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Bene till our ? eris cause of gret delyte;
Your angelic mouth most mellifluate
Our rude language has cleir illumynat,
And has owregilt our speiche, that imperfyte
Stude, or your goldin pennis fchup to wryt“,
This yle befoir was bair and diffolat"
Of rhetorik, or lusty fresche 'indyte ".

This panegyric, and the poem, is closed with an apology, couched in elegant metaphors, for his own comparative humility of style. He addresses the poem, which he calls a

litill quair.

O know quhat thou of rhetoric has spent;
Of hir lusty rosis redolent
Is nane into thy garland fett on hichte.
O schame' thairfor, and draw thè out of sicht!
Rude is thy weid', destitute, bair, and rent,
Weill aucht thou be affeirit of the licht!

Dunbar's Daunce has very great merit in the comic style of painting. It exhibits a groupe of figures touched with the capricious but fpirited pencil of Callot. On the eve of Lent, a general day of confession, the poet in a dream sees a display of heaven and hell. Mahomet', or the devil, commands a dance to be performed by a select party of fiends; particularly by those, who in the other world had never

2 To our ears.

· Ere your golden pens were shaped to write.

• Bare and desolate:
· Elegant composition.

• No fresh and fragrant roses of rhetoric
are placed on high in thy garland.

+ Be ashamed.
8 Weed. Dress,

h St. xxxi.

i Mahon. Sometimes written Mahoun, or Mahound. See Mat. Parif. p. 289. ad ann. 1236. And Du Fresne, Lat. Gloff. V. MAHUM. The christians, in the crusades were accustomed to hear the Saracens swear by their prophet Mahomet: which thence became in Europe another name for the devil.


made confession to the priest, and had consequently never
received absolution. Immediately the Seven DEADLY Sins
appear; and present a mask, or mummery, with the newest
gambols just imported from France". The first is Pride,
who properly takes place of all the rest, as by that Sin fell
the angels. He is described in the fashionable and gallant
dress of those times : in a bonnet and gown, his hair thrown
back, his cap awry, and his gown affectedly flowing to his
feet in large folds.

Let se, quoth he', now quha beginis ?
With that the fowll Deadly Sinnis

Begouth to leip attanis ".
And first of all in dance was PRYD,
With hair wyld bak, bonet on fyde,

Lyk to make vaistie wanis;
And round about him as a quheill",
Hang all in rumpilliso to the heill,

His kethat for the nanis 9.
Many proud trumpour' with him trippit,
Throw skaldan fyr ay as they skippit

They girnd with hyddous 'granis '.

Several holy barlots follow, attended by monks, who make great sport for the devils ".

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k The original is garmountis. In the P Casaque, Callock. Memoir, cited above, concerning the pro

9 Nonce. Designedly, gress of the princess Margaret into Scot Deceiver. See Spenfer's Sir Trom. land, we have the following passage. “ The .PART. Or perhaps an empty fellow, a “ lord of Northumberland made his devoir, rattle. Or Trompour may be trumpeter, “at the departynge, of gambades and lepps, as in Chaucer's Knight's Tale, v. 2673“[leaps,] as did likewise the lord Scrop See Chaucer's CANTERBURY Tales, “ the father, and many others that retorned with the Notes of the very judicious and “ agayne, in takyng 'ther congie,” p. 281. ingenious editor. Lond. 1775. vol. iv. [See Notes, supr. p. 253.]

p. 231. Mahomet.

Scalding, Began to dance at once.

They grinned hideously. · Wheel.

v St. ii. • Rumples.

w St. jäi. Vol. II,



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Heilie Harlottis in hawtain wyis *,
Come in with mony findrie gyis',

But yet luche nevir - Mahoun:
Quhill priestis cum with bair schevino nekks,
That all the feynds lewche', and maid gekks ,

Black-belly, and Bawly-brown.

Black-belly and Bawfy-brown are the names of popular spirits in Scotland. The latter is perhaps our Robin GoodFELLOW, known in Scotland by the name of Brownie.

Anger is drawn with great force, and his accompaniments are boldly feigned. His hand is always upon his knife, and he is followed, in pairs, by boasters, threateners, and quarrelsome persons, all armed for battle, and perpetually wounda ing one another

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Than Yre come in with sturte and stryfe;
His hand was ay upon his knyfe,

He brandeist lyk a beir:
Bostaris, braggarists, and barganeris,
Efter hym pafsit in pairis,

All bodin in feir of weir:
In jakkis, stryppis, and bonnettis of steil,
Thair leggis wer cheyned to the heill",

Frawart was thair affeir.;

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B. iii. edit. ut infr.
Oppressioun did fa loud his bougill blaw,
That none durst ride but into feir of weir.
That is, without being armed for bartle.

& In short jackets, plates, or slips, and bonnets of steel. Short coats of mail and helmets.

h Either, chained together. Or, their legs armed with iron, perhaps iron net-work, down to the heel.

i Their business untoward. Or else, their look froward, fierce. Fair is feature..



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Sum upon uder with brands beft",
Sum jagit utheris to the heft'

With knyvis that scheirp coud scheir “.

Envy is equal to the rest. Under this Sin our author takes occasion to lament, with an honest indignation, that the courts of princes should still give admittance and encouragement to the whisperers of idle and injurious reports ".

Next in the dance followit Invy,
Fild full of feido and fellony,

Hid malyce and difpyte;
For pryvie laterit that tratour trymlit.,
Him followit mony freik disfymlit',

With feynit wordis quhyte.
And flattereris into mens facis,
And back-byttaris' of fundry racis,

To ley' that had delyte.
With rownaris" of fals lesingis * :
Allace! that courtis of noble kingis

Of tham can nevir be quyte * !

AVARICE is ufhered in by a troop of extortioners, and other miscreants, patronised by the magician Warloch, or the demon of the covetous; who vomit on each other torrents of melted gold, blazing like wild-fire: and as they are emptied at every discharge, the devils replenish their throats with fresh supplies of the same liquefied metal'.

+ Lye.

k Some struck others, their companions, Diffembling gallant. with swords.

• Backbiters. I Wounded others to the quick. To the haft.

• Rounders, whisperers. To round, in m Cut sharp

the ear, or simply to round, was to whisper n Sr. v.

in the ear. • Enmity.

w Falfities.

x Free. p Hatred.

y St, vi. . Trembled. Nn 2


Sloth does not join the dance till he is called twice: and his companions are so flow of motion, that they cannot keep up with the rest, unless they are roused from their lethargy by being sometimes warmed with a glimpse of hell-fire”.

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Syne Swirnes, at the seccound bidding,
Come lyk a fow out of a midding,

Full flepy was his grunyie .
Mony sweir bumbard belly-huddroun“,
Mony slute daw and flepy duddroun",

Him servit ay with sounyie.
He drew tham forth intill a chenyie',
And Belliall, with a brydill reynie ,

Evir lascht on the lungie ".
In daunce thay wer so flow of feit
Thay gaif tham in the fyre a heit

And maid tham quicker of conyie'.
Lust enters, neighing like a horse", and is led by Idle-

When his associates, mingle in the dance, their visages burn red like the turkis-stone'. The remainder of the stanza, although highly characteristical, is too obscene to be transcribed. But this gave no offence. Their manners were too indelicate to be shocked at any indecency. I do not mean that these manners had lost their delicacy, but that they had not yet acquired the sensibility arising from civilisation. In one of the Scotch interludes of this age, written by a fashionable court-poet, among other ridiculous obscenities, the trying on of a Spanish padlock in public makes a part of theatrical representation.


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