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these examples will be sufficient for ascertaining the copy whence they have been adopted.
It is necessary that our readers should now know some. thing of the spirit and cast of Lyndsay's poetry : but, before we indulge them, it is expedient to notice a very extraordinary and unaccountable* canon of criticism which Mr. Chalmers promulgates. We are the more inclined to discuss the point here because it forms a prominent feature of this edition of Lyndsay ; and as the Editor's zeal in defending it is apparent throughout the work, it would be tedious to recur to it at every step of our progress. This canon, then, is made to account for the formation of many uncommon words and phrases, as well as variations from the standard orthography; in Mr. C.'s own language, 'what a quibble was to Shakspeare, according to Johnson, a rhyme was to Lyndsay, the fatal Cleopatra for whom he lost the world, and was content to lose it ;' (Vol. II. p. 6.) and elsewhere, órhyme, which Lyndsay too often considered as more important than grammar, or sense. The evidence, however, of this Procrustes-like tyranny.of Lyndsay over language does not strike us as sufficiently competent; and we think that we shall be able to convince Mr. C. that our opinion is well founded. We shall produce those which appear to us the more remarkable instances of his failure in establishing his canon, and at the same time give our reasons for dissent. • Vol. I. p. 302. Ying occurs frequently in Dunbar's "Twa mariit wemen and the wedo," where it was not necessary for the rhyme, 306, Ringis is the plural of ring, which was used in Lyndsay's time for reign. An antient Scottish poem begins with, “ Into the ring of the Roy Robert.” 377. Hais, for hairse, i. e. hoarse, is frequently seen in old poetry, without any inducement to drop the g in order to suit the rhyme. Gawen Douglas uses hace. 390. Lumis is the plural of lume, an instrument. The word is also in Dunbar's tale above quoted ; and here we observe that no suspicion can attach to the final syllables of words in this poem, as it is alliterative, and without any rhyme. The meaning of this passage at p. 390. is completely destroyed by Mr. C.'s explanation, which we the less regret because it veils in some measure the obscenity of the text. 438.“ Mense ane ledder,” grace a gallows; ledder, according to Mr. C., is put for the rhyme, but the expression is certainly metonymical, and the meaning is as obvious as if he had said rope or halter. 431. Ford, instead of for it, is still, we believe, used in the North.
Vol. II. p. 41. murmell is here supposed to be put for murmur, in order to suit the verse : but we consider it as 1 4
the same word with mormal in Chaucer, where it means a cancer or gangrene, but from its derivation (malum mortuum) may be applied to any deadly disease. This sense is requisite for the spirit of the passages in Lyndsay in which it appears, at least in one instance ;, for to be saved from murmur does not seem so desirable as to escape from a mortal calamity. Our gloss receives confirmation from a foregoing speech, which Mr. C. has omitted to explain, at p. 36., for the Canter cullours' we presume to be the cause of this murmal', and to allude to the herd of idle rascals who preyed on the vitals of the state, and from whom - Temporalitie' wishes to be delivered. -- 364. Beild is still a very common word in the North for shelter, and hence the proverb, “ Better a wee bush than nae beild." 404. 'Fulzeit (says Mr. C.) properly means defled, but the sense is here, as in other instances, sacrificed to the sound; a rhyme was wanted for spulzeit, or robbed: and fulzeit was used in the meaning of trampled.' Notwithstanding this dogmatical effusion, we think that the following lines from more antient authors than Lyndsay will sufficiently rescue him from the heavy imputation ::
“Or, thow be fulzeit, fey freke, in the fight." Romance of Gawan and Gologras. .
“ Nothin febil, nor fant, nor fulzeit in labour." Dunbar. In neither of these cases can the word possibly signify defiled.. Beaten, or overcome, seems to be the primary sense ; and trampled is a very allowable extension of it, and appears to be the genuine import of the threat in the Romance of G. and G. 418. All and sum is a common pleonastic phrase, perhaps originally forensic, but had been used by Dunbar before Lyndsay.-- See the Maitland Poems, Vol. II. p. 362.
Vol. Ill. p. 20. Con is we believe the squirrel, and not a corruption of Coney, for the rhyme. Mr. C.'s emendations are frequently without amendment, and would here, besides being unnecessary, destroy the simile. 80. Pace is still in Scotland the vulgar pronunciation of Pasche, Easter. In Myntown's Chronicle, it is used in many different forms.
For specimens of Lyndsay's ability in the several walks of poetry which he cultivated, we do not well know where to begin : but a description of scenery in his Dreme,' his first production, is nearly the most splendid effort of his imagina. tion, and we shall give it the preference:
“ Eften that I the lang wynteris nicht,
Throuch hevy thocht, that na way sleip I micht,
And sa, as I was passyng be the way,
Quhilk, $ $ into May, was dulce and delectabill,
Under dame Naturis mantill lurking law.
To Nature makand greit lamentation,
Weill bordourit with dasyis of delyte?
Aliaçe! quhat gentill hart may this indure?" * So up I rose. t clothed.
I presently. || two-fold, thick shoes. 's woollen gloves. went I out. ** skipping across. tf Amuse myself. It .e. Each bank and hill was without bloom. I i sad. 1 Which. 99 violent. *** suppressed. ttt formerly. 111 This word is not explained ; it is probably an error of the press for lychrit, I. e. alighted. All Cursed.
SS Possibly showers, but more likely here used for sorrows, as in old English. 499 Wretched. **** Cried. tttt Suffers. titt Robe 118 of.
This extract manifests a considerable resemblance to the Scottish Song, “ O lusty May with Flora Queen," in Forbes' Cantus, printed for the third time at Aberdeen in 1682, and mentioned in the Complaynt of Scotland, circà 1550, and which still more closely reseinbles one by Lidgate, to which we cannot now refer : but the reader may find it in Stow's Survey of London. We shall not pretend to say that Lyndsay directly imitated either: but we think that his performance is very happy, particularly in the fine exclamation, • Blessed be summer,' and in the pathetic close.
We shall now give a short sample of the Play of the Three Estatis ; after having remarked that it is difficult to make any selection from this once popular satirical drama, without offending modern ears, since the author seems to have been determined that nothing should be nameless. We copy a few stanzas from the speech of the Pardoner, which contains a humorous enumeration of relics : it proves, also, beyond a question, that there formerly existed, even in the Lowlands of Scotland, traditions respecting Fyn Macoull, or Fingal, and his heroes :- we only say traditious, not poems :
“ My patent pardouns, ye may see,
-Weill scaled, with oster-schellis.
With help of bukes and bellis.
With teith and al togidder.
Was slane into Balquhidder.
Of gude hemp, soft and sound.
Neidis never to be dround.
Quhiid bure f his haly bell;
He sall never gang to hell,
*ie. The right jaw bone of Fingal. + for it. tail. . snout. & Which bore.'
I whoever is.
Without Without he be of Beliall borne.
Maisters trow ye that this be scorne ? . Cum, win this pardon, cum,” &c.
The most interesting of all Lyndsay's productions is his History of Squire Meldrum, a celebrated character of his own age, his familiar acquaintance, and who himself furnished the materials of the composition. The manners of the time are most vividly and picturesquely sketched in it, and with the same minuteness of pencilling and unambitious mode of delineation which we occasionally recognize in the best of the metrical romances of Chivalry. The Squire, he tells us,
"was bot twentie yeiris of age,
And stude weill ay in his ladies grace ;" We cannot proceed farther without animadverting on the fantastic punctuation in which Mr. C. has thought fit to bedeck the • Lion. The end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth line run naturally together, and should have no point interjected; the meaning is, he could endure extremity of labour: but Mr. C.'s bepointing divests it of any thing like meaning. Ovirset or owreset is in Scotland used substantively to denote excessive exertion : but we in vain looked for the word in Mr. C.'s Glossary.- We do not propose to follow the Squire through all his adventures, but we willingly make room for some spirited lines from the relation of his eucounter with an English Knight:
“Quhen thir twa nobill men of weir t.
Wer weile accownterit in thair geir I,
* Bold and strong.
t war. armour. | strong spears. row, around.
I accoutered in their § in pieces.