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ANE AIGIT MANIS INVECTIVE AGAINST MOUP PANKLESS.
[Preserved in Ms. B, fol. 268 a–268band in MS. M, pp. 305–306; formerly published by Allan Ramsay in The Evergreen, I, pp. 115–117; by Laing, Dunbar II, pp. 90, 91 and by The Hunterian Club, Bannatyne MS. Part VI, pp. 780–782.]
Ms. B, fol.26sa. Ane aigit man, twyss fourty yeiris,
Eftir behaly dayis of Yule,
I hard him say, amangis be Freiris
Oft syiss he sicht, and said, Allace!
Pat evir I schervit Mowb-bankless!
Ms. M, p. 306. Proch ignorance and foly youp
My preterit tyme I wald nevir spair, 10
Plesans to put in to pat mowp,
For feding of pat fowmart face,
Pat evir I schervit Mowb-bankless.
Gold and silver that I micht gett,
Various Readings in M: I. No heading in M. 1 ageit. twys. zeiris. 2 holy. zule. 3 I hard in till ane place of Freirris. 4 ordour. gray. 5 ane furious. 6 syss he sychtis and cryis. 7 may never. 8 servit L, also in vv. 16, 24. Becaus I servit moup-pankless. II. 9 brouche. folie. zoupe. 11 putt. mowpe. 13 And om. Now of my heid is quhyt pe hair. 15 mwrne. lait. ayr. 16 ever I servit mowpe-pankless. III. 17 sylver. and geir pat I mycht. 18 Broches tablettis robbis and ryngis.
Notes: V. 6. Oft syiss he sicht = Frequently he sighed (from to sike, siche). V. 8. The true meaning of the word moup-pankless we cannot make out. According to Jamieson it signifies the Vulva, pubes mulieris, and he refers to Lyndsay, Answer to the Kingis Flyting, l. 33, which passage, however, throws no further light upon the word. V. 13. In the reading of B hair, of course, means hoar; that of M1, which needs no explanation, seems to have been adopted by the writer for that very reason. V. 14. Fowmart, s. The polecat. – Adj. used as a term of contempt or opprobrium. (Oxford Dict.) V. 18. Of beisandis Laing gives the meaning: certain pieces of gold coin struck in France. The reading tablettis in M also may serve here to illustrate the meaning of the word, although not its etymology which, however, is given by the Oxford Dict. as: 1. A gold coin first struck at Byzantium or Constantinople, . . . varying in value between the English sovereign and halfsovereign, or less, etc. 2. The offering made by the kings of England, at the sacrament, or at festivals. 3. A gold roundel representing the above coin plain and unstamped: according to Littré originally signifying that the bearer had been in the Holy Land. This third signification it evidently has here.
Various Readings in M: 19 Frelie. giff. not. 20 pai mwlis. 22 a. litill. 24 moup-pankless. IV. 25 wer. serfe. 26 worschip. vndir. 27 bow om. sould. 28 not. 29 Fra tyme pow haue. 30 fra dolour. 31 Quhone. purs. 32 off mowb-bankless. V. 33 exempill. seine. 34 treup. vndirstude. 35 pine. 36 na. pi. 38 ze, not. cankerit. 40 To keip. moub-pankless. VI. 41 brukle. zowb. 42 pine. wordis M L. graiff. 43 pi. cauld. 44 myss. selffe. saiff.
Notes: V. 20. The word mulis signifies girls; ags. meowle.
V. 29. To heild, v. a. To defend, cover, conceal, hide, from ags. hyldan custodire, protegere, but possibly confounded with, or influenced by, helan celare.
V. 31. To peil, v. a. To peel, to strip bare.
V. 32. Meiss, s. A mess. Here probably in the sense of reward.
V. 35. Fra seems to mean here forthwith. Forthwith bear thy eyes in thy bag, i. e. look to what thou hast to spend.
V. 38. Kankert, adj. Cross, ill-conditioned, avaricious (Jamieson).
V. 41. Brukill, adj. Brittle, fickle, inconstant, weak.
V. 43. Gadder, gadyr, v. a. To gather; here it seems to signify: to become.
pe hevynis bliss gif bow wilt haif, 45
All bis I hard ane auld man raif,
[Finis] quod Kennedy.
The third of Kennedy's poems has been published first by Lord Hailes, Ancient Scottish Poems, published from the MS. of George Bannatyne, Edinburgh 1770, 8", pp. 237,238, and then by Laing under the title The Praise of Aige. Regarding the poetical value of this poem and of Kennedys poetical works in general these two editors are at variance. Lord Hailes says: "This poem gives a favourable idea of Kennedy as a versifier. His lines are more polished and smooth than those of his contemporaries. If he is the person against whom Dunbar directed his Invective, he has met with hard measure.“ To which Laing replied: "I cannot perceive in what respect Kennedy's versification is entitled to such praise. Even this poem, which presents the most favourable specimen of his genius that has been preserved, must be considered as an imitation of Henryson's similar poem in Praise of Aige. This is true in so far, as the general run of thought is the same in Kennedy’s poem, and as it is written in the same form of stanza as that of Henryson, which was published first also by Lord Hailes in the above - mentioned edition (pp. 136–137), viz. in stanzas of eight five-beat lines, rhyming after the formula ababbcbC. (C signifying the refrain). The details, however, of both poems are different. Nor is it to be denied that Kennedy's poem, wherein the characteristics of advanced age and those of youth are contrasted effectually, is superior to that of Henryson, which chiefly treats of the falseness and instability of this world, wherefore old age, as the refrain says, is to be praised the more, the nearer it is to heaven's bliss:
"The moir of ege the nerrer hevynis bliss.'
Although, however, Kennedy's poem is of higher poetical value than that of Henryson or similar pieces of the other minor poets of those times, it does not bear comparison with those of Dunbar, and it is difficult to see how Lord Hailes, who has edited so many of them, could have overlooked this.
Kennedy has made use in this poem of the form of a vision, employed so frequently in Mediaeval and Early Modern English Poetry. But contrary to other poets, the vision does not occur to him in a dream, but walknit of sleip', i. e. when he awoke out of his sleep in the middle of the night. We are to imagine, however, that he sees the aged man standing beside him in a trance and hears him saying his sentence or song in praise of old age. As the vision does not disappear again and consequently the end of the song
Various Readings in M: 45 hewynnis. blyss. wald. 46 gylt remyt be grace. 47 raiff. 48 Zule. moube-bankless. 49 Q Mr Waltir Kennedye.
Notes: V. 46. Remit, s. Remission, forgiveness.
of the old man forms also the end of the poem, it is evident that the poet identifies himself with the aged man and that consequently he wrote his poem in his old age, probably when he had reached his sixtieth year, as he says in v. 3.
THE PRAISE OF AIGE.
[Preserved in MS. B, fol. 52b –53a (B), pp. 38, 39 (B2) and in MS. M, p. 208; formerly edited by Lord Hailes, Ancient Scottish Poems, pp. 237, 238, by Laing, Dunbar II, pp. 89–92, and by The Hunterian Club, Bannatyne MS., Part I, pp. 143–144.]
MS. M, p.208. At matyne houre, in middis of be nicht,
Walknit of sleip, I saw besyd me sone
Ane aigit man, semit sextie zeiris of sicht,
To be content and lufe be I haif causs
Honor wip aige to every vertew drawis.“
Pat pan wes witt, is naturall foly now,
Various Readings: The heading is omitted in MS. M. I. 1 matine M. hour B2. midis B, myddis B2, middes M. nycht B2. 2 Wacknit M, Walkeit Hales. 3 ageit M. seimit L, semyt B2. zeiris besicht M. sycht B2. 4 sentance B2. song B1, sang B, M. tune M. 5 O thrynfold god and eterne lord in trune M. 6 luif M, lufe that I B2 haue M. 7 is opprest and B, B2- 8 Honour B2 M. everie M. II. 9 zow man obey M. 10 by fulies lust lestis scant M. a May B2. 11 wit M. naturale M. 12 As M, B2 om. warldly witt honor B1. 13 Defy be dewill, dreid deid and dumisday M, domysday B2. 14 For M om. All man sall M. 15 Bleissit M. zowthheid M. 16 Honour B2 M. age M.
Notes: V. 4. bis sentence sett, i. e. who composed this sentence. – That tone is the right spelling here, not tune, as M reads, is evident from the rhyme-words some : troñe : done. V. 5. The reading of M: O thrynfold god evidently is not so appropriate here, as that of B, B, which we therefore have retained. V. 7. Here the reading of M ourpassit gives a better sense than that of B, B, opprest. Besides it is more likely that ourpassit should have been altered into opprest by a careless scribe, than the I'EVEI"Se. V. 10. The word foly is an adjective here, meaning foolish, whereas in the next line it is, of course, a substantive. Skant is an adverb here, meaning scarcely. V. 12. The word witt was erroneously repeated here in MS. B. from the preceding line. V. 13. The reading dreid God B, B, is evidently to be preferred to dreid deid, as M reads, the word God forming an antithesis here to the word devill in the same line.
Various Readings: III. 17 zowith B. seimyt B2, seimit M. so M om. 18 O haly B, B2, Oswetest M. age M. sumtymes Laing. seimit B2, seymit M. sowir M. 19 restles B B2, rekles M. zouthe M. he B2. het M. 20 O halie M, O honest B. B2. age M. fulfillit M. honour M. 21 O flowand zowthe fruteless and feding M. 22 baith to B B2. Contrair conscience leithe to lufe gud lawis M. 23 Of M. myrroure B2, the lanterne and myrrour M. 24 Honour B2. till every B, B2. Honour to age with everie vertue drawis M. IV. 25 dissaif ws evyn M. 26 Pryd M. covete B1, cuvatice B2, covatyce M. trayne M. 27 no rewaird M. 28 zoung M. 29 faipe is stormyt wip wind and rayne M. 30 Driffis B2. Lollerdry and blawis B2. Off heresye drywand in pe sey hir blawis M. 31 zoupe is past M. fayne M. 32 Honour etc. B1 (rest of the line left out), Honour wip aige etc. B2 (rest of the line left out), Honour to age with everie vertew drawis M.
Notes: V. 17–18. The present tense semis (B, B,) seems to be preferable to seimit (M), as it contains a general remark, whereas semit in the following verse refers to the personal experience of the poet. The reading swetest (M), which forms an antithesis to bittir in the preceding line, is to be preferred here to haly.
V. 19. The reading rekless is more appropriate here than restless, as it is more in conformity with the following adjectives.
V. 20. O halie (M) is probably the right reading in this place, as the word seems to have occurred somewhere in the stanza, and as it gives a better sense here than honest (B B2) which sounds somewhat tautological in connection with honour.
V. 22. Laith, adj., loathsome, which we have restored, gives a better sense here than baith, and is supported by the reading leithe in M; it probably was corrupted into baith in the text from which B1 and B2 were copied.
V. 24. This verse is not exactly nonsense as it stands here and in the following stanzas in M; but this MS. had the former reading in conformity with B, B, in the preceding stanzas.
V. 29, 30. The different version of this passage in M seems to have been occasioned by the inverse construction of the sentence. Lollerdry signifies lollardism, the doctrines or principles of the Lollards, heresy, as MS. M reads. The word is derived from the Low German lollen, to hum, to sing in a murmuring strain, to mumble; hence O. D. lollaerd, a mumbler, i. e. of prayers or psalms. The Lollards were originally a religious society the object of which was the attendance and care of patients and the