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S E C T. VIll.
T is not the plan of this work to comprehend the Scotch
poetry. But when I consider the close and national connection between England and Scotland in the progress of manners and literature, I am sensible I should be guilty of a partial and defective representation of the poetry of the former, was I to omit in my series a few Scotch writers, who have adorned the present period, with a degree of sentiment and spirit, a command of phraseology, and a fertility of imagination, not to be found in any English poet since Chaucer and Lydgate: more especially as they have left striking specimens cf allegorical invention, a species of cornposition which appears to have been for some time almost totally extinguished in England.
The first I shall mention is William Dunbar, a native of Salton in East Lothian, about the year 1470. His most ce-v lebrated poems are The THISTLE AND THE Rose, and THE GOLDEN TERGE.
The THISTLE AND THE Rosr: was occasioned by the marriage of James the fourth, king of Scotland, with Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry the seventh, king of England: an event, in which the whole future political state of both nations was vitally interested, and which ultimately produced the union of the two crowns and kingdoms. It was finished on the ninth day of May in the year 1503, nearly three months before the arrival of the queen in Scotland: whose progress from Richmond 'to Edinburgh was attended with a greater magnificence of parade, proceffions, and spectacles, than Iever remember to have seen on any similar occasion '., It may be pertinent to promise, that Mar
' See a memoir, cited above, in Leland's that during this expedition there was in the CoLL. tom. iii. APPEND- edit. 1770. p. magnificent suite of the princess a company 265. lt is worthy of particular notice, of players, under the directiOn os one john
Vol. Il. L 1 Inglish,
garet was a singular patroness of the Scotch poetry, now beginning to flourish. Her bounty is thus celebrated by Stewart of Lorne, in a Scotch poem, called LERGES OF THIS New YEIR DAY, written in the year 1527.
Grit god relief b MARGARLT our quene!
Dunbar's THISTLE AND Rosn is opened with the following stanzas, which are remarkable for their descriptive and
Qilhen " Merche was with variand windis past,
Inglish, who is sometimes called Johannes, *' Amonge the saide lordes and the qweene " was in order, Johannes and his corn" panye, the menstrells of musicke, &c." p 267. See also, p. 299. 300. 280. 289. In the midst of a most splendid procession, the princess rode on horse-back behind the
king into the city of Edinburgh, p. 287..
Afterwards the ceremonies of this stately marriage are described; which yet is not equal, in magnificence and expence, to that of Richard the second with Isabell of France, at Calais, in the year 1397. This last-mentioned marriage is recorded with
'he most minute circumstances, the dresses .
of the king and the new queen, the names of the French and English nobility who attended, the presents, one of which is a golden cup studdcd with jewels, and worth three thousand pounds, given on both sides, the banquets, entertainments, and a variety of other curious particulars, in five large vellum pages, in an antient Register of
Merton priory in Surrey, in old French. MSS. LAUD, E. 54. lfol. rog. b. Bibl. Bodl. Oxon. Froissart. who is most commonly prolix in describing pompous ceremonies, might have greatly enriched his account of the same royal wedding, from this valuable and authentic record. See his CRON. tom. iv. p. 226. ch. 78. B. penult. Paris, '574. fol. Or lord Berners's Translation, vol. ii. f. 275. cap. ccxvi. edit. Pinson, 1523. fol.
' Great god help, &e.
c If she continues to do as she has done.
'1 Bounty. Fr. L'Qffl'i'e.
* Any other I could speak of.
f Largess. Bounty.
2 St. x.
1' When. Lzr has the force of rw.
i Taken Leave.
lMattin orisons. From Hare in the missal. So again in the GOLDBN Tnncr, St. ii. Where he also calls the birds the
Amang the tendir odouris reid and quhyt,
MAY then rebukes the poet, for not rising early, according to his annual custom, to celebrate the approach of the spring; especially as the lark has now announced the dawn of day, and his heart in former years had always,
- -- - glaid and blissful bene Sangis " to mak undir the levis grene ".
The poet replies, that the spring of the present year was unpromifing and ungenial; unattended with the ctusual song of birds, and serenity of sky: and that storms and showers, and the loud blasts of the horn of lord Eolus, had usurped her mild dominion, and hitherto prevented him from wandering at leisure under the vernal branches. MAY rejects his excuse, and siwith a smile of majesty commands him to arise, and to perform his annual homage to the flowers, the birds, and the sun. They both enter a delicious garden, filled with the richest colours and odours. The sun suddenly appears in all his glory, and is thus described in the luminous language of Lydgate.
The purpour sone, with tendir bemys reid,
In orient bricht as angell did appeir,
Thorow goldin lkyis putting up his heid,
And, as the blissful fone _of cherarchy ',
The fowlis sung throw comfort of the licht 5
" O luvaris, fo away thow dully nicht, _
" And welcum day that comfortis every wicht.
\ ' Songs. And makith it out of his slepe to sterte,
x St. iv. See Chaucer's Kmch's And sayth, aryse, and do May observaunce,_ TALE, v. 1042. p. 9. Urr. &e. She was arisin, and all redie dight, 7 St. viii. For May will have no sluggardy annight: 5 The hierarchy. See Jon, ch. xxxvun
The season prikkith every gentill herte; v. 7. The morning-stars singing toglqihefi. CC a