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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


30 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. the various royal servitors, affording a curious insight into the crafts of the period. brief extract will s&ce :- A Cunyouris, carvouria, and carpentaris, Beildaris of barkis, and ballingaria ; Masounis, lyand upon the land, And schip wrichtis hewand upone the strand ; Glaaing wrichtis, goldsmythis, and lapidaria, Pryntouris, paptouris, and potingaris ; &c. The introduction of printers in the list, shows the progress literature was making at this time; as early as 1490, the Parliament enjoined the education of the eldest sons of all barons and freeholders, in the Latin language, as well as in science and jurisprudence; but it was not till 1507 that the art of printing was introduced into Scotland, under the royal auspices, when a patent was granted to Walter Chepman and Andrew Myllar, conferring on them the exclusive privilege of printing there. Some of Dunbar's own poems seem to have been among the very first productions that issued from their press, and form now very Bcarce and highly valued reliques of the art. It affords evidence of the success that attended the printing press, immediately on its introduction, that, in the year 1513, Walter Chepman founded a Chaplainry at the altar of St John the Evangelist, on the southern side of St Giles's Church, and endowed it with an annuity of twenty-three marks.' But, perhaps, the most lively characteristics of the times,. occur in " The Flytings " of Kennedy and Dunbar, already referred to,--a most singular feature of the age, afterwards copied by their successors,-in which many local and personal allusions are to be found. These poems consist of a series of pungent satires, wherein each depicts his rival in the most ridiculous characters, and often in the coarsest language. This literary gladiatorship originated in no personal enmity, but seems to have been a friendly trial of wits for the amusement of the court. A few extracts, in connection with our local history, will suffice, as specimens of these most singular literary effusions. Dunbar addresses Kennedy,'- Thou brings the Carrick clay to Edinburgh Cross, Upon thy buitinga hobbland hard aa horn, Strae wisps hing out quhair that the wata ar worn ; We sal1 gar skale our Schulia all thee to acorn, Come thou again to skar us with thy straea, And atane thee up the oahy as thou gaes. The boys of Edinburgh, as the bees out thaws, And c y s out ay, Heir cum8 our awin queer Clerk I Then fleia thou like a houlat chaist with craws, Quhyle all the bitches at thy buitinga bark, Then carlings cry, Keip curches in the merk, Our gallows gapes, 10 I quhair ane graceless gaes : Anither saya, I see him want a eark, I red ye, Kimmer, tak in your lining dais. 1 Maitland, p. 271. a These extracts from a' The Flyting" are taken, with a few verbal exceptions, from Ramssy's Evergreen, an being more easily understood by the general reader, than the pure version of Mr Laing.
Volume 10 Page 32
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Volume 10 Page 33
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