Obrazy na stronie

Mair pure of gude ban wes Diogynes:
Wilder in wit than Nabell Carnales.

Thus to be saulesen life is [bi presence,
Off the is gude to haue possessioun; 30

Quhilk may nocht be bot [we] with deligence
Baith nycht and day remember pi passioun;
And of pi glore sall haue fruicioun

Bot he bat studyis heirefter his estait,
Thy cruell deid with piete to regrait. 35


Ms.A, fol. 7a. But now, allace! men ar mair studyus
To reid the Seige of be toun of Tire,
The Life of Tursalem, or Hector, or Troylus,
The vanite of Alexanderis empire;
Bot quhen be warld sall all birn in a fire, 40
Than wane storyis sall mak na remeid,
Bot all thair helpe man cum prou Cristis deid.

Various Readings : 6 Diogynus A. 7 In A. carnales or tarnales A. V. 1 pi A om. is [thy] presence L. 3 we A om. bot [we] with diligence L. 4 passion A, Passioun L. 6 heirester A. VI. 1 stedyus A, studyus L. 2 seige A. Tirey A, Tyre L. 3 tursalem A. 4 alexanderis A. 6 vane L. 7 cristis A.

Notes: V. 27. Mair pure of gude, poorer in good, sc. in good deeds, or in goodness. V. 28. What the meaning of this verse is, we confess ourselves unable to explain. V. 29–31. Laing's emendation is pi presence is probably right, as without the word fi the verse hardly gives a sense. The same may be said with regard to the word we, added by Laing in v. 31. V. 34, 35. And of thy glory he only shall have the enjoyment, who endeavours here etc. V. 37. The Seige of Tyre. "This stanza of Kennedy's prologue is interesting as mentioning what was, not indeed the popular, but the current literature of his time among persons of education. Lyndsay, in like manner, includes, in his enumeration of antique storeis,

Of Troylus the sorrow and the joy,
And seiges all, of Tyre, Thebes, and Troy.

For those of Troy and Thebes he was, no doubt, indebted to the favourite and well-known productions of Chaucer and Lydgate; and that of Tyre forms the commencement of one or more of the old metrical romances of Alexander the Great. Milton referred to the more classical sources of ancient

learning, when he exclaimed,
- r
Some time let gorgeous Tragedy

In sceptcr'd pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops line,
Or the tale of Troy devine." (Laing.)

V. 38. The life of Tursalem. "Probably a mistake, as no such work or person is known. "There cannot be the smallest doubt that the questionable line in Walter Kennedy’s Poem should stand thus: The Sege of Jerusalem, an old metrical romance, not uncommon in MS." (MS. Note, F. Douce, Esq., according to Laing.)


Botsen our natour is of sic a kind,
That euer it seikis consolacioun,

He is maist wise bat dalie hes in mynd, 45
Himself to keip in occupacioun;
Quhairon be spirit hes delectacioun,

Profit to be saule, his God worschip and dreid,
Confort be hert, but lesing of his meid.


Botsen mony in will ar rycht mychty, 50
Quhilk in deidar pure be Ignorance,
Throu helpe of Him quhilk deit on be tre,
In inglis toung I think to mak remembrance
MS. A, fol. 7b. How God maidman; how man fell throu myschance;
Syne, how greit pyne sustenit for his synne 55
The Sone of God, or he wald succour him.
In this process I think als coumonly
For till exclud all curiosite,
Maist plane termes with deligence to spy,
Quhilk may be tane with small deficulte; 60
Bot gif me causs instant necessitie

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Notes: V. 46. Himself to keip etc. To kepe himself engaged in such occupation, wherein the spirit takes delight, the soul has profit, his God worship and dread, the heart has comfort, without losing its reward. It does not seem to be doubtful that bi hert, as A reads, is wrong here. We have altered it into be hert, to bring it into conformity with Je spirit (v. 47) and he saule (v. 48).

V. 50. We have not adopted the emendation of Laing, who has inserted bot before ignorance, to make the number of syllables of the verse complete. For by this means he has not improved the rhythm of the verse, which reads much better without the word bot, the first unaccented syllable of the verse being wanting, as is not unfrequently to be observed in Middle English Poetry in general, and in this particular poem as well.

V. 53. The word to before mak possibly may be omitted, as it spoils the metre, or it must be slurred over.

V. 58, 59. All curiosite, i. e. all that which is curious or strange, or requires an explanation. His intention is, as he says in v. 59, to spy or to look out with diligence for terms which are as plain as possible.

V. 62. To gan, gayn, v. n. To be fit, ganand fit, proper.

V. 63. That Jaim till hide. The meaning of this passage, which is not sufficiently clear, seems to be: That to hide them they might the better mingle, i. e. that the terms which are not fit might the better be hidden amongst the plain expressions.

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Ms. A, fol. 8a. God of his grace and gudness infinit
Sa nobill maid be man, his creatour,
That of himselfe [he] knawlage had perfite,
Als of his Godheid, and vthir creatur;
Throu grace of God, nocht of his awin natour, 75
He micht haue stand quhill God to grace him brocht,
But pane, or dreid; but he vnwislie wrocht.


He wrocht vnwise, allace! throu Lucifeir,
Quhilk causit him to dissobey his king,

Quhen he till Eue as sserpent couth appeir, 80
And causit hir be appill for to bring

Various Readings: X. 1 MS. gist. 2 he A om. but [he] him L. 4 Throu help L, The help A. The first eigth stanzas of the poem have been printed by Laing. The words Explicit prologus, Incipit passio are written in somewhat larger red letters at the bottom of fol. 7a. The poem itself begins without a heading on fol. 8a, but the first two words are written in capitals. The second (of) is repeated in the next line. I. 1 infinite L. 2 Creatour L. 3 himselife A. [he] L. perifite A, perfite L. 4 godheid A. 5, 6 god A. II. 1 Lucifer L. 3 eue A. appear L.

Notes: V. 65. The word he, inserted by Laing in this line, cannot be missed. V. 66. Sober adj. Poor, weak, feeble; in whom naturally the weak have comfort. V. 67. . . . in caussis in this caiss. There must be a corruption in this passage. We confess ourselves unable, at least, to bring any sense into it as it stands. V. 68. Bras, braiss, v. a. To embrace. V. 70. Foune, v. a. To fondle, if it is the same word as to fone, quoted by Jamieson. V. 72. We do not think that creatour has a different meaning here from creatur in v. 74, viz. creature, whereas Laing seems to have taken it in the first place in the sense of creator; but in this case it would be difficult to construe the sentence. V. 76. To haue stand, to continue; he might have continued. V. 78. It will be noticed that the first stanza and the second are joined together by iteration (concatenatio): bot he unwislie wrocht. He wrocht unwise. This is also the case in the following stanzas but only till the fifth stanza, when the poet seems to have found it too difficult or out of purpose to con tinue in this way.

To fader Adam, that he mycht, throw taisting
Off be appill, be lik to God, and kend
Baith gude and Ill; bot bat wes nocht be end.


The end wes war, for ban banist he wes 85
Be be angell, and put out of paradice,
He and his seid, euer in pis warld to pass,
Wanderand in wa, as man in nycht glaidles;
MS. A, fol. 8b. In cauld and heit his neidis to purches;
As woundit wycht in natour bair of grace, 90
Put to be horn, exilit fra Goddis face.


Silit he wes vnder schaddew of syn,
Quhilk him deput euer with deid to duell,

As bandonit knycht, and till law bundin,
Heir to thoile reist, syne fechit be to hell; 95
He had no mycht fra him for to appeill,

For perty wes the Prince of maist poweir,

Eternall God quhilk had him presoneir.

Fra he wes presonit yeris mony ane
As Goddis fa, closit within myrknes, 100

Marcy and Piete maid ane full hevy mame

Various Readings: 6 god A. kind A, kend L. III. 2 Angell L. Paradice L. 4 glaidnes A, glaidles L. 7 goddis A. IV. 5, 6 These two verses stand in the reverse order in the MS. Laing already has put them in the right order and printed poweir instead of powstie, as the MS. reads. prince A. 7 prisoner A. V. 1 presonet L. 2 goddis A. 3 piete A. mö or in A, moan L.

Notes: V. 85. The end wes war, the end was worse. V. 88. Laing's emendation glaidles instead of glaidnes is certainly right. V. 91. Put to the horn. A proverbial phrase, explained by E. C. Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, as follows: "To denounce as a rebel, or pronounce a person an outlaw, for not answering to a summons. In Scotland the messenger-at-arms goes to the cross of Edinburgh and gives three blasts with a horn before he heralds the judgment of outlawry.' V. 92. Silit probably means hidden here, from to sile, to hide, conceil, Old French celer, Lat. celare. V. 93. Quhilk him deput probably means: which destined him. V. 94. As bandonit knycht, as an abandoned knight. The word bundin is to be read with levelstress to make it rhyme with syn. Rhymes of the kind do not occur unfrequently; cf. King : ofspring v. 107–109, duelling : King v. 211–213, writtin : syn v. 306–308, etc. V. 95. To thoile reist, v. a. to suffer or endure arrest; syne techit be to hell, as A reads, hardly gives a sense; we have therefore inserted fechit (fetched) instead of techit. V. 97. Perty, printed party by Laing, seems to mean here opponent. V. 101. In the Coventry Mysteries Mercy, Justice, and Peace are introduced as pleading before the Almighty in behalf of Adam, after the Fall (cf our Introduction to this poem, pp. 21, 22).

That bai wer tynt, for mankind gat na grace;

In hevin empire, befor the Faderis face
Thai apperit, allegeand as for pame,

That be pair law man suld be fred fra pane. 105


Thair allegence Justice and Verite
Affermit nocht; pairfor, befor bat king,
Thai allegit for pame rycht constantlye,
That be thair law Adam and his offspring
MS. A, fol. 9a. Eternalie suld be banist his rigne, 11 ()
God infinit becaus he had offende;

Efter thair law his pane suld neuer end.

Than be Fader, all richtuis Lord,

Gaif till his Sone to pas commandement,
In thair debait be him to mak concord: 115
And he richt sone schew him his sentement,
Sayand: Ane deid sall mak you baith content,
And bring Adam till peace with all his seid,
That me will worship baith in word and deid.


Than God be angell send in be ciete 120
Off Nazareth to Mary the virgin,

Quhilk halsit hir with reverence and piete,
Sayand: Haill, sueit angelicall Regin!
God hes the chosin to be baith rute and ryn

For mannis peace, for pou a sone sall beir, 125
Callit Jhesu, thairfor be nocht affeir.

Various Readings: 5 Hevinnis L. faderis A. 6 for thane L. 7 Man L. VI. 7 Ester A. VII. 1 fader A. richtuis

[King and] L. lord A. 2 Than till his sone to pas gaif A, L. 4 sentiment L. 5 Ane L, ane A. VIII. 1 god A. Angell L. 2 mary A. 4 regin A.

Notes: V. 102. Tynt, lost; past part of to time, tyne, v. a. to lose.

V. 110. His rigne, should be banished for ever from his reign, his dominions.

V. 113. We doubt, whether Laing's emendation rightuis / King and/ Lord was necessary here. It seems that the thesis is wanting between all and richtuis which, however, may be supplied by the length of the word all and the hiatus originating between the two words all and richtuis in pronouncing them. – The next verse, although retained by Laing as it stands in the MS., had to be amended.

V. 124. Rute and ryn seems to mean root and river or origin.
V. 126. Affeir = afferit, afraid, terrified.

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