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Balade In Praise of Chaucer

Master Geffray Chauser, that now lyth in grave,
The nobyll rethoricien, and poet of Gret Bretayne,
That worthy was the lawrer of poetry have
For thys hys labour, and the palme attayne;
Whych furst made to dystyll and reyne
The gold dew-dropys of speche and eloquence
In-to Englyssh tong, thorow hys excellence.

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The Wright's Chaste Wife

Allemyghty god, maker of alle,
Saue you my souereyns in towre & halle,
And send you good grace!
If ye wylle a stounde blynne,
Of a story I wylle begynne,
And telle you alle the cas,
Meny farleyes ?aue herde,
Ye would haue wondyr how yt ferde;
Lystyn, and ye schalle here;
Of a wryght I wylle you telle
That some tyme in thys land gan dwelle,
And lyued by hys myster.
Whether that he were yn or oute,
Of erthely man hadde he no dowte,
To werke hows, harowe, nor plowgh,
Or other werkes, what so they were,
Thous wrought he hem farre and nere,
And dyd tham wele I-nough.
Thys wryght would wedde no wyfe,
Butt yn yougeth to lede hys lyfe
In myrthe and o?ody;
Ouer alle where he gan wende,
Alle they seyd 'welcome, frende,
Sytt downe, and do gla[d]ly.'
Tylle on a tyme he was wyllyng,
As tyme comyth of alle thyng,
(So seyth the profesye,)
A wyfe for to wedde & haue
That myght hys goodes kepe & saue,
And for to leue alle foly.
Ther dwellyd a wydowe in ?tre
That hadde a doughter feyre & fre;
Of her, word sprang wyde,
For sche was bothe stabylle & trewe,
Meke of maners, and feyre of hewe;
So seyd men in that tyde.
The wryght seyde, 'so god me saue,
Such a wyfe would I haue
To lye nyghtly by my syde.'
He ?to speke wyth ?,
And rose erly on a daye
And ?an he to ryde.
The wryght was welcome to ?,
And her saluyd alle so blyve,
And so he dyd her doughter fre:
For the erand that he for came
Tho he spake, ?d yemane;
Than to hym seyd sche:
The wydow seyd, 'by heuen kyng,
I may geue wyth her no ?r> (And ?thynketh me

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Battle Of Hastings - II

OH Truth! immortal daughter of the skies,
Too lyttle known to wryters of these daies,
Teach me, fayre Saincte! hy passynge worthe to pryze,
To blame a friend and give a foeman prayse.
The fickle moone, bedeckt wythe sylver rays,
Leadynge a traine of starres of feeble lyghte,
With look adigne the worlde belowe surveies,
The world, that wotted not it coud be nyghte;
Wyth armour dyd, with human gore ydeyd,
The sees Kynge Harolde stande, fayre Englands curse and pryde.
With ale and vernage drunk his souldiers lay;
Here was an hynde, anie an erlie spredde;
Sad keepynge of their leaders natal daie!
This even in drinke, toomorrow with the dead!
Thro' everie troope disorder reer'd her hedde;
Dancynge and heideignes was the onlie theme;
Sad dome was theires, who lefte this easie bedde,
And wak'd in torments from so sweet a dream.
Duke Williams menne, of comeing dethe afraide,
All nyghte to the great Godde for succour askd and praied.
Thus Harolde to his wites that stoode arounde;
Goe, Gyrthe and Eilward, take bills halfe a score,
And search how farre our foeman's campe doth bound;
Yourself have rede; I nede to saie ne more.
My brother best belov'd of anie ore,
My Leofwinus, goe to everich wite,
Tell them to raunge the battel to the grore,
And waiten tyll I sende the hest for fyghte.
He saide; the loieaul broders lefte the place,
Success and cheerfulness depicted on ech face.
Slowelie brave Gyrthe and Eilwarde dyd advaunce,
And markd wyth care the armies dystant syde,
When the dyre clatterynge of the shielde and launce
Made them to be by Hugh Fitzhugh espyd.
He lyfted up his voice, and lowdlie cryd;
Like wolfs in wintere did the Normanne yell
Girthe drew hys swerde, and cutte hys burled hyde;
The proto-slene manne of the fielde he felle;
Out streemd the bloude, and ran in smokynge curles,
Reflected bie the moone seemd rubies mixt wyth pearles.
A troope of Normannes from the mass-songe came,
Rousd from their praiers by the flotting crie;
Thoughe Girthe and Ailwardus perceevd the same,
Not once theie stoode abashd, or thoghte to flie.
He seizd a bill, to conquer or to die;
Fierce as a clevis from a rocke ytorne,
That makes a vallie wheresoe're it lie;
Fierce as a ryver burstynge from the borne;
So fiercelie Gyrthe hitte Fitz du Gore a blowe,
And on the verdaunt playne he layde the champyone lowe.

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The Libelle of Englyshe Polycye

Here beginneth the Prologe of the processe of the Libelle of Englyshe polycye, exhortynge alle Englande to kepe the see enviroun and namelye the narowe see, shewynge whate profete commeth thereof and also whate worshype and salvacione to Englande and to alle Englyshe menne.

The trewe processe of Englysh polycye
Of utterwarde to kepe thys regne in rest
Of oure England, that no man may denye
Ner say of soth but it is one the best,
Is thys, as who seith, south, north, est and west
Cheryshe marchandyse, kepe thamyralte,
That we bee maysteres of the narowe see.


For Sigesmonde the grete Emperoure,
Whyche yet regneth, whan he was in this londe
Wyth kynge Herry the vte, prince of honoure,
Here moche glorye, as hym thought, he founde,
A myghty londe, whyche hadde take on honde
To werre in Fraunce and make mortalite,
And ever well kept rounde aboute the see.


And to the kynge thus he seyde, 'My brothere',
Whan he perceyved too townes, Calys and Dovere,
'Of alle youre townes to chese of one and other
To kepe the see and sone for to come overe,
To werre oughtwardes and youre regne to recovere,
Kepe these too townes sure to youre mageste
As youre tweyne eyne to kepe the narowe see'.


For if this see be kepte in tyme of werre,
Who cane here passe withought daunger and woo?
Who may eschape, who may myschef dyfferre?
What marchaundy may forby be agoo?
For nedes hem muste take truse every foo,
Flaundres and Spayne and othere, trust to me,
Or ellis hyndered alle for thys narowe see.


Therfore I caste me by a lytell wrytinge
To shewe att eye thys conclusione,
For concyens and for myne acquytynge
Ayenst God, and ageyne abusyon
And cowardyse and to oure enmyes confusione;
For iiij. thynges oure noble sheueth to me,
Kyng, shype and swerde and pouer of the see.


Where bene oure shippes, where bene oure swerdes become?
Owre enmyes bid for the shippe sette a shepe.
Allas, oure reule halteth, hit is benome.

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The Brus Book XVIII

Only Berwick remains in English hands; a burgess offers to betray it]

The lordis off the land war fayne
Quhen thai wist he wes cummyn agan
And till him went in full gret hy,
And he ressavit thaim hamlyly
5 And maid thaim fest and glaidsum cher,
And thai sa wonderly blyth wer
Off his come that na man mycht say,
Gret fest and fayr till him maid thai.
Quharever he raid all the countre
10 Gaderyt in daynte him to se,
Gret glaidschip than wes in the land.
All than wes wonnyn till his hand,
Fra the Red Swyre to Orknay
Wes nocht off Scotland fra his fay
15 Outakyn Berwik it allane.
That tym tharin wonnyt ane
That capitane wes of the toun,
All Scottismen in suspicioun
He had and tretyt thaim tycht ill.
20 He had ay to thaim hevy will
And held thaim fast at undre ay,
Quhill that it fell apon a day
That a burges Syme of Spalding
Thocht that it wes rycht angry thing
25 Suagate ay to rebutyt be.
Tharfor intill his hart thocht he
That he wald slely mak covyne
With the marchall, quhays cosyne
He had weddyt till him wiff,
30 And as he thocht he did belyff.
Lettrys till him he send in hy
With a traist man all prively,
And set him tym to cum a nycht
With leddrys and with gud men wicht
35 Till the kow yet all prively,
And bad him hald his trist trewly
And he suld mete thaim at the wall,
For his walk thar that nycht suld fall.

[The marischal shows the letter to the king,
who seeks to avoid jealousy between Douglas and Moray]

Quhen the marchell the lettre saw
40 He umbethocht him than a thraw,
For he wist be himselvyn he
Mycht nocht off mycht no power be
For till escheyff sa gret a thing,
And giff he tuk till his helping

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Athelston

Lord that is off myghtys most,
Fadyr and Sone and Holy Gost,
Bryng us out of synne
And lene us grace so for to wyrke
To love bothe God and Holy Kyrke
That we may hevene wynne.
Lystnes, lordyngys, that ben hende,
Of falsnesse, hou it wil ende
A man that ledes hym therin.
Of foure weddyd bretheryn I wole yow tell
That wolden yn Yngelond go dwel,
That sybbe were nought of kyn.

And all foure messangeres they were,
That wolden yn Yngelond lettrys bere,
As it wes here kynde.
By a forest gan they mete
With a cros, stood in a strete
Be leff undyr a lynde,
And, as the story telles me,
Ylke man was of dyvers cuntrie
In book iwreten we fynde —
For love of here metyng thare,
They swoor hem weddyd bretheryn for evermare,
In trewthe trewely dede hem bynde.

The eldeste of hem ylkon,
He was hyght Athelston,
The kyngys cosyn dere;
He was of the kyngys blood,
Hys eemes sone, I undyrstood;
Therefore he neyghyd hym nere.
And at the laste, weel and fayr,
The kyng him dyyd withouten ayr.
Thenne was ther non hys pere
But Athelston, hys eemes sone;
To make hym kyng wolde they nought schone,
To corowne hym with gold so clere.

Now was he kyng semely to se:
He sendes afftyr his bretheryn thre
And gaff hem here warysoun.
The eldest brothir he made Eerl of Dovere —
And thus the pore man gan covere —
Lord of tour and toun.
That other brother he made Eerl of Stane —
Egelond was hys name,
A man of gret renoun —
And gaff him tyl hys weddyd wyff
Hys owne sustyr, Dame Edyff,

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Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudesly

Part the First


Mery it was in the grene forest
Amonge the leves grene,
Wheras men hunt east and west,
Wyth bowes and arrowes kene,

To ryse the dere out of theyr denne,
Suche sightes hath ofte bene sene,
As by thre yemen of the north countrey,
By them it is I meane.

The one of them hight Adam Bel,
The other Clym of the Clough,
The thyrd was William of Cloudesly,
An archer good ynough.

They were outlawed for venyson,
These yemen everychone;
They swore them brethren upon a day,
To Englyshe-wood for to gone.

Now lith and lysten, gentylmen,
That of myrthes loveth to here:
Two of them were single men,
The third had a wedded fere.

Wyllyam was the wedded man,
Muche more then was hys care:
He sayde to hys brethren upon a day,
To Carleile he would fare,

For to speke with fayre Alyce his wife,
And with hys chyldren thre.
'By my trouth,' sayde Adam Bel,
'Not by the counsell of me.

'For if ye go to Carleile, brother,
And from thys wylde wode wende,
If the justice may you take,
Your lyfe were at an ende.'

'If that I come not to-morrowe, brother,
By pryme to you agayne,
Truste you then that I am 'taken,'
Or else that I am slayne.'

He toke hys leave of hys brethren two,
And to Carleile he is gon;

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The Brus Book XIII

[Douglas's division attacks]

Quhen thir twa fyrst bataillis wer
Assemblyt as I said you er,
The Stewart Walter that than was
And the gud lord als of Douglas
5 In a bataill, quhen that thai saw
The erle foroutyn dred or aw
Assembill with his cumpany
On all that folk sa sturdely
For till help him thai held thar way
10 And thar bataill in gud aray,
And assemblyt sa hardely
Besid the erle a litill by
That thar fayis feld thar cummyn wele,
For with wapynnys stalwart of stele
15 Thai dang apon with all thar mycht.
Thar fayis resavyt weile Ik hycht
With swerdis speris and with mase,
The bataill thar sa feloune was
And sua rycht gret spilling of blud
20 That on the erd the flousis stud.
The Scottismen sa weill thaim bar
And sua gret slauchter maid thai thar
And fra sa fele the lyvis revyt
That all the feld bludy wes levyt.
25 That tyme thar thre bataillis wer
All syd be sid fechtand weill ner,
Thar mycht men her mony dynt
And wapynnys apon armuris stynt,
And se tumble knychtis and stedis
30 And mony rich and reale wedis
Defoullyt foully under fete,
Sum held on loft sum tynt the suet.
A lang quhill thus fechtand thai war
That men na noyis mycht her thar,
35 Men hard nocht bot granys and dintis
That slew fyr as men slayis on flyntis,
Thai faucht ilk ane sa egerly
That thai maid nother moyis na cry
Bot dang on other at thar mycht
40 With wapnys that war burnyst brycht.
The arowys als sua thyk thar flaw
That thai mycht say wele that thaim saw
That thai a hidwys schour gan ma,
For quhar thai fell Ik undreta
45 Thai left efter thaim taknyng
That sall ned as I trow leching.

[Sir Robert Keith's cavalry disperses the English archers]

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The Brus Book 20

King Robert in Northumberland]

Sone eftre that the erle Thomas
Fra Wardaill thus reparyt was
The king assemblyt all his mycht
And left nane that wes worth to fycht,
5 A gret ost than assemblit he
And delt his ost in partis thre.
A part to Norame went but let
And a stark assege has set
And held thaim in rycht at thar dyk,
10 The tother part till Anwyk
Is went and thar a sege set thai,
And quhill that thir assegis lay
At thir castellis I spak off ar,
Apert eschewys oft maid thar war
15 And mony fayr chevalry
Eschevyt war full douchtely.
The king at thai castellis liand
Left his folk, as I bar on hand
And with the thrid ost held hys way
20 Fra park to park hym for to play
Huntand as all hys awn war,
And till thaim that war with him thar
The landis off Northummyrland
That neyst to Scotland war liand
25 In fe and heritage gave he,
And thai payit for the selys fe.

[The peace with England]

On this wys raid he destroyand
Quhill that the king of Ingland
Throu consaill of the Mortymar
30 And his moder that that tym war
Ledaris of him that than young wes
To King Robert to tret off pes
Send messyngeris, and sua sped thai
That thai assentyt on this way
35 Than a perpetuale pes to tak,
And thai a mariage suld mak
Off the King Robertis sone Davy
That than bot fyve yer had scarsly
And off Dame Jhone als off the Tour
40 That syne wes of full gret valour,
Systre scho wes to the ying king
That had Ingland in governyng,
That than of eild had sevyn yer.
And monymentis and lettrys ser
45 That thai of Ingland that tyme had

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Ælla, A Tragical Interlude - Act III

SCENE I.
BRISTOWE.
BIRTHA.
Gentle Egwina, do notte preche me joie;
I cannotte joie ynne anie thynge botte weere .
Oh! yatte aughte schulde oure selynesse destroie,
Floddynge the face wythe woe, and brynie teare!
EGWINA.
You muste, you muste endeavour for to cheere
Youre harte unto somme cherisaunied reste.
Youre loverde from the battelle wylle appere,
Ynne honnoure, and a greater love, be dreste:
Botte I wylle call the mynstrelles roundelaie;
Perchaunce the swotie sounde maie chase your wiere awaie.

MYNSTRELLES SONGE.
O! synge untoe mie roundelaie,
O! droppe the blynie teare wythe mee,
Daunce ne moe atte hallie daie,
Lycke a reyneynge ryver bee;
Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
Blacke hys cryne as the wynter nyghte,
Whyte hys rode as the sommer snowe,
Rodde hys face as the morning lyghte,
Cale he lyes ynne the grave belowe;
Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
Swote hys tynge as the throstles note,
Quycke ynn daunce as thoughte canne bee,
Defte hys taboure, codgelle stote,
O! hee lyes bie the wyllowe tree:
Mie love ys dedde,
Gonne to hys deathe-bedde,
Alle underre the wyllowe tree.
Harke! the ravenne flappes hys wynge,
In the briered delle belowe;
Harke! the dethe-owle loude dothe synge,
To the nyghte-mares as heie goe;
Mie love ys dedde,
Gonne to hys deathe-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.
See! the whyte moone sheenes onne hie;
Whyterre ys mie true loves shroude;
Whyterre yanne the mornynge skie,
Whyterre yanne the evenynge cloude;
Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys deathe-bedde,

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Bristowe Tragedie: Or The Dethe Of Syr Charles Badwin

THE featherd songster chaunticleer
Han wounde hys bugle horne,
And tolde the earlie villager
The commynge of the morne.
Kynge EDWARDE sawe the ruddie streakes
Of lyghte eclypse the greie;
And herde the raven's crokynge throte
Proclayme the fated daie.
'Thou'rt ryght,' quod hee, 'for, by the Godde
That syttes enthron'd on hyghe!
CHARLES BAWDIN, and hys fellowes twain,
To-daie shall surelie die.
Thenne wythe a jugge of nappy ale
Hys Knyghtes dydd onne hymm waite;
'Goe tell the traytour, thatt to-daie
'Hee leaves thys mortall state.'
Syr CANTERLONE thenne bendedd low;
Wythe harte brymm-fulle of woe;
Hee journey'd to the castle-gate,
And to Syr CHARLES dydd goe.
Butt whenne hee came, hys children twaine,
And eke hys lovynge wyfe,
Wythe brinie tears dydd wett the floore,
For goode Syr CHARLESES lyfe.
'O goode Syr CHARLES!' sayd CANTERLONE,
'Badde tydyngs I doe brynge.'
'Speke boldlie, manne,' sayd brave Syr CHARLES,
'Whatte says thie traytor kynge?'
'I greeve to telle, before yonne sonne
Does fromme the welkinn flye,
Hee hath uponne hys honour sworne,
Thatt thou thalt surelie die.'
'Wee all must die, quod brave Syr CHARLES;
'Of thatte I'm not affearde;
'Whatte bootes to lyve a little space?
'Thanke JESU, I'm prepar'd.
'Butt telle thye kynge, for myne hee's not,
'I'de sooner die to-daie
'Thanne lyve hys slave, as manie are,
'Tho' I shoulde lyve for aie.'
Thenne CANTERLONE hee dydd goe out,
To telle the maior straite
To gett all thynges ynne reddyness
For goode Syr CHARLESES fate.
Thenne Maisterr CANYNGE saughte the kynge,
And felle down onne hys knee;
'I'm come,' quod hee, 'unto your grace
'To move your clemencye.'
Thenne quod the kynge, 'Youre tale speke out,
'You have been much oure friende;

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The Brus Book XI

[Criticism of the compact about Stirling Castle]

And quhen this connand thus wes mad
Schir Philip intill Ingland raid
And tauld the king all haile his tale,
How he a tuelf moneth all hale
5 Had as it writyn wes in thar taile
To reskew Strevillyne with bataill.
And quhen he hard Schyr Philip say
That Scottismen had set a day
To fecht and that sic space he had
10 To purvay him he wes rycht glaid,
And said it wes gret sukudry
That set thaim apon sic foly,
For he thocht to be or that day
Sa purvayit and in sic aray
15 That thar suld nane strenth him withstand,
And quhen the lordis off Ingland
Herd that this day wes set planly
Thai jugyt all to gret foly,
And thoucht to haiff all thar liking
20 Giff men abaid thaim in fechting,
Bot oft faillys the fulis thocht
And yeit wys mennys ay cummys nocht
To sic end as thai wene allwayis.
A litill stane oft, as men sayis,
25 May ger weltyr a mekill wayn,
Na mannys mycht may stand agayn
The grace off God that all thing steris,
He wate quhat till all thing afferis
And disponys at his liking
30 Efter his ordynance all thing.

[King Robert criticises his brother]

Quhen Schyr Edward, as I you say,
Had gevyn sa outrageous a day
To yeld or reskew Strevillyne,
Rycht to the king he went him syne
35 And tauld quhat tretys he had mad
And quhat day he thaim gevyn had.
The king said quhen he hard the day,
'That wes unwisly doyn, perfay.
Ik herd never quhar sa lang warnyng
40 Wes gevyn to sa mychty a king
As is the king off Ingland,
For he has now intill hand
Ingland, Ireland and Walis alsua
And Aquitayngne yeit with all tha,
45 And off Scotland yeit a party

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The Brus Book XV

The Scots win a great battle at Connor]

Quhen thai within has sene sua slayn
Thar men and chassyt hame agayn
Thai war all wa, and in gret hy
'Till armys!' hely gan thai cry.
5 Than armyt thaim all that thai war
And for the bataill maid thaim yar
Thai ischyt out all wele arayit
Into the bataill baner displayit
Bowne on thar best wis till assaile
10 Thar fayis into fell bataill.
And quhen Schyr Philip the Mowbra
Saw thaim ische in sa gud aray
Till Schyr Edward the Bruys went he
And said, 'Schyr, it is gud that we
15 Schap for sum slycht that may availe
To help us into this bataill.
Our men ar quhoyne, bot thai haf will
To do mar than thai may fulfill,
Tharfor I rede our cariage
20 Foroutyn ony man or page
Be thaimselvyn arayit be
And thai sall seyme fer ma than we,
Set we befor thaim our baneris,
Yone folk that cummys out of Coigneris
25 Quhen thai our baneris thar may se
Sall trow traistly that thar ar we
And thidder in gret hy sall thai rid.
Cum we than on thaim at a sid
And we sall be at avantag,
30 For fra thai in our cariag
Be entryt thai sall combryt be,
And than with all our mycht may we
Lay on and do all that we may.'
All as he ordanyt done haf thai,
35 And thai that come out of Coigneris
Addressyt thaim to the baneris
And smate with spuris the hors in hy
And ruschit thaim sudandly.
The barell-ferraris that war thar
40 Cumbryt thaim fast that ridand war,
And than the erle with his bataill
Come on and sadly gan assaill,
And Schyr Edward a litill by
Assemblit sua rycht hardely
45 That mony a fey fell undre fete,
The feld wox sone of blud all wete.
With sa gret felny thar thai faucht
And sic routis till other raucht

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The Brus Book 18

[Edward Bruce marches toward Dundalk; he debates whether to fight]

Bot he that rest anoyit ay
And wald in travaill be alway,
A day forouth thar aryving
That war send till him fra the king,
5 He tuk his way southwart to far
Magre thaim all that with him war,
For he had nocht than in that land
Of all men I trow twa thousand,
Outane the kingis off Irchery
10 That in gret routis raid him by.
Towart Dundalk he tuk the way,
And quhen Richard of Clar hard say
That he come with sa few menye
All that he mycht assemblit he
15 Off all Irland off armyt men,
Sua that he had thar with him then
Off trappyt hors twenty thousand
But thai that war on fute gangand,
And held furth northward on his way.
20 And quhen Schyr Edward has hard say
That cummyn ner till him wes he
He send discouriouris him to se,
The Soullis and the Stewart war thai
And Schyr Philip the Mowbray,
25 And quhen thai sene had thar cummyng
Thai went agayne to tell tithing,
And said weill thai war mony men.
In hy Schyr Edward answerd then
And said that he suld fecht that day
30 Thoucht tribill and quatribill war thai.
Schyr Jhone Stewart said, 'Sekyrly
I reid nocht ye fecht on sic hy,
Men sayis my brother is cummand
With fyften thousand men ner-hand,
35 And war thai knyt with you ye mycht
The traistlyer abid to fycht.'
Schyr Edward lukyt all angrely
And till the Soullis said in hy,
'Quhat sayis thou?' 'Schyr,' he said, 'Perfay
40 As my falow has said I say.'
And than to Schyr Philip said he.
'Schyr,' said he, 'sa our Lord me se
Me think na foly for to bid
Your men that spedis thaim to rid,
45 For we ar few, our fayis ar fele,
God may rycht weill our werdis dele,
Bot it war wondre that our mycht
Suld our-cum sa fele in fycht.'

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The Brus Book I

This book the true story of King Robert and Sir James Douglas


Storys to rede ar delatibill
Suppos that thai be nocht bot fabill,
Than suld storys that suthfast wer
And thai war said on gud maner
5 Have doubill plesance in heryng.
The first plesance is the carpyng,
And the tother the suthfastnes
That schawys the thing rycht as it wes,
And suth thyngis that ar likand
10 Till mannys heryng ar plesand.
Tharfor I wald fayne set my will
Giff my wyt mycht suffice thartill
To put in wryt a suthfast story
That it lest ay furth in memory
15 Swa that na tyme of lenth it let
Na ger it haly be foryet.
For auld storys that men redys
Representis to thaim the dedys
Of stalwart folk that lyvyt ar
20 Rycht as thai than in presence war.
And certis thai suld weill have prys
That in thar tyme war wycht and wys
And led thar lyff in gret travaill,
And oft in hard stour off bataill
25 Wan gret price off chevalry
And war voydyt off cowardy,
As wes King Robert off Scotland
That hardy wes off hart and hand,
And gud Schir James off Douglas
30 That in his tyme sa worthy was
That off hys price and hys bounte
In ser landis renownyt wes he.
Off thaim I thynk this buk to ma,
Now God gyff grace that I may swa
35 Tret it and bryng till endyng
That I say nocht bot suthfast thing.

[Alexander III's death; the dispute over the succession
submitted to Edward I's arbitration]

Quhen Alexander the king wes deid
That Scotland haid to steyr and leid,
The land sex yer and mayr perfay
40 Lay desolat eftyr hys day
Till that the barnage at the last
Assemblyt thaim and fayndyt fast
To cheys a king thar land to ster

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Ælla, A Tragical Interlude - Act II

SCENE I
MAGNUS, HURRA, and HIE PREESTE, wyth the ARMIE, neare Watchette.
MAGNUS.
Swythe lette the offrendes to the Goddes begynne,
To knowe of hem the issue of the fyghte.
Potte the blodde-steyned sword and pavyes ynne;
Spreade swythyn all arounde the hallie lyghte.
HIE PREESTE syngeth.
Yee, who hie yn mokie ayre
Delethe seasonnes foule or fayre,
Yee, who, whanne yee weere agguylte,
The mone yn bloddie gytelles hylte,
Mooved the starres, and dyd unbynde
Everyche barriere to the wynde;
Whanne the oundynge waves dystreste,
Storven to be overest,
Sockeynge yn the spyre-gyrte towne,
Swolterynge wole natyons down;
Sendynge dethe, on plagues astrodde,
Moovynge lyke the erthys Godde;
To mee send your heste dyvyne,
Lyghte eletten all myne eyne,
Thatt I maie now undevyse
All the actyonnes of th'emprize.

Thus sayethe the Goddes; goe, yssue to the playne;
Forr there shall meynte of mytte menn be slayne.
MAGNUS.
Whie, soe there evere was, whanne Magnus foughte.
Efte have I treynted noyance throughe the hoaste,
Athorowe swerdes, alyche the Queed dystraughte,
Have Magnus pressynge wroghte hys foemen loaste.
As whanne a tempeste vexethe soare the coaste,
The dyngeynge ounde the sandeie stronde doe tare,
So dyd I inne the warre the javlynne toste,
Full meynte a champyonnes breaste received mie spear.
Mie sheelde, lyche sommere morie gronfer droke,
Mie lethalle speere, alych a levyn-mylted oke.
Thus sayethe the Goddes; goe, yssue to the playne;
Forr there shall meynte of mytte menn be slayne.
MAGNUS.
Whie, soe there evere was, whanne Magnus foughte.
Efte have I treynted noyance throughe the hoaste,
Athorowe swerdes, alyche the Queed dystraughte,
Have Magnus pressynge wroghte hys foemen loaste.
As whanne a tempeste vexethe soare the coaste,
The dyngeynge ounde the sandeie stronde doe tare,
So dyd I inne the warre the javlynne toste,
Full meynte a champyonnes breaste received mie spear.
Mie sheelde, lyche sommere morie gronfer droke,

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The Brus Book XII

[The king prepares his division]

Now Douglas furth his wayis tais,
And in that selff tyme fell throw cais
That the king off Ingland quhen he
Was cummyn with his gret menye
5 Ner to the place, as I said ar,
Quhar Scottismen arayit war,
He gert arest all his bataill
And other alsua to tak consaill
Quhether thai wald herbry thaim that nycht
10 Or than but mar ga to the fycht.
The vaward that wist na thing
Off this arest na his dwelling
Raid to the Park all straucht thar way
Foroutyn stinting in gud aray,
15 And quhen the king wist that thai wer
In hale bataill cummand sa ner
His bataill gert he weill aray.
He raid apon a litill palfray
Laucht and joly arayand
20 His bataill with ane ax in hand,
And on his bassynet he bar
Ane hat off quyrbolle ay-quhar,
And thar-upon into taknyng
Ane hey croune that he wes king.

[The king kills Henry de Bohun]

25 And quhen Glosyster and Herfurd wer
With thar bataill approchand ner
Befor thaim all thar come ridand
With helm on heid and sper in hand
Schyr Henry the Boune the worthi,
30 That was a wycht knycht and a hardy
And to the erle off Herfurd cusyne,
Armyt in armys gud and fyne
Come on a sted a bow-schote ner
Befor all other that thar wer,
35 And knew the king for that he saw
Him sua rang his men on raw
And by the croune that wes set
Alsua apon his bassynet,
And towart him he went in hy.
40 And quhen the king sua apertly
Saw him cum forouth all his feris
In hy till him the hors he steris.
And quhen Schyr Henry saw the king
Cum on foroutyn abaysing
45 Till him he raid in full gret hy,

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The Brus Book 19

[The conspiracy against King Robert; its discovery]

Than wes the land a quhile in pes,
Bot covatys, that can nocht ces
To set men apon felony
To ger thaim cum to senyoury,
5 Gert lordis off full gret renoune
Mak a fell conjuracioun
Agayn Robert the douchty king,
Thai thocht till bring him till ending
And to bruk eftre his dede
10 The kynrik and to ryng in hys steid.
The lord the Soullis, Schyr Wilyam,
Off that purches had mast defame,
For principale tharoff was he
Off assent of that cruelte.
15 He had gottyn with him sindry,
Gilbert Maleherbe, Jhone of Logy
Thir war knychtis that I tell her
And Richard Broun als a squyer,
And gud Schyr Davy off Breichyn
20 Wes off this deid arettyt syne
As I sall tell you forthermar.
Bot thai ilkane discoveryt war
Throu a lady as I hard say
Or till thar purpos cum mycht thai,
25 For scho tauld all to the king
Thar purpose and thar ordanyng,
And how that he suld haf bene ded
And Soullis ryng intill his steid,
And tauld him werray taknyng
30 This purches wes suthfast thing.
And quhen the king wist it wes sua
Sa sutell purches gan he ma
That he gert tak thaim everilkan,
And quhar the lord Soullis was tane
35 Thre hunder and sexty had he
Off squyeris cled in his lyvere
At that tyme in his cumpany
Outane knychtis that war joly.
Into Berwik takyn wes he
40 That mycht all his mengne se
Sary and wa, bot suth to say
The king lete thaim all pas thar way
And held thaim at he takyn had.

[The trial in parliament; the fate of the conspirators]

The lord Soullis sone eftre maid
45 Plane granting of all that purchas.

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The Brus Book VI

[Sir Ingram Umfraville praises the king;
the men of Galloway pursue him with a tracker dog]

The king is went till his logyng
And off this deid sone come tithing
Till Schyr Ingrame the Umfravill
That thocht his sutelte and gyle
5 Haid al failyeit in that place.
Tharfor anoyit sua he was
That he agayne to Lothyane
Till Schyr Amer his gate has tane
And till him tauld all hale the cas,
10 That tharoff all forwonderyt was
How ony man sa sodanly
Mycht do so gret chevalry
As did the king that him allane
Vengeance off thre traytouris has tane,
15 And said, 'Certis, I may weill se
That it is all certante
That ure helpys hardy men
As be this deid we may ken.
War he nocht outrageous hardy
20 He had nocht unabasytly
Sa smertly sene his avantage.
I drede that his gret vassalag
And his travaill may bring till end
That at men quhile full litill wend.'
25 Sik speking maid he off the king
That ay foroutyn sojournyng
Travaillit in Carrik her and thar.
His men fra him sa scalit war
To purches thar necessite
30 And als the countre for to se
That thai left nocht with him sexty.
And quhen the Gallowais wyst suthli
That he wes with sa few mengye
Thai maid a preve assemble
35 Off wele twa hunder men and ma,
And slewth-hundis with thaim gan ta,
For thai thocht him for to suppris
And giff he fled on ony wys
To folow him with the hundis sua
40 That he suld nocht eschaip thaim fra.
Thai schup thaim in ane evynnyng
To suppris sodanly the king
And tillhim held thai straucht thar way,
Bot he, that had his wachis ay
45 On ilk sid, off thar cummyng
Lang or thai come had wyttering
And how fele that thai mycht be,

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The Brus Book III

The lord of Lorn attacks the king's men]


The lord off Lorne wonnyt thar-by
That wes capitale ennymy
To the king for his emys sak
Jhon Comyn, and thocht for to tak
5 Vengeance apon cruell maner.
Quhen he the king wyst wes sa ner
He assemblyt his men in hy,
And had intill his cumpany
The barounys off Argyle alsua.
10 Thai war a thousand weill or ma
And come for to suppris the king
That weill wes war of thar cummyng.
Bot all to few with him he had
The-quhethir he bauldly thaim abaid,
15 And weill ost at thar fryst metyng
War layd at erd but recoveryng.
The kingis folk full weill thaim bar
And slew and fellyt and woundyt sar,
Bot the folk off the tother party
20 Faucht with axys sa fellyly,
For thai on fute war everilkane,
That thai feile off thar hors has slayne,
And till sum gaiff thai woundis wid.
James off Douglas wes hurt that tyd
25 And als Schyr Gilbert de le Hay.
The king his men saw in affray
And his ensenye can he cry
And amang thaim rycht hardyly
He rad that he thaim ruschyt all
30 And fele off thaim thar gert he fall.
Bot quhen he saw thai war sa feill
And saw thaim swa gret dyntis deill
He dred to tyne his folk, forthi
His men till him he gan rely
35 And said, 'Lordyngis, foly it war
Tyll us for till assembill mar,
For thai fele off our hors has slayn,
And giff yhe fecht with thaim agayn
We sall tyne off our small mengye
40 And our selff sall in perill be.
Tharfor me thynk maist avenand
To withdraw us us defendand
Till we cum out off thar daunger,
For our strenth at our hand is ner.'
45 Then thai withdrew thaim halely
Bot that wes nocht full cowartly
For samyn intill a sop held thai

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Ælla, A Tragical Interlude - Act I

SCENE I.
CELMONDE, att BRYSTOWE.
Before yonne roddie sonne has droove hys wayne
Throwe halfe hys joornie, dyghte yn gites of goulde,
Mee, happeless mee, hee wylle a wretche behoulde,
Mieselfe, and al that's myne, bounde ynn myschaunces chayne.
Ah! Birtha, whie dydde Nature frame thee fayre?
Whie art thou all thatt poyntelle canne bewreene ?
Whie art thou nott as coarse as odhers are?--
Butte thenn thie soughle woulde throwe thy vysage sheene,
Yatt shemres onn thie comelie semlykeene,
Lyche nottebrowne cloudes, whann bie the sonne made redde,
Orr scarlette, wythe waylde lynnen clothe ywreene ,
Syke would thie spryte uponn thie vysage spredde.
Thys daie brave Ælla dothe thyne honde and harte
Clayme as hys owne to be, whyche nee from hys moste parte.
And cann I lyve to see herr wythe anere?
Ytt cannotte, muste nott, naie, ytt shalle not bee.
Thys nyghte I'll putte stronge poysonn ynn the beere,
And hymm, herr, and myselfe, attenes wyll slea.
Assyst mee, Helle! lett Devylles rounde mee tende,
To slea mieself, mie love, & eke mie doughtie friende.

SCENE II.
ÆLLA, BIRTHA.
ÆLLA.
Notte, whanne the hallie prieste dyd make me knyghte,
Blessynge the weaponne, tellynge future dede,
Howe bie mie honde the prevyd Dane should blede,
Howe I schulde often bee, and often wynne, ynn fyghte;
Notte, whann I fyrste behelde thie beauteous hue,
Whyche strooke mie mynde, and rouzed mie softer soule;
Nott, whann from the barbed horse yn fyghte dyd viewe
The flying Dacians oere the wyde playne roule,
Whan all the troopes of Denmarque made grete dole,
Dydd I fele joie wyth syke reddoure as nowe,
Whan hallie preest, the lechemanne of the soule,
Dydd knytte us both ynn a caytysnede vowe:
Now hallie Ælla's selynesse ys grate;
Shap haveth nowe ymade hys woes for to emmate .
BIRTHA.
Mie lorde, and husbande, syke a joie ys myne;
Botte mayden modestie moste ne soe saie,
Albeytte thou mayest rede ytt ynn myne eyne,
Or ynn myne harte, where thou shalte be for aie;
Inne sothe, I have butte meeded oute thie faie;
For twelve tymes twelve the mone hathe bin yblente,
As manie tymes hathe vyed the Godde of daie,
And on the grasse her lemes of sylverr sente,
Sythe thou dydst cheese mee for thie swote to bee,

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