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Gavin Douglas: The Palis of Honoure

Gavin Douglas: The Palis of Honoure

The Prologue

Quhen pale Aurora with face lamentable
Hir russat mantill, borderit all with sable,
Lappit about be hevinlye circumstance
The tender bed and arres honorable
Of Flora, quene till flouris amyable
In May, I rays to do my observance
And entrit in a garding of plesance
With Sole depaint, as Paradys amyable,
And blisfull bewes with blomed variance,

So craftely Dame Flora had overfret
Hir hevinly bed – powderit with mony a set
Of ruby, topas, perle and emerant,
With balmy dewe bathit and kyndly wet,
Quhil vapours hote – right fresche and wele ybet,
Dulce of odour, of flewour most fragrant –
The silver droppis on dayseis distillant,
Quhilk verdour branches over the alars yet,
With smoky sence the mystis reflectant.

The fragrant flouris, blomand in their seis,
Overspred the leves of Naturis tapestreis,
Above the quhilk, with hevinly armoneis,
The birdes sat on twistes and on greis,
Melodiously makand thair kyndely gleis,
Quhois schill notis fordinned al the skyis.
Of reparcust ayr, the eccon cryis
Amang the branches of the blomed treis;
And on the laurers, silver droppis lyis.
Quhyll that I rowmed in that paradice
Replennessed and full of all delice,
Out of the sea Eous alift his heid –
I meyne the hors quhilk drawis at device
The assiltre and goldin chaire of pryce
Of Tytan, quhilk at morowe semis reid.
The new colour that all the night lay deid
Is restored. Baith fowlis, flowris, and ryce
Reconfort was throw Phebus gudlyheid.

The dasy and the maryguld onlappit
Quhilkis all the nicht lay with thair levis happit
Thaim to preserve fra rewmes pungitive.
The umbrate treis that Tytan about wappit
War portrait and on the erth yschappit
Be goldin bemes vivificative
Quhois amene hete is most restorative.
The gershoppers amangis the vergers gnappit
And beis wrocht materiall for thair hyve.

Richt halsom was the sessoun of the yeir.
Phebus furth yet depured bemes cleir
Maist nutrityve tyll all thynges vigitant.
God Eolus of wynd list nocht appeir,
Nor ald Saturne with his mortall speir
And bad aspect, contrar til every plant.
Neptunus nolde within that palace hant.
The beriall stremes rynnyng men micht heir
By bonkis grene with glancis variant.

For till beholde that hevinly place complete –
The purgit ayr with new engendrit hete,
The soyl enbroude with colowr, ure and stone,
The tender grene, the balmy droppes swete –
So rejoysit and confort wes my sprete
I not wes it a vision or fanton.
Amyd the buskys rowmyng myn allone
Within that garth of all plesans replete,
A voce I hard, preclare as Phebus schone

Syngand, “O May thow myrrour of soles,
Maternall moneth, lady and maistres,
Tyl every thing adoun respirature,
Thyn hevinly werk and worthy craftines
The small herbis constrenis tyl encres.
O verray ground tyl werking of nature
Quhois hie curage and assucuryt cure
Causis the erth his frutis tyll expres,
Dyffundant grace on every creature.

“Thy godly lore, cunnyng incomparabyl,
Dantis the savage bestis maist unstabyl
And expellis all that nature infestis.
The knoppit syonys with levys agreabyl
For tyl revert and burgione ar maid abyll.
Thy myrth refreschis birdis in thair nestis,
Quhilkis the to pryse and Nature never restis,
Confessand you maist potent and lovabyll
Amang the brownys of the olyve twystes.

“In the is rute and augment of curage.
In the enforcis Martis vassalage.
In the is amorus luf and armony
With incrementis fresche in lusty age.
Quha that constrenit ar in luffis rage
Addressand thaim with observans ayrly
Weil auchtyst the tyl glore and magnify.”
And with that word I rasyt my vissage
Sore effrayit, half in a frenisye.

“O Nature Queen and O ye lusty May,”
Quod I tho, “Quhow lang sall I thus forvay,
Quhilk yow and Venus in this garth deservis?
Reconsell me out of this gret affray
That I maye synge yow laudis day be day.
Ye that al mundane creaturis preservis
Confort your man that in this fanton stervis
With sprete arrasyt and every wit away,
Quakyng for fere, baith puncys, vane and nervis.”

My fatall werd, my febyl wit I wary,
My dasyt heid, quham lake of brane gart vary
And not sustene so amyabyll a soun!
With ery curage, febyl strenthis sary,
Bownand me hame and list no langer tary,
Out of the ayr come ane impressioun
Throw quhois lycht in extasy or swoun,
Amyd the virgultis all in tyl a fary
As femynine so feblyt fell I doun.

And with that gleme so dasyt wes my mycht
Quhill thair remanit nothir voce nor sycht,
Breth, motione, nor hetis naturale.
Saw nevir man so faynt a levand wycht,
And na ferly, for over-excelland lycht
Corruppis the wit and garrys the blud availe
On tyl the hart that it no danger ale –
Quhen it is smorit, membris wyrkes not richt:
The dredfull terrour sua did me assaile.

Yyt at the last (I not quhou long a space)
A lytell hete aperyt in my face
Quhilk had tofore beyn pale and voyde of blud.
Tho in my sweven I met a ferly cace:
I thought me set within a desert place
Amyd a forest by a hydous flud
With grysly fysche, and shortly tyl conclud
I shall descryve (as God wil geve me grace)
Myn avision in rurell termes rude.

The First Part

Thow barrant wyt overset with fantasyis,
Schaw now the craft that in thy memor lyis,
Schaw now thy shame, schaw now thy bad nystee,
Schaw thyn endyt, repruf of rethoryis,
Schaw now thy beggit termis mare than thryis,
Schaw now thy ranys and thyn harlottree,
Schaw now thy dull exhaust inanytee,
Schaw furth thy cure and wryte their frenesyis
Quhilkis of thy sempyll cunnyng nakyt the.

My ravyst sprete in that deserte terrybill
Approchit nere that ugly flude horrybill,
Lyk tyll Cochyte the ryver infernall,
Wyth vyle wattyr quhilk maid a hydduus trubbyll
Rynnand overhed, blud red, and – impossybyll
That it had byn a ryver naturall –
With brayis bare, raif rochis lyke to fall,
Quhareon na gers nor herbys wer visibyll,
Bot skauppis brynt with blastis boryall.

Thys laythly flude rumland as thondyr routyt
In quham the fysche yelland as elvys schoutyt.
Thair yelpis wylde my hering all fordevyt.
Tha grym monsturis my spretis abhorryt and doutyt.
Not throu the soyl bot muskan treis sproutyt
Combust, barrant, unblomyt and unlevyt,
Ald rottyn runtis quhairin no sap was levyt
Moch, all wast, widdrit, with granis moutyt:
A ganand den quhair morthurars men revyt.
Quhairfore my selvyn was richt sore agast.
This wyldernes abhomynable and wast
In quhome na thing wes Nature confortand
Was dyrk as royk the quhilk the see upcast.
The quhislyng wynd blew mony byttir blast,
Runtis ratlit and uneth myght I stand:
Out throu the wode I crap on fut and hand.
The ryvar stank, the treis clattryt fast,
The soil was not bot marres, slyik, and sand.

And not but caus my spretis were abaysit
All solitare in that desert arrasyt.
“Allas,” I said, “is non other remede?
Cruel Fortoun, quhy hes thow me betrasyt?
Quhy hes thow thus my fatall end compasyt?
Allas, allas, sall I thus sone be dede
In this desert, and wait non uther rede,
Bot be devoryt wyth sum best ravanus?
I wepe, I wale, I plene, I cry, I plede:
Inconstant warld and quheil contrarius!

“Thy transitory plesans quhat avaylys?
Now thare, now heir, now hie and now devalys;
Now to, now fro, now law, now magnifyis;
Now hote, now cald, now lauchys, now bewalys;
Now seik, now hail, now wery, now not alys;
Now gud, now evyll, now wetis, and now dryis;
Now thow promittis and rycht now thou denyis;
Now wo, now weill, now ferm, now frevilus,
Now gam, now gram, now lovys, now defyis:
Inconstant warld and quheil contrarius!

“Ha! quha suld haif affyans in thy blys?
Ha! quha suld haif fyrm esperans in this
Quhilk is, allace, sa freuch and variant?
Certis none. Sum hes! No wicht. Suythly, yis!
Than hes my self bene gylty? Ya iwys.
Thairfore, allace, sall danger thus me dant?
Quhyddyr is bycum sa sone this duyly hant
And Veyr translat in wyntyr furyus?
Thus I bewale my faitis repugnant:
Inconstant warld and quheil contrarius!”

Bydand the deid thus in myn extasy,
A dyn I hard approchyng fast me be
Quhilk movit fra the plage septentrionall
As heyrd of bestis stampyng with loud cry.
Bot than God wate how afferyt wes I
Traistand tyl be stranglyt with bestiall.
Amyd a stok richt prevaly I stall
Quhare lukand out anone I dyd espy
Ane lusty rout of bestis rationall –

Of ladyis fair and gudly men arrayit
In constant weid – that weil my spretis payit.
Wyth degest mynd quhairin all wyt aboundyt
Full sobyrly thair haknais thay assait
Eftyr the feitis auld, and not forvayt.
Thair hie prudence schew furth, and nothyng roundit,
With gude effere, quhare at the wod resoundyt.
In stedfast ordour, to vysy onaffrayit
Thay rydyng furth with stabylnes ygroundyt.

Amyddys quham, borne in ane goldyn chare
Ovyrfret with perle and stonys maist preclare
That drawin wes by haiknays four, mylk quhyt,
Was set a quene, as lylly swete of sware,
In purpur robe hemmid with gold ilk gare
Quhilk jemmyt claspes closyd all parfyte,
A diademe maist pleasandly polyte
Set on the tressys of her gyltyn hare
And in her hand a sceptre of delyte.

Syne next her, rayed in granyt violate,
Twelve damysylles, ilk ane in theyr estate
Quhilkis semyt of hyr consell most secre
And nixt thaym wes a lusty rout, God wate –
Lordis, ladyis, and mony fair prelate,
Baith borne of hie estate and law degre,
Furth with thair quene thay al by-passit me.
Ane esy pase thay rydyng furth the gate
And I abaid alone within the tre.

And as the rout wes passyt one and one
And I remanand in the tre alone,
Out throw the wode come rydand cativis twane,
Ane on ane asse, a wedy about his mone,
The tothir raid ane hiddows hors apone.
I passyt furth and fast at thaym did frane
Quhat men thay wer. Thay answeryt me agane,
“Our namys ben Achitefel and Synone
That by our suttell menys feil hes slane.”

“Wait ye,” quod I, “quhat signifyis yon rout?”
Synon sayd “Ya!” – and gave ane hyddows schout –
“We wrechys bene abject thairfra, iwys.
Yone is the Quene of Sapience, but dout,
Lady Minerve, and yone twelve hir about
Ar the prudent Sibillais ful of blys,
Cassandra, eik Delbora and Circis,
The fatale systeris twynand our weirdes out,
Judith, Jael, and mony a prophetis

“Quhilkis groundyt ar in fyrm intelligens.
And thair is als in to yone court gone hens
Clerkis divine with problewmys curius
As Salomon the well of sapiens
And Arestotyl, fulfyllet of prudens,
Salust, Senek and Titus Livius,
Picthagoras, Porphure, Permenydus,
Melysses with his sawis but defence,
Sidrag, Secundus and Solenyus,

“Ptholomeus, Ipocras, Socrates,
Empedocles, Neptennebus, Hermes,
Galien, Averroes and Plato,
Enoth, Lameth, Job and Diogenes,
The eloquent and prudent Ulisses,
Wyse Josephus and facund Cicero,
Melchisedech, with othyr mony mo.
Thair viage lyis throw out this wildernes.
To the Palice of Honour all thay go,

Is situat from hens liggis ten hundyr.
Our horsys oft or we be thair wyll fundyr.
Adew, we may no langer heir remane.”
“Or that ye passe,” quod I, “tell me this wondyr,
How that ye wrechyt cativis thus at undyr
Ar sociat with this court soverane?”
Achitefell maid this answer agane:
“Knawis thou not? Haill, erd-quake, and thundyr
Ar oft in May, with mony schour of rane.

“Rycht so we bene in tyll this company.
Our wyt aboundit, and usyt wes lewdly.
My wysdome ay fulfyllyt my desyre
As thou may in the Bybyl weil aspy,
How Davidis prayer put my counsell by.
I gart his sonne aganys hym conspyre,
The quhilk wes slane. Quhairfore up be the swyre
My self I hangit, frustrat sa fowlily.
This Synon wes a Greik that rasyt fyre

First in to Troy, as Virgyll dois report.
Sa tratourlyk maid him be draw overwhort
Quhill in he brocht the Hors with men of armys
Quhairthrow the towne distroit wes at schort.”
Quod I, “Is this your destany and sort?
Cursit be he that sorowis for your harmys,
For ye bene schrewis baith, be Goddis armys!
Ye will optene nane entres at yone port
Bot gif it be throw sorcery or charmys.”

“Ingres tyll have,” quod thay, “we not presume.
It sufficis us tyl se the Palice blume
And stand on rowme quhare bettyr folk bene charrit.
For tyll remane, adew, we have na tume.
This ilk way cummis the courtis, be our dume,
Of Diane and Venus that feil hes marryt.”
With that thay raid away as thay war skarryt,
And I agayne, maist lyk ane elrych grume,
Crap in the muskane akyn stok mysharrit.

Thus wrechitly I maid my resydence
Imagynand feil syse for sum defence
In contrar savage bestis maist cruell,
For na remeid bot deid be violence,
Sum tyme, asswagis febill indegence.
Thus in a part I reconfort my sell
Bot that so lityll wes I dar nocht tell.
The stychlyng of a mows out of presence
Had bene to me mare ugsum than the Hell.

Yit glaid I wes that I with thaym had spokkyn.
Had not bene that, certis my hart had brokkyn
For megirnes and pusillamytee.
Remanand thus within the tre al lokkyn,
Dissyrand fast sum signys or sum tokkyn
Of Lady Venus and of hir companee,
A hart transformyt ran fast by the tree
With houndis rent, on quham Dian wes wrokkyn.
Tharby I understude that sche wes nee.

Thay had tofore declarit hir cummyng:
Mare perfytly forthy I knew the syng.
Wes Action quhilk Diane nakyt watyt
Bathyng in a well and eik hir madynnys yyng.
The goddes wes commovyt at this thing
And hym in forme hes of a hart translatit.
I saw, allace, his houndis at him slatit.
Bakwert he blent to gyf thaym knawlegyng
Tha raif thair lord, mysknew hym at thaym batit.

Syne ladyis come with lusty giltyn tressys,
In habit wild maist lyke till fostaressys,
Amyddys quham heich on ane eliphant
In syng that sche in chastite incressys
Raid Diane that ladyis hartis dressys
Tyl be stabil and na way inconstant.
God wait that nane of thaym is variant:
All chast and trew virginite professys.
I not, bot few I saw with Diane hant.

Intil that court I saw anone present
Jeptyis douchtir, a lusty lady gent
Offeryt tyl God in hir virginite.
Pollixena, I wys, wes not absent;
Panthessile with mannys hardyment,
Effygyn and Virgenius’ douchter fre,
With uthyr flouris of feminyte,
Baith of the New and the Ald Testament,
All on thay raid and left me in the tre.

In that desert dispers in sondyr skattryt
Wer bewis bare quham rane and wynde on battryt.
The water stank, the feild was odious
Quhar dragonys, lessertis, askis, edders swattryt
With mouthis gapand, forkyt tayles tattryt,
With mony a stang and spoutis vennomous
Corruppyng ayr be rewme contagious.
Maist gros and vyle enposonyt clowdis clatteryt,
Rekand lyk hellys smoke sulfuryus.

My dasyt hed fordullit dissyly
I rasyt up, half in a letergy,
As dois a catyve ydronken in slep
And so opperyt tyl my fantasy
A schynand lycht out of the northest sky.
Proportion sounding dulcest hard I pepe
The quhilk with cure till heir I did tak kepe.
In musyk nowmer full of harmony
Distant on far wes caryit be the depe.

Farther by wattyr folk may soundis here
Than by the erth, the quhilk with poris sere
Up drynkis ayr that movit is by sound
Quhilk in compact wattir of ane rivere
May nocht entre bot rynnys thare and here
Quhil it at last be caryit on the ground;
And thocht throw dyn, be experience is found,
The fysch ar causyt within the rivere stere,
Inoth the wattyr the nois dois not abound.

Violent dyn the ayr brekkis and deris,
Syne gret motion of ayr the watyr steris.
The wattyr steryt, fischis for ferdnes fleis.
Bot, out of dout, no fysch in wattyr heris
For, as we se, rycht few of thaym has eris;
And eik, forsuyth, bot gyf wyse clerkis leis,
Thair is nane ayr inoth watters nor seis,
But quhilk na thing may heir, as wyse men leiris,
Lyik as but lycht thair is na thyng that seis.

Anewch of this, I not quhat it may mene.
I wyll returne till declare all bedene
My dreidfull dreme with grysly fantasyis.
I schew tofore quhat I had hard and sene,
Perticularly sum of my paynfull tene.
But now God wate quhat ferdnes on me lyis!
Lang ere I said – and now this tyme is twyis –
A sound I hard, of angellys as it had bene,
With armony fordynnand all the skyis

So dulce, so swete and so melodius
That every wycht thair with mycht be joyous
Bot I and cativis dullit in dispare.
For quhen a man is wreth or furius,
Malancolyk for wo or tedius,
Than is al plesance till hym maist contrare
And semblably than so did wyth me fare:
This melody intonyt hevinly thus
For profund wo constrenyt me mak care.

And murnand thus as ane maist wofull wicht,
Of the maist plesand court I had a sycht
In warld adoun sen Adam wes create.
Quhat sang? quhat joy? quhat armony? quhat lycht?
Quhat myrthfull solace, plesance all at ryght?
Quhat fresch bewte? quhat excelland estate?
Quhat swete vocis? quhat wordis suggurate?
Quhat fair debatis? quhat lufsum ladyis bricht?
Quhat lusty gallandis did on thair servyce wate?

Quhat gudly pastance and quhat menstraly?
Quhat game thay maid? In faith, not tell can I.
Thocht I had profund wit angelicall
The hevinly soundis of thair armony
Has dymmyt so my drery fantasy,
Baith wit and reason, half is lost of all.
Yit as I knaw, als lychtly say I sall:
That angellyk and godly company
Tyll se me thocht a thyng celestiall.

Procedand furth wes draw ane chariote
Be cursuris twelf trappit in gren velvote.
Of fyne gold wer juncturis and harnasyngis.
The lymnuris wer of byrnyst gold, God wate.
Baith extre and quhelis of gold, I hote.
Of goldyn cord wer lyamys, and the stryngis
Festnyt conjunct in massy goldyn ryngis.
Evyr hamys convenient for sic note
And raw silk brechamys ovyr thair halsys hyngis.

The body of the cart of evir bone
With crysolytis and mony pretious stone
Wes all overfret in dew proportioun
Lyke sternys in the firmament quhilkis schone.
Reperalit wes that godlyk plesand wone,
Tyldyt abone and to the erth adoun
In rychest claith of gold of purpur broun,
But fas or othyr frenyeis had it none
Save plate of gold anamallyt all fassioun

Quhairfra dependant hang thair megyr bellys –
Sum round, sum thraw – in sound the quhilkis excellis.
All wer of gold of Araby maist fyne
Quhilkis with the wynd concordandly so knellys
That to be glad thair sound al wycht compellys.
The armony wes so melodius fyne
In mannys voce and instrument divine,
Quhare so thay went, it semyt nothyng ellys
Bot jerarchyes of angellys, ordours nyne.

Amyd the chare fulfillyt of plesance,
A lady sat, at quhais obeysance
Wes all that rout; and wondyr is till here
Of hir excelland lusty countenance.
Hir hie bewte, quhilk mayst is til avance,
Precellys all – thair may be na compere –
For lyk Phebus in hiest of his spere
Hir bewtye schane, castand so gret a glance
All farehed it opprest, baith far and nere.

Scho wes peirles of schap and portrature.
In her had Nature fynesyt hir cure.
As for gud havyngis, thair wes nane bot sche;
And hir array wes so fyne and so pure
That quhair of wes hir rob I am not sure
For nocht bot perle and stonys mycht I se
Of quham the brychtnes of hir hie bewtie
For till behald my sycht myght not endure
Mair than the brycht sonne may the bakkis e.

Hir hair as gold or topasis wes hewyt.
Quha hir beheld, hir bewtie ay renewit.
On heid sche had a crest of dyamantis.
Thair wes na wycht that gat a sycht eschewyt,
Wer he nevir sa constant nor weil thewyt
Na he was woundit and him hir servant grantis.
That hevinly wycht hir cristall eyn so dantis
For blenkis swete nane passit unpersewyt
Bot gyf he wer preservit as thir sanctis.

I wondryt sore and in mynd did stare
Quhat creature that mycht be wes so fare,
Of sa peirles excelent womanheid.
And, farlyand thus, I saw within the chare
Quhare that a man wes set with lymmes square,
His body weil entalyeit every steid:
He bare a bow with dartis haw as leid;
His clethyng wes als grene as ane hountare
Bot he forsuyth had none eyn in his hed.

I understude by signis persavabill
That wes Cupyd the god maist dissavabill,
The lady, Venus, his mother, a goddes.
I knew that wes the court so variabill
Of erdly luf quhilk sendill standis stabill.
Bot yit thair myrth and solace nevertheles
In musik, tone, and menstraly expres,
So craftely with corage aggreabill –
Hard never wicht sik melody, I ges.

Acumpanyit lusty yonkers with all.
Fresche ladyis sang in voce virgineall
Concordes swete, divers entoned reportis.
Proportionis fyne with sound celestiall –
Duplat, triplat diatesseriall,
Sesque altra and decupla resortis,
Diapason of mony syndry sortis –
War songin and plait be seir cunnyng menstrall
On luf ballattis with mony fair disportis.

In modulation hard I play and syng
Faburdoun, priksang, discant, conturyng,
Cant organe, figuration, and gemmell.
On croud, lute, harp, with mony gudly spring.
Schalmis, clarionis, portativis hard I ring,
Monycord, orgain, tympane, and symbell,
Sytholl, psalttry, and vocis swete as bell,
Soft releschyngis in dulce delyveryng,
Fractyonis divide at rest or clos compell.

Not Pan of Archaid so plesandly plays,
Nor King David, quhais playng, as men sayis,
Conjurit the spreit the quhilk Kyng Saul confoundit,
Nor Amphion with mony subtile layis
Quhilk Thebes wallit with harpyng in his dayis,
Nor he that first the subtile craftis foundit
Was not in musik half so weil igroundit
Nor knew thair mesure tent dele be no wayes.
At thair resort baith hevyn and erd resoundit.

Na mare I understude thir noumeris fyne
Be God than dois a gekgo or a swyne,
Save that me think swete soundis gude to heir.
Na mair heiron my labour will I tyne.
Na mair I wyl thir verbillys swete diffyne,
How that thair musik tones war mair cleir
And dulcer than the movyng of the speir
Or Orpheus’ harp of Trace with sound divyne.
Glaskeryane maid na noyes compeir.

Thay condescend sa weil in ane accord
That by na juynt thair soundis bene discord,
In every key thay werren sa expert.
Of thair array gyf I suld mak record –
Lusty spryngaldis and mony gudly lord,
Tendyr yonglyngis with pietuous virgin hart,
Eldar ladyis knew mair of lustis art,
Divers utheris quhilkis me not list remord,
Quhais lakkest weid was silkis of brounvert –

In vesturis quent of mony syndry gyse
I saw all claith of gold men mycht devise,
Purpur coulour, punyk and skarlot hewis,
Velvot robbis maid with the grand assyse,
Dames, satyn, begaryit mony wyse,
Cramessy satin, velvot enbroude in divers rewis,
Satyn figuris champit with flouris and bewis,
Damesflure, tere pyle quhare on thair lyis
Perle orphany, quhilk every state renewis.

Thare ryche entire, maist peirles to behald,
My wyt can not discrive, howbeit I wald.
Mony entrappit stede with sylkis sere,
Mony pattrell nervyt with gold I tald,
Full mony new gylt harnasyng not ald,
On mony palfray lusum ladyis clere.
And nyxt the chare I saw formest appere,
Upon a bardyt cursere stout and bald,
Mars god of stryf enarmyt in byrnist gere:

Every invasybill wapyn on hym he bare;
His luke was grym, his body large and square,
His lymmys weil entailyeit til be strang;
His nek wes gret, a span lenth weil or mare,
His vissage braid with crisp broun curland hare;
Of statur, not ovyr gret nor yit ovyr lang.
Behaldand Venus, “O ye my luif,” he sang,
And scho agane with dalyans sa fare
Hir knycht hym clepis quhare so he ryde or gang.

Thair wes Arsyte and Palemon alswa
Accumpanyit with fare Emylya,
The quene Dido with hir fals luf Enee,
Trew Troylus, unfaythfull Cressida,
The fair Paris and plesand Helena,
Constant Lucres and traist Penolype,
Kynd Pirramus and wobegone Thysbe,
Dolorus Progne, triest Philomena,
King David’s luif thare saw I, Barsabe.

Thare wes Ceix with the kynd Alcyon,
And Achilles, wroth with Agamemnon
For Bryssida his lady fra hym tane,
Wofull Phillys with hir luf Demoophan,
Subtel Medea and hir knycht Jasone.
Of France I saw thair Paris and Veane.
Thare wes Phedra, Thesyus and Adriane,
The secrete wyse hardy Ipomedon,
Asswere, Hester, irraprevabill Susane.

Thare wes the fals unhappy Dalida,
Cruel wikkyt and curst Dyonera,
Wareit Bibles and the fair Absolon,
Ysyphele, abhomynabil Sylla,
Trastram, Yside, Helcana and Anna,
Cleopatra and worthy Mark Anthon,
Iole, Hercules, Alcest, Ixion,
The onely pacient wyfe Gressillida,
Nersissus, that his hed brak on a ston.

Thare wes Jacob with fair Rachel his make,
The quhilk become til Laban for hir sake
Fourteen yere boynd with fyrm hart immutabill –
Thair bene bot few sic now, I undertake:
Thir fair ladyis in silk and claith of lake
Thus lang sall not all foundyn be so stabyll.
This Venus court quhilk wes in luif maist abil
For till discrive my cunning is to wake.
A multitude thay wer, innumerabill,

Of gudly folk in every kynd and age.
With blenkis swete, fresch lusty grene curage,
And dalians thay rydyng furth in fere.
Sum leivys in hope and sum in great thyrlage,
Sum in dispare, sum findis his panys swage.
Garlandis of flouris and rois chaplettis sere
Thay bare on hede and samyn sang so clere
Quhil that thair myrth commovit my curage
Till syng this lay quhilk folowand ye may here:

“Constrenyt hart, bylappit in distres,
Groundit in wo and full of hevynes
Complene thy paynfull caris infinyte,
Bewale this warldis frele unstedfastnes
Havand regrait sen gone is thy glaidnes
And all thy solace returnyt in dispyte.
O cative thrall involupit in syte,
Confesse thy fatale wofull wrechitnes,
Divide in twane and furth diffound all tyte
Aggrevance gret in miserabill endyte.
“My crewell fait, subjectit to penance,
Predestinat sa void of all plesance,
Has every greif amyd myn hart ingrave.
The slyd inconstant destany or chance
Unequaly doith hyng in thair ballance
My demeritis and gret dolour I have.
This purgatory redowblys all the lave.
Ilk wycht has sum weilfare at obeysance
Save me, bysnyng, that may na grace ressave.
Dede, the addresse and do me to my grave.

“Wo worth sik strang mysforton anoyus
Quhilk has opprest my spretis maist joyus!
Wo worth this worldis freuch felicitй!
Wo worth my fervent diseis dolorus!
Wo worth the wycht that is not pietuus
Quhare the trespassor penitent thay se!
Wo worth this dede that dayly dois me de!
Wo worth Cupid and wo worth fals Venus,
Wo worth thaym bayth, ay waryit mot thay be!
Wo worth thair court, and cursit destane!”

Loude as I mocht in dolour al distrenyeit
This lay I sayng and not a lettir fenyeit.
Tho saw I Venus on hir lyp did byte
And all the court in hast thair horsys renyeit
Proclamand loude, “Quhare is yone poid that plenyeit
Quhilk deth diservis committand sik dispite?”
Fra tre to tre thay serchyng but respyte
Quhill ane me fand, quhilk said in greif disdenyeit,
“Avant, velane, thou reclus imperfyte!”

All in ane fevyr out of my muskan bowr
On knees I crap and law for feare did lowr.
Than all the court on me thayr hedis schuke,
Sum glowmand grym, sum grinand with vissage sowr.
Sum in the nek gave me feil dyntis dour.
“Pluk at the craw,” thay cryit, “deplome the ruke!
Pulland my hare, with blek my face they bruke.
Skrymmory Fery gaif me mony a clowr.
For Chyppynuty full oft my chaftis quuke.

With payne, torment thus in thayr teynfull play,
Till Venus, bund, they led me furth the way
Quhilk than wes set amyd a golden chare,
And so confoundit into that fell affray
As that I micht consydyr thair array.
Me thocht the feild, ovirspred with carpetis fare,
Quhilk wes tofore brint, barrant, vile and bare,
Wox maist plesand, bot all, the suyth to say,
Micht not amese my grewous pane full sare.

Entronit sat Mars, Cupyd and Venus.
Tho rais a clerk wes clepit Varius
Me tyl accusyng of a dedly cryme
And he begouth and red a dittay thus:
“Thou wikkyt catyve, wood and furious,
Presumptuusly now at this present tyme
My lady here blasphemed in thy ryme.
Hir sonne, hir self and hir court amorus
For till betrais awatit here sen prime.”

Now God Thow wate, me thocht my fortune fey.
Wyth quakand voce and hart cald as a key
On kneys I knelyt and mercy culd implore,
Submyttand me but ony langer pley
Venus mandate and plesour till obey.
Grace wes denyit and my travel forlore
For scho gaif chargis till procede as before.
Than Varius spak rycht stoutly me till fley,
Injonand silence tyll ask grace ony more.

He demandit myn answere, quhat I sayd,
Than as I mocht with curage all mysmaid
Fra tyme I undirstude na mare supple,
Sore abasyt, belive I thus out braid:
“Set of thir pointis of cryme now on me laid
I may me quyte giltles in veritй,
Yit fyrst, agane the juge quhilk here I se,
This inordenat court and proces quaid
I wyll object for causys twa or thre.”

Inclynand law, quod I with pietuus face,
“I me defend, Madame plesyt your grace.”
“Say on,” quod sche, than said I thus but mare:
“Madame, ye may not syt in till this cace
For ladyis may be jugis in na place
And, mare attour, I am na seculare.
A spirituall man (thocht I be void of lare)
Clepyt I am, and aucht my lyvys space
To be remyt till my juge ordinare.

“I yow beseik, Madame with byssy cure,
Till gyf ane gracius interlocuture
On thir exceptionys now proponyt late.”
Than suddanly Venus (I yow assure)
Deliverit sone and with a voce so sture
Answeryt thus: “Thow subtyle smy, God wait!
Quhat wenys thou? Till degraid myne hie estate,
Me till declyne as juge, curst creature?
It beis not so. The game gois othir gate.

“As we the fynd, thow sall thoill jugement.
Not of a clerk we se the represent
Save onely falsshed and dissaitfull talys.
Fyrst quhen thow come, with hart and hail entent
Thow the submyttit till my commaundement.
Now, now, thairof me think to sone thow falys!
I weyn nathyng bot foly that the alys.
Ye clerkis bene in subtyle wordis quent
And in the deid als scharpe as ony snalys.

“Ye bene the men bewrays my commandis.
Ye bene the men distrublys my servandis.
Ye bene the men with wikkyt wordis fele
Quhilk blasphemys fresch lusty yong gallandis
That in my servyce and retenew standis.
Ye bene the men that clepys yow so lele
With fals behest quhill ye your purpose stele,
Syne ye forswere baith body, treuth and handis,
Ye bene sa fals. Ye can no word consele!

“Have doyn,” quod sche, “syr Varius. Alswyith
Do writ the sentence. Lat this cative kyith
Gyf our power may demyng his mysdeid.”
Than God Thow wait gyf that my spreit wes blyith!
The feverus hew in till my face dyd myith
All my male eys for swa the horribill dreid
Hail me ovyrset I mycht not say my creid.
For feir and wo within my skyn I wryith.
I mycht not pray, forsuyth, thocht I had neid.

Yit of my deth I set not half a fle.
For gret effere me thocht na pane to die
But sore I dred me for sum othyr jape
That Venus suld throw hir subtillytй
In till sum bysnyng best transfigurat me
As in a bere, a bair, ane oule, ane ape.
I traistit so for till have bene myschaip
That oft I wald my hand behald to se
Gyf it alteryt, and oft my vissage grape.

Tho I revolvit in my mynd anone
Quhow that Diane transformyt Acteone
And Juno eik as for a kow gert kepe
The fare Io that lang wes wo begone –
Argos hir yymmyt that eyn had mony one
Quhom at the last Mercurius gert slepe
And hir delyverit of that danger depe.
I remembrit also quhow in a stone
The wyfe of Loth ichangit sore did wepe.

I umbethocht quhow Jove and ald Saturn
In tyll a wolf thay did Lycaon turn
And quhow the mychty Nabugodonosore
In bestly forme did on the feild sudjourn
And for his gilt wes maid to wepe and murn.
Thir feirfull wondris gart me dreid ful sore
For by exemplys oft I herd tofore
He suld bewar that seys his fallow spurn:
Myschans of ane suld be ane otheris lore.

And rolland thus in divers fantasyis,
Terribil thochtis oft my hert did gryis
For all remeid wes alterit in dispare.
Thare wes na hope of mercy till devyis.
Thare wes na wycht my frend be na kyn wyis.
Alhalely the court wes me contrare.
Than wes all maist wryttyn the sentence sare.
My febyll mynd, seand this gret suppris,
Wes than of wit and every blys full bare.

The Seconde Parte

Lo, thus amyd this hard perplexitй
Awaytand ever quhat moment I suld de
Or than sum new transfiguration,
He quhilk that is eternall veritй,
The glorious Lord ryngand in personis thre,
Providit has for my salvation
Be sum gude spretis revelation
Quhilk intercessioun maid, I traist, for me.
I foryet all imagination.

All hail my dreid I tho foryet in hy
And all my wo, bot yit I wyst not quhy,
Save that I had sum hope till be relevyt.
I rasyt than my vissage hastely
And with a blenk anone I did espy
A lusty sycht quhilk nocht my hart engrevit,
A hevinly rout out throw the wod eschevyt
Of quhame the bonty, gyf I not deny,
Uneth may be intill ane scripture brevit.

With lawrere crownyt in robbis syd all new,
Of a fassoun and all of stedfast hew,
Arrayit weil, a court I saw cum nere
Of wyse degest eloquent fathers trew
And plesand ladyis quhilkis fresch bewtie schew,
Syngand softly full swete on thair manere
On poete wyse all divers versis sere,
Historyis gret in Latyne toung and Grew
With fresche endyt and soundis gude till here.

And sum of thaym ad lyram playit and sang
So plesand vers quhill all the rochys rang,
Metyr Saphik and also elygee.
Thair instrumentis all maist wer fydlys lang
Bot with a string quhilk nevyr ane wreist yeid wrang.
Sum had ane harpe and sum a fair psaltree;
On lutis sum thair accentis subtelle
Devydyt weil and held the mesure lang
In soundis swete of plesand melodie.

The ladyis sang in vocis dulcorate
Facund epistillis quhilkis quhilum Ovid wrate
As Phillys Quene send till Duke Demophon
And of Pennolepe the gret regrate
Send till hir lord, sche dowtyng his estate,
That he at Troy suld losyt be or tone.
How Acontus till Cedippa anone
Wrate his complaint thair hard I weil, God wate,
With othir lusty myssyvis mony one.

I had gret wondir of thair layis sere
Quhilkis in that arte mycht have na way compere
Of castis quent, rethorik colouris fyne
So poete-lyk in subtyle fair manere
And elaquent fyrme cadens regulere.
Thair vayage furth contenand rycht as lyne
With sang and play, as sayd is, so dyvine,
Thay fast approchyng to the place well nere
Quhare I wes torment in my gastly pyne.

And as the hevynly sort now nomynate
Removyt furth on gudly wyse thair gate
Towert the court quhilk wes tofore expremit,
My curage grew, for quhat cause I not wate
Save that I held me payit of thayr estate;
And thay wer folk of knawledge as it semit,
Als in til Venus court full fast thay demit,
Sayand, “Yone lusty rout wyll stop our mate
Till justefy thys bisning quhilk blasphemit.

“Yone is,” quod they, “the court rethoricall
Of polit termys, sang poeticall
And constand ground of famus historyis swete.
Yone is the facund well celestiall.
Yone is the fontayn and origynall
Quharefra the well of Helicon dois flete.
Yone ar the folkis that comfortes every sprete
Be fyne delyte and dyte angelicall
Causand gros lede all of maist gudnes glete.

“Yone is the court of plesand stedfastnes.
Yone is the court of constant merynes.
Yone is the court of joyus disciplyne
Quhilk causys folk thair purpos till expres
In ornat wyse provocand with gladnes,
All gentyll hartis to thare lare inclyne.
Every famus poet men may devyne
Is in yone rout. Lo yondir thair Prynces,
Thespis, the mothyr of the Musis Nyne,

“And nixt hir syne hir douchter fyrst byget,
Lady Cleo, quhilk craftely dois set
Historiis ald lyk as thay wer present,
Euterpe eik, quhilk dayly dois hir det
In dulce blastis of pipis swete but let;
The thyrd systir, Thalia, diligent
In wanton wryt, and cronikillis doith imprent;
The ferd endityth, oft with chekis wet,
Sare tragedyis, Melphomyne the gent;

“Tarpsychore the fyft with humyll soun
Makis on psaltreis modolatioun;
The sext, Erato, lyk thir luffirs wylde
Will syng, play, dans and leip baith up and doune.
Polimnya, the sevynt Muse of renoun,
Ditis thir swete rethorik cullouris mylde
Quhilkis ar so plesand baith to man and chylde;
Uranya, the aucht and sistir schene,
Wrytis the hevyn and sternys all bedene;

“The nynt, quham till nane othir is compere,
Caliope, that lusty lady clere,
Of quham the bewtye and the worthynes
The vertuys gret schynis baith far and nere,
For sche of nobillis fatis hes the stere
Till wryt thair worschyp, victory and prowes
In kyngly style, quhilk dois thair fame encres
Clepyt in Latyne heroicus, but were,
Cheif of al wryt lyk as scho is maistres.

“Thir Musis nyne, lo yondir may ye se
With fresch Nymphis of watir and of see,
And Phanee, ladyis of thir templis ald,
Pyerides, Dryades, Saturee,
Neriedes, Aones, Napee,
Of quham the bontyis nedis not be tald.”
Thus dempt the court of Venus monyfald
Quhilk speche refreschyt my perplexitй,
Rejosand weil my sprete afore wes cald.

The suddand sycht of that fyrme court foresaid
Recomfort weil my hew tofore wes faid.
Amyd my brest the joyus heit redoundyt
Behaldand quhow the lusty Musys raid,
And al thair court quhilk wes so blyith and glaid,
Quhois merynes all hevynes confoundyt.
Thair saw I, weil in poetry ygroundyt,
The gret Homere, quhilk in Grew langage said
Maist eloquently, in quham all wyt aboundyt.

Thare wes the gret Latyn Virgillyus,
The famus fathir poet Ovidius,
Ditis, Daris, and eik the trew Lucane.
Thare wes Plautus, Pogius, Parsius.
Thare wes Terens, Donat, and Servius,
Francys Petrark, Flakcus Valeriane.
Thare wes Ysop, Caton, and Alane.
Thare wes Galterus and Boetius.
Thare wes also the gret Quintilliane.

Thare wes the satyr poete Juvinale.
Thare wes the mixt and subtell Marciale.
Of Thebes bruyt thare wes the poete Stace.
Thare wes Faustus and Laurence of the vale,
Pomponeus quhais fame of late, sans fale,
Is blawin wyd throw every realme and place.
Thare wes the morale wyse poete Orace,
With mony other clerkis of gret avayle.
Thare wes Brunell, Claudyus, and Bocace.

So gret a pres of pepill drew us nere
The hunder part thare namys is not here.
Yit thare I saw of Brutus Albion
Goffryd Chaucere, as A per se, sance pere
In his wulgare, and morell John Gowere.
Lydgat the monk raid musand him allone.
Of this natioun I knew also anone
Gret Kennedy and Dunbar, yit undede,
And Quyntyne with ane huttok on his hede.

Howbeit I couth declare and weil endyte
The bonteis of that court, dewlye to wryt
Wer ovir prolyxt, transcendyng myne engyne.
Twychand the proces of my panefull syte:
Belive I saw thir lusty Musys quhyte
With all thair route towart Venus declyne
Quhare Cupyd sat with hir in trone divyne,
I standand bundyn in a sory plyte
Byddand thair grace or than the dedly pyne.

Straucht til the Quene sammyn thir Musis raid,
Maist eloquently thare salutationys maid.
Venus agane yald thaym thair salusyng
Rycht reverently, and on hir fete upbraid,
Besekand thaym to lycht. “Nay, nay,” thay said,
“We may as here make na langer tariyng.”
Caliope, maist facund and bening,
Inquyryt Venus what wicht had hir mismaid
Or wes the cause thair of hir sudjournyng.

“Syster,” sayd scho, “behald that bysnyng schrew.
A subtyle smye – considyr weil his hew –
Standis thair bond,” and bykkynit hir to me.
“Yone cative hes blasphemyt me of new
For tyl degraid and do my fame adew;
A laithly ryme dispitefull, subtelle
Compelit hes, rehersand loud on hie
Sclander, dispite, sorow and wallaway
To me, my sonne and eike my court for ay.

“He has deservit deth – he salbe dede –
And we remane forsuith in to this stede
Till justefy that rebell renygate.”
Quod Caliope, “Sister, away all fede.
Quhy suld he de? Quhy suld he leis his hede?
To sla him for sa small a cryme, God wate,
Greter degradyng wer to your estate
All out than wes his sclander or sich plede.
Quhow may a fule your hie renoun chakmate?
“Quhat of his lak? Your fame so wyd is blaw,
Your excellens maist peirles is so knaw,
Na wrichis word ay depare your hie name.
Gyf me his lyfe and modefy the law
For on my hed he standis now sic aw
That he sall eft disserve nevir mare blame.
Not of his dede ye may report but schame.
In recompence of this mysyttand saw
He sall your hest in every part proclame.”

Than Lord quhow glad becam my febil gost!
My curage grew, the quhilk afore wes lost,
Seand I had so gret ane advocate
That expertly, but prayer, pryce or cost,
Opteynit had my frewel accion all most
Quhilk wes afore perist and desolate.
This quhyil Venus stude, in ane study strate,
Bot fynally scho schew till all the ost
Scho wald do grace and be not obstinate.

“I wyll,” said sche, “have mercy and pyete,
Do slake my wreth, and lat all rancour be.
Quhare is mare vice than till be ovir cruel
And specially in wemen sic as me?
A lady – fy! – that usis tirranne
No woman is, rather a serpent fell.
A vennamus dragon or a devill of hell
Is na compare to the inequyte
Of bald wemen, as thir wyse clerkis tell.

“Gret God diffend I suld be ane of tho
Quhilk of thare fede and malyce nevir ho.
Out on sik gram! I wyll serve na repreif.
Caliope, sistir,” said til Venus tho,
“At your request this wreche sall frely go.
Heir I remyt his trespas, and all greif
Salbe foryet swa he wil say sum breif
Or schort ballat in contrare pane and wo
Tuychand my laud and his plesand releif.
“And secundly the nixt resonabil command
Quhilk I him charge: se that he not ganestand.
On thir conditions, sister, at your requeist
He sall go fre.” Quod Caliope inclynand,
“Grant mercy, sister, I oblys by my hand
He sall observe in al poyntis your beheist.”
Than Venus bad do slake sone my arreist
Belyve I wes releschit of every band,
Uprais the court and all the perlour ceist.

Tho sat I doun lawly upon my kne
At command of prudent Caliope,
Yeildand Venus thankis a thousand sith
For sa hie frendschip and mercyfull pietй,
Excelland grace and gret humanytй
The quhilk to me, trespassour, did scho kyth.
“I the forgeve,” quod sche. Than wes I blyth.
Doun on a stok I set me suddanlye
At hir command and wrate this lay als swyth:

“Unwemmyt wit, deliverit of dangear,
Maist happely preservit fra the snare,
Releschit fre of servyce and bondage,
Expell dolour, expell diseyses sare,
Avoyd displesour, womentyng and care,
Ressave plesans and do thy sorowe swage,
Behald thy glaid fresche lusty grene curage,
Rejois amyd thir lovers lait and air,
Provyde a place till plant thy tendir age
Quhair thou in joy and plesour may repair.

“Quha is in welth, quha is weill fortunat,
Quha is in peace, dissoverit from debbat,
Quha levys in hop, quha levys in esperance,
Quha standis in grace, quha standis in ferme estat,
Quha is content, rejosyt air and lat,
Or quha is he that fortune doith avance
Bot thow, that is replenyst with plesance?
Thow hes comfort, all weilfare dilligat;
Thow hes gladnes; thow hes the happy chance;
Thow hes thy wyll: now be not dissolat.

“Incres in myrthfull consolatioun,
In joyus swete ymaginatioun,
Habond in luif of purifyit amouris
With diligent trew deliberatioun,
Rendir lovyngis for thy salvatioun
Till Venus, and ondir hir gard all houris
Rest at all ease, but sair or sytful schouris.
Abyde in quyet, maist constant weilfare.
Be glaid and lycht now in thy lusty flouris,
Unwemmyt wyt, delyverit of dangare.”

This lay wes red in oppyn audience
Of the Musis, and in Venus’ presence.
“I stand content: thow art obedient,”
Quod Caliope, my campion and defence.
Venus sayid, eik, it wes sum recompence
For my trespas I wes so penytent,
And with that word all sodanly sche went.
In ane instant scho and hir court wes hence,
Yit still abayd thir Musis on the bent.

Inclynand than, I sayd, “Caliope
My protector, my help and my supple,
My soverane lady, my redemptioun,
My mediatour quhen I wes dampnyt to de,
I sall beseik the Godly Majeste
Infynyt thankis, laud and benysoun
Yow till acquyte, accordyng your renoun.
It langyth not my possibillite
Till recompence ten part of this gwardoun.

“Glore, honour, laude and reverence condyng
Quha may foryeild yow of so hie a thyng?
And in that part your mercy I implore
Submyttand me my lyftyme induring
Your plesour and mandate till obeysyng.”
“Silence,” said scho, “I have eneuch heirfore.
I will thow passe and vissy wondris more.”
Than scho me hes betaucht in kepyng
Of a swete Nymphe, maist faythfull and decore.

Ane hors I gat, maist rychely besene,
Was harnyst all with wodbynd levis grene.
On the same sute the trappuris law doun hang.
Ovir hym I straid at command of the Quene,
Tho sammyn furth we rydyng all bedene
Als swyft as thocht with mony a mery sang.
My Nymphe alwayis convoyt me of thrang,
Amyd the Musys till se quhat thay wald mene,
Quhilkis sang and playt bot nevir a wrest yeid wrang.

Throw cuntreis seir, holtis and rochys hie,
Ovir valys, planys, woddis, wally se,
Ovir fludis fare and mony strate montane
We wer caryit in twynklyng of ane e.
Our horssis flaw and raid nocht, as thocht me,
Now out of France tursyt in Tuskane,
Now out of Flandris heich up in Almane,
Now in till Egypt, now in Ytalie,
Now in the realme of Trace and now in Spane.

The montayns we passit of all Garmanie,
Ovir Appenynus devydand Ytalie,
Ovir Ryne, the Pow and Tiber fludis fare,
Ovir Alpheus, by Pyes the ryche citie,
Undir the erth that entres in the see,
Ovir Ron, ovir Sane, ovir France and eik ovir Lare
And ovir Tagus, the goldin sandyt ryvare.
In Thessaly we passit the mont Oethe,
And Hercules in sepulture fand there.

Thare went we ovir the ryver Peneyus.
In Secil eik we passyt the mont Tmolus,
Plenyst with saphron, huny and with wyne;
The twa toppyt famus Pernasus;
In Trais we went out ovir the mont Emus
Quhare Orphius lerit his armony maist fyne,
Ovir Carmelus, quhare twa prophetis devyne
Remanyt, Helyas and Heliseus,
Fra quhome the Ordur of Carmelitis come syne.

And nixt untill the land of Amyson,
In hast we past the flude Termodyon
And ovir the huge hill that hecht Mynas.
We raid the hill of Bachus, Citheron,
And Olympus, the mont of Massidon,
Quhilk semys heich up in the hevyn to pas.
In that countre, we raid the flude Melas
Quhais watter makith quhite scheip blak anon.
In Europe, eik, we raid the flud Thanas.

We raid the swyft revere Sparthiades,
The flud of Surry Achicorontes,
The hill so full of wellis clepit Yda,
Armany hillis and flude Eufrates,
The fluid of Nyle, the pretius flude Ganges,
The hyl of Secyle, ay-byrnand Ethna,
And ovir the mont of Frygy, Dindama,
Hallowit in honour of the Modir Goddes.
Cauld Cacasus we passit, in Sythia.

We passyt the fludis of Tygris and Phison,
Of Trace the riveris Hebrun and Strymon,
The mont of Modyn and the flud Jordane,
The facund well and hill of Elicon,
The mont Erix, the well of Acheron,
Baith didicat to Venus en certane.
We past the hill and desert of Lybane,
Ovir mont Cinthus, quhare God Appollo schone
Straucht to the Musis Caballyne fontane.

Besyde that cristall strand swete and degest
Them till repois, thayr hors refresch and rest,
Alychtit doun thir Musis clere of hew.
The cumpany all halely, lest and best,
Thrang to the well tyl drink, quhilk ran southwest
Throw out a meid quhare alkyn flouris grew.
Amang the layf ful fast I did persew
Tyll drynk, bot sa the gret pres me opprest
That of the watir I micht never tast a drew.

Our hors pasturyt in a plesand plane
Law at the fute of a fare grene mountane
Amyd a meid schadowed with cedir treys,
Save fra al heit thare micht we weil remane,
All kynd of herbis, flouris, frute and grane
With every growand tre thair men micht cheis.
The byrriall stremys rynnand ovyr sterny greis
Maid sobir noys; the schaw dynnyt agane
For byrdys sang and soundyng of the beis.

The ladyis fare on divers instrumentys
Went playand, syngand, dansand ovir the bentis.
Ful angelyk and hevynly wes thair soun.
Quhat creatour amid his hart imprentis
The fresche bewty, the gudly representis,
The mery spech, fare havinges, hie renoun
Of thaym wald set a wyse man halfe in swoun.
Thair womanlynes writhyt the elementis,
Stonyst the hevyn and all the erth adoun.

The warld may not consydyr nor discryve
The hevynly joy, the blys I saw belyve,
So ineffabill, abone my wyt so hie
I wyll na mare thairon my forhed ryve,
But breifly furth my febill proces dryve.
Law in the meid a palyeon pycht I se,
Maist gudlyest and rychest that myght be.
My governour ofter than timys fyve
Untill that halde to pas commandit me.

Swa fynally strycht to that rial steid
In fallowschip with my leder I yeid.
We entryt sone: the portar wes not thra;
Thare wes na stoppyng, lang demand nor pleid.
I knelyt law and onheldit my heid
And tho I saw our Musis twa and twa
Sittand on deace, famylliaris to and fra
Servand thaym fast with epocres and meid,
Dilligate meatis, daynteis sere alswa.

Grete wes the preis, the feist ryall to sene.
At ease thay eit with interludyis betwene,
Gave problemys sere and mony fare demandis
Inquirand quha best in thair tymys had bene,
Quha traist lovers in lusty yeris grene;
Sum said this way, and sum thairto ganstandis.
Than Caliope Ovid till appere commaundis:
“My Clerk,” quod scho, “of Registere, bedene
Declare quha wer maist worthy of thair handis.”

With lawrere crownyt, at hir commaundment
Up stude this poet degest and eloquent
And schew the fetis of Hercules the strang,
Quhow he the grysly hellis houndis out rent,
Slew lyonys, monstreis and mony fell serpent,
And to the deth feil mychty giantis dang.
Of Thesyus eik he tald the weris lang
Agane the quene Ypollita the swete
And quhow he slew the Mynotaure in Crete;

Of Persyus he tald the knychtly dedis
Quhilk vincussyt (as men in Ovid redis)
Crewell tyrrantis and monsturis mony one;
Of Dianis bore in Callydon the dredis,
Quhow throw a ladyis schot his sydis bledis –
The bretheris deith and syne the systeris mone;
He schew quhow Kyng Priamus sonne Ysacon
Efter his dede, body and all his wedis
In till a skarth transformyt wes anon;

He schew at Troy quhat wyis the Grekis landis,
Quhow fers Achylles stranglyt wyth his handis
The valyeant Cignus, Neptunus’ sonne maist dere,
Quhilk at Grekis aryvale on the strandis
A thousand slew that day apon the sandis,
Faucht with Achill and blontit al his spere –
Na wapyn wes that micht him wond nor dere
Quhill Achalles bryst of his helm the bandis
And wyrryit hym be fors for all his fere.

He schew full mony transmutationis
And wondirfull new figurationis
Be hondris mo than I have here expremyt.
He tald of lovys meditacionis,
The craft of love and the salvationis,
Quhow that the furie lustis suld be flemyt.
Of divers other materis als he demyt
And be his prudent scharpe relationys
He wes expart in all thyng, as it semyt.

Up rais the gret Virgilius anone
And playd the sportis of Daphnis and Coridon.
Syne Therens come, and playit the commedy
Of Permeno, Thrason and wyse Gnaton;
Juvynale, lik a mower, hym allone,
Stud skornand every man as thay yeid by;
Marcyall was cuyk, till rost, seith, fars or fry;
And Pogyus stude with mony gyrn and grone
On Laurence Valla spyttand and cryand “Fy!”

With myrthys thus and meatis diligate
Thir ladyis, festit accordyng thair estate,
Uprais at last, commandand till tranoynt.
Retret wes blawyn lowd, and than God wate
Men micht have sene swyft horssys halden hate
Schynand for swete as thay had bene anoynt.
Of all that rout wes never a pryk disjoynt
For all our tary, and I, furth with my mate,
Montyt on hors, raid sammyn in gude poynt.

Ovir many gudly plane we raid bedene,
The Vail of Ebron, the Campe Damascene,
Throw Josaphat and throw the lusty vail,
Ovir watres wan, throw worthi woddis grene,
And swa at last in lyftyng up our eyne
We se the fynall end of our travail:
Amyd ane plane a plesand roch till wail.
And every wycht fra we that sycht had sene,
Thankand gret God, thare hedis law devail.

With syngyng, lauchyng, merines and play
On till that roch we rydyng furth the way.
Now mare till writ for fere trymlys my pen.
The hart may not thynk nor manis toung say,
The eyr not here nor yet the e se may,
It may not be ymagyned with men
The hevynly blys, the perfyte joy to ken
Quhilk now I saw. The hundreth part all day
I micht not schaw, thocht I had tonges ten.

Thocht al my membris tongis were on raw
I wer not abill the thousandfald to schaw
Quhairfore I fere ocht forthirmare to wryte,
For quhiddir I this in saule or body saw
That wait I not, bot he that all duth knaw,
The gret God, wait in every thyng perfyt.
Eik gyf I wald this avyssyon endyte
Janglaris suld it bakbyt and stand nane aw
Cry out on dremes quhilkis ar not worth a myte!

Sen thys til me all verite be kend
I reput bettir thus, till mak ane end
Than ocht til say that suld herars engreve.
On othir syd, thocht thay me vilepend,
I considdir prudent folk will commend
The verete, and sic janglyng rapreve.
With quhais correction, support, and releve
Furth till proceid this proces I pretend,
Traistand in God my purpose till escheve.

Quhowbeit I may not every circumstance
Reduce perfytly in rememorance,
Myn ignorance yit sum part sal devyse
Twychand this sycht of hevynly swete plesance.
Now empty pen, wryt furth thy lusty chance,
Schaw wondris fele, suppose thow be not wyse,
Be dilligent and rypely the avyse,
Be qwyke and scharpe, voydit of variance,
Be suete and cause not jentill hartis gryse.

The Thyrd Parte

Ye Musis nyne, be in myne adjutory
That maid me se this blys and perfyte glory,
Teche me your facund castis eloquent,
Len me a recent, scharp, fresch memory,
And caus me dewly til indyt this story.
Sum gratius swetnes in my brest imprent
Till make the heraris bousum and attent,
Redand my wryt illumynyt with your lore,
Infynyt thankis rendrand yow thairfore.

Now breifly to my purpose for til gone.
About the hyll lay ways mony one,
And to the hycht bot a passage ingrave,
Hewyn in the roch of slyde hard merbyll stone.
Aganne the sonne lyk as the glas it schone.
Ascens wes hie and strait for till consave,
Yit than thir Musis, gudly and suave,
Alychtyt doun and clam the roch in hy
With all the route, outtane my Nynphe and I.

Styl at the hillys fute we twa abaid.
Than suddandly my keper to me said,
“Ascend, galand!” Tho for fere I quuke.
“Be not effrayit,” scho said, “be not mismaid,”
And with that word up the strait rod abraid.
I followit fast; scho be the hand me tuke,
Yit durst I nevir, for dreid, behynde me luke.
With mekill pane thus clam we nere the hycht,
Quhare suddandly I saw ane grysly sycht.

As we approchit nere the hillis heid,
A terrible sewch – birnand in flawmys reid,
Abhominable and hol as heill to se,
All full of bryntstane, pyk, and bulnyng leid,
Quhair mony wrechit creatour lay deid,
And miserable catywis yeland loude one hie –
I saw, quhilk den mycht wele comparit be
Till Xantus, the fluid of Troy so schill,
Byrnand at Venus hest, contrar Achill.

Amyd our passage lay this ugly sicht,
Not brayd, but so horrible till eviry wicht
That all the warld to pas it suld have dreid.
Wele I considerit nene upparmar I mycht,
And to discend, sa hiddous wes the hicht
I durst not aventur for this erth on breid.
Trymland I stud, with teith chatterand gud speid.
My Nymphe beheld my cheir and said “Lat be:
Thow sall not aill, and, lo, the caus,” quod sche.

“To me thow art commyt. I sall the keip.
Thir pieteous pepill amyd theis laithly deip
War wrechis quhilkis in lusty yeris fair
Pretendit thaym till hie honour to creip;
Bot suddandly thay fell on sleuthfull sleip
Followand plesance, drynt in this loch of cair.”
And with that word sche hynt me by the hair,
Caryit me to the hillis hed anone
As Abacuk wes brocht in Babilone.

As we bene on the hie hill sittuate,
“Luke doun.” quod scho, “Consave in quhat estat
Thy wrechyt warld thow may considdir now!’
At hir command, with mekill dreid, God wate,
Out ovir the hill sa hiddous hie and strate
I blent adoun, and feld my body grow:
This brukkill erth, sa littyl to allow
Me thocht I saw byrn in a fyry rage
Of stormy see, quhilk mycht na maner swage.

That terribbill tempest, hiddous wallys huge
Wer maist grysly for till behald or juge,
Quhare nothyr rest nor quyet mycht appere.
Thare wes a peralus palyce, folk to luge.
Thare wes na help, support nor yet refuge.
Innowmerabill folk I saw flottrand in fere
Quhilk peryst on the weltrand wallys were
And secondly I saw a lusty barge
Ovirset with seyes and mony stormy charge.

This gudly carvel, taiklyt traist on raw,
With blanschyt sail, mylk-quhyte as ony snaw,
Rycht sover tycht and wondir strangly beildyt,
Wes on the boldyn wallys quyte ovirthraw.
Contrariusly the bustuus wynd did blaw
In bubbys thik, that na schip sail mycht weld it.
Now sank scho law, now hie tyl hevyn upheldyt.
At every part the see and wyndis drave
Quhill on a sand the schip tobryst and clave.

It wes a pietuus thyng, allake, allake,
Till here the duylfull cry quhen that scho strake,
Maist lamentabill the peryst folk till se
Sa famyst, drokyt, mait, forwrocht, and wake
Sum on a plank of firre and sum of ake,
Sum hang apon takill, sum on a tre,
Sum fra thair gryp sone weschyne with the se.
Part drynt, and part to the rolke flet or swam,
On rapis or burdis, syne up the hill thay clam.

Tho at my Nynphe breifly I did inquere
Quhat sygnyfyit tha feirfull wondris fere.
“Yone multitude,” said scho, “of pepill drint
Ar faythles folk, quhilkis, quhyle thay ar here,
Mysknawys God, and followys thare plesere,
Quhairfore thay sall in endles fyre be brynt.
Yone lusty schip thow seyst peryst and tynt,
In quhame yone pepill maid ane parralus race,
Scho heycht the Carvell of the State of Grace.

“Ye bene all borne the sonnys of ire I ges,
Syne throw baptyme gettis grace and faythfulnes.
Than in yone carvell suyrly ye remane,
Oft stormstad with this warldis brukkyllnes
Quhill that ye fall in synne and wrachitnes.
Than, schipbrokyn, sall ye droun in endles pane,
Except bye fayth ye fynd the plank agane,
Bye Chryst, workyng gud workys, I onderstand.
Remane thair with; thir sall you bryng to land.

“This may suffice,” said scho, “twychand this part.
Returne thy hed, behald this othir art,
Considdir wondris, and be vigilant
That thow may bettir endytyng eftirwart
Thyngis quhilkis I sall the schaw or we depart.
Thow sall have fouth of sentence and not skant.
Thare is no welth nor welfare thow sall want.
The gret Palyce of Honour salt thou se.
Lift up thy hed. Behald that sicht,” quod sche.
At hir commaund I rasit hie on hycht high
My vissage till behald that hevenly sycht.
Bot tyl discryve this matter in effek
Impossibill wer till ony erdly wicht.
It transcendes sa far abone my micht
That I with ynk may do bot paper blek.
I man draw furth, the yok lyis in my nek
As of the place to say my lewd avyse.
Plenyst with plesance, lyke to parradyce,

I saw a plane of peirles pulcritude
Quharein abondyt every thingis gude:
Spyce, wyne, corn, ule, tre, frute, flour, herbis grene,
All foulys, bestis, byrdys and alkynde fude.
All maner fyschis, bayth of see and flude,
Wer kepit in pondis of polist silver schene
With purifyit wattir as of the cristall clene.
Till noy the small the grete bestis had na will
Nor ravanus fowlys the littil volatill.

Styll in the season all thyng remanyt thare
Perpetually, but othir noy or fare.
Ay rypyt were bayth herbys, frute and flouris.
Of every thyng the namys till declare
Until my febill wyt impossybill ware.
Amyd the med replete of swete odouris,
A palyce stude with mony riall touris
Quhare kernellys quent, feil turretis men mycht fynd
And goldyn fanys wavand with the wynd.

Pynnakillis, fyellis, tournpikes mony one,
Gylt byrnyst torris, quhilk lyk til Phebus schone,
Skarsement, repryse, corbell, and battelyngis,
Fulyery, borduris of mony pretius stone,
Suttyl muldry wrocht mony day agone
On buttres, jalmys, pilleris and plesand spryngis,
Quyke ymagry with mony lusty syngis
Thare mycht be sene, and mony worthy wychtis
Tofore the yet, arrayit all at rychtis.

Furth past my Nymphe; I followyt subsequent.
Straucht throw the plane to the first ward we went
Of the palyce and entryt at that port.
Thare saw we mony statelie tornament,
Lancis brokyn, knychtis layd on the bent.
Plesand pastance and mony lusty sport
Thair saw we als, and sum tyme battel mort.
“All thir,” quod scho, “on Venus service wakis
In dedis of armys for thayr ladyis sakis.”

Vissyand I stude the principal place but pere,
That hevynly palyce, all of crystall clere,
Wrocht, as me thocht, of polyst beriall stone.
Bosiliall nor Oliab, but were,
Quhilk Sancta Sanctorum maid, maist ryche and dere,
Nor he that wrocht the tempill of Salomon,
Nor he that beild the riall Ylyon,
Nor he that forgete Darius sepulture
Couth not performe sa craftely a cure.

Studiand here on, my Nimphe on to me spak:
“Thus in a stare quhy standis thou stupefak,
Gouand all day and na thyng hes vissyte!
Thow art prolixt. In haist retourn thy bak.
Go efter me, and gud attendence tak.
Quhat thow seyst, luke eftirwartis thow write.
Thow sall behald all Venus blys perfyte.”
Thairwith sche till ane garth did me convoy
Quhare that I saw eneuche of perfyte joy.

Amyd a trone with stonys ryche ovirfret
And claith of gold, lady Venus wes set.
By hir, hir sonne Cupyd quhilk nathing seys.
Quhare Mars entrit, na knawlege mycht I get.
Bot straucht afore Venus vissage but let
Twelf amarant stagis stude, twelf grene precius greis,
Quhareon thare grew thre curius goldyn treis
Sustenttand weil, the goddis face aforne,
A fair myrrour, be thaym quently upborn.

Quhare of it makyt wes I have na feil –
Of beriall, cristall, glas or byrnyst steil,
Of diamant or of the carbunkill jem:
Quhat thing it wes diffyne may I not weil.
Bot all the bordure circulare, every deill,
Wes plate of gold, – cais, stok and uthir hem –
With vertuus stanis picht that blud wald stem.
For quha that wound wes in the tornament
Wox hale fra he apon the myrrour blent.

This riall rillik, so ryche and radius,
Sa pollyst, plesand, purifyed, precius,
Quhoys bontyis half to wryt I not presume,
Thairon tyll se wes sa dellicius
And sa excelland schadois gratius,
Surmontyng far in brichtnes, to my dome,
The costly subtil quent spectacle of Rome
Or yet the myrrour send to Canyce
Quhairin men micht ful many wondrys se.

In that myrrour I mycht se at a sycht
The dedes and fetes of every erdly wycht,
All thinges gone lyk as they wer present,
All the creacion of the angeilys brycht,
Of Lucifer the fall for all his mycht,
Adam fyrst maid and in the erth ysent.
And Noys flude thair saw I subsequent,
Babilon beild, that toure of sic renoun,
Of Sodomus the fele subversyoun.

Abram, Ysak, Jacob, Josoph I saw,
Hornyt Moyses with his ald Ebrew law,
Twelf plagis in Egypt sent for thair trespas,
In the Reid See with al hys court on raw
Kyng Pharo drynt that God wald nevir knaw –
I saw quhat wyse the see devydyt was
And all the Ebrewes dry fut ovir it pas –
Syne in desert I saw thaym fourty yeris.
Of Josuy I saw the worthy weris.

In Judicum the batellis strang anone
I saw of Jepty and of Gedione,
Of Ameleth the cruel homosyd,
The wonderful werkis of douchty duke Sampsone,
Quhilk slew a thousand with ane assys bone,
Rent templis doun and yettis in his pryde,
Of quhais strenth mervalys this warld so wyde.
I saw duke Sangor there, with many a knok
Sax hundreth men slew with a plewchis sok.

The praphet Samuell saw I in that glas
Anoynt Kyng Saule, quhais sonne Jonathas
I saw wyncus ane gret ost hym allane,
Yong David sla the grysly Golyas,
Quhais speirheid wecht thre hundreth uncis was,
Jesbedonab the giant mekill of mane
Lay be the handis of douchty Davyd slane –
With fyngris sax on athir hand but weir.
David I saw sla baith lyon and beir.

This David, eik, at ane onset astond
Aucht hundreth men I saw hym bryng to grond.
With hym I saw Bananyas the strang
Quhilk twa lyonys of Moab did confond
And gave the stalwart Ethiop dedis wond
With his awyn spere that of his hand he thrang.
Onabysytly this champion saw I gang
In a deip sistern and thare a lyon slewch
Quhilk in a storme of snaw did harm eneuch.

Of Salomon, the wysdom and estate,
Thare saw I, and his ryche tempill, God wate,
His sonne Roboam, quhilk throw his hely pride
Tynt all his ligis hartis be his fate –
He wes to thaym sa outragius ingrate
Of twelf tribis, ten did fra hym devyd.
I saw the angell sla, be nychtis tyd,
Four score thous

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Gavin Douglas: The Palis of Honoure - GAVIN DOUGLAS