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the absurdities of popery with an unusual degree of abhorrence and asperity.
In the course of the poem before us, an allegory on the corruptions of the church is introduced, not destitute of invention, humour, and elegance: but founded on one of the weak theories of Wickliffe, who not considering religion as reduced to a civil establishment, and because Christ and his apostles were poor, imagined that secular possessions were inconsistent with the fimplicity of the gospel.
In the primitive and pure ages of christianity, the poet supposes, that the Church married Poverty, whose children were Chastity and Devotion. The emperour Constantine foon afterwards divorced this sober and decent couple; and without obtaining or asking a dispensation, married the Church with great folemnity to Property. Pope Silvester ratified the marriage: and Devotion retired to a hermitage. They had two daughters, Riches and Sensuality; who were very beautiful, and soon attracted such great and universal regard, that they acquired the chief ascendancy in all spiritual affairs. Such was the influence of Sensuality in particular, that Chastity, the daughter of the Church by Poverty, was exiled: she tried, but in vain, to gain protection in Italy and France. Her success was equally bad in England. She strove to take refuge in the court of Scotland: but they drove her from the court to the clergy. The bishops were alarmed at her appearance, and protested they would harbour no rebel to the See of Rome. They sent her to the nuns, who received her in form, with processions and other honours. But news being immediately dispatched to Sensuality and Riches, of her friendly reception among the nuns, she was again compelled to turn fugitive. She next fled to the mendicant friers, who declared they could not take charge of ladies. At last she was found secreted in the nunnery of the Burrowmoor near Edinburgh, where she had met her mother Poverty and her sister Devotion. Sensuality attempts to besiege
this religious house, but without effect. The pious fisters were armed at all points, and kept an irresistible piece of artillery, called Domine custodi nos.
Within quhose schot, thare dar no enemies
I know not whether this chaste fisterhood had the delicacy to observe strictly the injunctions prescribed to a fociety of nuns in England; who, to preserve a cool habit, were ordered to be regularly blooded three times every year, but not by a secular person, and the priests who performed the opea ration were never suffered to be strangers *.
I must not dismiss this poem, without pointing out a beautiful valediction to the royal palace of Snowdon ; which is not only highly sentimental and expressive of poetical feelings, but strongly impresses on the mind an image of the romantic magnificence of antient times, so remote from the Itate of modern manners.
Adew fair Snawdoune, with thy touris hie,
Our author's poem, To the Kingis grace in contemptioun of fide taillis, that is, a censure on the affectation of long trains worn by the ladies, has more humour than decency". He allows a tail to the queen, but thinks it an affront to the royal dignity and prerogative that,
Every lady of the land
Than wald claith fyftie score of freris ?
+ Act. 70
ok Compare a manuscript poem of Occleve, Of Pride and wast clotbing of Lordis men which is azens her aflate. MSS. Laud. K. 78. f. 67. b. Bibl. Bodl. His chief complaint is against pendent sleeves, sweeping the ground, which with their fur a. mount to more than twenty pounds.
SIGNAT. L. ii. m Causey. Street. Path.
Kitty that was born yesterday. • Moor-land.
Clogged. I SIGNAT. L. üi. He commends the ladies of Italy for their decency in this article.
• As appears from a passage in the poem before us.
Bot in the kirk and market placis
I think thay fuld nocht hide thair facis.-
Hails ane Frence lady quhen ye pleis,
tails was prohibited in the same statute, “ That na woman “ wear tails unfit in length.” The legitimate length of these tails is not, however, determined in this statute; a circumstance which we may collect from a mandate issued by a papal legate in Germany, in the fourteenth century. “ It is
decreed, that the apparel of women, which ought to be “ consistent with modesty, but now, through their foolish
ness, is degenerated into wantonness and extravagance,
more particularly the immoderate length of their petti“ coats, with which they sweep the ground, be restrained to
a moderate fashion, agreeably to the decency of the sex, “ under pain of the sentence of excommunication.” The orthodoxy of petticoats is not precisely ascertained in this falutary edict: but as it excommunicates those female tails, which, in our author's phrase, keep the kirk and causey clean, and allows such a moderate standard to the petticoat, as is compatible with female delicacy, it may be concluded, that, the ladies who covered their feet were looked upon as very laudable conformists: an inch or two less would have been avowed immodesty; an inch or two more an affectation bordering upon heresy". What good effects followed from this ecclesiastical censure, I do not find : it is, however, evident, that the Scottish act of parliament against long tails was as little observed, as that against muzzling. Probably the force of the poet's fatire effected a more speedy reformation of such abuses, than the menaces of the church, or the laws of the land. But these capricious vanities were not confined to Scotland alone. In England, as we are informed by several antiquaries, the women of quality first wore trains in the reign of Richard the second: a novelty which induced a well
t - Velamina etiam mulierum, quæ ad « verecundiam defignandam eis funt con" ceffa, sed nunc, per insipientiam earum, « in lasciviam et luxuriam excreverunt, et “ immoderata longitudo superpelliceorum, " quibus pulverem trahunt, ad moderatum
" ufum, ficut decet verecundiam fexus, per
excommunicationis sententiam cohibe“ antur.” Ludewig, Relig. Diplom. tom. i. p. 441.
• See Notes to Anc. Sc. Poems, ut supr. p. 256.
meaning divine, of those times, to write a tract Contra caudas dominarum, against the Tails of the Ladies". Whether or no this remonftrance operated so far, as to occasion the contrary extreme, and even to have been the distant cause of producing the short petticoats of the present age, I cannot say. As an apology, however, for the English ladies, in adopting this fashion, we should in justice remember, as was the case of the Scotch, that it was countenanced by Anne, Richard's queen: a lady not less enterprising than successful in her attacks on established forms; and whose authority and example were fo powerful, as to abolish, even in defiance of France, the fafe, commodious, and natural mode of riding on horseback, hitherto practiced by the women of England, and to introduce fide-saddles *.
An anonymous Scotch poem has lately been communicated to me, belonging to this period : of which, as it was never printed, and as it contains capital touches of satirical humour, not inferior to those of Dunbar and Lyndefay, I am tempted to transcribe a few stanzas '. It appears to have been written soon after the death of James the fifth”. The poet mentions the death of James the fourth, who was kille ed in the battle of Flodden-field, fought in the year 1513. It is entitled DUNCANE LAIDER, or MAKGREGOR's TesTAMENT".
The Scotch poets were fond of conveying invective, under the form of an assumed character writing a will. In the
us, the writer exposes the ruinous