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Next him in dance came Covetice,
Root of all ill, and ground of vice,

That never could be content:
Catiffs, wretches, and usurers,
Misers, hoarders, gatherers,

All with that warlook went: Out of their throats they shot on other Hot, molten gold, me thocht, a futher14 As fire-flaughtis maist fervent; Aye, as they emptied them of shot, Fiends filled them new up to the throat, With gold of all kind prent.16

12 Lies.

15 Lightning.



7 Cheat.

10 War.

13 Quit.




Nae minstrels played to them nae doubt, For gleemen there were holden out,

By day and eke by nicht;





Except a minstrel that slew a man, So to his heritage he wan,

And entered by brief of richt.17

Then cried Mahoun for a Hielan' Padyane:18
Syne ran a fiend to fetch Makfadyane, 19
For northwast in a nook:

When he the coronach had done shout,
Erse 20 men so gathered him about,
In hell great room they took.




Thae termagents, with tag and tatter,
Ful loud in Erse began to chatter,

And roup21 like raven and rook.
The Devil sae deaved was with their yell,
That in the deepest pot of hell
He smorit 22 them with smoke!




When Dunbar wrote, French fashions were in vogue at the Scottish Court.

4 At once.

e For the nonce.

• Disturbance.

Empty dwellings.

8 Groans.

11 Beat.

14 Load.

16 Of every impress.

Our pleasunce here is all vain glory,
This false warld is but transitory,
The flesh is bruckle,2 the Fiend is slee;3
Timor Mortis conturbat me.


I that in health was and gladnéss,
Am troubled now with great sickness,
And feeble with infirmity;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

No state on earth stands fast, I find;
As osiers light wave in the wind,
So waveth this warld's vanity;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Down unto death go all estates, Prelates, and kings, and potentates, Baith rich and poor of all degree; Timor Mortis conturbat me.


The state of man does change and vary,
Now sound, now sick, now blithe, now sary, 10
Now dancing merry, now like to dee;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Death strikes the knichts upon the field, Full armoured, under helm and shield, Victor in every fight is he;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

That strong, unmerciful tyránd5
Taks, on the mother's breast sowkand,"
The babe full of benignity;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.


1 Poets.

4 Sorry.


21 Croak. 2 Brittle. Tyrant.

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17 Breve of Recto, a writ which in feudal Scotland established a right to succession.


18 In Dunbar's time and for long after, the Highlanders were regarded with a feeling of mingled dread and contempt by the more settled and prosperous people of the South. Cf. the attitude of Baillie Nichol Jarvie in Scott's Rob Roy.

19 An opponent of Wallace, the Scotch patriot. After swearing allegiance to Edward Ist, Makfadyane fled to Hence the a cave, where he was surprised and killed. assertion that he was fetched from a "nook" in the "northwest." 22 Smothered. 3 Sly. • Sucking.

20 Scotch, Gaels.

He taks the champion in the stour,'
The captain closed in the tour,
The lady in bour ful of beautie;

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He spares no lord for his puissance,
No clerk for his intelligence;
His awful stroke may no man flee;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Masters of magic and astrology,
Of rhetoric, logic or theology,
Are helped by no conclusions slee;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

In medecine the best practiciáns,
Of leeches, surgeons, and physicians,
Themselves from death may not supplie; 8
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

I see that Makers, amang the lave,"
Play here their pageants, then go to grave;
Death does not spare their facultie;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He came most piteously to devour
The noble Chaucer, 10 of Makers' flower,
The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

The gude Sir Hugh of Eglington,
And eke Heriot, and Wyntown,
He hath ta'en out of this countree;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He hath restrained (that scorpion dark)
Maister James Afflek and John Clerk
Frae ballad-making and tragedy;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Holland and Barbour he has bereft;
Alas, he has not with us left
Sir Mungo Lockhart of the Lea!
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Clerk of Tranent eke he has ta'en,
That made th' adventures of Gawain,
Sir Gilbert Hay ended has he;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He has blind Harry and Sandy Traill
Slain with his shot of mortal hail,
Which Patrick Johnstoun micht not flee;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He has reft" Merseir his endite, 12
That did of luve so lively write,
So short, so quick, of sentence hie;13
Timor Mortis conturbat me.


7 Storm, stir or tumult of battle. 8 Defend.











Among the rest.

10 Among the twenty-four poets celebrated by Dunbar, Chaucer alone remains a living power in literature. Barbour, Gower, Lydgate and Henryson hold a secure and honorable place; while a few others, as Blind Harry and Walter Kennedy, although less known, are still nominally remembered. Some of the remainder are more or less securely established on the right side of oblivion, while others, in Sir T. Browne's phrase, "Subsist under naked nominations, without deserts and noble acts, which are the balsam of our memories."

11 Snatched.

12 Manuscript.

13 High

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Welcome, support of every root and vein,
Welcome, comfórt of all-kind fruit and grain, 5
Welcome, the birdės bield' upon the brere,3
Welcome, maistér and ruler of the year,
Welcome, welfare of farmers at the ploughs,
Welcome, repairer of woods, trees, and boughs,
Welcome, depainter of the blooming meads, 10
Welcome, the life of everything that spredes,
Welcome, the strength of all-kind bestial,
Welcome be thy bricht beamés gladding all,
Welcome, celestial mirror and aspy,"
Arresting all that practise sluggardy.

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