|POETS — ALEXANDER SCOT.||13|
The Scottish poetry of the sixteenth century cannot boast of many productions more elegant and refined, than those of Alexander Scot; [note] but of his personal history, nothing whatever is known beyond what can be gleaned, or rather conjectured, from his writings.2
He flourished during the reign of the unfortunate Mary, [note] to whom he addressed
| Ye knaw, ill guyding genders mony gees, |
And specially in poets: for example,
Ye can pen out twa cuple an' ye please,
Yourself and I, auld Scot, and
But the fact is still more distinctly indicated in a beautiful little
|14||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
| To his hie palace, on a rock, |
The courtiers of ilk various size,
That swiftly swim in crystal skies.
The party having assembled:
| Bow'd first submissive to my lord, |
Then took their places at his borde.
The poet proceeds:
| Mein tyme whyle feisting on a fawn, |
And drinking blude frae lammies drawn,
A tuneful robin, trig and yung,
Hard by upon a bour-tree sung.
He sang the eagle's royal line,
His piercing eye and right divine
To sway out-oure the fetherit thrang,
Wha dreid his martial bill and fang;
His flight sublime and eild renewit,
His mind with clemencie endewit;
In safter notes he sung his love,
Mair hie, his beiring bolts for Jove.
| The monarch bird with blythness heard |
The chanting litil silvan bard,
Calit up a buzzard, wha was then
His favorite and chamberlaine.
‘Furth to my treasury,’ quod he,
‘And to yon canty robin gie,
As meikle of our currant geir
As may mantain him throw the yeir;
|POETS — ALEXANDER SCOT.||15|
| We can weil spair't,—and its his due:’ |
He bad, and furth the Judas flew
Straight to the brainch whair robin sung,
And, with a wickit lyan tung,
Said, ‘Ah! ye sing, sae dull and rugh,
Ye half deivt our lugs mair than eneugh.
His majesty has a nice eir,
And nae mair of your stuff can beir;
Pok up your pypes, be nae mair sene
At court, I warn you as a frien’.
| He spak, whyle robinis swelling breist |
And drouping wings his grief exprest;
The teirs ran happing doun his cheik,
Grit grew his hairt, he could nocht speik;
No, for the tinsel of rewaird,
But that his notis met nae regaird;
Straicht to the schaw he spred his wing,
Resolvit again nae mair to sing,
Whair princelie bountie is supprest
By sic whome they are opprest,
Wha cannot beir (because they cannot want it)
That ocht suld be to merit grantit.
There can be little doubt, that, in the fate of the poor robin, the poet sang his own.7
It has been supposed, that the place of
|16||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
| Be than the bougil began to blaw, |
For nicht had them ouretane:
Allace, said Sym, for faut of law,
That bargin get I nane.
Thus hame, with many a crack and flaw,
They passed every ane,
Syne partit at the Potter Row, *
And sindry gaits are gane,
To rest them within the town that nicht.
The poems by which
I.Thou well of virtue, flower of womanheid,
And patron unto patiens,
| * One of the southern inlets to Edinburgh. |
|POETS — ALEXANDER SCOT.||17|
| Lady of lawty, baith in word and deid, |
Rycht sobir, sweit, full meik of eloquens,
Baith gude and fair; to your magnificens,
I me commend, as I haif done before,
My sempill heart for new and evermore.
II.For evermore, I sall you service mak:
Sen of befoir into my mynd I made,
Sen first I knew your ladyship, bot lak
All bewtie, youth and womanheid ye had,
Withouten rest my heart couth not evade.
Thus am I yours, and ay sensyne haif bene
Commandit thereto, by your twa fair ene.
III.Your twa fair ene maks me aft syis to sing,
Your twa fair ene maks me to sich also,
Your twa fair ene maks me grit comforting,
Your twa fair ene is wyt of all my woe,
Your twa fair ene will not ane heart let go,
But links him fast that gets a sicht of them:
Of every virtue bricht, ye bear the name.
IV.Ye bear the name of gentilness of blude,
Ye bear the name that mony for ye dies,
Ye bear the name, ye are baith fair and gude,
Ye bear the name of every sweit can pleis,
Ye bear the name, fortune and you agreis,
Ye bear the name of lands, of length, and breadth;
The Well of Verteu and Flower of Womanheid!
|18||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
One verse from the address
| Returne thee hameward, Heart! agane, |
And byde quhair thuu was wont to be;
Thou art ane fule to suffer pane
For luve of her, that luvis not thee.
My heart! let be sic fantasie:
Luve nane bot as they mak thee cause;
And let her seek ane heart for thee,
For feind a crum of thee scho fawis.
From the specimens which have been given, it will be seen, that
In the Evergreen [note] of