Wallace while Fishing in Irvine Water.] the fifteenth century, may, for similar reasons, be
(Wallace, near the commencement of his career, is living in here introduced. Of one named HUTCHEON, and de- hiding with his uncle, Sir Ranald Wallace of Riccarton, near signed of the Awle Ryall'—that is, of the Hall Kilmarnock. To amuse himself, he goes to fish in the river Royal or Palace—it is only known that he wrote a Irvine, when the following adventure takes place :-) metrical romance entitled the Gest of Arthur. Another, called CLERK, "of Tranent,' was the author So on a time he desired to play.t of a romance entitled The Adventures of Sir Gawain,
In Aperil the three-and-twenty day, of which two cantos have been preserved. They are
* See his Life by Dr Currie. written in stanzas of thirteen lines, with alternate A few couplets in the original spelling are subjoined :rhymes, and much alliteration; and in a language
So on a tym he desyrit to play.
In Aperill the three-and-twenty day, 80 very obsolete, as to be often quite unintelligible.
Til Erewyn wattir fysche to tak be went, There is, however, a sort of wildness in the narra
Sic fantasye fell in his entent. tive, which is very striking.* The Howlate, an alle
To leide his net a child furth with him yeid; gorical satirical poem, by a poet named HOLLAND, of
But he, or nowne, was in a fellowne dreid. i Left. 2 Reached. 8 Rigour.
* Without rigour.
His swerd he left, so did he neuir agayne ; Ellis.
It dide him gud, supposs he sufferyt payno.
Till Irvine water fish to tak he went,
And said, 'Son, thir tidings sits me sore, Sic fantasy fell in his intent.
And, be it known, thou may tak scaith therefore.' To lead his net a child furth with him yede, *Uncle,' he said, “I will no langer bide, But he, ora noon, was in a fellon dread.
Thir southland horse let see gif I can ride.' His swerd he left, so did he never again ;
Then but a child, him service for to mak, It did him gude, suppose he suffered pain.
His eme's sons he wald not with him tak. Of that labour as than he was not slie,
This gude knight said, ' Dear cousin, pray I thee, Happy he was, took fish abundantly.
When thou wants gude, come fetch eneuch frae me.' Or of the day ten hours o'er couth pass.
Silver and gold he gart on him give,
[Escape of Wallace from Perth.] Till him rade five, clad into ganand green,
(Wallace, betrayed by a woman in Perth, escapes to Elcho And said soon, ‘Scot, Martin's fish we wald have !'
Park, in the neighbourhood, killing two Englishmen by the Wallace meekly again answer him gave.
way. The English garrison of the town, under Sir John Butler, • It were reason, methink, ye should have part,
commence a search and pursuit of the fugitive hero, by means Waith+ should be dealt, in all place, with free heart.' of a bloodhound. Wallace, with sixteen men, makes his way He bade his child, 'Give them of our waithing.' out of the park, and hastens to the banks of the Earn.] The Southron said, “As now of thy dealing We will not tak ; thou wald give us o'er small.'
As they were best arrayand Butler's route, He lighted down and frae the child took all.
Betwixt parties than Wallace ischet out ; Wallace said then, 'Gentlemen gif ye be,
Sixteen with him they graithit them to gae,
Of all his men he had leavit no mae.
The Englishmen has missit him, in hyl
The hound they took, and followed hastily. • Thou shall have leave to fish, and tak thee mae,
At the Gask Wood full fain he wald have been ; All this forsooth shall in our flitting gae.
But this sloth-brach, whilk sicker was and keen, We serve a lord ; this fish shall till him gang.'
On Wallace foot followed so fellon fast, Wallace answered, said, “Thou art in the wrang.'
While in their sicht they 'proachit at the last. Wham thous thou, Scot? in faith thou 'serves a blaw. Their horse were wicht, had sojourned weel and lang; Till him he ran, and out a swerd can draw.
To the next wood, twa mile they had to gang, William was wae he had nae wappins there
Of upwith yird ; they yede with all their micht, But the poutstaff, the whilk in hand he bare.
Gude hope they had, for it was near the nicht. Wallace with it fast on the cheek him took,
Fawdon tirit, and said he micht not gang. With sae gude will, while of his feet he shook.
Wallace was wae to leave him in that thrang. The swerd flew frae him a fur-breid on the land.
He bade him gae, and said the strength was near
But he tharefore wald not faster him steir.
Wallace, in ire, on the craig can him ta',
With his gude swerd, and strak the head him frae. By that the laveb lighted about Wallace,
Dreidless to ground derfly he dushit deid. He had no help, only but God's grace.
Frae him he lap, and left him in that stede. On either side full fast on him they dang,
Some deemis it to ill ; and other some to gude ; Great peril was gif they had lasted lang.
And I say here, into thir termis rude, Upon the head in great ire he strak ane ;
Better it was he did, as thinkis me; The shcarand swerd glade to the collar bane.
First to the hound it micht great stoppin be ; Ane other on the arm he hit so hardily,
Als', Fawdon was halden at suspicion, While hand and swerd baith in the field can lie.
For he was of bruckil complexionThe tother twa fled to their horse again ;
Richt stark he was, and had but little gane. He stickit him was last upon the plain.
Thus Wallace wist : had he been left alane, Three slew he there, twa fled with all their might
An he were false, to enemies he wald gae ; After their lord ; but he was out of sight,
Gif he were true, the southron wald him slay. Takaud the muir, or he and they couth twine.
Micht he do oucht but tyne him as it was ! Till him they rade anon, or they wald blin,
Frae this question now shortly will I pass. And cryit, ' Lord, abide ; your men are martyred down Deem as ye list, ye that best can and may, Right cruelly, here in this false region.
I but rehearse, as my autoúr will say. Five of our court here at the water bade, 8
Sternis, by than, began for till appear, Fish for to bring, though it nae profit made.
The Englishmen were comand wonder near ; We are scaped, but in field slain are three.'
Five hundred hail was in their chivalry. The lord speirit,9 • How mony might they be!'
To the next strength than Wallace couth him hy. • We saw but ane that has discomfist us all.'
Stephen of Ireland, unwitting of Wallace,
At the muir-side, intill a scroggy slaid,
Fawdon was left beside them on the land ;
For their sloth-hound the straight gait till him yede, Gare ower that craft, he yede to fish nae mair.
Of other trade she took as than no heed.
Nor further she wald, frae time she fand the blude.
But that the Scots had fouchten amang thems:ll. 1 Went.
3 Ere. 3 He was on his way from Ayr to Glasgow.
Richt wae they were that losit was their scent. • Spoil taken in sport.
Wallace twa men amang the host in went, 7 Ere they would stop.
8 Tarried. ' Inquired. 10 Laughed. 11 Nearly went mad. 1 Haste. 8 Ascending ground. 8 Broken reputation. 1 Low
Dissemblit weel, that no man sould them ken,
was sooth indeed,
By sic mischief gif his men micht be lost,
But of Wallace furth I will you tell,
As he was thus walkald by him alane,
nae mair. To stuff the chase feil frekis followit fast, But Wallace made the gayest aye aghast. The muir he took, and through their power yede.
[The Death of Wallace.] On Wednesday the false Southron furth brocht To martyr him, as they before had wrocht.4 Of men in arms led him a full great rout. With a bauld sprite guid 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 loss of life, Nane be sae bauld yon tyrant for to shrive.
1 That God should allow him to be in such perplexity.
He has reigned long in contrar my highness.' thirty-four years previous to 1356, he travelled in A blyth bishop soon, present in that place ;
eastern countries, and on his return to England, wrote Of Canterbury he then was righteous lord ;
an account of all he had seen, mixed up with innuAgain' the king he made this richt record,
merable fables, derived from preceding historians And said, ' Myself shall hear his confession,
and romancers, as well as from hearsay. His book If I have micht in contrar of thy crown.
was originally written in Latin, then translated into An thou through force will stop me of this thing, French, and finally into English, that every man I vow to God, who is my righteous king,
of my nacioun may undirstonde it.' It is of little That all England I shall her interdite,
use as a description of foreign climes, but valuable And make it known thou art a heretic.
as a monument of the language, and of the imperThe sacrament of kirk I shall him give :
fect learning and reason, and homely ideas, of the Syne take thy choice, to starve l or let him live.
age which produced it. The name of the author has It were mair weil, in worship of thy crown,
become identified with our idea of a mendacious To keep sic ane in life in thy bandoun,
babbler ; but this is in a great measure an injustice. Than all the land and good that thou hast reived, Mandeville, with the credulity of the age, embodied But cowardice thee ay fra honour dreived.
in his work every wild grandam tale and monkish Thou has thy life rougin 2 in wrangeous deed ; fiction which came in his way; but it has been That shall be seen on thee or on thy seed.'
found, that where he quotes preceding authors, or The king gart 3 charge they should the bishop ta,
writes from his own observation, he makes no effort But sad lords counsellit to let him ga.
at either embellishment or exaggeration. Hence it All Englishmen said that his desire was richt.
is not uncommon to find him in one page giving a To Wallace then he rakit in their sicht
sensible account of something which he saw, and in And sadly heard his confession till ane end :
the next repeating with equal seriousness the story Humbly to God his sprite he there commend
of Gog and Magog, the tale of men with tails, or the Lowly him served with hearty devotion
account of the Madagascar bird which could carry Upon his knees and said ane orison.
elephants through the air. He gives, upon the A psalter-book Wallace had on him ever Fra his childheid—fra it wald nocht dissever ;
whole, a pleasing and interesting account of the
Mohamedan nations amongst whom he sojourned. Better he trowit in wyage 4 for to speed. But then he was dispalyed of his weed.5
Considering the exasperation which was likely to This grace he asked at Lord Clifford, that knicht,
have been occasioned by the recent crusades, those To let him have his psalter-book in sicht.
nations appear to have treated the Christian tra
veller with surprising liberality and kindness. He He gart a priest it open before him hald,
is himself of a much more liberal spirit than many While they till him had done all that they wald. Stedfast he read for ought they did him there ;
pious persons of more recent times, and dwells with Feil 6 Southrons said that Wallace felt na sair.
pleasure upon the numerous Christian sects who Guid devotion, sae, was his beginning,
lived peaceably under the Saracen dominion. • And Conteined therewith, and fair was his ending.
ye shall understand,' says he, that of all these While speech and sprite at anis all can fare
countries, and of all these isles, and of all these To lasting bliss, we trow, for evermair.
diverse folk, that I have spoken of before, and of diverse laws and of diverse beliefs that they han Lhave]; yet there is none of them all but that they
han some reason within them and understanding, PROSE WRITERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. articles of our faith and some good points of our
but gif it be the fewer; and that they han certain In the general history of literature, poetry takes belief; and that they believen in God, that formed all preoedence of prose. At first, when the memory things and made the world, and clepen him God of
Nature. was the chief means of preserving literature, men
But yet they can not speken perseem to have found it necessary that composition feytly, (for there is no man to techen them); but should take a form different from ordinary discourse only that they can devise by their natural wit.' -a form involving certain measures, breaks, and Further, in reference to the superior moral conduct pauses-not only as appropriate to its being some
of the Mohamedan nations, he relates a conversathing higher and finer than common speech, but in tion with the Sultan of Egypt, which may be here order that it might be the more easily remembered. given, not only as a specimen of his language, but Hence, while we cannot trace poetry to its origin, with the view of turning this writer of the fourwe know that the first prose dates from the sixth teenth century to some account in instructing the century before the Christian era, when it was as
nineteenth :sumed, in Greece, as the form of certain narratives
(A Mohamedan's Lecture on Christian Vices.] differing from poetry in scarcely any other respect. In England, as in all other countries, prose was a
[Original Spelling.–And therfore I shalle telle you what the form of composition scarcely practised for several Soudan tolde me upon a day, in his chambre. He leet voyden centuries, during which poetry was comparatively he wolde spake with
me in conseille. And there he asked me,
out of his chambre alle maner of men, lordes and othere; for much cultivated. The first specimens of it, en- how the Cristene men governed hem in oure contree. And I titled to any consideration, date from the reign of seyde him, righte wel, thonked be God. And he seyde, treulyche Edward III.
nay; for ye Cristene men ne recthen righte noghte how un
trewly to serve God. Ye scholde geven ensample, &c.] SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE is usually held as the first me upon a day, in his chamber. He let voiden out of
And therefore I shall tell you what the Soudan told English prose writer. He was born at St Albans in his chamber all manner of men, lords, and other ; the year 1300, and received the liberal education for he would speak with me in counsel. And there he requisite for the profession of medicine. During the asked me how the Christian men governed 'em in our
country. And I said (to] him, ' Right well, thonked 1 The necessary consequence of an interdict.
be God.' And he said (to) me, 'Truly nay, for ye 8 pent.
à Caused. • Expedition-his journey to the other world.
Christian men ne reckon right not how untruly to 5 Clothes 6 Many. serve God. Ye should given ensample to the lewed
SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE.
people for to do well, and ye given 'em ensample to don evil. For the commons, upon festival days, when they shoulden go to church to serve God, then gon they to taverns, and ben there in gluttony all the day and all night, and eaten and drinken, as beasts that have no reason, and wit not when they have enow. And therewithal they ben so proud, that they knowen not how to ben clothed; now long, now short, now strait, now large, now sworded, now daggered, and in all manner guises. They shoulden ben simple, meek, and true, and full of alms-deed, as Jesu was, in whom they trow; but they ben all the contrary, and ever inclined to the evil, and to don evil. And they ben so covetous, that for a little silver they sellen 'eir daughters, 'eir sisters, and 'eir own wives, to putten 'em to lechery. And one withdraweth the wife of another; and none of 'em holdeth faith to another, but they defoulen 'eir law, that Jesu Christ betook 'em keep for 'eir salvation. And thus for 'eir sins, han [have] they lost all this lond that we holden. For 'eir sins here, hath God taken 'em in our honds, not only by strength of ourself, but for 'eir sins. For we knowen well in very sooth, that when ye serve God, God will help you; and when he is with you, no man may be against you. And that know we well by our prophecies, that Christian men shall winnen this lond again out of our honds, when they serven God more devoutly. But as long as they ben of foul and unclean living (as they ben now), we have no dread of 'em in no kind; for here God will not helpen 'em in no wise.'
And then I asked him how he knew the state of Christian men. And he answered me, that he knew all the state of the commons also by his messengers, that he sent to all londs, in manner as they were merchants of precious stones, of cloths of gold, and of other things, for to knowen the manner of every country amongs Christian men. And then he let clepel in all the lords that he made voiden first out of his chamber; and there he showed me four that were great lords in the country, that tolden me of my country, and of many other Christian countries, as well as if they had been of the same country; and they spak French right well, and the Soudan also, whereof I had great marvel. Álas, that it is great slander to our faith and to our laws, when folk that ben withouten law shall reproven us, and undernemen2 us of our sins. And they that shoulden ben converted to Christ and to the law of Jesu, by our good example and by our acceptable life to God, ben through our wickedness and evil living, far fro us; and strangers fro the holy and very3 belief shall thus appellen us and holden us for wicked levirs and cursed. And truly they say sooth. For the Saracens ben good and faithful. For they keepen entirely the commandment of the holy book Alcoran, that God sent 'em by his messager Mahomet; to the which, as they sayen, St Gabriel, the angel, oftentime told the will of God.
[The Devil's Head in the Valley Perilous.] Beside that isle of Mistorak, upon the left side, nigh to the river Phison, is a marvellous thing. There is a vale between the mountains, that dureth nigh a four mile. And some clepen it the Vale Enchanted, some clepen it the Vale of Devils, and some clepen it the Vale Perilous; in that vale hearen5 men oftentime great tempests and thunders, and great murmurs and noises, all day and nights; and great noise as it were sound of tabors and of nakeres6 and trumps, as though it were of a great feast. This vale is all full of devils, and hath been always. And men say there, that it is one of the entries of hell. In that
8 True. 4 Call. & Hear. Nakeres-Nacara (Du Cange), a kind of brazen drum used in the cavalry.
vale is plenty of gold and silver; wherefore many misbelieving men, and many Christian men also, gon in often time, for to have of the treasure that there is, but few comen again; and namely, of the misbelieving men, ne of the Christian men nouther2 for they ben anon strangled of devils. And in mid place of that vale, under a rock, is an head of the visage of a devil bodily, full horrible and dreadful to see; and it showeth not but the head, to the shoulders. But there is no man in the world so hardy, Christian man ne other, but that he would ben adrad3 for to behold it; and that it would seemen him to die for dread; so is it hideous for to behold. For he beholdeth every man so sharply with dreadful eyen that ben evermore moving and sparkling as fire, and changeth and steereth so often in divers manner, with so horrible countenance, that no man dare not nighen towards him. And fro him cometh smoke and stink, and fire, and so much abomination, that unethe? no man may there endure. But the good Christian men, that ben stable in the faith, entren well withouten peril : for they will first shriven 'em, and marken hem with the token of the Holy Cross ; so that the fiends ne han no9 power over 'em. But albeit that they ben withouten peril, zit natheles10 ne ben they not withouten dread, when that they seen the devils visibly and bodily all about 'em, that maken full many divers assautsfi and menaces in air and in earth, and agasten12 'em with strokes of thunder-blasts and of tempests. And the most dread is, that God will taken vengeance then, of that men han misdone again13 his will. And ye should understand, that when my fellows and I weren in that vale, we weren in great thought whether that we dursten putten our bodies in aventure, to gon in or non, in the protection of God. And some of our fellows accordeden14 to enter, and some noght.15 So there were with us two worthy men, friars minors that were of Lombardy, that said, that if any man would enter, they would go in with us. And when they had said so, upon the gracious trust of God and of 'em,16 we let sing mass; and made every man to be shriven and houseld;17 and then we entered fourteen persons; but at our going out, we were but nine. And so we wisten 18 never, whether that our fellows were lost, or elles19 turned again for dread; but we ne saw them never after; and tho20 were two men of Greece and three of Spain; and our other fellows that would not go in with us, they went by another coast to ben before us, and so they were. And thus we passed that perilous vale, and found therein gold and silver, and precious stones, and rich jewels great plenty, both here and there, as us seemed; but whether that it was, as us seemed, I wot nere ;21 for I touched none, because that the devils be so subtle to make a thing to seem otherwise than it is, for to deceive mankind; and therefore I touched none; and also because that I would not be put out of my devotion: for I was more devout than ever I was before or after, and all for the dread of fiends, that I saw in divers figures; and also for the great multitude of dead bodies that I saw there lying by the way, by all the vale, as though there had been a battle between two kings, and the mightiest of the country, and that the greater part had been discomfitted and slain. And I trow22 that unethe should any country have so much people within him, as lay slain in that vale, as us thought; the which was an hideous sight to seen.23 And I marvelled much, that there
8 Confess themselves.
10 Yet nevertheless. 13 Against. 14 Agreed. 17 To be confessed, and to have the Lord's Supper administered to him.
21 I never knew.