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GLÜTTONY brings up the rear; whose insatiable rout are incessantly calling out for meat and drink, and although they are drenched by the devils with draughts of melted lead, they still ask for more.
Than the fowll monster GLUTTONY,
To daunce syn did him dress:
In surfett and excess.
Thair lovery' was na less“. .
At this infernal dance no minstrels plaid. No GLEEMAN, or minstrel, ever went to hell; except one who committed murder, and was admitted to an inheritance in hell by brief of richt, that is, per breve de recto". This circumstance feems an allusion to some real fact.
The concluding stanza is entirely a satire on the highlanders. Dunbar, as I have already observed, was born in Lothian, a county of the Saxons. The mutual antipathy between the Scottish Saxons and the Highlanders was exceffive, and is not yet quite eradicated. Mahoun, or Mahomet, having a desire to see a highland pageant, a fiend is commissioned to fetch Macfadyan; an unmeaning name, chosen for its harshness. As soon as the infernal messenger begins.
m Womb. Belly.
Cup. o Out-cast. pWanıbs. Bellies. 9 Fat.
to publish his fummons,' he gathers about him a prodigious crowd of Erfche men, who soon took up great-room-in hell. Thefe loquacious termagants began to chatter like rooks and ravens, in their own barbarous language : and the devil is so stunned with their horrid yell, that he throws them down to his deepest abyss, and finothers them with smoke.
Than cryd Mahoun for a heleand padyane,
In hell grit rume thay tuke:
And rowp* lyk revin and ruke.
He smorit them with smoke.
I have been prolix in my citations and explanations of this
poem, because I am of opinion, that the imagination of
cry of dir-
z Perhaps the poet does not mean the common idea annexed to termagant. The context seems to shew, that he alludes to a species of wild-fowl, well known in the highlands, and called in the Scotch statutebook termigant. Thus he compares the highlanders to a flock of their country birds. For many illustrations of this poem, I am obliged to the learned and elegant editor of ANTIENT Scottish Poems, lately published from Lord Hyndford's manuscript: and to whom I recommend a talk, for which he is well qualified, The History of Scotch Poetry
· Chattered hoarsely.
Dunbar is not less suited to satirical than to sublime allegory: and that he is the first poet who has appeared with any degree of spirit in this way of writing since Pierce Plowman. His Thistle AND Rose, and GOLDEN TERGE, are generally and justly mentioned as his capital works : but the natural complexion of his genius is of the moral and didactic cast. The measure of this poem is partly that of Şir Thopas in Chaucer : and hence we may gather by the way, that Sir THOPAS was antiently viewed in the light of a ludicrous compofition. It is certain that the pageants and interludes of Dunbar's age must have quickened his invention to form those grotesque groupes. The exhibition of MORALITIES was now in high vogue among the Scotch. A Morality was played at the marriage of James the fourth and the princess Margaret". Mummeries, which they call GYSARTS, composed of moral personifications, are still known in Scotland: and even till the beginning of this century, especially among the festivities of Christinas, itinerant maskers were admitted into the houses of the Scotch nobility.
S E C T. XIII.
Nother of the distinguished luminaries, that marked the
restoration of letters in Scotland at the commencement of the sixteenth century, not only by a general eminence in elegant erudition, but by a cultivation of the vernacular poetry of his country, is Gawen Douglass. He was descended from a noble family, and born in the year 1475°. According to the practice of that age, especially in Scotland, his education perhaps commenced in a grammar-school of one of the monasteries: there is undoubted proof, that it was finished at the university of Paris. It is probable, as he was intended for the sacred function, that he was sent to Paris for the purpose of studying the canon law: in consequence of a decree promulged by James the first, which tended in some degree to reform the illiteracy of the clergy, as it injoined, that no ecclesiastic of Scotland should be preferred to a prebend of any value without a competent skill in that science'. Among other high promotions in the church, which his very singular accomplishments obtained, he was provost of the collegiate church of faint Giles at Edinburgh, abbot of the opulent convent of Abberbrothrock, and biShop of Dunkeld. He appears also to have been nominated by the queen regent to the archbishoprick, either of Glasgow, or of faint Andrew's: but the appointment was repudiated by the popek. In the year 1513, to avoid the persecutions of the duke of Albany, he fled from Scotland into England, and was most graciously received by king Henry the eighth; who, in consideration of his literary merit, al
lowed him a liberal pension. In England he contracted a friendship with Polydore Virgil, one of the classical scholars of Henry's court'. He died of the plague in London, and was buried in the Savoy church, in the year 1521".
In his early years he translated Ovid's Art of Love, the favorite Latin system of the science of gallantry, into Scottish metre, which is now loft'. In the year 1513, and in the space of sixteen months", he translated into Scotch heroics the Eneid of Virgil, with the additional thirteenth book by Mapheus Vegius, at the request of his noble patron Henry earl of Sinclair". But it was projected fo early as the year 1501. For in one of his poems written that year', he promises to Venus a translation of Virgil, in attonement for a ballad he had published against her court: and when the work was finished, he tells Lord Sinclair, that he had now made his peace with Venus, by translating the poem which celebrated the actions of her son Eneas P. No me. trical version of a classic had yet appeared in English ; except of Boethius, who scarcely deserves that appellation. Virgil was hitherto commonly known, only by Caxton's romance on the subject of the Eneid; which, our author says, no more resembles Virgil, than the devil is like faint Austino
This translation is executed with equal spirit and fidelity: and is a proof, that the lowland Scotch and English languages were now nearly the same. I mean the style of com
h Hollinsh. Scot. 307.-iii. 872.
PEPIL. ut fupr. Bale, xiv. 58.
9 Prologue to the Translation, p. so k Weever, Fun. Mon. p. 446. And The manuscript notes written in the marStillingfi. ORIG, BRIT. p. 54.
gin of a copy of the old quarto edition of See edit. Edinb. fol. 1710. p. 483. In
this translation, by Patrick Junius, which the EPISTLE, or EPILOGUE, to Lord bishop Nicolson (Hist. LIBR.p. 99.) deSinclair. I believe the editor's name is clares to be excellent, are of no confeRobert FREEBAIRN, a Scotchman. This quence, Bibl. Bodl. Archiv, Seld. B. translation was first printed at London, 54. 4to. The same may be faid of Ju
nius's Index of obsolete words in this tranf. í Leil. REB. Gest. Scot. lib. ix. p. lation, Cod. MSS. Jun. 114. (5225.) See 379. Rom. 1675.
also Muf. Ashmol. Diverse Scotch words, EPILOGUE, ut fupr.
&c. Cod. Ashm: 846. 13. • The PALICE OF HONOUR. ad calcem. Vol. II.
1553. 4to. bl. lett.