BOOK I - YOUTH AND SPRING THE NORTHERN MUSE 1 - MEDITATION IN WINTER IN to thir dirk and drublie dayis, Whone sabill all the Hevin arrayis, =With mystie vapouris, cluddis and skyis, =Nature all curage me denyis Off sangis, ballattis, and of playis. When that the nycht dois lenthin houris, With wind, with haill, and havy schouris, =My dule spreit dois lurk for schoir; =My hairt for languor dois forloir, For laik of symmer with his flouris. I walk, I turne, sleip may I nocht, I vexit am with havy thocht; =This warld all ouir I cast about, =And ay the mair I am in dout, The mair that I remeid have socht.... For feir of this all day I drowp; No gold in kist, nor wine in cowp, =No ladeis bewtie, nor luiffis blyss =May lat me to remember this: How glaid that ever I dine or soup. Yit, whone the nycht begynnis to schort, It dois my spreit sum part confort, =Off thocht oppressit with the schouris. =Cum, lustie symmer! with thy flouris, That I may leif in sum disport. =======_William Dunbar_. 2 - WHEN AINCE APRILE HAS FAIRLY COME WHEN aince Aprile has fairly come, An’ birds may bigg in winter’s lum, An’ pleisure’s spreid for a’ and some =O’ whatna state, Love, wi’ her auld recruitin’ drum, =Than taks the gate. The heart plays dunt wi’ main an’ micht; The lasses’ een are a’ sae bricht, Their dresses are sae braw an’ ticht, =The bonnie birdies!- Puir winter virtue at the sicht =Gangs heels ower hurdies. An’ aye as love frae land to land Tirls the drum wi’ eident hand, A’ men collect at her command, =Toun-bred or land’art, An’ follow in a denty band =Her gaucy standart. An’ I, wha sang o’ rain an’ snaw, An’ weary winter weel awa’, Noo busk me in a jacket braw, =An’ tak my place I’ the ram-stam, harum-scarum raw, =Wi’ smilin’ face. =======_R. L. Stevenson_. 3 - DIFFUGERE NIVES Noo swallow-birds begin to big, =An’ primrose-flooers to blaw; An’ Jockie whistles doun the rig =A fareweel to the snaw; An’ glints o’ sunshine, glancin’ gleg, =Licht up the buddin’ shaw; An’ wrestlin’ winds are playin’ tig =Round ae bewildered craw. Auld Tammas to the gavle-wa’ =Nails up a cherry-twig; An’ Mar’an waters, raw by raw, =Her bleachin’ wi’ a pig; An’ yonder—he’s been lang awa’— =Comes Packie owre the brig; An’ country lads may noo gang braw, =An’ country lasses trig. =======_James Logie Robertson_. 4 - SONG AT SUNRISE HAY! now the day dauis, The jolie cok crauis, Now shroudis the shauis =Throu Nature anone. The thissell-cok cryis On lovers wha lyis, Now skaillis the skyis: =The night is neir gone. The feildis ouerflouis With gouans that grouis Where lilies like lou is, =Als rid as the rone. The turtill that treu is, With notes that reneuis, Her partie perseuis: =The night is neir gone. Now hartis with hyndis, Conform to their kyndis, Hie tursis their tyndis, =On grund where they grone. Now hurchonis, with hairis, Ay passis in pairis; Whilk deuly declaris =The night is neir gone. The sesone excellis Thrugh sweetness that smellis: Now Cupid compellis =Our heartis echone. On Venus wha waikis, To muse on our maikis, Syn sing, for their saikis: ="The night is neir gone." All curageous knichtis Aganis the day dichtis The breist plate that bright is, =To feght with their fone. The stoned steed stampis Through coinage and crampis, Syn on the land lampis: =The night is neir gone. The freikis on feildis That wight wapins weildis With shining bright shieldis =As Titan in trone; Stiff speiris in reistis, Ouer cursoris crestis, Are brok on their breistis: =The night is neir gone. So hard are their hittis, Some sweyis, some sittis, And some perforce flittis =On grund whill they grone. Syn groomis that gay is, On blonkis that brayis, With swordis assayis: =The night is neir gone. =======_Alexander Montgomerie_. 5 - A MAY MORNING RYGHT as the stern of day begouth to schyne, When gone to bed war Vesper and Lucyne, =I raise, and by a rosere did me rest; Up sprang the goldyn candill matutyne, With clere depurit bemes cristallyne, =Glading the mery foulis in thair nest =Or Phebus was in purpur cape revest Up raise the lark, the hevyns menstrale fyne =In May, in-till a morow myrthfullest. Full angel-like thir birdis sang thair houris Within thair courtyns grene, in-to thair bouris, =Apparalit white and red, wyth blomes suete; Enamalit was the felde wyth all colouris, The perly droppis schake in silvir schouris, =Whill all in balme did branch and levis flete; =To part fra Phebus, did Aurora grete, Hir cristall teris I saw hyng on the flouris, =Whilk he for lufe all drank up with his hete. Por mirth of May, wyth skippis and wyth hoppis, The birdis sang upon the tender croppis, =With curiouse note, as Venus chapell-clerkis: The rosis yong, new spreding of thair knoppis, War powderit brycht with hevinly beriall droppis, =Throu bemes rede, birnyng as ruby sperkis; =The skyes rang for schoutyng of the larkis, The purpur hevyn our-scailit in silver sloppis =Our-gilt the treis, branchis, lefis and barkis. Doun throu the ryce a ryvir ran wyth stremys, So lustily agayn thai lykand lemys, =That all the lake as lamp did leme of licht, Whilk schadowit all about wyth twynkling glemis; That bewis bathit war in secund bemys =Throu the reflex of Phebus’ visage brycht; =On every syde the hegies raise on hicht, The bank was grene, the bruke was full of bremys, =The stanneris clere as stern in frosty nycht. The cristall air, the sapher firmament, The ruby skyes of the orient, =Kest beriall bemes on emerant bewis grene; The rosy garth depaynt and redolent, With purpur, azure, gold and goulis gent =Arayed was, by dame Flora the quene, =So nobily, that joy was for to sene; The roch agayn the rywir resplendent =As low enlumynit all the leves schene. =======_William Dunbar_. 6 - O LUSTY MAY O LUSTY May with Flora quene! The balmy dropis from Phebus schene! =Preluciand beams befoir the day Be that Diana growis grene, =Through glaidnes of this lusty May. Than Esperus, that is so bricht, Till woeful hairtis castis his licht, =With bankis that blumis on every brae; And schuris are shed furth of their sicht, =Through glaidnes of this lusty May. Birdis on bewis of every birth, Rejoicing nottis makand their mirth =Right plesandly upoun the spray, With flourishing our field and firth, =Through glaidnes of this lusty May. All luvaris that are in cair, To their ladeis they do repair, =In fresh mornyngis befoir the day, And are in mirth ay mair and mair, =Through glaidnes of this lusty May. Of everie moneth in the yeir, To mirthful May there is no peir, =Hir glistrine garments are so gay; You lovaris all mak merie cheir, =Through glaidnes of this lusty May. 7 - THE MOTHER OF FLOWERS WHEN Merche was with variand windis past, =And Appryll had, with hir silver shouris, Tane leif at Nature with ane orient blast, =And lusty May, that moder is of flouris, =Had maid the birdis to begyn thair houris Amang the tendir odouris reid and whyt, Whois armony to heir it wes delyt; In bed at morrow, sleiping as I lay, =Me-thocht Aurora with hir cristall ene, In at the window lukit by the day, =And halsit me, with visage paill and grene; =On whois hand a lark sang fro the splene, "Awalk, luvaris, out of your slumbering! See how the lusty morrow dois up-spring." Me-thocht fresche May befoir my bed upstude, =In weid depaint of mony diverss hew, Sobir, benyng, and full of mansuetude, =In brycht atteir of flouris forgit new, =Hevinly of color, whyt, reid, broun, and blew, Balmit in dew, and gilt with Phebus’ bemys, Whill all the houss illumynit of hir lemys. "Sluggird," scho said, "awalk anone for schame, =And in my honour sum thing thow go wryt; The lark has done the mirry day proclame, =To raiss up luvaris with confort and delyt; =Yit nocht incressis thy curage to indyt, Whois hairt sumtyme has glaid and blisfull bene, Sangis to mak undir the levis grene." 8 - MOORLAND SPRING THERE’S no a muir in my ain land but’s fu’ o’ sang the day, Wi’ the whaup, and the gowden plover, and the lintie upon the brae. The birk in the glen is springin’, the rowan-tree in the shaw, And every burn is rinnin’ wild wi’ the meltin’ o’ the snaw. The wee white cluds in the blue lift are hurryin’ light and free, Their shadows fleein’ on the hills, where I, too, fain wad be; The wind frae the west is blawin’, and wi’ it seems to bear The scent o’ the thyme and gowan thro’ a’ the caller air. The herd doon the hillside’s linkin’. O licht his heart may be Whose step is on the heather, his glance ower muir and lea! On the moss are the wild ducks gatherin’, whar the pules like diamonds lie, And far up soar the wild geese, wi’ weird, unyirdly cry. In mony a neuk the primrose lies hid frae stranger een, An‘ the broom on the knowes is wavin’ wi’ its cludin o’ gowd and green; Ower the first green sprigs o’ heather, the muir-fowl faulds his wing, And there’s nought but joy in my ain land at the comin’ o’ the Spring! =======_Lady John Scott_. 9 - THE COMING OF LOVE BEWAILLING in my chamber thus allone, =Despeired of all joye and remedye, For-tiret of my thought and wo-begone, =And to the wyndow gan I walk in hye, To see the warld and folk that went forbye, =As for the tyme though I of mirthis fude =Mycht have no more, to luke it did me gude. Now was there maid fast by the Touris wall =A gardyn faire, and in the corneris set Ane herbere greene, with wandis long and small =Railit about, and so with treis set Was all the place, and hawthorn hegis knet, =That lyf was non walkyng there forbye, =That mycht within scarce any wight aspy. So thick the bewis and the levis grene =Beschadit all the allyes that there were, And myddis every herbere mycht be sene =The scharpe grene suete jenepere, Growing so fair with branchis here and there, =That, as it semyt to a lyf without, =The bewis spred the herbere all about. And on the smale grene twistis sat =The lytil suete nyghtingale, and song So loud and clere, the ympnis consecrat =Of luvis use, now soft now lowd among, That all the gardynis and the wallis rong =Ryght of thaire song, and on the copill next =Of thaire suete armony, and lo the text: "Worschippe, ye that loveris bene, this May, =For of your bliss the kalendis are begonne, And sing with us, away winter, away, =Come somer, come, the suete seson and sonne, Awake, for schame! that have your hevynis wonne, =And amourously lift up your hedis all, =Thank Lufe that list you to his merci call." When thai this song had song a littil thrawe, =Thai stent a quhile, and therewith unafraid, As I beheld, and kest myn eyen a-lawe, =From beugh to beugh thay hippit and thai plaid, And freschly in thair birdis kynd araid =Thair fatheris new, and fret thame in the sonne, =And thankit Lufe, that had their makis worine. And therewith kest I doun myn eye ageyne, =Whare as I saw walkyng under the Toure, Full secretely, new cumyn hir to playne, =The fairest or the freschest younge floure That ever I sawe, methought, before that houre, =For which sodayne abate, anon astert =The blude of all my body to my hert. And though I stood abaisit tho a lyte, =No wonder was; for why? my wittis all Were so ouercome with plesance and delyte, =Only through latting of myn eyen fall, That sudaynly my hert become hir thrall, =For ever of free wyll, for of manace =There was no takyn in her suete face. And in my hede I drew rycht hastily, =And eft sones I lent it out ageyne, And saw hir walk that verray womanly, =With no wight mo, bot only women tueyne, Than gan I studye in myself and seyne: =!Ah! suete, are ye a warldly creature, =Or hevinly thing in likeness of nature? "Or ye god Cupidis owin princess? =And cumyn are to louse me out of band, Or are ye veray Nature the goddesse, =That have depayntit with your hevinly hand This gardyn full of flouris, as they stand? =What sall I think, allace! what reverence =Sall I minister to your excellence? "Giff ye a goddess be, and that ye like =To do me payne, I may it not astert; Giff ye be warldly wight, that dooth me sike, =Why lest God mak you so, my derest hert, To do a sely prisoner thus smert, =That lufis you all, and wote of nought but wo? =And, therefore, merci, suete! sen it is so." When I a lytill thrawe had maid my mone, =Bewailing myn infortune and my chance, Unknawin how or what was best to done, =So ferre I fallyng into lufis dance, That sodeynly my wit, my contenance, =My hert, my will, my nature, and my mynd, =Was changit dene rycht in ane other kind. =======_James I. of Scotland_.