Rough Scan


OF the life of Robert Henryson little is known but that he lived in the latter half of the fifteenth century, wrote a certain number of poems with which his name, in certain early manuscript and printed texts, is associated, and died sometime before 1508, when Chepman & Myllar printed Dunbar's _Lament for the Makaris,_ where his death is lamented-

==='In Dun fermelyne he hes done roune
===With Naister Robert Henrisoun.'=(II. 81-2)

And as this Lament groups the names of poets of an older school, together with that of 'Gud Maister Walter Kennedy,' for example, who at the time of writing 'in poynt of dede lyis veraly,' we cannot even infer from its evidence the exact date of Henryson's death.
If we give any credence to the late narrative of Sir Francis Kinaston we shall be confirmed in the belief that Henryson died 'very old,' and so, putting his death any time between 1500 and 1508, we may guess his date of birth at some time early in the second quartet of the fifteenth century.  The narrative in question is contained in Kinaston's manuscript Latin translation of Chaucer's _Troilus and Cresseid_, made in 1639.  After having rendered the five books of Chaucer's 'tragedie,' he added a version of Henryson's _Testament of Cresseid_, which, in William Thynne's edition of 1532, was printed as a continuation or sixth book.  Thynne does not distinguish between the authorship of the two poems, and in later editions the confusion was continued.  _Francis_ Thynne, animadverting on the corruption of the Chaucer text, especially in Speght's edition (1599), writes: 'yt would be good that Chaucers proper woorkes were distinguyshed from the adulterat and such as were not his, as the Testamente of Cressyde.'  Kinaston, however, was better informed than most of the editors, and his ascription of the poem is accompanied by an account of Henryson's last moments, which, even if apocryphal, is the only anecdote at his biographer's disposal.
(I take the text of the note from Gregory Smith's edition, I. ciii.).
'For the Author of this supplement called the Testament of Creseid, which may passe for the sixt & last booke of this story I have very sufficiently bin informed by ST Tho: Eriskin late earle of Kelly & divers aged schollers of the Scottish nation, that it was made & written by one Mr Robert Henderson sometimes cheife schoolemaster in Dunfermling much about the time that Chaucer was first printed & dedicated to king Henry the 8th by Mr Thinne which was neere the end of his raigne: This Mr Henderson wittily observing, that Chaucer in his 5th booke had related the death of Troilus, but made no mention what became of Creseid, he learnedly takes uppon him in a fine poeticall way to expres the punishment & end due to a false unconstant whore, which commonly terminates in extreme misery, about, or a litle after his time the most famous of the Scottish poets Gawen Douglas made his learned & excellent translation of Virgils AEneids, who was bishop of Dunkeld, & made excellent prefaces to every one of the twelve bookes: For this Mr Robert Henderson he was questionles a learned & a witty man, & it is pitty we have no more of his works being very old he dyed of a diarrhea or fluxe, of whome there goes this merry, though somewhat unsavory tale, that all phisitians having given him over & he lying drawing his last breath there came an old woman unto him, who was held a witch, & asked him whether he would be cured, to whome he sayed very willingly.  then quod she there is a whikey tree in the lower end of your orchard, & if you will goe and walke but thrice about it, & thrice repeate theis wordes whikey tree whikey tree take away this fluxe from me you shall be presently cured, he told her that beside he was extreme faint & weake it was extreme frost & snowe & that it was impossible for him to go: She told him that unles he did so it was impossible he should recover.  Mr Henderson then lifting upp himselfe, & pointing to an Oken table that was in the roome, asked her & seied gude dame I pray ye tell me, if it would not do as well if I repeated thrice theis words oken burd oken burd garre me shit a hard turde.  the woman seing herselfe derided & scorned ran out of the house in a great passion & Mr Henderson within halfe a quarter of an houre departed this life.'
An account so far out in Henryson's _floruit_ can be of no great authority on any other matter, so it is fortunate that the only other item of importance-'sometimes cheife schoolemaster in Dunfermling'-is confirmed by the testimony of early title-pages.  George Chalmers' suggestion that the poet was one of the Henrysons, or Hendersons, of Fordel, in Fife, was dismissed by David Laing in 1865; and there is no good reason for believing that the John Henryson, Master of the grammar school in the Abbey of Dunfermline, who addressed a complaint to the Privy Council in 1573, was related to the poet by any bonds other than that of office.  Attempts have been made to identify the poet with two other Henrysons.  Laing identified him with a certain 'venerablis vir Magister Robertus Henrisone in Artibus Licentiatus et in Decretis Bachalarius,' incorporated in the newly founded University of Glasgow in 1462; and Chalmers, in 1824, recognised the poet in a 'Robert Henrison, notarius publicus,' who witnessed certain deeds in the Chartulary of Dunfermline (1477-8).  But Laing himself, from whom all Henryson studies derive, provided a sufficient reason for rejecting these insubstantial figures by citing a list of over thirty contemporary and local Henrysons (six of them Robert Henrysons)-a list which could not hope, and did not pretend, to be complete.
There are two other references to our poet in the poetry of his own time.  Gavin Douglas, in a holograph gloss to the word 'Muse' in his translation of the AEneid (_c_. 1522), _Camb_. MS. _Gale_ O3.12, writes-

'Musa in Grew signifeis an inventryce or invention in our langgage.  And of the ix Musis sum thing in my palys of honour and be Mastir robert hendirson in new orpheus'
(_Orpheus and Euridyce_, II. 29-6O).

And Sir David Lyndesay, in his Testament and Complaynt of our Soverane Lordis Papyngo (c. 153O), writes of Henryson and other dead poets-

==='Thocht thay be deed, thar libells bene levand,
===Quhilk to reheirs makeith redaris to rejoise.'

In the poems themselves there is little or nothing for the biographer.  From _Orpheus_ and _Eurydice_ we learn that he had no ear for music (CM I. 125):

==='For in my lyf I coud nevir syng a note;'

The _Abbay Walk_ may suggest the great Benedictine Abbey of Dunfermline, in the Grammar and Song School of which the poet taught.  The lost poem, _On fut by Forth_, also suggests local allusion, as does the phrase 'fra lawdian to lundin' [Lundin in Fife, not London] in the extravagant _Practysis of Medecyne_.  When we have said this, we have given all the materials that exist for a life of Henryson.


Henryson is known to the ordinary reader, if at all, as the poet of _Robene and Makyne_ and the _Testament of Cresseid_.  These two poems were frequently reprinted in the latter half of the eighteenth century, especially _Robene and Makyne_, which was included by Allan Ramsay in the _Ever Green_, in 1724, after which it was printed by the editor of the 1748 _Poems in the Scottish Dialect_, Percy, Lord Hailes, Pinkerton, etc.  If it must be conceded that there are among the minor poems (and it should be remembered that the canon is by no means definite) some which have no title to immortality, it is right that the poet of the _Fables_, of _Orpheus and Eurydice, The Bludy Serk, The Annunciation_, and others, should be remembered and read.  Indeed, in offering this edition to the public, the editor ventures a claim for Henryson, which, he is confident, the poems will sustain, that he is, without equal, the greatest of the Scots makars.  The comparison with Dunbar immediately intrudes itself, for it is obvious that Dunbar is the only other with a right to contest the title.  Dunbar, I am prepared to admit, is a greater virtuoso, a more accomplished technician, one of the greatest metrists, not only in Scots, but in all English literature.  Not that the technical equipment of Henryson is in any way deficient.  It is always adequate to his requirements, but it is never, as often with Dunbar, obtrusive.  He is seldom, if ever, betrayed into mere virtuosity; but, on the other hand, he is, in the essentials of poetry, a more original artist than Dunbar or any other of the Chaucerians.  His originality is of that kind which places a poet in the main current of poetic tradition; the more obvious originality of Dunbar is often one of mere technical eccentricity.
The greatest, and the most original, of Henryson's works is that one which would appear least likely to have that quality-his translation of the _Moral Fables_ of AEsop.  In this rehandlIng of popular and traditional material, the reader has the best opportunity of assessing the classical nature of Henryson's originality-the originality that makes all things its own, the originality of Chaucer, and of Shakespeare.  Not only in tales for which no original is known (like _The Fox, the Wolf and the Cadger_), but in well-worn pieces like _The Town-mouse and the Country-mouse_, the story is told as though it had never been told before, with a wealth of personal observation, simple pathos, and lively humour.  The dead bones are made to live.  AEsop, the slow-pacing moralist of medieval tradition, is barely recognisable.  Like the cadger of the fable, 'As he had hard ane pyper play, he gais'; and the moralising, which is admittedly dull, is confined to the postscript.  Henryson's most Chaucerian gift, though it should be recognised as one distinctively Scottish, is his power of turning from pathos to humour, from the sublime to the ridiculous, in a line or phrase which breaks in upon the narrative like a spoken comment in the voice of the poet.  When the two mice, seated at their alderman's feast, and singing, 'Hail, Yule, hail!' for very joy, are startled by the entrance of the steward with his keys, how is their scuttling to safety described?-

==='Thay taryit not to wesche, as I suppose!'

It is perfect art, of the same kind as Chaucer's chat with the eagle in the _Hous of Fame_.  The cadger, stepping out as to a piper's tune, and singing, 'Huntis up, up, upon hie,' belongs to the same realm of art as Dame Pertelote and Chanteclere singing

==='In sweete accord, "My lief is faren in londe."'

And when the cadger finds the wolf stretched out on the highway before him, hoping to beguile him with the fox's wiles, and steps down cautiously, saying,

==='"Softlie, . . . I was begylit anis;
===Be I begylit twyis, I schrew us baith . . . ."'

we are, whether we recognise it or not, on the pinnacle of verse narrative.  Henrysons sense of humour is ever in evidence, and it has a quality that is recognisable in Scottish humour to this day.  In the fable of the _Fox and the Wolf_, the fox, having been forbidden all meat but fish by his ghostly confessor, the wolf, kills a kid and plunges it in the stream-

==='He doukit him and till him can he sayne,
==="Ga doun schir Kid, cum up schir salmond agane!"
===Quhill he wes deid; syne to the land him drewch,
===And of that new maid salmond eit enewch.'

Then he stretched himself out under a bush, to warm his 'wame' in the sun's heat, and, in reckless vainglory, he reflected that a distended belly like his needed only an arrow in it, to complete the picture.  With that, the keeper of the herd came past, and, with his bow, pinned him to the ground-

==='"Now," quod the fox, "alace and welloway!
===Gorrit I am, and may no forther gane;
===Methink no man may speke a word in play
===Bot now on dayis in ernist it is tane!"'

Or when the fox and wolf return from their embassy to the contumacious mare, the wolf with the top of his head kicked off and the blood running over his heels, the fox, in answer to the lion's questioning, says,

===='"My Lord, speir not at me!
===Speir at your Doctour off Divinitie,
===With his reid Cap can tell yow weill aneuch."
===With that the Lyoun and all the laif thay leuch.'

And we cannot but laugh with them.  How irresistible is the dignified scorn of the burgess mouse, when faced with the homely cheer of her country sister-

==='"My fair sister" (quod scho), "have me excusit,
===This rude dyat and I can not accord;
===To tender meit my stomok is ay usit,
===For quhylis I fair alsweill as ony Lord;
===Thir wydderit peis, and nuttis, or thay be bord,
===Wil brek my teith, & mak my wame fful sklender,
===Quhilk wes before usit to meitis tender."'

She bids her come to town, where, says she, 'My dische weschingis is worth your haill expence,' and to town they run.  Faced with the splendour and plenty of the city establishment what is the comment of the country sister?-

==='"Yea, dame," quod scho, "bot how lang will this lest?"'

These are the commonplaces of !ife, recorded by one who observed them with a keen, kindly eye.  In his treatment of the commonplaces of literature, he is equally skilful.  Whether it is the _Ubi sunt_ motive, as in the _Testament_,

==='Quhair is thy Chalmer wantounlie besene?'

or the pastoral _estrif_, as in the incomparable _Robene and Makyne_, with the old refrain,

==='The man that will nocht quhen he may
===Sall haif nocht quhen he wald . . .'

or the hour-glass motive, as in the _Aige and Yowth_, or the death's head, as in the _Thre Deid Pollis_, these commonplaces, in Henryson's hands, become personal and sincere.
In the Trial of the Fox, for instance, he introduces one of the dullest and most familiar of medieval poetic devices, the beast-catalogue, the usual gathering of beasts real and imaginary, familiar and fantastic.  But in his hands, even this takes on the interest of things seen and noted-

==='The marmisset the Mowdewart couth leid,
===Because that Nature denyit had hir sicht;
===Thus dressit thay all ffurth ffor dreid off deid;
===The musk, the lytill Mous with all hir micht
===With haist scho haikit unto that hill of hicht.'

What will rejoice Scottish readers more than anything, I believe, will be to find in this fifteenth century Dunfermline schoolmaster the same distinguishing features that mark out the Scotsman, in any company, to-day.  In the _moralitas_ sections, for instance, he is more than disposed to address his Maker in an admonitory and chastening tone.  The sheep cries out,

===='"Lord God, quhy sleipis thow sa lang?
===Walk, and discerne my cause, groundit on richt;"'

and elsewhere this peremptory note, reminiscent of the northcountry pulpit, is to be heard.  And, when the poet is visited in a dream by his master AEsop, listen to their conversation:

==='(He) said, "God speid, my sone"; and I wes fane
===Of that couth word, and off his cumpany;
===With reverence I salusit him agane:
==="Welcome, Father"; and he sat doun me by.
==="Displeis you not, my gude maister, thocht I
===Demand your birth, your facultye, and name,
===Quhy ye come heir, or quhair ye dwell at hame."'

Anyone who has travelled by train in the Kingdom of Fife, in the same compartment as one of the natives of that kingdom, knows that last line by experience-

==='Why ye come heir, and whaur ye dwell at hame?'

And, in the reading of Henryson, the Scots reader's heart will be warmed again and again by such "couth words" and undeniable bonds of kinship.
Only once or twice in the poems is the narrative manner discarded for a few lines to make way for a personal comment, and one of these utterances has all the freshness and delight of Chaucer's best asides.  When, in his account of Orpheus' flight through the outer heavens, he has become thoroughly involved in a long, pedantic description of the planets and the music of the spheres, Henryson extricates himself with an ease that is typically Chaucerian, and remarks,

==='Off sik musik to wryte I do bot dote,
===Tharfor at this mater a stra I lay,
===For in my lyf I coud nevir syng a note.'

So Chaucer breaks free from the discussion of predestination in which Chanteclere and Pertelote are embroiled, with

==='I wil not han to do of swich mateere,
===My tale is of a cok. . . .'

But in two of the poems there are passages that rise to real heights of tragic feeling and expression.  Forsaken Orpheus, crying in vain for his Eurydice,

==="Quhar art thow gane, my luf Erudices?"'


==='"My lady Quene and luf, Erudices,"'

strikes a note of real feeling in the heart of that rather frigid poem, besides anticipating a rhetorical device that was to stand Marlowe in good stead when he wrote-

==='Now walk the angels on the walles of heaven,
===As Centinels to warne th' immortall soules,
===To entertaine devine _Zenocrate_.'

And the epitaph on the marble tomb of Cresseid is one of the most moving things in literature-

==='Lo fair Ladyis, Cresseid, of Troyis Toun,
===Sumtyme countit the flour of Womanheid,
===Under this stan; lait Lipper, lyis deid.'



_Printed Texts._

1.=There are four early printed texts of the _Fables_, two of which have not been used by any previous editor of Henryson.  Previous editions have been based only on the manuscripts and the text printed by Robert Lekpreuik for Henry Charteris, Edinburgh, 1570 (small quarto, black letter), of which a single copy survives.  This quarto, formerly in the Britwell Court Library, is now preserved in the British Museum.  In 1865, David Laing, Henryson's first responsible editor, stated that a copy of the Charteris print was included in the sale of the library of Sir Andrew Balfour, M.D. (Catalogue, p. 113), which took place by public auction in Edinburgh in 1695.  The book is described as: _Aesop's Fables, Englisked by Mr Robert Henrison:_ Edinb. 1570, 8vo, and was perhaps a copy of the Charteris print.  Laing also claimed to have seen a copy in private hands in Edinburgh, 'not many years since.'  It is more than possible that the copy seen by Laing was that sold in 1695; but no other man has ever seen it since.  Should it ever reappear, it is not certain that it will prove to be another copy of Charteris.

2.=In the following year, another text was printed in Edinburgh, by Thomas Bassandyne, at the Nether Bow, and of this text, too, a single copy is all that survives (or is known to survive).  No previous editor of Henryson has known of its existence, although until recently it has been in the Library of York Minster.  The present editor owes his knowledge of the book to a marginal note made by the late Dr J. F. Kellas Johnstone in the late Dr Erskine Beveridge's _Bibliography of Dunfermline._  Under the description of the Charteris print of the _Fables_, he has noted: 'There is another copy (printed by Bassandyne) Edin., 1571, in York Minster.'  A first enquiry at York Minster LibraTy failed to discover the book, but, in reply to a more particular and importunate query, the Librarian, Canon F. Harrison, replied that the _Fables_ had been in the Minster Library, but that the copy had been sold some two years ago to Dr Rosenbach, of New York.  A search among Dr Rosenbach's printed catalogues revealed the book in question:

AESOP.  The morall Fables of Esope, compylit in eloquet, & ornate Scottis meter, be M. Robert Henrisoe.  1571.

At this stage of the hunt, the present editor enlisted the aid of the National Library of Scotland.  Dr H. W. Meikle, the Librarian, entered into negotiations with Dr Rosenbach, and, as a result, the Fables returned to Scotland, to a more suitable and permanent home in the National Library.  Upon the text as found in this copy, the present edition is based.  A full description of the book is given in the Appendix, page 217.

3.=The third surviving printed text is less important from a textual point than either of the others, but, like the Bassandyne print, its actual history is of some interest.  It was known to David Laing about a hundred years ago, and in 1865 he described it minutely.  The title runs as follows:

The Fabulous tales of | Esope the Phrygian, Compiled | _moste eloquently in Scottishe_ | Metre by Master Robert | Henrison, & _now lately_ | _Englished_. |  _Every tale Moralised most aptly to_ | _this present time, worthy_ | _to be read._  [_Ornament; with motto_=Occulta Veritas Tempora patet.  (_McKerrow_ : No. 186)] | Imprinted at London by | Richard Smith | Anno 1577.

David Laing saw a copy of this edition in the Libaray of Sion College (Press mark EB ix 40), but when in his preparation of his edition of 1865 he went to consult the volume, he found that it had disappeared.  It reappeared some thirty years later in a London saleroom. where W. Carew Hazlitt bought and described it, and noted that it finally passed into the possession of the Rosebery Family.
'. . . I saw in a catalogue of miscellaneous books sold at Sotheby's in 1890 a lot which fixed my attention as a bibliographer.  It was the English or Anglicised version of Henryson' Aesop, printed at London in 1577, and of which David Laing, in his edition of the old Scottish poet (1865), speaks as having been seen by him in the library of Sion College when he visited that institution about 1830.  He mentions that he wished to verify something at a later date, and that the volume had disappeared.  I found on inspection that this was the identical book, no other being known anywhere; and I bought it under the hammer for Ģ6, and let Jarvis & Son have it for Ģ12, 12s.  They sold it to Lord Rosebery.  It had probably been a wanderer above half a centry, since it quitted the College in the pocket of some divine of elastic conscience or short memory.'  (_The Confessions of a Collector_, pp. 126-7.  London, 1897.)
The volume remained in the late Lord Rosebery's possession until 1927, when his valuable collection of Scottish tracts and early printed books became the property of the National Library of Scotland.  Lord Rosebery offered to place the book at the disposal of the late Professor G. Gregory Smith when his S.T.S. edition of Henryson was in the press, but as his Lordship's books were stored in packing cases for the duration of the war, the opportunity was lost, and Gregory Smith had to be content to write:
'When the time comes for the return of the volumes to their old places, the Editor, or another, will have an opportunity of giving an account of this sixteenth century "Englishing" of the _Fables_.  It is useless to speculate on its value, beyond suggesting that the effort of an appreciative Elizabethan to interpret Henryson's text may, even by its errors, help us to a better understanding of some of the more obscure readings.  It is not likely that any biographical or bibliographical evidence escaped David Laing when he made his careful summary of its contents.' (_Henryson_, S.T.S. vol. i., p. clxiv.)
Errors and misunderstandings of the text, as the writer anticipated, are abundant in Richard Smith's translation, but his rendering is sufficiently interesting to justify a collation of the 1577 edition with those of 157O and 1571.  A fuller account of the book appears in the Appendix, page 222, where, too, the question of its relation to the _Harleian MS._, which it closely resembles, is considered.
A fourth printed text has been used in the preparation of this edition-that printed by Andro Hart in Edinburgh, 1621.  This text (like 1, 2 and 3) is an apparently unique copy, and (like 2 and 3) is in the National Library of Scotland.  Although it is a late, and to some extent a corrupt text, displaying a considerable degree of Anglicisation, and a growing inability to understand older Scottish forms, it is capable of offering variant readings that are often interesting and sometimes almost plausible.  This edition was reprinted by the Maitland Club in 1832, with a preface (unsigned) by David Irving, Keeper of the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, author of a _History of Scottish Poetry_ (1861) and contributor of an article on Henryson to the _Encyclopaedica Britannica_, 7th ed. (1836).  The Prologue and the ninth Fable (The Tale of the Fox, the Wolf and the Cadger) were printed in the _Scots Magazine_ 1813, p. 505, from Hart's edition.  The unique copy, which is extremely defective, was formerly the property of Mr Archibald Constable, and later became the property of the Advocates' Library, now the National Library of Scotland.

_Lost Printed Texts._

_Fabillis of Isope_, printed by Robert Smith, Edinburgh.
In 1599, Smith was granted a privilege to print the _Fables_ and, in the inventory of his stock, made after his death in 1602, there were 743 copies (_Dickson & Edmond_, p. 483).


1.=The most perfect and complete manuscript of the _Fables_ is the Harleian MS. 3865, British Museum.  (Described in S.T.S. edition, ii., p. 9.)  _Title-page_ (fol. 1b): The morall fabillis of Esope compylit be maister Robert Henrisoun Scolmaister of Dun-fermling: 1571.
It is a manuscript of 75 folios, and contains 2968 lines.  On ff. 3b and 43b are illustrations, crudely coloured.  These illustrations reappear in printed form in the Bassandyne print (1571).  A discussion of the relation between the Harleian and Bassandyne texts will be found in the Appendix, pages 221-2.
2.=The Bannatyne MS. (1568) in the National Library of Scotland (Press mark: I.I.6.), the 'fyift pairt . . . contenyng the fabillis of Esop with diverss uthir fabillis and poeticall workis maid & Compyld be divers lernit men 1568.'  It contains 2296 lines.  The Bannatyne MS. has been reprinted by the Hunterian Club (1873-1902) and the _Fables_ are included in Vol. IV. (1896).  More recently, the manuscript has been reprinted for the Scottish Text Society, by W. Tod Ritchie (1928-30).  A full description of the manuscript is given by the editors.
3.=The Prologue and the Fable of the Cock and the Jewel are contained in the Makculloch MS. in the Library of the University of Edinburgh (Laing MSS. 149).  This is a volume of logic notes written in Latin by Magnus Makculloch (or Johannis de Tayn), a Scots student at Louvain, in 1477.  The name of one I.  Purde also appears on the volume, and it is possible that he may be the scribe of the poetical extracts on the blank pages.  The lines from the _Fables_ are written on the front fly-leaves.  David Laing acquired the MS. in 1854, and bequeathed it to Edinburgh University Library.
4.=The Asloan MS.:  When previous editors worked on the text of the _Fables_, they did so under the disability that the valuable _Asloan_ MS. was withheld from examination; and only the 'Chalmers transcripts' were available.  This early sixteenth century manuscript passed, in 1882, from the Auchinleck collection into the possession of Lord Talbot de Malahide, who saw fit to deny scholars access to it.  There was, fortunately, the transcript made by William Gibb for George Chalmers in 1810, and preserved in the Laing MSS. in the Library of the University of Edinburgh; and with this former editors have had to be content.  But permission to edit the manuscript was granted in 1917, and the Scottish Text Society issued a careful transcript, edited by W. A. Craigie (now Sir William Craigie) in 1923-25.  For the purpose of the edition, the MS. was photographed, and the photographs were lodged in The National Library of Scotland.  From these photographs the present editor has worked.
Of these sources, printed and manuscript, there are four of outstanding importance :- Ihe Charteris (1570) and Bassandyne (1571) printed texts; the Harleian (1570) and Bannatyne (1568) manuscripts; and upon these the present text is based, although readings from all the texts cited are included in the footnotes.  The purpose of these footnotes is not the mere enumeration of all variants, but a significant selection of such variants as are interesting, either textually or philologically: for a better understanding of the text, or a wider understanding of the corruptions which have crept into even the best of our versions.


The earliest printed text of the Testament is not the best.  It is to be found in the edition of Chaucer printed in 1532 by William Thynne.  It follows on the fifth book of Chaucer's _Troilus and Cresseide_, and is entitled the _Pyteful & Dolorous Testament of Fayre Cresseyde_.  Thynne probably punted from a printed original, but, if so, it has not survived.  In 1593, Henry Charteris issued a text of the poem, of which a single copy is known to exist, and is preserved in the British Museum.  In 1599, Charteris had in stock no less than 545 copies of the _Testament_.  It is more than possible that Charteris, too, printed from a printed original.  Robert Gourlaw, or Goutlay, had in 1585 three copies of the _Testament_, at fourpence each.  The _Catalugus Bibliothecae Harleiance_ reveals the fact that two other editions have been lost.  In vol. iv., p. 644, No. 13734, there is an entry: 'Henrison's Testament of Cresseid, _black letter_-1605.'  (There is no mention of Edinburgh in the entry, though Laing assumes one.)  And there is another entry, in vol. v., p. 378, No. 12728 'Testament of Cresseid, _black letter-Edinb_. 1611.'  A copy of the poem was apparently issued by Robert Smyth, an Edinburgh printer, some time before 1604; and Thomas Finlason, also of Edinburgh, had, between 1602 and 1622, a privilege to print the _Testament_ and the Fables of Esope (not necessarily Henryson's), which privilege he may or may not have exercised.
A late print of the _Testament_ has been preserved, which Laing (p. 259) attributes, on the evidence of the type ornaments used, to A. Anderson (Glasgow).  It is preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge.  The title reads:

THE | TESTAMENT | OF | CRESSEID | [_Rule_] | Compyled by Master | Robert Henrison, Schoole- | master of Dunfermeling | [_rule_] | [_Ornament_] | [_Rule_] | Printed int he Year, 1663.

There are no early manuscripts of the _Testament_.  In St John's College, Cambridge, at the end of a fifteenth century copy of Chaucer's _Troilus and Cresseide_, there is a MS. copy of the poem, described by M. R. James (_Catalogue_, 1913, p. 274), as in a 'hand of cent. xvi.'  Sir Francis Kinaston, about 1640, wrote a Latin version of the poem, annotated the text, and added the only story we have concerning Henryson's life.  (See Introduction, p. xi.)  This translation is accompanied by a text of the poem, similar, but superior, to that of Thynne.  Kinaston's improvements on Thynne are rather those of a logical emendator (which, as a translator, he was likely to be) than the contributions of a more authoritative text.  His corrections have found their place in the text, and other of his divergences from Charteris in the footnotes.  The Charteris edition is undoubtedly the most authoritative text at present known, and upon it the present text is based.


_Orpheus and Eurydice_ is contained in three early texts, one printed and two manuscript:

1.=The collection of tracts in prose and poetry printed in black letter by W. Chepman and A. Myllar, in Edinburgh, 1508.  This, the first known production of the Scottish press, is described as _The Porteous of Noblenes_, and is preserved in a defective but unique copy in the National Library of Scotland.  The collection was reprinted in black letter by David Laing in 1827, and has lately been edited for the Scottish Text Society by the late George Stevenson.  The Chepman & Myllar print, unfortunately, is very incomplete.  In it the poem runs to 461 lines, and lacks the passage contained in II. 59-175 of the other two texts.  It bears no ascription, but, as far as it goes, is a good text.
2.=The Asloan MS. (c. 1515) if. 247a _et seq_. (See Introduction, p. xxiv.)
3.=The Bannatyne MS. (1568) if. 317b _et seq_. (See Introduction, p. xxiii.)

The Asloan MS. contains 578 lines, and the Bannatyne, which is more prolix in the Moralitas sections, 633 lines.  There is no attribution in Asloan, but Bannatyne provides one: 'ffinis: quod mr. R.H.'  That this solitary testimony might not be suspect, we have a manuscript gloss, in the hand of Gavin Douglas on the manuscript of _Aen_. I. cap. i. 1. 13 to the word 'Muse' (Cambridge MS. Gale 03.12).  (See _Introduction_ (_Life_), p. xiii. _supra_.)
The Bannatyne MS. is the longest of the three, by reason of the additions to the Moralitas.  It is unlikely that these additions are Henryson's work, and it is possible that they may be by Bannatyne himself.


There is only one authority for the text of this poem, the Bannatyne MS., fol. 365a.  The entry in the table of contents to the Asloan MS., 'Ane ballat of making of . . .' can be dismissed as having no probable reference to our poet or this poem.  Fortunately, Bannatyne, who is often careless in the matter of attribution, ascribes the poem to Henryson.  It has long been the anthology piece chosen by every editor since Allan Ramsay, who included it in his _Ever Green_ (1724).  An account of the possible origins of the poem will be found in the Notes, p. 266.


This poem appears only in the Bannatyne MS., ff. 141b _et seq_., where Henryson is named as the author.


The Bannatyne MS., both the draft and the final version, contains this poem, and at the end of the copy in the latter is added, in another hand, 'quod Henrysone.'  This is the only authority for the text and ascription, but there is no contradictory claim elsewhere, or difficulty in the text for accepting the ascription.


The Bannatyne MS. contains the only text of this poem, (fol. 228b) and ascribes it to Henryson.  The first print of the poem seems to have been in Allan Ramsay's _Ever Green_, in 1724.  Possible sources of the poem, and one imitation of it, are discussed in the Notes.


The only text of this poem is that found in the Bannatyne MS., ff. 325a _et seq_.  It appears in the section described as 'Fables' which also contains some of the _Morall Fabillis_ and _Orpheus_.  It is ascribed to Henryson, and the title by which the poem is now known is added in a later hand.


This poem is preserved in four MS. copies-the Makculloch MS., fol. 181b, the Bannatyne draft, the Bannatyne MS., and the Maitland Folio (c. 1580).  The ascription to Henryson appears in the Bannatyne text.


This poem appears in the MS. of Magnus Makculloch (after 1477), fol. 87a in the 1508 _Porteous of Noblenes_, printed by Chepman & Myllar, and in the Bannatyne MS., both sections.  Both the Bannatyne texts ascribe it to Henryson.


This poem is given by Bannatyne, in a poor text, and in Chepman & Myllar, 1508, where its collocation with Orpheus in a single tract with a run-on title has suggested Henryson as the author.  In Bannatyne, the poem bears no ascription.


This poem is contained in the Bannatyne MS., both the draft and the complete copy, and in the latter is ascribed to Henryson.  It appears also in the Maitland Folio MS., 'authore incerto.'  Laing records (Henryson, p. 240) the existence of a MS. copy transcribed by Alexander Riddell of Bowland in 1636, in which the poem is entitled 'Ane Sonnet,' and, along with several other entries, claimed for his own by the scribe.  This manuscript Laing found in the library of Mr Chalmers of Aldbar, but it has since been lost sight of.  Laing's edition contains another reference to this poem which has long tantalised scholars and bibliographers.  He stated, in a rather vague fashion, that John Forbes of Aberdeen had issued it in 1686, in a modernised form, with other popular verses, under the title, 'An ancient Dittie, entituled, _Obey and thank thy God of all_' (Henryson, p. 241).
A collection of Laing Papers lately came into the possession of the Library of the University of Edinburgh, and at my request Dr Lauriston Sharp hunted through them for some clue to this publication.  It was found in a MS. note in Laing's hand, written on the back of an envelope, date-stamped 14th July 1862, and addressed to David Laing, Esq., Signet Library :-
'Mr Young Glasgow/ has an unbound tract, 4 leaves, no/ title or pages but marked A con-/taining/ The Last Good-night/ 14 stanzas of 8 lines/

====A Proper new Ballad, intituled/
====_Obey and thank thy God of all/

=7 stanzas of 8 lines, begins/
=Alone as I walk'd up and down/ (See Henryson's Poems p. )/ also/ (_other side_)
=A Pleasant Song/ begins/
===For earthly chance, for joy, for pain,
===I neither hope nor do despair/

=7 stanzas of six lines/
=concluding with two quatrains/
==Flee anger, keep then (or _thou_) Gods/ commandement &
==O Lord thou me defend.'

The title _The Abbay Walk_ was first given to the poem by Lord Hailes in imitation of _The cheapel valk_, in the anonymous _Complaynte of Scotlande_.  Henryson's poem seems to be a recast of a poem which appears in several earlier MSS.-in the Vernon MS. (Bodl.) of the fourteenth century, in the Simeon MS., Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 22283, fol. 130v., and B.M. Cott. MSS. Calig. A. ii. fol. 68v.  The relation between our poem and its original is fully discussed in the S.T.S. edition, vol i., p. lxviii.


The only text of this beautiful poem is in the Gray MS. (National Library of Scotland), ff. 70b _et seq_., where Henryson is named as the author.  In Laing's edition (1865), where the poem was first printed, the title was 'The Salutation of the Virgin.'


This poem appears in two different MSS. with different ascriptions.  In the Bannatyne MS., fol. 57b _et seq_., it is ascribed to Patrick Johnstoun; in the Maitland Folio MS. to Henryson.  Hailes, who used only the Bannatyne MS., attributed the poem to the 'obscure versifier' Johnstoun; Laing, in 1865, attributed it confidently to Henryson.  There is no reason why one ascription should carry more weight than another, except that we have a body of Henryson's work to compare with the poem, and that the poem, in subject and handling, conforms to the type suggested by the rest.  In a musical MS. of Sir William Mure, in the Library of the University of Edinburgh, part of the poem appears set to music.


This poem appears only in the Bannatyne MS., both draft and final version; in the former, it is unascribed, but in the latter it is ascribed to 'hendersone.'


This poem occurs both in the Bannatyne MS. and in the Maitland Folio MS.; and in both copies the authorship is given to Henryson.  The present title appears to have been given by Lord Hailes (Ancient Scottish Poems: Edinburgh, 1770).


In the table of contents to the Asloan MS., appears 'Master Robert Hendersonis dreme, On fut by forth,' and in the _Complaynt of Scotlande_, in a list of good tales or fables, we come across what may be the first line of the poem:

==='On fut by fortht as i coud found.'

But the portion of the Asloan MS. in which the poem should appear has been lost, and the poem does not appear elsewhere.
Dr Diebler, in his examination of the Fables (see Bibliography), made a vague claim for Henryson of several unidentified religious poems in the Makculloch MS.  He did not advance any evidence in support of the claim (he did not even particularise the poems), and, indeed, there is no evidence to advance.


In his introduction to the _Ballads of Scotland_ (vol. i., p. lx.), Professor Aytoun says of Henryson: 'Although his phraseology is peculiarly Scottish, it is evident that he had studied the writings of Chaucer as well as of King James I., and had moulded his versification accordingly.'  Of the peculiarly Scottish art of startling understatement it would be difficult to find a more perfect example.  For while it is certainly possible to maintarn the essential originality of Henryson's genius (and still more that of Dunbar) it is quite impossible to over-estimate their debt, in poetic form and doctrine, to Chaucer, their master and great original.  If Chaucer had not been, they had not been.  Chaucer had followers and pupils in England as well as in Scotland; but it is because the Scottish Chaucerians proved more apt and intelligent pupils than their English contemporaries, Lydgate, Hoccleve and the others, that they are of interest to us to-day.
It is possible, without perversity, to attack Aytoun's statement even where it concerns the phraseology of Henryson and his contemporaries; for it is _not_ 'peculiarly Scottish.'  It is not a spoken, historical dialect of the Scottish language at any period; but an artificial, created, 'literary' language, used, for almost a century, by writers of very different locality and degree, with an astonishing measure of uniformity.  And Henryson would probably have designated it _Inglis_ rather than _Scots_, for _Scots_, until at least the early sixteenth century, was the speech of the Celtic settlers, north of the Forth and Clyde.  Even where 'Scottis' describes the nationality, 'Inglis' is the speech.  Thus, the lines in the _Wallace_, describing Thomas de Longueville, read:

==='Lykly he was, manlik of contenance,
===Lik to the Scottis be mekill governance,
===Saiff off his Tong, for Inglis had he nane.'

But, properly speaking, 'Scottis' originally described the nationality of the Celt, north of the Forth and Clyde, or in Ireland.  Thus, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 891 A.D., it is recorded that King Alfred received 'three Scottas from Ireland.'
This spoken tongue was carried into Dalriada in the fifth century, and was the speech of the Dalriad Scots, whose King, Kenneth Macalpine, by his defeat of the Picts in 846, became King of Alban, and invaded 'Saxony' (Lothian).  In the southwest the spoken tongue was _Welsh_; in Lothian, Tweeddale, and part of Northumbria, _English_: in Shetland and Orkney, and (after the ninth century) Caithness, Sutherland and the Hebrides, _Scandinavian_.  And down to the fifteenth century at least, _Scots_ meant the language of the north Celts, as distinct from the _Welsh_ of the south-west, and the English of the south-east.
But in the sixteenth century the language of the north is described as _Ersch_ or _Irish_, for patriotic feeling, in a burst of retrospective enthusiasm, had rejected _Inglis_ in favour of _Scots_ as the name of the Lowland tongue, and the distinction between north and south must still be maintained.  Gavin Douglas in the Prologue to the first book of his translation of the AEneid (_c_. 1525) was the first to call the speech of the Lowlands 'Scots,' and to differentiate between that speech and that of the 'Inglis natioun.'  Scots appears for the first time as the 'language of (the) Scottis natioun'-

==='Kepand na sudroun bot our awin langage,
===And speikis as I lent quhen I was page.
===Nor yit sa clene all sudroun I refuse,
===Bot sum word I pronunce as nychtbour doise;
===So me behavit quhilum, or than be dum,
===Sum bastard latyne, frensch, or inglis oiss (use),
===Quhar scant war Scottis I had na uther choiss.'

So Lyndesay, in his _Defence of the Vernacular_, writes:-

==='Had Sanct Jerome bene borne in tyll Argyle,
===In to Yrische toung his bukis had done compyle.'

Dunbar, in the _Goldyn Targe_, 1. 259, asks (of Chaucer):

=='Was thou noucht of oure Inglisch all the lyclit . . .?

and in the _Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy_, II. 1O7-112 -

==='Sic eloquence as thay in Erschay use,
===In sic is sett thy thraward appetyte:
===Thow hes full littill feill of fair indyte:
===I tak on me ane pair of Lowthiane hippis
===Sall fairar Inglis mak, and mair parfyte,
===Than thow can blabber with thy Carrik lippis.'

Kennedy, being a Carrick man, from the south-west, has no 'fair Inglis,' and, on his tongue as on his boots, 'bringis the Carrik clay to Edinburgh Cors.'
Actually, there is no reason to believe that the language of Henryson and the Scots makars bore any closer a resemblance to the spoken Scots of their day, than the English of Lyly or Sir Thomas Browne bore to the spoken tongue of Elizabethan or Restoration England.  For a full and scholarly account of the growth and structure of the language, I cannot do better than refer the reader to G. Gregory Smith's introduction to _Specimens of Middle Scots_,(Blackwood, 1902).  The account of the language which follows does not pretend to do more than give the barest of outlines.  But it is a sketch which, I hope, will give the ordinary reader an idea of the construction of the language and enable him to read it with ease.  Orthographical and typographical peculiarities conspire to give the language a look of unfamiliarity and strangeness-to make it seem the 'distressingly quaint and crabbed' dialect that W. E. Henley found it.  In the short account of the language which follows, my aim is to enable the reader to discount these peculiarites, and to read rather by sound than by sight.  Once 'quhissill' is transliterated into 'whissill,' there is little difficulty left.
Until the fifteenth century the language spoken in the region north of the Ribble and the Aire and south of the Forth and Clyde was one dialect, exhibiting few differences throughout that area-fewer, cerl ainly, than in much more recent times and more restricted areas.  It was _not_ 'Scottish' speech at all; it was a dialect of Old and Early Middle English, the Northumbnan and later Northern dialect.  This was the speech of Teutonic Scotland.
North of the Forth and Clyde, the spoken tongue was 'Scots,' for this term described the speech of the Celtic peoples (of the Goidelic branch) settled in Alban, and was subsequently extended to the prevailing speech of the entire northern area.  This language was always distinguished from the southern or lowland tongue, and, as I have indicated, when the term Scots was appropriated for the lowland dialect, the Celtic speech was described as Yrische.  With the northern tongue, Middle Scots literature has nothing to do.  It was out of the Northumbrian dialect of English, or rather the Northern, in which the Northumbrian features were continued into the middle period that literary Scots developed.  It was in this dialect that Richard Rolle of Hampole wrote in the neighbourhood of Doncaster; and it was in the same dialect that John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, wrote.  So that, if we wish to speak of the early alliterative poems or of the work of Barbour as being in early Scots, we must do so in full consciousness that the distinction is geographical and political rather than philological: and that we are actually breaking down a distinction which these poets themselves were at some trouble to maintain.  Scots they might be, but their speech was Inglis, not to be confused in name with the Highland, the Yrische tongue.
Middle Scots, then, as we have said, was a product of the Court and essentially a literary language.  So it happened that the language, in the time of the Reformation, came to be identified with the Court interest and the Catholic party.  England and Protestantism were one, and so we find a studious cultivation of Anglicisms in the reformers.  Copies of the Scriptures were imported from England before 1569.  John Knox's Psalms were printed frequently in English, and only twice in Scots.  For this and other reasons, English forms began to replace Scots ones- 'who' for 'quha,' 'from' for 'fra,' etc.  And all this made it possible for the Catholic controversialists to stigmatise leaders of the Church reforming party as traitors.  By the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century the progressive penetration of Scots by English forms had developed so far that it only wanted the Union of the Crowns in 1603 to sign the death-warrant of literary Scots.  There were poets in Scotland in the seventeenth century, but not Scots poets.
If, as Gregory Smith points out, it is advisable to study Middle Scots as a development and modification of early Northern English, it is not every reader who is capable of doing so, and it is not impossible for the reader with only a knowledge of modern Scots as his basis to acquaint himself with the main differences which he must expect to find between the modern spoken dialect and the older, written, artificial language.  In the necessarily bare outline which I give, I shall try to use illustrations which may be equally intelligible to either sort of reader.

Some Characteristics of Middle Scots Phonology, Orthography, Accidence, and Syntax, as illustrated in Henryson's poems.


Long vowels are indicated by added _i_ or _y_:  e.g., _braid, glaid, rois, boir, foirsit, fuyll, suyith_, etc.
_a_ and _a_ are represented by o:  e.g., _auld, tauld_; etc.
_a_ for _e_ and _i_ in borrowed words:  e.g., _expart, pansing, sampill_ (=simple), etc., and in others:  e.g., _than_=_then_, etc.
Orthographical _i_ and _y_ for _u_, and _vice versa_:  e.g., _this, thys=thus, and thus=this_.
_a_ and _ô_ are fronted, as is evidenced by rhyme forms:  e.g., _nanis, stanis; similitude, gude_.

The combination _mb_ represented as _m, mm_:  e.g., _chalmer, hummle,_ etc.  [Cp. Lat. _camera, humilis_, etc.)
Initial _c_ soft in foreign words:  e.g., _celsitude_.
_ch_ for _gh_:  e.g., _dicht_, _troich_, _pleuch_, etc.
Final _ch_ represented by _k:_  e.g., _busk, streik, cluik_, etc.
_'d_ for _'t_ after a vowel:  e.g., _dude_ (=do't), _seid_ (=see't), _albeid_ (=albeit).
Occasional intrusive _d:_ e.g., _barrand, suddandlie_ (? on analogy with _-and_=_-ing_).
_d_ occasionally in foreign words for _t:_  e.g., _marchandis_, etc.
_d, dd_ for _th_ before _r_:  e.g., _fadir, udir, weddir, erd_, etc.
_d_ elided in combination with _l_ and _n:_  e.g., _moll_ for _mold; sen_ for _send_.
Initial _h_ dropped in some cases, e.g. _armony_, and intruded in others, e.g. _haboundance._
_l_ often vocalised as in _row_ for _roll, how_ for _hollow_, hence 'invested spellings,' as _chalmir, waltir_, etc.
liquid _l_ represented by lz:  e.g., failze, _spuil_ze, etc.  (Cp. Mod. Scots _capercailzie, Dalzell_, etc.)
liquid _n_ represented by nz:  e.g., _fenzeit, serinzeis, pleinzie,_ etc.  (Cp. Mod. Scots _Menzies, gaberlunzie, Cockenzie_, etc.)
_ng_ represented by _n:_  e.g., _strenth_ for _strength_, etc.
_quh_=_wh_, in all parts of speech:  e.g., _quhisling, quhyll_ (=till), _quhyle_ (=while).
_quha_(=who).  Cp. Mod. Scots _Balquhidder, umquhile_, etc.  This form is retained along with the Anglicisms of later M.Sc., and leads to hybrid forms like _quhome, quho, quhiche_, etc.
Initial and final _sh_ represented by _s_ in unaccented syllables:  e.g., _sal, suld, wis_(=wish).
_s_ and _sh_ represented by _sch_:  e.g., _schir, schemit, scheill, schort_, etc.
_s_ and _sh_ followed by a consonant sometimes give an sk sound:  e.g., _sklender, skelfis_, etc.  (Cp. the proper name _Sclater_.)
_t_ for final _d_(-it, -yt endings), (a) in preterite and past participle of verbs; (b) in _adj., adv.,_ and other forms:  e.g., _frawart, upwart_, etc.
Superfluous final _t:_  e.g., _relict, thocht_ (=though), _sicht_ (=sigh), etc.
_t_ occasionally lost after consonants:  e.g., _correk, infek, precep_, etc.
_t_ occasionally lost medially: e.g., between _s_ and _l_ - thrissill, quhissill.
_v_ medial, between two vowels, disappears in pronunciation, and sometimes in writing:  e.g., _euir, deuyll, euil; cure_ (=cover), etc.
Final _v, ve_, represented by _f,ff_:  e.g., _haif, persaif, laif_, etc.
_w_ occasionally vocalised:  e.g., _oulk_ (= week).


Metathesis of _r_, and _gn_, is extremely common:  e.g., _brast, gerss_, etc., and _ding, ring, benyng, conding_, etc.



-is, -ys
ending for plural, and singular and plural possessive of nouns (Mod. Eng. _-s, -es, 's, s'_)_:_  e.g., as _cukis can devyne;  By goddis grace_, etc.  But this form is gradually disappearing before modern _-s_.  Cp. _Fables_, 1. I, _fabils_.  Nouns ending in a sibilant usually take the _-is_ ending, as _housis, causis_, etc., but a certain number of nouns have the same form for singular and plural: e.g., _as_ (ash, ashes).

Adjectives and Pronouns-

Occasional plural form in adjectives and relative pronouns in agreement with plural noun:  e.g., _the saidis, quhilkis_, etc.  The pronoun _ane_ takes the plural form, _anis_.
_Ane_ is used as the indefinite article and numeral _an_, _a_, _one_.
_Thir_ is used as usual plural form of _this_; and _tha_ (=those) plural of _that_; but _thir_ is frequently used in both cases, and _tha_ and _thai, thay_ (=they) are frequently confused.

Infinitive suffix lost (normally present in Chaucer as _-en_ or _-e_):  e.g., _mak_  Chaucerian _maken_.
_-and_ ending for present participle (Mod. Eng. _-ing_):  e.g., _scraipand, passand_, etc.
_-ing, -yng_, gerundial ending.  (But these distinctions in actual practice are not strictly observed.)
Occasional aphetic forms of the verb:  e.g., _servis, vaillis_, etc.
_-it,-yt_, ending for preterite and past participle of strong verbs (Mod. Eng. _-ed, -d_):  e.g., _widderit, blasnit, passit_, etc.  The _i_ is frequently elided:  e.g., _salust for salusit_.
_-in_, ending for preterite plural and past participle of strong verbs:  e.g., _haldin_, etc.  Occasionally, however, strong verbs are represented by weak forms, as in _cummit_ (_Fables_, 627).
_-is, -ys_, ending for 2nd singular present (Mod. Eng. _-est_) and 3rd singular present (Mod. Eng. _-s_):  e.g., _thow ganis, thy stule standis_, etc., and the same ending generally when the verb is separated from the pronoun, or when the pronoun is indefinite, relative, or interrogative:  e.g., _nathing of lufe I knaw, Bot keipis . . ., Thinkis the morne . . . to hald ane Parliament,_ etc.
Occasional shortened verbal forms:  e.g. _tais_ (=takes), _ma_ (=make), etc.
The adverbial _na, nor than_ in comparative constructions:  e.g., in _Fables_, 2917 Bann., (_bettir_) . . . _Na be machit with a wicket marrow_.
_till to_, as preposition, and in infinitive forms:  e.g., _Till mercury but tary is he gone, hir till oppress_, etc.
_and_ and _gif_ used indifferently in the sense of _if:_  e g., _And we wald play us in this plane, Thay wald. . ., Gif thow will do na mair_, etc.


Adjectives and nouns are occasionally used adverbially:  e.g., _sair_ (=sorely), _wondir_ (=exceedingly).
Occasionally the adjective follows its noun:  e.g., _bludit cheikis reid, misdeid wrangous_, etc.
Adjective used occasionally as substantive:  e.g., _that myld, that gay, the bricht_.
The adjectival phrase _of ane_, following an adjective of positive degree, is intensive in effect:  e.g., _A fowll gyane of ane_.
_Alkin, alkynd_ (=every kind of):  e.g., _Off alkin thingis_, etc.
_Do_ is used as periphrastic auxiliary with all parts of the verb:  e.g., _Thy cullour dois bot confort . . .,_ etc.
_Can_ (with its parts _couth, cowth, cowd, culd,_ etc.) _does, did_, as auxiliary:  e.g., _Sweitlie can sing, he couth lour_, etc.

French and Latin Influences on Middle Scots

For a full and clear account of the present state of competent opinion upon this vexed question, the reader cannot do better than consult Gregory Smith, _Specimens_ (_Introd_., pp. l.-lxv.), where the importance of these and other foreign strands in Middle Scots is discussed.  Debatable French and Latin forms are less common in Henryson than in other writers of the period, and are to be found most often in the poems which make use of the jargon of Scots Law (_The Trial of the Fox, The Sheep and the Dog_, etc.) or the hardly less stereotyped forms of devotional address (_The Annunciation, The Prayer for the Pest_, etc.).  And as French and Latin influences were paramount in these matters, not only from the philological point of view, such usages cannot be taken as fair instances of linguistic modifications.

English Influences

As the original Inspiration in poetic form and diction was derived from the south, from Chaucer and perhaps even more from his English followers, it is natural that a considerable number of southern forms should be found in the texts of the makars.  The English influence steadily increased from the first quarter of the fifteenth century, and explains such forms as _stone_ alongside Scots _stane_, and the present infinitive ending _-ing_ alongside _-and_.  In Henryson the degree of Anglicisation varies according to the text used, as is obvious from a study of the footnotes.



IN my notes on this poem, commenting on line 61, _ane uther quair_, I wrote (p. 253) : 'This "other quair," if it ever existed, is not known to exist now.'  This is still true, but shortly after my edition was published I happened on an extract, 'How The Good Knight Reasoned With His Son,' in Miss Eleanor Brougham's _News Out of Scotland_ (Heinemann, 1926, p. 19) in which, in a catalogue of the 'many great evils and misfortunes that has come, and daily comes, to men, through that foul delectation of women, which thou callest love,' there is a reference to the fate of Cressida- 'Or how quit Cresseid her true lover Troilous, and forgot his long service in love, when she forsook him for Dyomid; and thereafter went common among the Greeks, and died in great misery and pain.'  The extract is described by Miss Brougham as _Translated from the Latin in the City of St Andrews in July,_ 1492, _by 'ane clerk who had been into Venus' Court for the space of more than twenty years_.'
I wrote at once to Miss Brougham, asking her if she could indicate more precisely the source of the passage, but her reply was disappointing '. . . full of regret that I am unable to give you any information.  _News Out of Scotland_ was done in a hurry when my father was very ill.  With his death the old home with library complete disappeared and alas!  I cannot tell you the source of that note.'  A little later, in the first volume of the Asloan Manuscript (Scottish Text Society, ed. W. A. Craigie, 1923) I found the reference, where I should have found it before.  In _The Modern Language Review_, January 1945, B. J. Whiting, in 'A Probable Allusion to Henryson's _Testament_ of Cresseid,' drew attention to this passage and suggested, on the strength of it, that the _Testament_' was written before 10 July 1492, or at least eight years prior to the accepted end of Henryson's hazy _floruit_.'
This assumes that the Asloan entry, '_The Spektakle of luf Or delectatioun of luf of wemen quhilk Is devydit in viij partis_. . . translatit out of latyn in to our wulgar and maternall toung at The cyte of Sandris The x. day of Iulij The zer of god ane thowsand four hundreth nyntye and twa zeris be ane clerk quihilk had bene In to benus court mair yan ye space of zz zeris,' derives from Henryson's tragedy, or from a Latin version based on Henryson.  In support of this assumption, Mr Whiting points to the use of the word 'common' in both versions, which is admittedly striking.  it is perhaps equally remarkable that the St Andrews clerk, one MG. Myll, makes no mention of what appears to us most striking in Henryson's narrative, the judgment and bengeance of the offended gods, and the final encounter between Cressida and Troilus at the end of the poem.  A Latin version of the _Testament_ would surely have reproduced these episodes, so that they would not have possibilities - that the _Spektakle of luf_ derives from Henryson, or that it derives from an other and presumable earlier work
 (Henryson's 'uther quair') - and comes down in favour of the former possibility.  The evidence is inconclusive either way, but perhaps this is one case in which the medieval love of authority did not lead to the invention of an authority, 'fenyeit of the new Be sum Poeit, throw his Inventioun.'  Perhaps Henryson _did_ take down 'ane uther quair.'
In letters to the _Times Literary Supplement_, James Kinsley (14th November 1952) and James Gray (13th March 1953) refer to the _Spektakle of luf_ and touch on the same possibility.


In my notes to this fable (p. 245), I wrote : - '. . . the source . . . is yet unknown, but Professor Bruce Dickins suggests that it may be an elaboration fo the Bestiary story of the Fox feigning death in order to catch carrion-crows or ravens.'  In the _Review of English Studies_, Vol X (1934), p. 319, Gavin Bone draws attention to the closer resemblance of the story as told in Caxton's version of 'Reynard'.
Henryson's fable unites in a composite whole the two episodes in the _Roman de Renart_, 'Comment Renart fit rencontre des marchands de poisson et comment il eut sa part des harengs et des anguilles' (Huitieme Aventure) and 'Comment Renart decut le vilan et comment Ysengrin emporta le bacon qu'il ne voulut partager' (Vingtquartieme Aventure).
In Meon's edition of the _Roman_ (1826) the 'jambon' episode is to be found in lines 7807-7970, tom. I.  The 'anguilles' episode is to be found in the same volume, pp. 29-35:  'Si coume Renart manja le poisson aus charretiers,' and again, in tom. 4 of Meon, pp. 257-259, 'Einsi conme Renart se coucha ou chemin conme mort, et un convers de Citiaux qui avoit un hairon trousse darriers lui, descendi et prist Renart et le llia avec le hairon.'
Mr Bone's note had, I fear, escaped my notice until my attention was drawn to the passages in the _Roman de Renart_ by my daughter, whose assistance I gratefull acknowledge.


My note on _Bowranbane_ (p. 237) was an unconvincing, and unconvinced, shot in the dark.  My friend and colleague, Dr Neil Mackay, has what seems to be a more plausible suggestion to make, and I quote his note as he sent it to me.  In such poems as Montgomeri's _Anser to ane Helandmanis Invective, The Buke of the Howlat_, etc., there is fragmentary evidence (as I attempted to show in my edition of _The Cherrie and the Slae_, Popoise Press, Faber & Faber, 1937, with the necessary aid of the late Professor J. Carmichael Watson) that the Scots makars were not entirely cut off from, or ignorant of, "such language as thay in Erchrie use.'  Dr Mackay's note reads as follows:

_Line_ 914: _bowranbane._  The sound and shape of this word evidently a compound, suggest a Gaelic origin.  As it stands, it should represent _bobhran ban_.

The second, adjectival, element presents no difficulty.  'Bane' or, more commonly, 'bain' has long been conventional rendering of the Gaelic _ban_, meaning 'fair' or 'light coloured' (_cf._ Donald Bane, Malcolm Canmore's brother; also the suname Bain, variously written Bayne, Bane, etc. in the sixteenth century).  The modern pronunciation of 'bane' or 'bain' no longer corresponds to the Gaelic vowel sound: in this respect the _S_ variant-_bourabant_-is closer to the original, although the final _t_ is intrusive (probably a mis-reading).
There is no word _bobhran_ in Gaelic, but _debhran_, meaning 'a water dog' or 'otter' is so similar, and so appropriate to the context, as to suggest a scribal error in transcription.
If we assume that _dowranbane_ is the correct reading, we still have to identify the animal.  The name _dobhran bān_ apparently is not used in modern Gaelic nor can it be traced in any of the usual books of reference, but it may be significant that the common otter is frequently referred to as an _dobhran donn_ ('the brown _dobhran_') and not simply as _an dobhran_.  It might be held that this specific mention of colour establishes a presumption, though not the certainty, that a distinction was made at some time or in some place between the ordinary brown otter and another animal which was also a _dobhran_ and which may have been the _dobhran bān_.  Otherwise there would be no need to use the word _donn_.
If the word _dobhran_ was used of an animal other than the otter, our first and natural assumption is that it would apply to a water animal of some kind since _dobhran_ is a hypocoristic form of _dobhar-chu_ ('water-dog').  But the only other water animal to which the name _dobhran_ is given is the beaver, _an dobhran leas-leathan_, the colour of which would hardly justify _dobhran bān_ as a local variant.  In any case, Henryson has already mentioned the beaver twice in his list.
One Gaelic dictionary (MacLeod and Dewar) asserts that _dobhran_ is commonly applied to dogs of all kinds but gives no supporting evidence.  If the name was in fact transferred to a land animal the usage must have been local and not general, and it may have been established simply because the land animal was so rare in the locality that its general name became forgotten or misunderstood.  Could it have been the badger?  It belongs to the same family (_Mustelidae_) as the otter, and its white head could have caused some people to call it an _dobhran bān_ although it has an ancient and widely-known name of its own (_broc_).


It is now necessary to supplement the account of _civilité_ type on pages 219-222 and in particular to qualify a sentence on page 221 relating to its use in Scotland:  'If Thomas Bassandyne had this type in Edinburgh in 1571, it is at least surprising that no other example of its use has come down to us'.
In 1941 the National Library of Scotland received by the bequest of Thomas Yule, W.S. an apparently unique broadside printed with the same _civilité_ as that used by Bassandyne in the _Fables_.  It is a letter from the Scottish Privy Council, dated 8th March 1575 and charging each parish to advance to Alexander Arbuthnet five pounds Scots for the work of printing the Bible, the sum to be delivered before 1st July.  No printer or place of printing is given, but clearly the sheet came from the press of Bassandyne, who had undertaken the printing of the Bible with Arbuthnet.
The text of the letter was printed with slight variants in Robert Wodrow, _Collections upon the Lives of the Reformers_ (vol. I, page 214, Maitland Club, Glasgow, 1834) and reprinted from that source by Dickson and Edmond (_Annals of Scottish Printing_, pages 278-28O).  When Wodrow writes, 'I have before me an originall Act of Council made upon this application . . . in a very fair hand, which comes very near print', it is possible that what he was admiring was not secretary hand but the civilité type derived from it, as used in the broadsheet.


CHALMERS, GEORGE, _Robene and Makyne_, and _The Testament of Cresseid_, Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1824.
HART, ANDRO (Edinburgh, 1621), Maitland Club reprint of _Fables_, Edinburgh, 1832.
LAING, DAVID, _The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson_, Edinburgh, 1865.
DIEBLER, A. R., _Henrisone's Fabeldichtungen_, Holle, 1885; and Anglia, ix. (1886), 337, _et seq_.
SKEAT, W. W., _Chaucerian and other Pieces_, Oxford, 1897.
SMITH, G. GREGORY, _The Poems of Robert Henryson_, 3 vols. S.T.S., Edinburgh, 19O6-14.
DICKINS, BRUCE, _The Testament of Cresseid_, Edinburgh, 1925, and London, 1943.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., _A Modernizahon of Robert Henryson's Testament of Cresseid_, Indiana University Publications Humanities series, No. 13, Bloomington, Indiana, 1945.
WHITING, B. J., _The Testament of Cresseid_ (modernized).  Reproduced from typescript for private circulation.  Cambridge, Mass 195O.  Copy in the National Library of Scotland.
MURISON, DAVID, _Selections from the poems of Robert Henryson_, Saltire Society, Edinburgh, 1952.
BISKBECK, J. A., _Robin and Makyne, a Scots pastoral_, Edinburgh, 1955.


BONE, GAVIN, 'The Source of Henryson's "Fox, Wolf and Cadger"'. _Review of English Studies_, July 1934.
ELLIOT, C., 'Two notes on Henryson's "Testament of Cresseid" _Journal of English and Germanic Philology_, April 1955.
GRIERSON, H. J. C. (Study), _Aberdeen University Review_, July 1934.
JONES, POWELL W., 'A Source for Henryson's _Robene and Makyne_'.  _Modern Language Notes_, vol. 46, 1931.
MCINTOSH, A., Review in _Speculum_, July 1949 of _Robert Henryson_, by M. W. Stearns.
MOORE, ARTHUR K, 'Robene and Makyne'.  _Modern Language Review_, July 1948.
MUDGE, E. LEIGH, 'A Fifteenth-century Critic'.  _College English_, Dec. 1943.
MUIR, EDWIN, _Essays on Literature and Society_, London, 1949.  Contains an essay on Robert Henryson.
PARR, JOHNSTONE, 'Cresseid's Leprosy Again'.  _Modern Language Notes_, Nov. 1945.
ROSSI, SERGIO, 'L'Annunciazione' di Robert Henryson.  _Aevum_, anno XXIX, fasc. I, Feb 1955.
ROSSI, SERGIO, _Robert Henryson_.  Milano, 1955.
ROY, JAMES A., 'Of the Makaris.  A Causerie (devoted mainly to Henryson and Dunbar)'.  _University of Toronto Quarterly_, vol 16, 1946.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., 'Robert Henryson and the Fulgentian Horse'.  _Modern Language Notes_, April 1939.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., 'Henryson and the Aristotelian tradition of psychology'.  _Studies in Philology_, July 1943.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., 'Henryson and the political scene'.  _Studies in Philology_, July 1943.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., 'Robert Henryson and the socio-economic scene'.  _English Literary History_, Dec 1943.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., 'Henryson's allusions to religion and law' and 'Henryson and the leper Cresseid'.  _Modern Language Notes_, April 1944.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., 'The Planet portialts of Robert Henryson (Description of the seven planets in _The Testament of Cresseid_)'.  P.M.L.A., Dec. 1944.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., 'A Note on Henryson and Lydgate'.  _Modern Language Notes_, Feb. 1945.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., 'Henryson and Chaucer'.  _Modern Language Quarterly_, Sept. 1945.
STEARNS, MARSHALL W., _Robert Henryson_, New York, 1949.
TILLYARD, EUSTACE M. W., 'Five Poems, 1470-1870'.  London, 1948 (Another edition, 1955.)  The first of the five poems is _The Testament of Cresseid_.
TROILUS, _The Story of Troilus, as told by Benoit de Sainte-Maure, Giovanni Boccaccio, translated into English prose, Geoffrey Chaucer and Robert Henryson_.  Translations and introductions by R. K. Gordon, London, 1934.
WHITING, B. J., 'A Probable Allusion to Henryson's _Testament of Cresseid_'.  _Modern Language Review_, Jan. 1945.
WILLIAMS, GWYN, _The Burning Tree.  Poems from the first thousand years of Welsh verse, selected and translated by G. W._ London: Faber, 1956.  Contains a translation of the second act of the Welsh _Troelus a Chresyd_, and on p. 226 mentions the influence of Henryson.

Reviews of _The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson, edited by H. Harvey Wood_, 1933 :- _Times Literary Supplement_, 3rd August 1933; _The Spectator_, by Edwin Muir, 2nd Sept. 1933;  _Modern Language Review_, by D. Hamer, July 1934.




Asloan.  .  .  .  .  _A_.
Bannatyne.  .  .  .  _B_.
Harleian .  .  .  .  _H_.
Makculloch  .  .  .  _M_.

_Printed Texts_

Bassandyne  .  .  .  _Bass_.
Charteris.  .  .  .  _C_.
Andro Hart  .  .  .  _Ht_.
Richard Smith  .  .  _S_.


Bannatyne draft.  .  _Bd_.
Maitland Folio .  .  _MF_.
St John's Coil .  .  _SJ._
Kinaston .  .  .  .  _K_.
Gray  .  .  .  .  .  _G_.
A. Anderson (?).  .  _A_.
Chepman & Myllar  .  _C_.
Thynne.  .  .  .  .  _T_.


i _for_j ; j _for _i : u _for_ v ; v _for_ u
th _for_ b : y _for_ z