Lives of
Scottish Poets
edited by

Center for Applied Technologies
in the Humanities

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Literary Chronicle
New Monthly Magazine
Monthly Review
Notes and Queries
Gibson and Laing
Halkett and Laing
Scottish Notes & Queries

Part I. (Volume I.)
James the First
Thomas the Rhymer
John Barbour
Andrew Wyntoun
Gavin Douglas
Allan Ramsay
William Meston
John Home
James Beattie
Robert Burns

Part II. (Volume I.)
James the Fifth
William Dunbar
Sir James Inglis
Henry the Minstrel
Sir David Lyndsay
Alexander Barclay
Alexander Montgomerie
William Alexander
William Drummond
James Thomson
John Oswald

Part III. (Volume II.)
James the Sixth
Sir Richard Maitland
Arthur Johnston
Hamilton of Bangour
Hamilton of Gilbertfield
Samuel Colvil
Alexander Ross
John Armstrong
John Ogilvie
James Macpherson
Charles Salmon

Part IV. (Volume II.)
Alexander Hume
John Bellenden
Mark Alexander Boyd
Ninian Paterson
William Wilkie
Robert Fergusson
William Julius Mickle
Alexander Geddes
James Grahame

Part V. (Volume III.)
Robert Henryson
Alexander Scott
Walter Kennedy
John Ogilby
Alexander Pennecuik
Alexander Cunningham
David Mallet
William Falconer
Francis Garden
Robert Blair
James Moor
James Graeme
Caleb Whitefoord
James Grainger
Hector Macneill
John Wilson

Part VI. (Volume III.)
Robert Kerr
Richard Lord Maitland
Thomas Hamilton
Charles Hamilton
Michael Bruce
Thomas Blacklock
John Logan
Andrew Macdonald
James Mercer

Appendix. (Volume III.)
James I
Allan Ramsay
John Home
Robert Burns
William Drummond
Robert Fergusson
Alexander Scott
John Wilson



In 1548 or 1549, a work was published at St. Andrew's, called the Complaynt of Scotland. [note] It was, till republished within a few years ago by Dr. Leyden, a work of extreme rarity, and scarcely known, except through an abstract of it, given by Mackenzie [note] in his Lives of Scottish Writers. [note] Few of our ancient productions, however, had probably stronger claims to be republished, as there is none which contains so minute an account of the manners, customs, and popular literature of Scotland at the early period at which it was written. It is, in fact, the only memorial we have of the existence of many tales and songs which have been long ago irretrievably lost.


The author of this poem is said, by Mackenzie, to have been a Sir James Inglis, [note] who was born in the reign of James IV.; [note] was educated at St. Andrew's; went to Paris; returned in the minority of James V. into whose favour he ingratiated himself by his poetry; took arms against the English invaders under Somerset, and so distinguished himself, that he was knighted on the field; retired, towards the close of his life, to Culros in Fife, where he died in 1554.


The accuracy of this account has been questioned, for a reason which, at first sight, carries with it considerable weight. A copy of The Complaynt is preserved in the British Museum; it wants the title
page; but, in the Oxford Catalogue, it is mentioned and, in both instances, referred to as
Wedderburn's Complaynt of Scotland. Only three other antient copies of the work are known to be in existence—one of which belongs to the Duke of Roxburgh; [note] another to John M'Gowan, Esq.; and the third to Mr. G. Paton; but none of these possesses an original title, except the first, of which, however, no more than the two first words, “The Comp.” are preserved.


The names of Inglis and Wedderburn both occur is the lists of our ancient poets; and both about a period which might admit of either being the author of the Complaynt.


Lord Hailes [note] has published, from the Maitland folio [note] a “General Satyre,” which bears, at the end, to be the production of “Schir James Inglis;” and Lindsay, in his Prologue to the Papingo, [note] printed in 1538, thus alludes to the same individual:

Quha can say mair than Schir James Inglis sayis
In ballatis, farsis, and in plesand playis?
Bot Culros has his pen maid impotent.

Row, minister of Perth, [note] a contemporary of Lindsay, mentions, in a MS. History of the Estate of the Kirk of Scotland, along with “Sir David Lindsay's Poesies,” “Wedderburne's Psalms and Godlie Ballads;” and in the Bannatyne MS. [note] occur three poems, which have the name of Wedderburn attached to them.


As there was therefore both an Inglis and a Wedderburn existing about the time when the Complaynt made its appearance, all that we have to consider is, whether we ought to believe Mackenzie, who ascribes
it to Inglis, or the Oxford Catalogue, which gives to Wedderburn?


Mackenzie, [note] it must be confessed, is a writer, on whose testimony it is hard to believe any thing; yet he is the older authority by far, and, in a question this kind, age ought to have some weight in the scale. The work, it is necessary to remark, has every appearance of having been, at first, published anonymously. “Is it not,” says Mr. Herbert, [note] “highly probable considering the subject and the time, that the book should be printed privately, and, if the printer was in danger, was it not necessary for the author to conceal his name? If the author's name was mentioned on the title-page, what occasion was there to omit it at the end of the Dedication (which is extant in all the copies?)” To the end of the work, too, there is the following sentence appended from Cicero, [note] which has no connection with the text, and would be without any apposite signification, were it not designed, by the author, as an apology for the concealment of his name: “Nihil est turpius, quam sapientis vitam, ex insapientium sermone pendere.” Assuming then, that the work was published anonymously, is it not far more likely, that Mackenzie, whose labours lay so peculiarly among the relics of Scottish biography surviving in his day, should come at a right knowledge of the author, than the compiler of a catalogue which did not exist for more than a century after? Mackenzie's fault, as a biographer, consists rather in a prodigious appetite for fables, than in a habit of inventing them; and it would be erring in the opposite extreme of incredulity to suppose, that he could have given the Complaynt to Sir James Inglis without hav-
ing the sanction of some authority, written or traditional, existing at the time he wrote.


That Sir James Inglis was really the author, appears the move probable from a circumstance in his reputed history, which has been hitherto unnoticed. In the lines before quoted from the Papingo, [note] it has been seen, that Lindsay, after asking who can say more than Sir James Inglis, makes this remark:

Bot Culros has his pen maid impotent.

The word Culros has been generally supposed to stand here for some poet of that name, who silenced Inglis by his pen, but of whom nothing else is known. Ought we not rather to understand by it the town of Culros, to which Inglis is said to have retired towards the close of his life? And is it not the more obvious meaning, that Inglis, who once wrote so much “in ballatis, farsis, and in plesand playis,” had, on retiring to Culros, laid his pen aside, and given himself up to the quiet pleasures of a country life? Nothing could have been more natural than such a conclusion on the part of his contemporaries, to whom he had long ceased to appear in his proper person as an author; but if we adopt the supposition, which ascribes to Inglis the authorship of the Complaynt, a work which, being published anonymously, must have been written secretly, we shall be at no loss to account for this seemingly unoccupied spare of his life, in a manner more consistent with his literary reputation. Is it not, indeed, a strong circumstance in favour of that hypothesis, that there is such a spare to fill up? And can it be more probably filled up than by sup-
posing, that, while all the world thought that he was spending his days in rural indolence, he was occupied in lashing the vices and follies of the three estates of the realm, in a satire, which a dread of their resentment withheld him from avowing?


Dr. Leyden has adroitly got rid of both Inglis and Wedderburn, as claimants to the Complaynt, by starting a new fancy of his own—namely, that it was written by Sir David Lindsay. This is not cutting the Gordian knot, but tying a new one. The speculations by which he supports his theory are ingenious, but not of weight enough to countervail the fact, that Sir David Lindsay used not to fight with his vizor down, but was, on the contrary, rather ostentatious in the inscription of his name to his works, and avowed and boasted of many, which contained much severer and more dangerous truths than the Complaynt.


It has been usual to speak of the Complaynt [note] as a prose work, and certainly, if every thing is to be considered prose which is not shaped into lines of a given number of syllables, long and abort, it can have no claim to exemption. But if we allow to the domain of poetry a wider and freer range—if fancy, if imagery, if decorative expression, have any claim to rank among its most essential attributes—then is the Complaynt quite as much of a poem, as either the Epic of Temora or the Song of Solomon. No one, at all events, will deny it the merit of being most poetical prose; and, considering how much it contains about the poetry of former days, it may well serve to confirm the title which Sir James Inglis has acquired by other productions, his “ballatis, farsis, and plesand playis,” to a place among the poets of Scotland.


The Complaynt is divided into twenty chapters, the most interesting of which, now-a-days, is one that had originally least business there, being professedly it “ane monolog recreatyve of the actor (author.)” In this chapter (VI.) he says, that being fatigued with study, he “past to the greene hoilsum feildis, situat maist commodiously fra distemprit ayr and corrupit infectione, to resave the sueit fragrant smel of tendir gyrssis ande of hoilsom balmy flouris maist odoreferent.” In his ramble, he met with a party of shepherds, their wives and children, seated on “the end of ane leye rig,” partaking of their morning repast; when they had finished, “tha began to talk of grit myrrynes that vas rycht plesant to be hard.” First, the chief shepherd made an oration to his companions in praise of the pastoral life, from which, happening to wander into a most conglomorating discourse on the wonders of the heavens, the secret of thunder and lightning, &c. he is stopped by his good wife, who very sensibly observes, “My veil belovit husband, I pray the to decist fra that tedious melancohic orison, quhilk surpassis thy ingyne* be rason that it is nocht thy facultee to disput in ane profund mater, the quhilk thy capacity can nocht comprehend.” — “Therefor,” adds the dame, “I think it best that ve recreat ourselfis with joyus comonyng,” “and to begyn sic recreatione I thynk it best, that evyrie ane of us tel ane guide tayl or fabil to pas the time quhil enyn.”† The proposition gives universal satisfaction;

* Genius—intellect, from L. ingenium.
† Till evening.
“then the eldest scheiphird began, and al the laif followit, ane be ane, in ther ouen place.” Some of the tales, says the author, were in prose, and some were in verse; the following were their names:
The Taillis of Cantirberrye (Chaucer.) [note]
Robert le Dyabil, Duc of Normandy (republished in 1798 by Herbert.) [note]
The tayl of the Wolf of the Warldis End (lost.)
Ferrand, Erl of Flandris, that mareit the Devyl (lost.)
The tayl of the reyde Eyttyn (Giant) with the thre heydis (lost.)
The tayl quhou Persius savit Andromeda from the Cruel Monster (lost; version of the classic story.)
The Prophysie of Merlyne (part probably of Arthour and Merlin, No. 27, Auchenleck MS.) [note]
The tayl of the Giantes that eet quyk (live) Men (lost.)
On fut by Forth as I culd found (lost.)
Wallace (by Henry the Minstrel.)
The Bruce [note] (by Barbour.)
Ypomedon (a translation from a French romance, from which Mr. Warton [note] has given some extracts.)
The tayl of the three futtet Dog of Norroway (lost.)
The tayl quhou Hercules sleu the serpent Hidra that had vii. heidis (lost version.)
The tayl quhou the King of Estmureland mareit the kingis dochter of Westmureland (supposed, by Leyden, to be the original of the romantic tale of King Estmere in Percy's Reliques.) [note]
Skail Gillenderson the kyngis son of Skellye (unknown.)
The tayl of the Four Sonnis of Aymon (lost.)
The tayl of the brig of the Mantribil (lost.)
The tayl of Syr Euan Arthour's Knycht (preserved in the Percy and Auchenleck MSS.) [note]
Rauf Collyear (printed at St. Andrew's in 1572, though no copy is known to be extant.)
The Siege of Milan (unknown.)
Gauen and Gallogras (in Pinkerton's Ancient Poems.) [note]
Lancelot du Lac (a celebrated hero of romance, though no piece under this title is preserved.)
Arthur Knycht —he raid on nycht
With gyltin spur and candil lycht (unknown.)
The tayl of Floremond of Albanye that sleu the Dragon be the see (lost.)
The tayl of Sir Walter, the bald Leslie. (lost.)
The tayl of the Pure Tynt (unknown.)
Claryades and Maliades (preserved in the New Hailes' Library.)
Arthour of Litil Bretagnye (originally an Armorican romance, of which Lord Berners, [note] the translator of Froissart, made an English version.)
Robene Hude* and litil Jone (in Ritson's [note] Robinhood.)
The Mervellis of Mandiveil (printed by Wynken de Worde, [note] 1499.)
The tayl of the yong Tamlene (republished in the Minstrelsy of the Border.) [note]
The Bald Braband (unknown.)

* “Indeed an arch robber, but the gentlest thief that ever was born.”— Major. [note]
The Ryng of the roy Robert (in the Maitland MS. [note] and also in Watson's Collection of Scottish Poems.) [note]
Syr Egeir and Syr Gryme (long very popular in Scotland; republished at Aberdeen in 1711.)
Bevis of Southamtoun (Syr Bevis of Hamtoun, No. 23 Auchenleck MS.) [note]
The Golden Targe (by Dunbar. )
The Paleis of Honour [note] (by Dunbar.)
The tayl quhou Acteon was transformit in ane hart, and syne slaen be his auen doggis.
The tayl of Pirramus and Tesbe.
The tayle of the Amours of Leander and Hero.
The tayl quhou Jupiter transformit his deir love, Yo, in ane cow.
The tayl quhou that Jason van the golden fleece.


[These last five are lost versions of well-known classic fables.]

Opheus, King of Portugal (probably the Sir Orpheo of Ritson.)
The tayl of the Goldin Appil (lost version of the classic story.)
The tayl of the three Weird Systers (lost.)
The tayl quhou that Dedalus maid the laborynth to keip the monster Minotaurus (lost version.)
The tayl quhou King Midas gat twa asse luggis on his hede, becaus of his avereis (lost version.)


The party, having finished their round of storytelling, “then began to sing sueit melodious sangs of natural music of the antiquite;” and among others, the following:

Pastance with gude companye (conjectured to be the English, “Past tyme in good companye.”)
The briers binds me sair.
Still under the leyvis grene (preserved in the Maitland MS.) [note]
Cou thou me the rashis grene (common also to England—Ritson's Ancient Songs, [note] p. 93.)
Alace I vyt your twa feyr ene.
Goete you gude day vit boy..
Lady help your prisoneir.
King Vilzamis Note.
The lange nounenou.
The Cheapel Valk.
Faytht is there none.
Skald abellis nou.
The Aberdenis nou.
Brume brume on hil (English.)
Allone I veip in greit distress.
Trolee lolee Lemendou (English, printed in Ritson.)
Bill vilt thu cum by a bute and belt the in Saint Francis cord.
The Frog cam to the Myl dur.
Rycht sorily musing in my mynde.
God sen the due had bydden in France. *
An' Delaubaute (de la Beauté) had neuyer cam hame.

* This and the following are, by running the titles, erroneously quoted by Pinkerton [note] as forming the burden of one song.— Select Scot. Bal. vol. 2, p. xxxi. A. S.
† The sense of these lines, as presented to us, is not very obvious. “De la Beauté” is
Leyden's ver-
All musing of mervellis amys hef I gane.
Maestris fayr ye vill forfayr.
O lusty Maye with Flora Queen (preserved in the Bannatyne MS.) [note]
O myne hart hay this is my sang.
The battle of Hayrlau (extant.)
The huntis of Chevit (extant.)
Sall I go vitht you to Rumbelo fayr.
Greit is my sorrow (English—“The Dying Maiden's Complaint” of Ritson.) [note]
Turn the suit, Ville, to me.
My lufe is lyan sick; send him joy, send him joy.
Fayr lufe, len thou me thy mantil joy.
The Perse and the Montgumrye met that day, that gentil day (extant)

sion. Ought we not rather to read Tillibatie, who was Vice Regent of Scotland during the absence of “the Duke” (of Albany) in France? And for “hame” may we not farther read “harm?” the assassination, of Tillibatie having been the cause of the duke's return from France? Tillibatie, though but a short time in power, appears to have given promise of a vigorous administration. The history of it, in Pitscottie, [note] is so interesting, and occupies so small a space, that I hope to be excused for transcribing it.—“In this mean time thair was ane gentlman in Edinburgh, namit Williame Meldrum, Laird of Bines, who had ane faire ladie with him, called the ladie Glengeis, who was ane dochter to Mr. Richard Lawsone, proveist of Edinburgh, the quhilk ladie had borne twa bairnes to the said laird, and intendit to marie hir if
My lufe is laid upon an knight.
Allace that samen sueit face.
In an myrthfu morrou.
My hart is leinit on the lad.


Of this goodly collection of songs, no less than twenty-eight are now either lost or unknown. Parodies or adaptations of six of them are to be found “A Compendious Book of Godlie and Spiritual Sangis and Ballatis, printed by Andro Hart, [note] 1621,” viz. “Allone I veip in greit distress.” “Rycht sorily musing in my mynde.” “O myne hart, hay this is my sang.” “Greit is my sorrow.” “Allace that samen sueit face.” and “In ane myrthfu morrou.” — In more recent times, “Alace I vyt your twa feyr ene,”

he ought purchase the Pope's license, becaus they were sib (relations.) Notwithstanding ane gentlman, celled Lues Stirling, invyed the love and marriage betwixt thir tuo personages, thinkand to have the gentlman in marriage to himselff, becaus he knew the laird of Bines might not hav hir richtlie be the Pope's lawis. Thairfoir he solisted his brother sone the Laird of Keir, with ane certane companie of armed men, to set upon the laird of Bines, to tak his ladie from him by way of deid; and to that effect followed him betwixt Leith and Edinburgh, and set on him beneath the Rid Chappel, with fytie armed men, and he againe defendit himselff with fyve in number, and fought with him, and slew the laird of Keir's principal servand, and hurt the laird of Keir to the pereil of deid, and twentie-sax of his men hurt and slaine. Bot
has probably furnished the idea of
“I gaed a weary gate yestreen,” by Burns; and the “Frog cam to the myl dur” is undoubtedly the original of “Froggy would a wooing go.”


Among the very few that have been preserved, that of “Lustie Maye” deserves distinction for its beauty; and, as a specimen of the treasures we have lost, I have been tempted to transcribe it.

O lustie Maye, with Flora queen
The balmy drops from Phebus sheen,
Prelusant beams, before the day,
Before the day, the day.
By thee, Diana groweth green
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye,
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye.

this Williame Meldrum of Bines was evil martyred, for his hochis war cutted, and the knoppis of his elbowis war strikin off, so thair was no signe of lyff is him; yitt be the mightie power of God he eschaped the death, and leived fyftie yeeres therefter. In this meane tyme Monseour Tillibatie gatt word, quhain be was in the Abbey of Hallirudhoos, that sic ane nobleman was murthered at his hand, so he incontinent caused sound his trumpetis, and rang the comoun bell, commanding all men to follow him both on horse and foott, that be might revenge that villanous fact; and cam presentlie forward to the place quhair the tuilzie was foughten, and fand this Williame lyan for deid, and his men about him, and followed very ferclie efter
Then Aurora that is an bright
To woful hearts she casts great light,
Right pleasantly, before the day,
Before the day, the day;
And shows and shades furth of that light,
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye.
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye.
Birds on their boughs, of every sort,
Send forth their notes and mak great mirth,
On banks that bloom; on every brae,
On every brae, on every brae;

thair enemies and overhyed thame at Linlithgow, and forced them to tak refuge in the feill (religious) house in Linlithgow for saiftie of thair lyves, thinkand thamselffis suir thairin. Bot this noble regent lap manlie about the hous, and seidgit it evir till he constrained thame to render the same, and thairefter tuk thame and brought thame eltegether to Edinburgh, and gave them ane fair assyse; and thairby condemned thame far the said cryme, and war put in the Castle of Edinburgh to be in sure keeping, to be at the guvernouris will.
“Efter this Mons. Tillibatie went to the Mers and to the town of Dunce, to held ane justice court, and was conveyed be the lairdis of Sesfoord and Pherneheirst, who said to him, that they sould give him the convoy saiflie to Edinburgh againe. Bot the laird of Wedderburne and his companie invyed Mons.
And fare and flie o'er field and fyrth
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye,
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye.
All lovers that are in care
To their ladies they do repair
In fresh mornings before the day,
Before the day, the day;
And are in mirth ay mair and mair,
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye,
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye.
Of every monith in the year
To mirthful Maye there is no peer,

Tillibatie, for the Duik of Albaneis caus, and sieing that he was left in sic ane place, he thought he sould be avengit him, and watched Tillibatie, regent for the tyme, quhill he gat him at ane outsyd, and sett on Tillibatie. Bot Tillibatie fearing ane conspiracie, he spurred his hors and fled towardis the castle of Dunbar, thinking to have wone away becaus he was weill horsed. Bot being ane stranger, and not knawing the ground weill, he laired his hors in ane mos, and thair his enemies cam upon him, and slew and murthered him verrie unhonestlie, and cutted aff his head and carried it with thame. And it was said that he had long hair plett in his neck, quhilk David Home of Wedderburne knitt to his saidle bow, and keipt it.”— Chronicles of Scotland, vol. 2. 305-7. A. S.
Her glistering garments are so gay,
Garments so gay, so gay.
You lovers all make merry cheer
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye,
Through glaidness of this lustie Maye.

The “scheipherdis and there vyvis,” says the author of the Complaynt, “sang mony uthir melodi sangs the quhilkis I hef nocht in memory. Then eftir this sueit celest armonye the began to dance in ane ryng; evyrie ald scheiphird led his vyfe be the hand, and evyrie yong scheiphird led hyr quhome he luffit best.” Eight of the shepherds, he tells us, had instruments on which they played in succession to the dancers. “The fyrst had ane drone bag pipe, the next had ane pipe maid of ane bladder and of ane reid, the thrid played on ane trump (Jew's harp) the feyrd on ane corne pipe (probably Chaucer's [note] “pipe maid of grene corne,”) the fyft playit on ane pipe maid of ane gait horne (the stock and horn or buck horn,) the sext playt on ane recordar (flagiolet,) the sevint playt on ane fiddil, and the last playt on ane quhissil.” And so sweetly did they play, that, according to the author, not “al the scheipherdis that Virgil [note] makkis mention in his Bucolikis cold be comparit” to them; nor even Orpheus “that playt sa sueit quhen he socht his vyf” in the shades; nor yet “the scheiphird Pan, that playt to the goddis on his bagpipe.” The description of the manner of dance exhibited by the shepherds, is extremely characteristic and amusing. “First thai began vitht twa bekkis (nods) and vitht a kysse,” and then when they proceeded to “ther lycht lopene, galmouding (gambol-
ing) stendling (leaping) bakuart and foruart,” they measured their steps in so stately and “geomatrial” a manner, that the author can liken them to nothing better than an Euripides,
[note] a Juvenal, [note] a Persius, [note] or a Horace, [note] writing poetry by the rule—measuring out their brains “as with an ellwand.”


The “dance in ane ryng,” says Dr. Leyden, “was formerly a favourite in the south of Scotland, though now gone into desuetude. It was the common dance at the Kern or feast, of cutting down the grain, and was always danced with peculiar glee by the reapers of that farm where the harvest was first finished. On these occasions, they danced on an eminence, in the view of the reapers in their vicinity, to the music of the Lowland bagpipe, commencing the dance with three loud shouts of triumph, and thrice tossing up their hooks in the air. The intervals of labour during harvest were often occupied in dancing the Ring, to the music of the piper who formerly attended the reapers. The custom of the piper playing behind the reapers, which has now fallen into desuetude, is alluded to in Hamilton's Elegy on the Piper of Kilbarchan: [note]

“Or wha will cause our shearers shear?
Wha will bend up the brays of weir?”

This dance is still retained among the Scottish Highlanders, who frequently dance the Ring in the open fields, when they visit the south of Scotland as reapers during the autumnal months.”


Among other dances exhibited by the shepherds on this occasion, the author mentions the following:


“Al Cristyn Mennis Dance. The North of Scot-
land. Huntis up. The Comont Entry. Lang plat fut of Gariau. Robene Hude. Thom of Lyn. (Tamlene, an air, says
Leyden, extremely similar to that of “the Jew's Daughter.”) Freris al. Ennyenes. The Loch of Slene. The gossep's dance. Levis grene. Makky. The speyde. The flail. The lammes wynde. Soutra. Cum kytill me nakit wantounly. Schayk leg. Fut befor gossep. Rank at the rute. Bag lap and al (a well known air preserved in Oswald's [note] Collection.) Johne Ermistrangis dance. The Alman haye. The bace of Voragon. Danger. The beye. The dede dance. The dance of Kylrynne. The wod and the wal. Schaik a trot.”


Many of these airs are doubtless still in being, for, though words vanish quickly, music is slow to depart; but not more than three or four of them continue to be known by the names here ascribed to them. The dancing being done, the shepherds collect their flocks and drive them tumultuously to the folds. The author wanders into a meadow, where he lies down and falls into a deep sleep, during which old mother Caledonia appears to him in a vision, and makes that Complaint against her three sons, the three estates of Scotland, which forms the subject of the remainder of the work.


“That the Complaynt is well written,” says Dr. Leyden, “and fraught with great learning, will be admitted by every one who compares it with compositions, in prose, of the same period. As neither reading nor the practice of composition had become either a fashion or an amusement, at the early period when the work was composed, he who should expect ele-
gance or taste in so ancient a Scottish classic would be highly disappointed. But if he expect ancient manners to be delineated with rough and impressive energy, if he expect the economy of civil polity to characterized, and the state of factions and parties to be forcibly described, he will probably be disposed to class this work with those authentic monuments which throw a certain and steady light upon history and manners.”


In this generally correct estimate of the merits of the Complaynt, its ingenious editor has abandoned its pretensions to “elegance” and “taste,” with a sweeping precipitancy for which there seems little occasion. A reader, I think, may look for both and not “be highly disappointed.” He will encounter a great deal of quaintness and affectation, faults which are common to all early productions, but he will be pleased with the love of nature which predominates through the work, and the gay imagery in which it abounds.


Of “the ballatis, farsis, and plesand playis,” which Sir James Inglis wrote, not one is known to be extant. The “General Satire,” published by Lord Hailes, [note] is the only other relic of this author which time has left us.

E. B.