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The Morall Fabillis of Esope the Phrygian

Thocht feinzeit fabils of ald poetre,
Be not al grunded vpon truth zit than,
Thair polite termes of sweit rhetore
Richt plesand ar vnto the eir of man,
And als the caus quhy thay first began,
Wes to repreif the of thi misleuing,
O man be figure of ane vther thing.

In lyke maner as throw a bustious eird,
Swa it be laubourit with grit diligence
Springis the flouris, and the corne abreird,
Hailsum and gude to mannis sustenence.
Sa springis thair ane morall sweit sentence,
Oute of the subtell dyte of poetry
To gude purpois quha culd it weill apply.

The nuttis schell thocht it be hard, and teuch,
Haldis the kirnell, sueit and delectabill.
Sa lyis thair ane doctrine wyse aneuch,
And full of frute, vnder ane fenzeit fabill.
And clerkis sayis, it is richt profitabill,
Amangis ernist to ming ane merie sport,
To blyth the spreit, and gar the tyme be schort.

For as we se ane bow that is ay bent,
Worthis vnsmart, and dullis on the string,
Sa dois the mynd that is ay diligent,
In ernistfull thochtis, and in studying,
With sad materis sum merines to ming.
Accordis weill thus esope said i wis,
Dulcius arrident seria picta iocis.

Of this poete my maisteris with zour leif,
Submitting me to zour correctioun
In mother toung of latyng i wald preif,
To mak ane maner of translatioun.
Nocht of my self, for vane presumptioun,
Bot be requeist, and precept of ane lord,
Of quhome the name it neidis not record.

In hamelie language and in termes rude,
Me neidis wryte for quhy of eloquence.
Nor rethorike, i neuer vnderstude.
Thairfoir meiklie i pray zour reuerence,
Gif ze find ocht that throw my negligence
Be deminute, or zit superfluous,
Correct it at zour willis gratious.

My author in his fabillis tellis how,
That brutal beistis spak, and vnderstude,
And to gude purpois dispute, and argow.
Ane sillogisme propone, and eik conclude.
Putting exempill, and similitude,
How mony men in operatioun,
Ar like to beistis in conditioun.

Na meruell is, ane man be lyke ane beist,
Quhilk lufis ay carnall and foull delyte
That schame can not him renze, nor arreisst,
Bot takis all the lust and appetyte,
Quhilk throw custum, and the daylie ryte.
Syne in the mynd sa fast is radicate,
That he in brutal beist is transformate,

This nobill clerk, esope, as i haif tauld,
In gay metir, and in facound purpurate
Be figure wrait his buke for he nocht wald.
Tak the disdane off hie, nor low estate.
And to begin, first of ane cok he wrate,
Seikand his meit, quhilk fand ane iolie stone,
Of quhome the fabill ze sall heir anone.
The taill of the cok, and the iasp
Ane cok sum tyme with feddram fresch and gay
Richt cant and crous albeit he was bot pure,
Fleu furth vpon ane dunghill sone be day,
To get his dennar set was al his cure.
Scraipand amang the as be auenture,
He fand ane iolie iasp, richt precious,
Wes castin furth in sweping of the hous.

As damisellis wantoun, and insolent,
That fane wald play, and on the streit be sene,
To swoping of the hous thay tak na tent.
Quhat be thairin swa that the flure be clene
Iowellis ar tint, as oftymis hes bene sene,
Vpon the flure, and swopit furth anone.
Peraduenture, sa wes the samin stone.

Sa meruelland vpon the stane, quod he
O gentill iasp o riche and nobill thing
thocht i the find, thow ganis not for me,
Thow art ane iouell for ane lord or king.
It wer pietie thow suld in this mydding,
Be buryit thus amang this muke and mold,
And thow so fair, and worth sa mekill gold,

It is pietie i suld the find, for quhy,
Thy grit vertew, nor zit thy cullour cleir,
I may nouther extoll, nor magnify
And thow to me may mak bot lyttill cheir,
To grit lordis thocht thow be leif, and deir,
I lufe fer better thing of les auaill,
As draf, or corne, to fill my tume intraill.

I had leuer ga skraip heir with my naillis,
Amangis this mow, and luke my lifys fude
As draf, or corne, small wormis, or snaillis,
Or ony meit wald do my stomok gude
Than of iaspis ane mekill multitude.
And thow agane, vpon the samin wyis,
May me as now for thyne auaill dispyis.

Thow hes na corne and thairof i had neid
Thy cullour dois bot confort to the sicht.
And that is not aneuch my wame to feid.
For wyfis sayis, that lukand werk is licht.
I wald sum meit haue, get it geue i micht.
For houngrie men may not weill leue on lukis
Had i dry breid, i compt not for na cukis.

Quhar suld thow mak thy habitatioun?
Quhar suld thow duell, bot in ane royall tour?
Quhar suld thow sit, bot on ane kingis croun,
Exalt in worschip and in grit honour?
Rise gentill iasp, of all stanis the flour,
Out of this fen and pas quhar thow suld be,
Thow ganis not for me, nor i for the.

Leuand this iowell law vpon the ground,
To seik his meit this cok his wayis went.
Bot quhen, or how, or quhome be it wes found,
As now i set to hald na argument.
Bot of the inward sentence, and intent
Of this fabill as myne author dois write
I sall reheirs in rude and hamelie dite.

This iolie iasp hes properteis seuin
The first, of cullour it is meruelous
Part lyke the fyre, and part lyke to the heuin.
It makis ane man stark and victorious
Preseruis als fra cacis perrillous.
Quha hes this stane, sall haue gude hap to speid
Of fyre, nor fallis him neidis not to dreid.

Moralitas
This gentill iasp, richt different of hew
Betakinnis perfite prudence and cunning.
Ornate with mony deidiss of vertew,
Mair excellent, than ony eirthly thing.
Quhilk makis men in honour ay to ring,
Happie, and stark to half the victorie,
Of all vicis, and spirituall enemie.

Quha may be hardie, riche and gratious?
Quha can eschew perrell and auenture?
Quha can gouerne ane realme cietie or hous,
Without science, no man i zow assure?
It is riches that euer sall indure,
Quhilk maith, nor moist, nor vther rust can freit,
To mannis saull it is eternall meit.

This cok desyrand mair the sempill corne,
Than ony iasp, may till ane fule be peeir.
Quhilk at science makis bot ane moik and scorne,
And na gude can als lytill will he leir.
His hart wammillis wyse argumentis to heir.
As dois ane sow, to quhome men for the nanis,
In hir draf troich wald saw the precious stanis.

Quha is enemie to science and cunning,
Bot ignorants, that vnderstandis nocht?
Quhilk is sa nobill, sa precious, and sa ding,
That it may with na eirdlie thing be bocht.
Weill wer that man ouer all vther that mocht,
All his lyfe dayis in perfite studie wair,
To get science for him neidit na mair.

Bot now allace this iasp, is tynt and hid
We seik it nocht, nor preis it for to find.
Haif we richis, na better lyfe we bid,
Of science thocht the saull be bair and blind.
Of this mater to speik, it wer bot wind.
thairfore i ceis, and will na forther say.
Ga seik the iasp, quha will, for thair it lay.

The taill of the vponlandis mous, and the burges mous
Esope myne authour makis mentioun,
Of twa myis and thay wer sisteris deir,
Of quham the eldest duelt in ane borous toun
The vther wynnit vponland weill neir
Richt soliter, quhyle vnder busk, and breir
Quhilis in the corne, in vther mennis skaith,
As owtlawis dois and leuit on hir waith.

This rurall mous in to the wynter tyde,
Had hunger, cauld, and tholit grit distres,
The vther mous that in the burgh can byde,
Was gild brother and made ane fre burges.
Toll-fre als but custum mair or les,
And fredome had to ga quhair euer scho list,
Amang the cheis and meill in ark and kist.

Ane tyme quhen scho wes full and vnfute-sair,
Scho tuke in mynd hir sister vpon land,
And langit for to heir of hir weilfair,
To se quhat lyfe scho led vnder the wand.
Bairfute allone with pykestaf in hir hand,
As pure pylgryme scho passit owt off town,
To seik hir sister baith oure daill and down.

Furth mony wilsum wayis can scho walk,
Throw mosse and mure throw bankis busk and breir,
Fra fur to fur cryand fra balk to balk
Cum furth to me my awin sueit sister deir,
Cry peip anis, with that the mous culd heir,
And knew hir voce as kinnisman will do,
Be verray kynd, and furth scho come hir to.

The hartlie cheir lord god geue ze had sene,
Beis kithit quhen thir sisteris twa war met,
Quhilk that oft syis wes schawin thame betuene,
For quhylis thay leuch, and quhylis for ioy thay gret,
Quhyle kissit sweit, quhylis in armis plet,
And thus thay fure quhill soberit wes thair mude,
Syne fute for fute vnto the chalmer zude.

As i hard say it was ane semple wane,
Off fog and farne full misterlyk wes maid,
Ane sillie scheill vnder ane erdfast stane,
Off quhilk the entres wes not hie nor braid.
And in the samin thay went but mair abaid,
Withoutin fyre or candill birnand bricht,
For comonly sic pykeris luffis not lycht.

Quhen thay wer lugit thus thir sely myse,
The zoungest sister into hir butterie hyid,
And brocht furth nuttis, and peis in steid off spyce,
Giff thair wes weilfair i do it on thame besyde.
This burges mous prunzit forth in pryde.
And said sister is this zour dayly fude?
Quhy not quod scho think ze this meit nocht gude?

Na be my saull i think it bot ane scorne.
Madame quod scho ze be the mair to blame,
My mother sayd efter that we wer borne,
That i and ze lay baith within ane wame,
I keip the ryte and custome off my dame,
And off my syre levand in pouertie,
For landis haue we nane in propertie.

My fair sister quod scho haue me excusit.
This rude dyat and i can not accord.
To tender meit my stomok is ay vsit,
For quhy i fair alsweill as ony lord.
Thir wydderit peis, and nuttis, or thay be bord,
Wil brek my teith, and mak my wame ful sklender
Quhilk vsit wes before to meitis tender.

Weil, weil, sister quod the rurall mous,
Geue it zow pleis sic thing as ze se heir,
Baith meit and dreink, harberie and hous,
Salbe zour awin, will ze remane al zeir.
Ze sall it haue wyth blyith and hartlie cheir,
And that suld mak the maissis that ar rude,
Amang freindis richt tender sueit and gude,

Quhat plesans is in feistis delicate,
The quhilkis ar geuin with ane glowmand brow?
Ane gentill hart is better recreate,
With blyith visage than seith to him ane kow.
Ane modicum is mair for till allow,
Swa that gude will be keruer at the dais,
Than thrawin vult and mony spycit mais.

For all this mery exhortatioun
This burges mous had littill will to sing.
Bot heuilie scho kest hir browis doun,
For all the daynteis thatt scho culd hir bring.
Zit at the last scho said halff in hething,
Sister this victuall and zour royall feist,
May weill suffice for sic ane rurall beist.

Lat be this hole and cum vnto my place,
I sall zow schaw be trewe experience,
My gude friday is better nor zour pace,
My dische likingis is worth zour haill expence,
I haue housis anew off grit defence,
Off cat, na fall na trap, i haue na dreid.
I grant quod scho and on togidder thay zeid

In skugry ay throw rankest gers and corne
Vnder cowert full preuelie couth thay creip,
The eldest wes the gyde and went beforne,
The zounger to hir wayis tuke gude keip.
On nicht thay ran, and on the day can sleip,
Quhill in the morning or the lauerok sang,
Thay fand the town, and in blythlie couth gang.

Not fer fra thyne vnto ane vorthie vane,
This burges brocht thame sone quhare thay suld be.
Withowt god speid thair herberie wes tane,
In to ane spence with vittell grit plentie,
Baith cheis, and butter vpon skelfis hie,
Flesche and fische aneuch baith fresche and salt,
And sekkis full off grotis meill and malt.

Efter quhen thay disposit wer to dyne,
Withowtin grace thay wesche and went to meit.
With all coursis that cukis culd deuyne,
Muttoun and beif, strikin in tailzeis greit
Ane lordis fair thus couth thay counterfeit,
Except ane thing thay drank the watter cleir,
In steid off wyne bot zit thay maid gude cheir.

With blyith vpcast and merie countenance,
The eldest sister sperit at hir gest
Giff that scho thocht be ressone difference,
Betuix that chalmer and hir sarie nest,
Ze dame quod scho bot how lang will this lest?
For euermair i wait and langer to.
Gif it be swa ze ar at eis quod scho

Till eik thair cheir ane subcharge furth scho brocht,
Ane plait off grottis, and ane disch full off meill,
Thraf caikkis als i trow scho spairit nocht,
Aboundantlie about hir for to deill.
And mane full fyne scho brocht in steid off geill,
And ane quhyte candill owt off ane coffer stall,
In steid off spyce to gust thair mouth withall.

This maid thay merie quhill thay micht na mair
And haill zule haill cryit vpon hiee,
Zit efter ioy oftymes cummis cair,
And troubill efter grit prosperitie,
Thus as thay sat in all thair iolitie,
The spenser come with keyis in his hand,
Oppinnit the dure and thame at denner fand.

Thay taryit not to wesche as i suppose,
Bot on to ga quha micht formest win.
The burges had ane hole, and in scho gois,
Hir sister had na hole to hyde hir in,
To se that selie mous it wes grit sin.
So desolate and will off ane gude reid,
For verray dreid scho fell in swoun neir deid.

Bot as god wald it fell ane happie cace,
The spenser had na laser for to byde,
Nowther to seik, nor serche, to char nor chace,
Bot on he went, and left the dure vp wyde.
The bald burges his passage weill hes spyde,
Out off hir hole scho come, and cryit on hie.
How fair ze sister cry peip quhair euer ze be.

This rurall mous, lay flatling on the ground
And for the deith scho wes full sair dredand.
For till hir hart straik mony wofull stound,
As in ane feuer trimbillit fute and hand.
And quhan hir sister in sic ply hir fand,
For verray pietie scho began to greit,
Syne confort hir with wordis hunny sweit.

Quhy ly ze thus ryse vp my sister deir?
Cum to zour meit, this perrell is ouerpast.
The vther answerit with a heuie cheir,
I may not eit sa sair i am agast.
I had leuer thir fourty dayis fast,
With watter caill, and to gnaw benis or peis,
Than all zour feist in this dreid and diseis.

With fair tretie zit scho gart hir vpryse,
And to the burde thay went and togidder sat,
And scantlie had thay drunkin anis or twyse,
Quhen in come gib hunter our iolie cat,
And bad god speid, the burges vp with that,
And till hir hole scho fled as fyre of flint,
Bawdronis the vther be the bak hes hint.

Fra fute to fute he kest hir to and fra,
Quhylis vp, quhylis doun, als tait as ony kid,
Quhylis wald he lat hir rin vnder the stra,
Quhylis wald he wink, and play with hir buk heid.
Thus to the selie mous grit pane he did.
Quhill at the last throw fair fortune and hap,
Betwix the dosor and the wall scho crap.

Syne vp in haist behind the parraling,
So hie scho clam that gilbert micht not get hir,
And be the clukis craftelie can hing,
Till he wes gane hir cheir wes all the better.
Syne doun scho lap quhen thair wes nane to let hir.
Apon the burges mous loud can scho cry,
Fairweill sister thy feist heir i defy.

Thy mangerie is mingit all with cair,
Thy guse is gude thy gansell sour as gall.
The subcharge off thy seruice is bot sair,
Sa sall thow find heir-efterwart may fall,
I thank zone courtyne and zone perpall wall.
Off my defence now fra zone crewell beist.
Almichtie god keip me fra sic ane feist.

Wer i into the kith that i come fra,
For weill nor wo, i suld neuer cum agane.
With that scho tuke hir leif and furth can ga,
Quhylis throw the corne, and quhylis throw the plane,
Quhen scho wes furth and fre scho wes full fane.
And merilie markit vnto the mure.
I can not tell how efterwart scho fure.

Bot i hard say scho passit to hir den,
Als warme as woll suppose it wes not greit,
Full beinly stuffit, baith but and ben,
Off peiis and nuttis, beiinis, ry, and quheit.
Quhen euer scho list scho had aneuch to eit,
In quyet and eis withoutin ony dreid,
Bot to hir sisteris feist na mair scho zeid.

Moralitas
Freindis heir may ze find will ze tak heid,
In this fabill ane gude moralitie.
As fitchis myngit ar with nobill seid,
Swa intermellit is aduersitie,
With eirdlie ioy, swa that na estate is frie
Without trubill or sum vexatioun,
And namelie thay quhilk clymmis vp maist hie,
And not content with small possessioun.

Blissed be sempill lyfe withoutin dreid.
Blissed be sober feist in quietie.
Quha hes aneuch of na mair hes he neid,
Thocht it be littill into quantatie,
Grit aboundance and blind prosperitie,
Oftymes makis ane euill conclusioun
The sweitest lyfe thairfoir in this cuntrie,
Is sickernes with small possession

O wantoun man that vsis for to feid,
Thy wambe and makis it a god to be.
Luke to thy self i warne the weill on deid,
The cat, cummis and to the mous, hes ee.
Quhat is avale thy feist and royaltie,
With dreidfull hart, and tribulatioun.
Thairfoir best thing in eird, i say for me,
Is merry hart, with small possessioun.

Thy awin fyre, my freind, sa it be bot ane gleid
It warmis weill, and is worth gold to the.
And solomon sayis gif that thow will reid,
Vnder the heuin i can not better se,
Than ay be blyith and leif in honestie.
Quhairfoir i may conclude be this ressoun,
Of eirthly ioy it beiris maist degre.
Blyithnes in hart with small possessioun.

The taill of schir chantecleir and the foxe
Thocht brutall beistis be irrationall,
That is to say wantand discretioun.
Zyt ilk ane in thair kyndis naturall.
Hes mony diuers inclinatioun.
The bair busteous, the volff, the wylde lyoun
The fox fenzeit craftie and cawtelows
The dog to bark on nicht and keip the hows.

Sa different thay ar in properteis,
Vnknawin unto man, and infinite,
In kynd hauand sa fell diuersiteis.
My cunning i excedis for to dyte.
For thy as now i purpose for to wryte.
Ane cais i fand quhilk fell this ather zeir,
Betwix ane foxe, and gentill chantecleir,

Ane vedow dwelt, in till ane drop thay dayis,
Quhilk wan hir fude off spinning on hir rok.
And na mair had forsuth as the fabill sayis,
Except off hennis scho had ane lyttill flok,
And thame to keip scho had ane iolie cok
Richt curageous, that to this wedow ay
Deuydit nicht and crew befoir the day.

Ane lyttill fra this foirsaid vedowis hows,
Ane thornie schaw thair wes off grit defence.
Quhairin ane foxe craftie, and cautelous,
Maid his repair, and daylie residence.
Quhilk to this wedow did grit violence,
In pyking off pultrie baith day and nicht,
And na way be reuengit on him scho micht.

This wylie tod quhen that the lark couth sing,
Full sair hungrie vnto the toun him drest,
Quhair chantecleir in to the gray dawing,
Werie for nicht wes flowen fra his nest.
Lowrence this saw, and in his mynd he kest,
The ieperdies, the wayis, and the wyle,
Be quhat menis he micht this cok begyle.

Dissimuland in to countenance and cheir,
On kneis fell, and simuland thus he said.
Gude morne my maister gentill chantecleir.
With that the cok start bakwart in ane braid.
Schir be my saull, ze neid not be effraid,
Nor zit for me to start nor fle abak,
I come bot heir seruice to zow to mak.

Wald i not serve to zow it wer bot blame,
As i haue done to zowr progenitouris.
Zour father oft fulfillit hes my wame.
And send me meit fra midding to the muris.
And at his end i did my besie curis,
To hald his heid, and gif him drinkis warme.
Syne at the last the sweit swelt in my arme.

Knew ze my father quod the cok and leuch,
Zea, my fair sone, forsuth i held his heid,
Quhen that he deit vnder ane birkin beuch.
Syne said the dirigie quhen that he wes deid,
Betuix vs twa how suld thair be ane feid?
Quhame suld ze traist bot me zour seruitour,
That to zour father did sa grit honour.

Q hen i behald zour fedderis fair and gent,
Zour beik, zour breist, zour hekill, and zour kame.
Schir be my saull, and the blissit sacrament,
My hart warmys me think i am at hame,
Zow for to serve i wald creip on my wame,
In froist and snaw, in wedder wan and weit,
And lay my lyart loikkis vnder zour feit.

This fenzeit fox fals and dissimulate,
Maid to this cok ane cauillatioun.
Ze ar me think changit and degenerate,
Fra zour father off his conditioun
Off craftie crawing he micht beir the croun,
For he wald on his tais stand and craw.
This is na le, i stude beside and saw.

With that the cok vpon his tais hie,
Kest vp his beik, and sang with all his micht.
Quod schir lowrence weill said sa mot i the.
Ze ar zour fatheris sone and air vpricht.
Bot off his cunning zit ze want ane slicht.
Quhat quod the cok he wald and haif na dout,
Baith wink, and craw, and turne him thryis about.

The cok inflate with wind and fals vane gloir,
That mony puttis vnto confusioun.
Traisting to win ane grit worschip thairfoir,
Vnwarlie winkand walkit vp and doun,
And syne to chant and craw he maid him boun.
And suddandlie be he had crawin ane note,
The foxe wes war and hint him be the throte.

Syne to the woid but tarie with him hyit,
Off countermaund haifand bot lytill dout.
With that pertok, sprutok, and coppok cryit.
The wedow hard, and with ane cry come out.
Seand the cace scho sichit and gaif ane schout.
How murther reylok with ane hiddeous beir,
Allace now lost is gentill chantecleir.

As scho wer woid, with mony zell and cry,
Ryuand hir hair vpon hir breist can beit,
Syne, paill off hew, half in ane extasy
Fell doun for cair in swoning, and in sweit.
With that the selie hennis left thair meit.
And quhill this wyfe wes lyand thus in swoun,
Fell in that cace in disputatioun

Allace quod pertok makand sair murning,
With teiris grit attour hir cheikis fell.
Zone wes our drowrie, and our dayis darling,
Our nichtingall, and als our orlege bell.
Our walkryfe watche vs for to warne and tell
Quhen that aurora with hir curcheis gray,
Put vp hir heid betuix the nicht and day.

Quha sall our lemman be? quha sall vs leid?
Quhen we ar sad quha sall vnto vs sing?
With his sweit bill he wald brek vs the breid,
In all this warld wes thair ane kynder thing.
In paramouris he wald do vs plesing,
At his power as nature list him geif.
Now efter him allace how sall we leif?

Quod sprutok than, ceis sister off zour sorrow
Ze be to mad for him sic murning mais.
We sall fair weill, i find sanct iohne to borrow,
The prouerb sayis, als gude lufe cummis as gais.
I will put on my haly dayis clais,
And mak me fresch agane this iolie may,
Syne chant this sang wes neuer wedow sa gay.

He wes angry and held vs ay in aw,
And woundit with the speir off ielowsy.
Off chalmerglew pertok, full weill ze knaw,
Waistit he wes, off nature cauld and dry.
Sen he is gone thairfoir sister say i,
Be blyith in baill, for that is best remeid.
Let quik to quik, and deid ga to the deid.

Than pertok spak, that feinzeit faith befoir,
In lust but lufe that set all hir delyte.
Sister ze wait off sic as him ane scoir,
Wald not suffice to slaik our appetyte,
I hecht zow be my hand sen ze ar quyte,
Within ane oulk for schame, and i durst speik,
To get ane berne suld better claw oure breik.

Than coppok lyke ane curate spak full crous,
Zone wes ane verray vengeance from the heuin.
He wes sa lous, and sa lecherous.
Seis coud he nocht with kittokis ma than seuin.
Bot rychteous god haldand the balandis euin,
Smytis rycht sair thocht he be patient,
Adulteraris, that list thame not repent.

Prydefull he wes, and ioyit off his sin,
And comptit not for goddis fauour nor feid.
Bot traistit ay to rax, and sa to rin,
Quhill at the last his sinnis can him leid,
Tto schamefull end, and to zone suddand deid.
Thairfoir it is the verray hand off god,
That causit him be werryit with the tod.

Quhen this wes said, this wedow fra hir swoun,
Start vp on fute, and on hir kennettis cryde.
How birkye berrie, bell bawsie, broun,
Rype schaw, rin weil, curtes, nuttieclyde,
Togidder all but grunching furth ze glyde,
Reskew my nobill cok or he be slane,
Or ellis to me se ze cum neuer agane

With that but baid thay braidet ouer the bent,
As fyre off flint thay ouer the feildis flaw,
Full wichtlie thay throw wood and wateris went,
And ceissit not schir lourence quhill thay saw.
Bot quhen he saw the raches cum on raw,
Vnto the cok in mynd he said god sen,
That i and thow wer fairlie in my den.

Then spak the cok with sum gude spirit inspyrit,
Do my counsall and i sall warrand the.
Hungrie thow art, and for grit trauell tyrit,
Richt faint off force, and may not ferther fle.
Swyith turne agane, and say, that i and ze,
Freindis ar maid, and fellowis for ane zeir.
Than will thay stint, i stand for it and not steir.

This tod thocht he wes fals and friuolus,
And had frawdis his querrell to defend.
Desauit wes be menis richt meruelous.
For falset failzeis ay at the latter end.
He start about, and cryit as he wes kend.
With that the cok he braid vnto a bewch.
Now iuge ze all quhairat schir lowrence lewch.

Begylit thus the tod vnder the tre,
On kneis fell, and said gude chantecleir.
Cum doun agane, and i but meit or fe,
Salbe zour man and seruand for ane zeir.
Na murther theif, and reuar, stand on reir.
My bludy hekill, and my nek sa bla,
Hes partit lowe for euer betwene vs twa.

I wes vnwyse that winkit at thy will,
Quhairthrow almaist i loissit had my heid.
I wes mair fule quod he coud nocht be still,
Bot spake to put my pray in to pleid.
Fair on fals theif, god keip me fra thy feid.
With that the cok ouer the feildis tuke his flicht,
And in at the wedowis lewer couth he licht.

Moralitas
Now worthie folk suppose this be ane fabill.
And ouerheillit wyth typis figurall.
Zit may ze find ane sentence richt agreabill,
Vnder thir fenzeit termis textuall.
To our purpose this cok weill may we call,
Nyse proud men, woid, and vaneglorious,
Of kin and blude quhilk is presumpteous.

Fy puft vp pryde. thow is full poysonabill.
Quha fauoris the on force man haif ane fall.
Thy strenth is nocht, thy stule standis vnstabill,
Tak witnes of the feyndis infernall,
Quhilk houndit doun wes fra that heuinlie hall.
To hellis hole, and to that hiddeous hous.
Because in pryde thay wer presumpteous.

This fenzeit foxe may weill be figurate,
To flatteraris with plesand wordis quhyte.
With fals mening and mynd maist toxicate.
To loif and le, that settis thair haill delyte.
All worthie folk at sic suld haif despyte.
For quhair is thair mair perrellous pestilence,
Nor gif to learis haistelie credence.

The wickit mynd and adullatioun,
Of sucker sweit haifand similitude,
Bitter as gall, and full of fell poysoun,
To taist it is quha cleirlie vnderstude.
For thy as now schortlie to conclude,
Thir twa sinnis, flatterie, and vaneglore,
Ar vennomous gude ffoolk fle thame thairfoir.

The taill how this foirsaid tod maid his confessioun to freir volf Vaitskaith

Leif we this vedow glaid i zow assure,
Off chantecleir, mair blyith than i can tell.
And speik we off the fatal auenture.
And destenie that to this foxe befell,
Quhilk durst na mair with miching intermell,
Als lang as leme or licht wes off the day,
Bot bydand nicht full styll lurkand he lay.
Quhill that thetes the goddes off the flude,

Phebus had callit to the harbery.

And hesperous put of his cluddie hude,
Schawand his lustie visage in the sky.
Than lourence luikit vp, quhair he couth ly,
And kest his hand vpon his ee on hicht,
Merie and glade that cummit wes the nicht.

Out off the wod vnto ane hill he went,
Quhair he micht se the tuinkling sternis cleir.
And all the planetis off the firmament,
Thair cours, and eik thair mouing in thair spheir.
Sum retrograde, and sum stationeir.
And off the zodiak in quhat degre,
Thay wer ilk ane, as lowrence leirnit me.

Than saturne auld wes enterit in capricorne,
And iuppiter mouit in sagittarie.
And mars vp in the rammis heid wes borne.
And phebus in the lyoun furth can carie.
Venus the crab, the mone wes in aquarie,
Mercurius the god off eloquence,
Into the virgyn maid his residence.

But astrolab, quadrant, or almanak,
Teichit off nature be instructioun,
The mouing off the heuin this tod can tak,
Quhat influence and constellatioun,
Wes lyke to fall vpon the eirth adoun.
And to him self he said withoutin mair,
Weill worth the father, that send me to the lair.

My destenie, and eik my weird i watt,
My auenture is cleirlie to me kend.
With mischeif myngit is my mortall fait,
My misleuing the soner bot i mend.
Deid is reward off sin and schamefull end.
Thairfoir i will ga seik sum confessour,
And schryiff me clene off all sinnis to this hour.

Allace quod he richt waryit ar we theuis.
Our lyif is set ilk nicht in auenture.
Our cursit craft full mony man mischeuis,
For euer we steill, and euer alyk ar pure.
In dreid and schame our dayis we indure.
Syne widdinek, and crakraip callit als,
And till our hyre ar hangit be the hals.

Accusand thus his cankerit conscience,
In to ane craig he kest about his ee.
So saw he cummand ane lyttill than frome thence,
Ane worthie doctour of diuinitie,
Freir volff waitskaith, in science wonder sle.
To preiche and pray wes new cum fra the closter
With beidis in hand sayand his pater noster.

Seand this volff this wylie tratour too,
On kneis fell, with hude in to his nek.
Welcome my gostlie father vnder god,
Quod he with mony binge and mony bek.
Ha quod the volff schir tod for quhat effek
Mak ze sic feir, ryse vp put on zour hude?
Father quod he i haif grit cause to dude.

Ze ar the lanterne, and the sicker way,
Suld gyde sic sempill folk as me to grace.
Zour bair feit, and zour russet coull off gray,
Zour lene cheik, zour paill and pietious face,
Schawis to me zour perfite halines.
For weill wer him that anis in his lyue,
Had hap to zow his sinnis for to schryue.

A selie lowrence quod the volf and leuch,
It plesis me that ze ar penitent.
Off reif and stouth, schir, i can tell aneuch,
That causis me full sair for to repent.
Bot father byde still heir vpon the bent,
I zow beseik, and heir me to declair,
My conscience, that prikkis me sa sair.

Weill quod the volff sit doun vpon thy kne
And he doun bair-heid sat full humilly.
And syne began with benedicitie.
Quhen i this saw, i drew ane lytill by.
For it effeiris nouther to heir, nor spy,
Nor to reueill thing said vnder that seill,
Bot to the tod this gait the volf couth mele.

Art thow contrite, and sorie in thy spreit,
For thy trespas? na schir, i can not duid,
Me think that hennis ar sa honie sweit,
And lambes flesche that new ar lettin bluid,
For to repent my mynd can not concluid,
Bot off this thing, that i haif slane sa few.
Weill quod the volf in faith thow art ane schrew

Sen thow can not forthink thy wickitnes,
Will thow forbeir in tyme to cum and mend.
And i forbeir, how sall i leif allace,
Haifand nane vther craft me to defend.
Neid causis me to steill quhair euer i wend.
I eschame to thig, i can not wirk ze wait.
Zit wald i fane pretend to gentill stait.

Weill quod the volf thow wantis pointis twa,
Belangand to perfyte confessioun.
To the thrid part off pennance let vs ga,
Vill thow tak pane for thy transgressioun?
A schir considder my complexioun,
Seikly and waik, and off my nature tender,
Lo, will ze se, i am baith lene and sklender.

Zit neuertheles i wald swa it wer licht,
Schort and not greuand to my tendernes,
Tak part off pane, fulfill it gif i micht,
To set my selie saull in way off grace.
Thow sall quod he forbeir flesch vntill pasche,
To tame this corps that cursit carioun.
And heir i reik the full remissioun.

I grant thairto, swa ze will giff me leif,
To eit puddingis, or laip ane lyttill blude,
Or heid, or feit, or paynchis let me preif.
In cace i falt of flesch in to my fude.
For grit mister i gif the leif to dude,
Twyse in the oulk, for neid may haif na law.
God zeild zow schir, for that text weill i knaw.

Quhen this wes said, the volf his wayis went,
The foxe on fute he fure vnto the flude.
To fang him fisch haillelie wes his intent.
Bot quhen he saw the walterand wallis woude,
All stonist still in to ane stair he stude.
And said, better that i had biddin at hame,
Nor bene ane fischar in the deuillis name.

Now man i scraip my meit out off the sand,
For i haif nouther boittis net nor bait.
As he wes thus for falt off meit murnand,
Lukand about his leuing for to lait.
Vnder ane tre he saw ane trip off gait.
Than wes he blyith, and in ane hewch him hid,
And fra the gait he stall ane lytill kid.

Syne ouer the heuch vnto the see he hyis,
And tuke the kid be the hornis twane,
And in the watter outher twyis or thryis,
He dowkit him, and till him can he sayne.
Ga doun schir kid, cum vp schir salmond agane.
Quhill he wes deid syne to the land him drewch,
And off that new maid salmond eit anewch.

Thus fynelie fillit with zoung tender meit,
Vnto ane derne for dreid he him addrest,
Vnder ane busk, quhair that the sone can beit,
To beik his breist and bellie he thocht best.
And rekleslie he said quhair he did rest,
Straikand his wame aganis the sonis heit,
Vpon this wame set wer ane bolt full meit.

Quhen this wes said the keipar off the gait,
Cairfull in hart his kid wes stollen away,
On euerilk syde full warlie couth he wait,
Quhill at the last, he saw quhair lowrence lay.
Ane bow he bent, ane flane with fedderis gray.
He haillit to the heid, and or he steird,
The foxe he prikkit fast vnto the eird.

Now quod the foxe allace and wellaway.
Gorrit i am, and may na forther gane.
Me think na man may speik ane word in play,
Bot now on dayis, in ernist it is tane.
The hird him hynt and out he drew his flane.
And for his kid, and vther violence,
He tuke his skyn, and maid ane recompence.

Moralitas
This suddand deith, and vnprouysit end,
Of this fals tod, without contritioun,
Exempill is exhortand folk to mend.
For dreid of sic ane lyke conclusioun,
For mony gois now to confessioun,
Can not repent, nor for thair sinnis greit,
Because thay think thair lustie lyfe sa sweit.

Sum bene also throw consuetude and ryte,
Vincust with carnall sensualitie.
Suppose thay be as for the tyme contryte,
Can not forbeir, nor fra thair sinnis fle.
Vse drawis nature swa in propertie,
Of beist and man, that neidlingis thay man do,
As thay of lang tyme hes bene hantit to.

Be war gude folke, and feir this suddane schoit,
Quhilk smytis sair withoutin resistence.
Attend wyislie, and in zour hartis noit.
Aganis deith may na man mak defence,
Ceis of zour sin, remord zour conscience,
Do wilfull pennance here and ze sall wend,
Efter zour deith, to blis withouttin end.

The taill of the sone & air of the forsaid foxe, callit father wer Alswa the parliament of fourfuttit beistis, haldin be the lyoun

This forsaid foxe, that deit for his misdeid,
Had not ane barne wes gottin richteouslie,
That to his airschip micht of law succeid,
Except ane sone, the quhilk in lemanrye,
He gottin had in purches priuelie.
And till his name wes callit father-war,
That luifit weill with pultrie to tig and tar.

It followis weill be ressoun naturall,
And gre be gre, off richt comparisoun
Off euill cummis war off war cummis werst of all.
Off wrangus get cummis wrang successioun.
This foxe bastard of generatioun,
Off verray kynde behuifit to be fals.
Swa wes his father, and his grandschir als.

As nature will seikand his meit be sent,
Off cace he fand his fatheris carioun,
Nakit, new slane, and till him hes he went,
Tuke vp his heid, and on his kne fell doun,
Thankand grit god off that conclusioun.
And said, now sall i bruke sen i am air,
The boundis quhair thow wes wont for to repair.

Fy couetice vnkynd, and venemous.
The sone wes fane he fand his father deid,
Be suddand schot, for deidis odious,
That he micht ringe, and raxe in till his steid.
Dreidand na thing the samin lyfe to leid,
In thift, and reif, as did his father befoir.
Bot to the end attent he tuke no moir.

Zit neuertheles throw naturall pietie,
The carioun vpon his bak he tais.
Now find i weill this prouerb trew quod he
Ay rinnis the foxe, als lang as he fute hais.
Syne with the corps vnto ane peitpoit gais,
Off watter full, and kest him in the deip.
And to the deuill he gaif his banis to keip.

O fulische man plungit in wardlynes,
To conqueis wrangwis guidis, gold, and rent.
To put thy saull in pane, or heuines,
To riche thy air quhilk efter thow art went,
Haue he thy gude, he takis bot small tent.
To sing or say for thy saluatioun
Fra thow be dede done is thy deuotioun

This tod to rest him, carit to ane craig,
And thair he hard ane buisteous bugill blaw.
Quhilk as him thocht, maid all the warld to waig.
Than start he vp, quhen he this hard and saw.
Ane vnicorne come lansand ouer ane law.
With horne in hand, ane buste in breist he bure.
Ane pursephant semelie i zow assure.

Vnto ane bank quhair he micht se about,
On euerilk syde in haist he culd him hy.
Schot out his voce, full schyll, and gaif ane schout.
And oyas oyas twyse, or thryse did cry.
With that the beistis in the feild thairby,
All meruelland, quhat sic ane thing suld mene,
Govand agast thay gaderit on ane grene.

Out off his buste ane bill sone can he braid,
And red the text withoutin tarying.
Commandand silence, sadlie thus he said.
We nobill lyoun, off all beistis the king,
Greting to god ay lestand but ending.
To brutall beistis, and irrationall,
I send, as to my subiectis grit and small.

My celsitude and hie magnificence,
Lattis zow to wit, that euin incontinent,
Thinkis the morne with royall deligence,
Vpon this hill to hald ane parliament.
Straitlie thairfoir i gif commandement,
For to compeir befoir my tribunall,
Vnder all pane, and perrell that may fall.

The morrow come, and phebus with his bemis,
Consumit had the mistie cluddis gray.
The ground wes grene, and as the gold it glemis,
With gresis growand gudelie, grit and gay.
The spyce thay spred to spring on euerilk spray.
The lark, the maueis, and the merll, full hie.
Sweitlie can sing trippand fra tre to tre.

Thre leopardis come a croun off massie gold
Beirand thay brocht vnto that hillis hicht,
With iaspis ionit, and royall rubeis rold,
And mony diueris dyamontis dicht,
With pollis proud ane palzeoun doun thay picht.
And in that throne, thair sat ane wild lyoun,
In rob royall, with sceptour, swerd, and croun.

Efter the tennour off the cry befoir,
That gais on fut all beistis in the eird,
As thay commandit wer withoutin moir,
Befoir thair lord the lyoun thay appeird.
And quhat thay wer to me as lowrence leird.
I sall reheirs ane part off euerilk kynd,
Als fer as now occurris to my mynd.

The minotaur, ane monster meruelous,
Bellerophont that beist of bastardrie.
The warwolff, and the pegase perillous,
Transformit be assent of sorcerie.
The linx the tiger full off tiranie
The elephant and eik the dromedarie
The cameill with his cran-nek furth can carie.

The leopard, as i haif tauld beforne,
The anteloip the sparth furth couth speid
The peyntit pantheir and the vnicorne
The rayndeir ran throw reueir, rone, and reid.
The iolie ionet, and the gentill steid
The asse the mule the hors of euerilk kynd,
The da the ra the hornit hart the hynd.

The bull the beir the bugill and the bair
The wodwys vildcat and the wild wolfyne
The hardbakkit hurcheoun and the hirpland hair
Baith otter and aip and pennit porcupyne.
The gukit gait the selie scheip the swyne
The bauer bakon and the balterand brok
The fowmart, with the fyber furth can flok.

The gay grewhound, the slewthound furth can slyde,
With doggis all diuers and different.
The rattoun ran, the glebard furth can glyde.
The quhrynand quhitret, with the quhasill went,
The feitho that hes furrit mony fent.
The mertrik with the cunning and the con
The bowranbane and eik the lerion.

The marmisset the mowdewart couth leid,
Because that nature denyit had hir sicht.
Thus dressit thay all furth, for dreid off deid,
The musk, the lytill mous with all hir micht,
In haist haikit vnto that hillis hicht,
And mony kynd off beistis i couth not knaw,
Befoir thair lord the lyoun thay loutit law.

Seing thir beistis all at his bidding boun,
He gaif ane braid, and blenkit him about.
Than flatlingis to his feit thay fell all doun,
For dreid off deith, thay droupit all in dout.
The lyoun he lukit quhen he saw thame lout,
And bad thame with ane countenance full sweit,
Be not efferit, bot stand vp on zour feit.

I lat zow wit, my micht is merciabill,
And steiris nane that ar to me prostrait.
Angrie, austerne, and als vnamyabill,
To all that standfray ar to myne estait.
I rug, i reif, all beistys that makis debait.
Aganis the micht off my magnyficence,
Se nane pretend to pryde in my presence.

My celsitude, and my hie maiestie.
With micht, and mercie myngit sall be ay.
The lawest heir i can full sone vp hie,
And mak him maister ouer zow all i may.
The dromedarie giff he will mak deray,
The grit camell, thocht he wer neuer sa crous.
I can him law als lytill as ane mous.

Se neir be twentie mylis quhair i am,
The kid ga saiflie be the gaittis syde.
The tod lowrie luke not to the lam.
Na reuand beistis nouther ryn, nor ryde.
Thay couchit all efter that this wes cryde.
The iustice bad the court for to gar fence,
The sutis call, and foirfalt all absence.

The panther with his payntit coit armour
Fensit the court, as off the law effeird.
Than tod lowrie luikit quhair he couth lour,
And start on fute, all stonist and all steird,
Ryifand his hair, he cryit with ane reird,
Quaikand for dreid, and sichand couth he say,
Allace this hour, allace this dulefull day.

I wait this suddand semblie that i se
Haifand the pointis off ane parliament,
Is maid to mar sic misdoars as me.
Thairfoir geue i me schaw i will be schent,
I will be socht, and i be red absent.
To byde,, or fle, it makis no remeid,
All is alyke, thair followis not bot deid.

Perplexit thus in his hart can he mene,
Throw falset how he micht him self defend
His hude he drew far doun attoure his ene,
And winkand with the ane eye furth he wend.
Clinscheand he come, that he micht not be kend,
And for dreddour that he suld thoill arreist,
He playit bukhude behind, fra beist to beist.

O fylit spreit, and cankerit conscience,
Befoir ane roy renzeit with richteousnes,
Blakinnit cheikis, and schamefull countenance,
Fairweill thy fame now gone is all thy grace,
The phisnomie, the fauour off thy face,
For thy defence is foull and disfigurate,
Brocht to the licht basit, blunt, and blait.

Be thow atteichit with thift, or with tressoun,
For thy misdeid wrangous, and wickit fay,
Thy cheir changis lowrence, thow man luke doun,
Thy worschip of this warld is went away.
Luke to this tod how he wes in effray,
And fle the filth of falset i the reid,
Quhairthrow thair fallowis syn, and schamefull deid.

Compeirand thus befoir thair lord and king.
In ordour set as to thair stait effeird.
Of euerilk kynd he gart ane part furth bring,
And awfullie he spak, and at thame speird,
Geue there wes ony beist in to this eird,
Absent, and thairto gart thame deiplie sweir,
And thay said nane, except ane gray stude meir.

Ga make ane message sone vnto that stude,
The court than cryit my lord quha sall it be,
Cum furth lowrie lurkand vnder thy hude,
Aa schir. mercie, lo i haue bot ane ee,
Hurt in the hoche, and cruikit as ze may se.
The volff is better in ambassatry,
And mair cunning in clergie fer than i.

Rampand he said, ga furth ze brybouris baith,
And thay to ga withowtin tarying,
Ouer ron and rute thay ran togidder raith,
And fand the meir at hir meit in the morning.
Now quod the tod madame cum to the king,
The court is callit, and ze ar contumax
Let be lowrence quod scho zour cowrtlie knax.

Maistres quod he cum to the court ze mon,
The lyoun hes commandit so in deid.
Schir tod tak ze the flyrdome, and the fon,
I haue respite ane zeir, and ze will reid.
I can not spell quod he sa god me speid,
Heir is the volff, ane nobill clerk at all,
And of this message is maid principall.

He is autentik, and ane man of age,
And hes grit practik of the chanceliary.
Let him ga luke, and reid zour priuilage,
And i sall stand, and beir witnes zow by.
Quhair is thy respite quod the volff in hy?
Schir it is heir vnder my hufe weill hid.
Hald vp thy heill quod he and so scho did.

Thocht he wes blindit with pryde, zit he presumis,
To luke doun law, quhair that hir letter lay.
With that the meir gird him vpon the gumis,
And straik the hattrell off his heid away
Halff out off lyif thair lenand doun he lay,
Allace quod lowrence lupus, thow art loist.
His cunning quod the meir wes worth sum coist.

Lowrence quod scho will thow luke on my letter,
Sen that the volff na thing thairoff can wyn?
Na be sanct bryde quod he me think it better,
To sleip in haill, nor in ane hurt skyn.
Ane skrow i fand, and this wes writtin in,
For fyue schillingis i wald not anis forfaut him,
Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum

With brokin skap, and bludie cheikis reid,
This volff weipand on his wayis went,
Off his menze markand to get remeid,
To tell the king the cace wes his intent.
Schir quod the tod byde still vpon this bent,
And fra zour browis wesche away the blude.
And tak ane drink, for it will do zow gude.

To fetche watter this fraudfull foxe furth fure,
Sydelingis a bank he socht vnto ane syke.
On cace he meittis cummand fra the mure,
Ane trip off lambis dansand on ane dyke.
This tratour tod, this tirrant, and this tyke,
The fattest off this flock, he fellit hais.
And eit his fill, syne to the volff he gais.

Thay drank togidder, and syne thair iourney takis
Befoir the king, syne kneillit on thair kne.
Quhair is zone meir, schir tod, wes contumax?
Than lowrence said, my lord, speir not at me.
This new-maid doctour off diuinitie,
With his reid cap can tell zow weill aneuch.
With that the lyoun, and all the laif thay leuch.

Tell on the cais, now lowrence let vs heir,
This wittie volff quod he this clerk off age,
On zour behalff he bad the meir compeir.
And scho allegit to ane priuilage
Cum neir, and se, and ze sall haiff zour wage.
Because he red hir rispite plane and weill,
Zone reid bonat scho raucht him with hir heill.

The lyoun said, be zone reid cap i ken,
This taill is trew, quha tent vnto it takis.
The greitest clerkis ar not the wysest men.
The hurt off ane happie the vther makis.
As thay wer carpand in this cais, with knakis,
And all the court in garray and in gam.
Swa come the zow, the mother off the lam.

Befoir the iustice on hir kneis fell,
Put out hir playnt on this wyis wofully.
This harlet huresone, and this hound off hell.
He werryit hes my lamb full doggitly,
Within ane myle, in contrair to zour cry.
For goddis lufe, my lord, gif me the law,
Off this lurker, with that lowrence let draw.

Byde quod the lyoun lymmer let vs se,
Giff it be suthe the selie zow hes said.
Aa souerane lord, saif zour mercie quod he
My purpois wes with him for to haif plaid.
Causles he fled as he had bene effraid,
For dreid off deith, he duschit ouer ane dyke,
And brak his nek. thow leis quod scho fals tyke.

His deith be practik may be preuit eith,
Thy gorrie gumis, and thy bludie snout.
The woll, the flesche zit stikkis on thy teith,
And that is euidence aneuch but dout.
The iustice bad ga cheis ane sis about.
And so thay did, and fand that he wes fals,
Off murther, thift, and party tressoun als.

Thay band him fast, the iustice bad belyif,
To gif the dome, and tak off all his clais.
The volff that new-maid doctour couth him schrif
Syne furth him led and to the gallous gais,
And at the ledder fute his leif he tais.
The aip wes basare and bad him sone ascend.
And hangit him, and thus he maid his end.

Moralitas

Richt as the mynour in his minorall,
Fair gold with fyre may fra the leid weill wyn.
Richt so vnder ane fabill figurall,
Sad sentence men may seik and efter fyne,
As daylie dois the doctouris of deuyne,
That to our leuing full weill can apply,
And paynt thair mater furth be poetry.

The lyoun is the warld be liklynace,
To quhome loutis baith empriour, and king,
And thinkis of this warld to get mare grace,
And gapis daylie to get mair leuing.
Sum for to reull and sum to raxe and ring.
Sum gadderis geir sum gold sum vther gude,
To wyn this warld, sum wirkis as thay wer wod.

The meir is men of contemplatioun.
Off pennance walkand in this wildernes,
As monkis and othir men of religioun.
That presis god to pleis in euerilk place,
Abstractit from this warldis wretchitnes,
In wilfull pouertee fra pomp and pryde,
And fra this warld in mynd ar mortyfyde.

This volf i likkin to sensualitie,
As quhen lyke brutall beistis we accord,
Our mynd all to this warldis vanitie,
Lyking to tak, and loif him as our lord,
Fle fast thairfra, gif thow will richt remord,
Than sall ressoun ryse, rax and ring,
And for thy saull thair is na better thing.

Hir hufe i likkin to the thocht of deid.
Will thow remember, man, that thow man de,
Thow may brek sensualiteis heid,
And fleschlie lust away fra the sall fle,
Fra thow begin thy mynd to mortifie.
Salomonis saying thow may persaif heirin,
Think on thy end, thow sall not glaidlie sin.

This tod i likkin to temptationis,
Beirand to mynd mony thochtis vane,
That daylie sagis men of religiounis
Cryand to thame cum to the warld agane
Zit gif thay se sensualitie neir slane,
And suddand deith with ithand panis sore,
Thay go abak, and temptis thame no moir.

O mary myld mediatour of mercy meik
Sitt doun before thy sone celestiall.
For ws synnaris his celsitude beseik,
Vs to defend fra pane and perrellis all.
And help vs vp vnto that heuinlie hall,
In gloir, quhair we may se the face of god.
And thus endis the talking of the tod.

The taill of the scheip and the doig

Esope ane taill puttis in memorie,
How that ane doig, because that he wes pure,
Callit ane scheip vnto the consistorie,
Ane certane breid fra him for to recure.
Ane fraudfull volff wes iuge that tyme, and bure,
Authoritie, and iurisdictioun.
And on the scheip send furth ane strait summoun.

For by the vse, and cours, and commoun style,
On this maner maid his citatioun.
I maister volff partles off fraud and gyle,
Vnder the panis off hie suspensioun,
Off grit cursing and interdictioun,
Schir scheip, i charge the, straitly to compeir,
And answer to ane doig befoir me heir.

Schir corbie rauin wes maid apparitour,
Quha pykit had full mony scheipis ee.
The charge hes tane, and on the letteris bure,
Summonit the scheip befoir the volff, that he,
Peremptourlie within the dayis thre,
Compeir vnder the panis in this bill,
To heir quhat perrie doig will say the till.

This summondis maid befoir witnes anew,
The rauin as to his office weill effeird,
Indorsat hes the write, and on he flew.
The selie scheip durst lay na mouth on eird,
Till he befoir the awfull iuge appeird.
The oure off cause, quhilk that the iuge vsit than
Quhen hesperus to schaw his face began.

The foxe wes clerk, and noter in the cause.
The gled, the graip vp at the bar couth stand,
As aduocatis expert in to the lawis,
The doggis pley togidder tuke on hand,
Quhilk wer confidderit straitlie in ane band,
Aganis the scheip to procure the sentence.
Thocht it wes fals thay had na conscience

The clerk callit the scheip, and he wes thair.
The aduocatis on this wyse couth propone.
Ane certane breid, worth fyue schilling or mair,
Thow aw the doig, off quhilk the terme is gone.
Off his awin heid but aduocate allone,
Auysitlie gaif answer in the cace.
Heir i declyne the iuge, the tyme, the place.

This is my cause, in motiue and effect.
The law sayis, it is richt perrillous,
Till enter pley befoir ane iuge suspect.
And ze schir volff, hes bene richt odious
To me, for with zour tuskis rauenous.
Hes slane full mony kinnismen off myne.
Thairfoir as iuge, suspect, i zow declyne.

And schortlie, of this court ze memberis all,
Baith assessouris, clerk, and aduocate,
To me, and myne, ar ennemies mortall,
And ay hes bene, as mony scheipheird wate.
The place is fer, the tyme is feriate.
Quhairfoir na iuge suld sit in consistory,
Sa lait at euin, i zow accuse for thy.

Quhen that the iuge in this wyse wes accusit,
He bad the parteis cheis with ane assent,
Twa arbeteris, as in the law is vsit,
For to declair, and gif arbitriment,
Quhidder the scheip suld answer in iugement,
Befoir the volff and so thay did but weir,
Off quhome the namis efter ze sall heir.

The beir, the brok, the mater tuke on hand
For to discyde gif this exceptioun,
Wes off na strenth, or lauchfully mycht stand.
And thairupon as iugis thay sat doun,
And held ane lang quhyle disputatioun,
Seikand full mony decreitis off the law,
And glosis als, the veritie to knaw.

Of ciuile mony volum thay reuolue
The codeis, and digestis new and ald.
Contra et pro strait argumentis thay resolue.
Sum a doctryne and sum a nothir hald.
For prayer, nor price, trow ze thay wald fald
Bot held the glose, and text of the decreis,
As trew iugis. i schrew thame ay that leis.

Schortlie to mak ane end off this debait,
The arbiteris than summar and plane.
The sentence gaue, and proces fulminait,
The scheip suld pas befoir the volff agane,
And end his pley. than wes he nathing fane,
For fra thair sentence couth he not appeill.
On clerkis i do it, gif this sentence wes leill.

The scheip agane befoir the volff derenzeit,
But aduocate abasitlie couth stand.
Vp rais the doig, and on the scheip thus plenzeit,
Ane soume i payit haue befoir the hand,
For certane breid thairto ane borrow he fand,
That wrangouslie the scheip did hald the breid.
Quhilk he denyit and thair began the pleid,

And quhen the scheip this stryif had contestait,
The iustice in the cause furth can proceid.
Lowrence the actis, and the proces wrait,
And thus the pley vnto the end thay speid.
This cursit court corruptit all for meid,
Aganis gude faith, gude law, and conscience,
For this fals doig pronuncit the sentence.

And it till put to executioun
The volff chargit the scheip without delay,
Vnder the panis off interdictioun,
The soume off siluer, or the breid to pay.
Off this sentence allace quhat sall i say?
Quhilk dampnit hes the selie innocent,
And iustifyit the wrangous iugement.

The scheip dreidand mair persecutioun,
Obeyit to the sentence, and couth tak.
His way vnto ane merchand off the toun,
And sauld the woll, that he bure on his bak.
Syne bocht the breid, and to the doig couth mak,
Reddie payment, as he foiriugeit was.
Naikit and bair syne to the feild couth pas.

Moralitas
This selie scheip may present the figure,
Of pure commounis that daylie ar opprest,
Be tirrane men, quhilkis settis all thair cure,
Be fals meinis, to mak ane wrang conquest,
In hope, this present lyfe suld euer lest.
Bot all begylit, thay will in schort tyme end,
And efter deith to lestand panis wend.

This volf, i likkin to ane schiref stout,
Quhilk byis ane forfalt at the kingis hand.
And hes with him ane cursit assyis about,
And dytis all the pure men vp on land.
Fra the crownar haif laid on him his wand,
Suppois he be als trew as wes sanct iohne,
Slane sall he be, or with the iuge compone.

This rauin, i likkin to ane fals crownair,
Quhilk hes ane porteous of the inditement,
And passis furth befoir the iustice air,
All misdoaris to bring to iugement.
Bot luke gif he be of ane trew intent,
To scraip out iohne, and wryte in will, or wat,
And swa ane bud at boith the parteis skat.

Of this fals tod of quhilk i spak befoir,
And of this gled, quhat thay micht signify.
Of thair nature, as now i speik no moir.
Bot of this scheip, and of his cairfull cry,
I sall reheirs, for as i passit by,
Quhair that he lay on cais i lukit doun,
And hard him mak sair lamentatioun.

Allace quod he this cursit consistorie,
In middis of the winter now is maid,
Quhen boreas with blastis bitterlie,
And frawart froistes, thir flouris doun can faid,
On bankis bair now may i mak na baid.
And with that word in to ane coif he crap,
Fra hair wedder, and froistis him to hap.

Quaikand for cauld, sair murnand ay amang,
Kest vp his ee vnto the heuinnis hicht.
And said, o lord, quhy sleipis thow sa lang
Walk, and discerne my cause groundit on richt.
Se how i am be fraud, maistrie, and slicht,
Peillit full bair, and so is mony one.
Now in this warld, richt wonder wo begone.

Se how this cursit syn of couetice,
Exylit hes baith lufe lawtie, and law.
Now few, or nane will execute iustice,
In falt of quhome, the pure man is ouerthraw.
The veritie suppois the iugis knaw,
Thay ar so blindit with affectioun,
But dreid for meid thay thoill the richt go doun.

Seis thow not lord this warld ouerturnit is,
As quha wald change gude gold in leid or tyn,
The pure is peillit, the lord may do na mis.
And simonie is haldin for na syn.
Now is he blyith with okker maist may wyn.
Gentrice is slane, and pietie is ago.
Allace gude lord quhy tholis thow it so?

Thow tholis this euin for our grit offence,
Thow sendis vs troubill, and plaigis soir.
As hunger, derth, grit weir, or pestilence.
Bot few amendis now thair lyfe thairfoir.
We pure pepill as now may do no moir,
Bot pray to the, sen that we ar opprest
In to this eirth, grant vs in heuin gude rest.

The taill of the lyoun & the mous
Prologue
In middis of iune, that ioly sweit seasoun,
Quhen that fair phebus with his bemis bricht,
Had dryit vp the dew fra daill and doun,
And all the land maid with his lemis licht.
In ane mornyng betuix mid day and nicht,
I rais and put all sleuth, and sleip asyde.
And to ane wod i went allone but gyde

Sweit wes the smell off flouris quhyte and reid.
The noyes off birdis richt delitious
The bewis braid blomit abone my heid,
The ground growand with gresis gratious.
Off all plesance, that place wes plenteous,
With sweit odouris, and birdis harmony,
The morning myld, my mirth wes mair for thy.

The rosis reid arrayit rone and ryce,
The prymeros, and the purpour viola.
To heir it wes ane poynt off paradice,
Sic mirth the mauis, and the merle couth ma.
The blossummis blythe brak vp on bank and bra,
The smell off herbis and the fowlis cry,
Contending quha suld haue the victory.

Me to conserue than fra the sonis heit,
Vnder the schaddow off ane hawthorne grene,
I lenit doun amang the flouris sweit,
Syne maid a cors and closit baith my ene.
On sleip i fell amang thir bewis bene.
And in my dreme, me thocht come throw the schaw,
The fairest man that euer befoir i saw.

His gowne wes off ane claith, als quhyte as milk.
His chymmeris wes off chambelate purpour broun.
His hude off scarlet, bordowrit weill with silk,
On hekillit wyis vntill his girdill doun.
His bonat round, and off the auld fassoun.
His heid wes quhyte, his ene wes grit and gray,
With lokker hair, quhilk ouer his schulderis lay.

Ane roll off paper in his hand he bair.
Ane swannis pen stikand vnder his eir.
Ane inkhorne, with ane prettie gilt pennair,
Ane bag off silk, all at his belt he weir
Thus wes he gudelie grathit in his geir,
Off stature large, and with ane feirfull face.
Euin quhair i lay he come ane sturdie pace.

And said, god speid my sone and i wes fane
Off that couth word, and off his cumpany.
With reuerence i salusit him agane,
Welcome father and he sat doun me by.
Displeis zow not my gude maister, thocht i.
Demand zour birth, zour facultye, and name,
Quhy ze come heir, or quhair ze dwell at hame?

My sone said he i am off gentill blude.
My natall land is rome withoutin nay.
And in that towne first to the sculis i zude,
In ciuile law studyit full mony ane day.
And now my winning is in heuin for ay.
Esope i hecht, my writing and my werk,
Is couth and kend to mony cunning clerk.

O maister esope poet lawriate,
God wait ze ar full deir welcum to me.
Ar ze not he that all thir fabillis wrate,
Quhilk in effect suppois thay fenzeit be,
Ar full off prudence and moralitie?
Fair sone said he i am the samin man.
God wait gif that my hert wes merie than.

I said, esope my maister venerabill,
I zow beseik hartlie for cheritie,
Ze wald dedene to tell ane prettie fabill,
Concludand with ane gude moralitie.
Schaikand his heid, he said, my sone lat be,
For quhat is it worth to tell ane fenzeit taill,
Quhen haly preiching may na thing auaill?

Now in this warld me think richt few or nane,
To goddis word that hes deuotioun.
The eir is deif, the hart is hard as stane.
Now oppin sin without correctioun.
The e inclynand to the eirth ay doun.
Sa roustit is the warld with canker blak,
That now my taillis may lytill succour mak.

Zit gentill schir said i for my requeist,
Not to displeis zour fatherheid, i pray,
Vnder the figure off ane brutall beist,
Ane morall fabill ze wald denze to say.
Quha wait, nor i may leir and beir away
Sum thing thairby heirefter may auaill?
I grant quod he and thus begouth ane taill.

Fable
Ane lyoun at his pray wery foirrun,
To recreat his limmis and to rest,
Beikand his breist, and belly at the sun,
Vnder ane tre lay in the fair forest.
Swa come ane trip off myis out off thair nest,
Richt tait and trig, all dansand in ane gyis,
And ouer the lyoun lansit twyis, or thryis.

He lay so still, the myis wes not effeird,
Bot to and fro out ouer him tuke thair trace.
Sum tirlit at the campis off his beird,
Sum spairit not to claw him on the face,
Merie and glaid, thus dansit thay ane space,
Till at the last, the nobill lyoun woke,
And with his pow, the maister mous he tuke.

Scho gaue ane cry, and all the laif agast,
Thair dansing left, and hid thame sone alquhair
Scho that wes tane, cryit and weipit fast.
And said allace oftymes that scho come thair.
Now am i tane ane wofull presonair
And for my gilt traistis incontinent,
Off lyfe and deith, to thoill the iugement.

Than spak the lyoun to that cairfull mous.
Thow catiue wretche, and vile vnworthie thing,
Ouer malapart, and eik presumpteous
Thow wes, to mak out ouer me thy tripping.
Knew thow not weill, i wes baith lord and king.
Off beistis all. zes quod the mous i knaw.
Bot i misknew, because ze lay so law.

Lord, i beseik thy kinglie royaltie,
Heir quhat i say, and tak in patience.
Considder first my simple pouertie,
And syne thy mychtie hie magnyfycence.
Se als how thingis done off neglygence,
Nouther off malice, nor of prodissioun,
Erer suld haue grace and remissioun.

We wer repleit, and had grit aboundance,
Off alkin thingis, sic as to vs effeird.
The sweit sesoun prouokit vs to dance,
And mak sic mirth as nature

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The Morall Fabillis of Esope the Phrygian - ROBERT HENRYSON