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Which hastily got their reward;
Each man after their quality,
They did solist his majesty.
Some caused him revel at the racket,'
Some harled him to the hurlie hacket.2
And some to show their courtly corses,
Would ride to Leith and run their horses,
And wightly wallop over the sands;
They neither spared spurs nor wands;
Casting gammounds3 with bends and becks;
For wantonness some broke their necks;
There was no play but cards and dice,
And aye Sir Flattery bare the price.4
Rounding and rowking5 one to another,
Take you my part, said he, my brother,
And make between us sicker bands,"
When aught shall vaik 7 among our hands,
That each man stand to help his fellow;
I hold thereto man, by Alhallow,
So you fish not within my bounds:
That shall I not, by Godis wounds,
Said he, but eirar3 take thy part.
So shall I do, by Godis heart.
And if the thesaurer be our friend,
Then shall we both get tack and teind :9
Take he our part, then who dare wrong us,
But we shall part the pelf among us.
But haste us while the king is young,
And let each man keep well his tongue,
And in each quarter have a spy,
Us to advertise hastily,
When any casualties
Shall happen into our countries.
Let us make sure provision,
Ere he come to discretion.
No more he knows than doth a sanct,
What thing it is to have or want :
So ere he come to perfect age,
We shall be sicker of our wage;
And let each carl crave another.
That mouth speak more, said he, my brother;
For, God nor I rax' in a rope,
Thou might'st give counsel to the Pope,
Thus laboured they within few years,
That they became no pages' peers :
So hastily they made a band.
Some gather'd gold, some conquest land,
Sir, some would say, by Saint Denice,
Give to me some fat benefice,
And all the profit you shall have;
Give me the name, take you the lave.2
But by his bulls were well come hame,
To make service he would think shame,
Then slip away withouten more,
When he had got what he sought for,
Methought it was a piteous thing
To see that fair young tender king,
Of whom these gallants stood no awe,
To play with him pluck at the craw,3
They became rich, I you assure,
But aye the prince remainèd poor,
There was few of that garnison,4
That learned him a good lesson;
But some to crack, 5 and some to clatter:
Some played the fool, and some did flatter.
Said one, Devil stick me with a knife,
But, sir, I know a maid in Fife,
One of the lustiest wanton lasses,
Whereto, sir, by Saint Blaise, she passes.
Hold thy tongue, brother, said the other,
I know fairer by fifteen futher :6
Sir, when ye please to Lithgow pass,
There shall ye see a lusty lass.
Now trittle trattle, troly low,7
Said the third man, thou dost but mow,8
When his grace comes to fair Stirling,
There shall he see a day's darling.
Sir, said the fourth, take my counsel,
And go all to an high bordel;
There may ye loup at liberty,
Withouten any gravity.
Thus every man said for himself, And did among them part the pelf, But I, alas! or ever I wist, Was trodden down into the dust: With heavy charge withouten more, But I knew never yet wherefore ; And hastily before my face, Another slipped into my place : Whilk full lightly got his reward, And styled was the Ancient laird.' That time I might make no defence, But took perforce in patience; Praying to send them a mischance That had the court in governance : The whilk against me did malign, Contrar the pleasure of the king For well I knew his Grace's mind Was ever to me true and kind; And contrar their intention, Caused pay me well my pension; Though I a while lacked presence, He let me have none indigence, When I durst neither peep nor look; Yet would I hide me in a nook, To see these uncouth vanities, How they like many busy bees, Did occupy their golden hours, With help of their new governours; But my Complaint for to complete, I got the sour, and they the sweet. And John Macrerie, the king's fool, Got double garments against yule. Yet in his most triumphant glore, For his reward got the grandgore; Now in the court seldom he goes, In dread men tread upon his toes. As I that time durst not be seen, In open court for both mine een: Alas! I have no time to tarry, To show you all the fiery fary: 2 How those that had the governance, Among themselves raised variance.
And who most to my skaith consented,
Within few years full sore repented,
When they could make me no remead,
For they were harled' out by the head:
And others took the governing,
Well worse than they in all kind thing.
Those lordis took no more regard,
But who might purchase best reward:
Some of their friends got benefices,
And other some got bishoprices :
For every lord, as he thought best,
Brought in a bird to fill the nest,
To be a watchman to his marrow,
They 'gan to draw at the cat harrow.3
The proudest prelates of the kirk
Were fain to hide them in the mirk,
That time so failed was their sight,
Sen syne they may not thole4 the light
Of Christ's true gospel to be seen,
So blinded are their corporal een
With worldly lustis sensual,
Taking in realms the governal,
Both guiding court and session, 5
Contrar to their profession;
Wherefore I think they should have shame,
Of spiritual priests to take the name;
For Isaias into his wark,
Calls them dumb dogs that cannot bark,
That called are priests, and cannot preach,
Nor Christ's law to the people teach;
If for to preach been their profession,
Why should they mell with court or session,
Except it were in spiritual things,
Referring unto lords and kings
Temporal causes to be decided.
If they their spiritual office guided,
Each man might say they did their parts;
But if they can play at the carts,7
And mollet moylies on a mule,
Though they had never seen the school,
Yet at this day, as well as than,
Will be made such a spiritual man.
Princes, that such prelates promoves,
Account thereof to give behoves :
Which shall not pass without punishment,
Except they mend and sore repent ;
And with due ministration,
Work after their vocation.
I wish the thing that will not be,
Their perverse prelates are so high,
When once that they be called lords,
They are occasion of discords:
And largely will propinis hight,'
To cause each lord with other fight,
If for their part it may avail :
So to the purpose of my tale.
That time in court rose great debate,
And every lord did strive for state,
That all the realm might make no redding,2
Till on each side there was blood-shed-
And fielded 3 other in land and burgh,
At Lithgow, Melrose, and Edinburgh,
But to deplore I think great pain,
Of noble men that there were slain :
And as longsome to be reported,
Of them whilk to the court resorted,
As tyrants, traitors, and transgressors,
And common public plain oppressors.
Men murderers, and common thieves,
Into that court got their relieves.
There were few lords in all these lands,
But to new Regents made their bands ;4
Then rose a reek or e'er I wist,
The which gart all their bandis birst.
Then they alone whilk had the guiding,
They could not keep their feet from sliding;
But of their lives they had such dread,
That they were fain to trot oure Tweed. 5
Now, potent prince, I say to thee,
I thank the Holy Trinity
That I have lived to see the day,
That all the world is went away,
And thou to no man art subjected,
Nor to such counsellors coacted.
The four great virtues cardinals,
I see them with the principals :
For Justice holds her sword on high,
With her balance of equity;
And in this realm hath made such order,
Both through the Highland and the
That Oppression and all his fellows
Are hanged high upon the gallows.
Dame Prudence has thee by the head,
And temperance doth thy bridle lead.
I see dame Force make assistance,
Bearing thy targe of assurance,
And lusty lady Chastity,
Hath banisht Sensuality.
Dame Riches takes on thee such cure,
I pray God that she long endure,
That Poverty dare not be seen,
Into thine house for both her een;
But from thy grace fled many miles,
Among the hunters in the isles.
Dissimulance dare not show her face,
Which wont for to beguile thy grace.
Folly is fled out of the town,
Which aye was contrary to reason:
Policy and Peace begin to plant,
That virtuous men can never want;
And as for slothful idle lowns,1
Shall fettered be in the galeyons. 2
John upon-land3 been glad, I trow,
Because the rush bush keeps his cow:
So there is nought I understand,
Without good order in this land,
Except the Spirituality,
Praying thy grace thereto have eye :
Cause them make ministration,
Conform to their vocation :
To preach with unfeigned intents,
And truly use the sacraments,
After Christ's institutions,
Leaving their vain traditions,
Which do the silly sheep illude,'
For whom Christ Jesus shed his blood :
As superstitious pilgrimages,
Praying to graven images,
Express against the Lord's command:
I do thy grace to understand,
If thou to men's laws assent,
Against the Lord's commandement,
As Jeroboam and many mo,
Princes of Israel also,
Consenters to Idolatry,
Whilk punisht were right piteously,
And from their realms rooted out,
So shalt thou be withouten doubt,
Both here and hyne2 withouten more,
And lack the everlasting glore.
But if thou wilt thine heart incline,
And keep his blessed law divine,
As did the faithful patriarchs,
Both in their words, and in their warks:
And as did many faithful kings
Of Israel, during their reigns;
As king David and Solomon,
Who images would suffer none,
In their rich temple for to stand,
Because it was not God's command;
But destroyed all idolatry,
As in the scripture thou may see.
Whose rich reward was heavenly bliss,
Which shall be thine, thou doing this.
Since thou hast chosen such a guard,
Now am I sure to get reward :
And since thou art the richest king
That ever in this realm did rign,3
Of gold and stones precious,
Most prudent and ingenious,
And hast thine honour done advance,
In Scotland, England, and in France,
By martial deedis honourable.
And are to every virtue able,
I know thy grace will not misken me,
But thou wilt either give or lend me :
Would thy grace lend me to, ane day,
Of gold a thousand pound or tway,"
And I shall fix with good intent,
Thy grace a day of payment,
With sealed obligation,
Under this protestation :
When the Bass and the Isle of Mai,
Beis set upon the Mount Sinai ;
When the Lowmond beside Falkland,
Beis lifted to Northumberland:
When kirkmen yearns2 no dignity,
Nor wives no sovereignty ;
Winter without frost, snow, wind or rain,
Then shall I give thy gold again.
Or I shall make to thee payment
After the day of Judgment,
Within a moneth at the least,
When St Peter shall make a feast
To all the fishers of Aberlady,
So thou have mine acquittance ready
Failing thereof, by Saint Fillain,
Thy grace gets never a groat again.
Gif thou be not content of this,
I must request the King of bliss,
That he to me have some regard,
And cause thy grace me to reward:
For David king of Israel,
Who was the great prophet royal,
Says, God hath whole at his command
The hearts of princes in his hand,
Even as He lists3 them for to turn,
That must they do without sojourn :4
Some to exalt in dignity,
And sometime lords to bind in cords,
And some to deprive in poverty.
Sometime of laymen to make lords
And them all utterly destroy.
As pleaseth God that noble Roy:
For thou art but an instrument
Of that great King Omnipotent.
So when it pleaseth thine excellence,
Thy grace shall make me recompence,
Or He shall cause me stand content,
Of quiet life and sober rent,
And take me in my latter age,
Unto my simple hermitage,
And spend it that mine elders won,
As did Diogenes in his tun;
Of this Complaint, with mind full meek,
Thy grace's answer, sir, I beseik.
THE TESTAMENT AND
Quintin, Merser, Rowl, Henderson, Hay and Holland,
Though they be dead, their libles' are
Which to rehearse makes readers to rejoice,
Alas! for one that lamp was in this land,
Of eloquence the flowing balmy strand ;
And in our English rhetoric the rose,
As of rubies the carbuncle is chose.2
And as Phoebus doth Cynthia precel,
Of our Sovereign Lord, King James the So Gawin Douglas bishop of Dunkel, Fifth, his Papingo,' lying sore wounded, and may not die, till every man have heard what she says. Wherefore, gentle readers, haste you, that she may be put out of pain.
Had, when he was into this land alive,
Above vulgar poets prerogative,
Both in practick and speculation.
I say no more, good readers may descrive
His worthy works, in number mo than