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'the absurdities of popery with an unusual degree of ab-' horrence 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 posseffions were inconsistent with the simplicity 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 soon afterwards divorced this sober and decent couple; and without obtaining or asking a dispensation, married the Church with great solemnity 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 pro'tested they would harbour no rebel to the See of Rome. They sent her to the nuns,
cwho received her in form, with proceffions 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 Po;verty and her sister Devotion._ Sensuality attempts to besiege this
Adew fair Snawdoune, with thy touris hie,
Our author's poem, To the Kingz's grace in contemþtz'aun ry" fide tas/lit, that is, a censure on the affectation of long trains worn by the ladies, has more humour than decencyk. He allows a tail to the queen, but thinks it an affront to the royal dignity and prerogative that,
In a statute of James the second of Scotland', about the year 1460, it was ordered, that no woman should come to church or to market with her face mzsszled, that is muzzled, or covered. Notwithstanding this seasonable interposition of the legisiatu're, the ladies of Scotland continued muzzled ct during three reigns '. The enormous excrescence of female
-* Compare a manuscript poem of Occleve, Of Pride and wast clothing es Lardi: man 'which i: azem be' astart. MSS. LA UD. K. 78. s. 67. b. Bibl. Bodl. His chief complaint is against pendent sleeves, sweeping the ground, which with their fur amount to more than twenty pounds. '
'SIGNAT. L. ii.
m Causey. Street. Path.
'* Kitty that was born yesterda-y.
RSlcxa-r. L. iii. He commends the ladies of Italy lbr their decency in this article.
* AcT. 70.
Bot in the kirk and market placis
He therefore advises the king to issue a
Both throw the land, and Borrowstonis, _
He adds, that this is quite contrary to the
Hails ane Frcnce 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 3 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 salutary edict: but as it excommunicates those female tails, which, in our author's phrase, keep the kirk and causty 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 'bore dering upon heresy ". What good effects followed from this ecclesiastical censure, Ido not find: it is, however, evident, that the Scottish act of parliament against long tail: was as . little observed, as that against muzzling. Probably the force of the poet's satire 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 z, a novelty which induced a well
* " Velamina etiam mulierum, quz ad " nsum, sicut dere! werctundiam fixur, r
" 'ventundiam dfsignana'am eis sunt cou-
" excommunicationis sententiam cohi e-
meaning divine, of those times, to write a tract Contra caudns dominarum, against 'the Tails of the Ladies '. Whether or no this remonstrance 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, Icannot 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 enterprifing than successful in her attacks on established forms; and whose authority and example were so powerful, as to abolish, even in defiance of France, the safe, commodious, and natural mode of riding on horseback, hitherto practiced by the women of England, and to introduce side-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 Lyndefhy, Iam tempted to transcribe a few stanzas '. It appears to have been written soon after the death of james the fifth '. Thepoet mentions the death of James. the fourth, who was killed in the battle of Flodden-field, fought in the year I 513 '.. It is entitled DUNCANE LAlDER, or MAKGREGOR'S TesTAMENT'. The Scotch poets were fondv of conveying invective, under the form of an assumed character writing a will ". In the poem before us, the writer exposes the ruinousi