Saturday, January 03, 2009

Lament for the Makers

William Dunbar. 1465–1520?
21. Lament for the Makers

I THAT in heill was and gladnèss 
Am trublit now with great sickness 
And feblit with infirmitie:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
Our plesance here is all vain glory,         5
This fals world is but transitory, 
The flesh is bruckle, the Feynd is slee:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
The state of man does change and vary, 
Now sound, now sick, now blyth, now sary,  10
Now dansand mirry, now like to die:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
No state in Erd here standis sicker; 
As with the wynd wavis the wicker 
So wannis this world's vanitie:—  15
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
Unto the Death gois all Estatis, 
Princis, Prelatis, and Potestatis, 
Baith rich and poor of all degree:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.  20
He takis the knichtis in to the field 
Enarmit under helm and scheild; 
Victor he is at all mellie:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
That strong unmerciful tyrand  25
Takis, on the motheris breast sowkand, 
The babe full of benignitie:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
He takis the campion in the stour, 
The captain closit in the tour,  30
The lady in bour full of bewtie:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
He spairis no lord for his piscence, 
Na clerk for his intelligence; 
His awful straik may no man flee:—  35
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
Art-magicianis and astrologgis, 
Rethoris, logicianis, and theologgis, 
Them helpis no conclusionis slee:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.  40
In medecine the most practicianis, 
Leechis, surrigianis, and physicianis, 
Themself from Death may not supplee:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
I see that makaris amang the lave  45
Playis here their padyanis, syne gois to grave; 
Sparit is nocht their facultie:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
He has done petuously devour 
The noble Chaucer, of makaris flour,  50
The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
The good Sir Hew of Eglintoun, 
Ettrick, Heriot, and Wintoun, 
He has tane out of this cuntrie:—  55
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
That scorpion fell has done infeck 
Maister John Clerk, and James Afflek, 
Fra ballat-making and tragedie:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.  60
Holland and Barbour he has berevit; 
Alas! that he not with us levit 
Sir Mungo Lockart of the Lee:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
Clerk of Tranent eke he has tane,  65
That made the anteris of Gawaine; 
Sir Gilbert Hay endit has he:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
He has Blind Harry and Sandy Traill 
Slain with his schour of mortal hail,  70
Quhilk Patrick Johnstoun might nought flee:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
He has reft Merseir his endite, 
That did in luve so lively write, 
So short, so quick, of sentence hie:—  75
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
He has tane Rowll of Aberdene, 
And gentill Rowll of Corstorphine; 
Two better fallowis did no man see:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.  80
In Dunfermline he has tane Broun 
With Maister Robert Henrysoun; 
Sir John the Ross enbrast has he:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
And he has now tane, last of a,  85
Good gentil Stobo and Quintin Shaw, 
Of quhom all wichtis hes pitie:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
Good Maister Walter Kennedy 
In point of Death lies verily;  90
Great ruth it were that so suld be:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
Sen he has all my brether tane, 
He will naught let me live alane; 
Of force I man his next prey be:—  95
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
Since for the Death remeid is none, 
Best is that we for Death dispone, 
After our death that live may we:— 
    Timor Mortis conturbat me. 100


Timor Mortis conturbat me
in English is "fear of death disturbs me"
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