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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.
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YAMES IV. TO THE BATTLE OF FLODDEN. l’hen rins thou down the gate with gild of boys, And all the town-tykes hmgand at thy heels ; Of lads and louns, ther ryses sic a noise, Quhyle runays rin away with aairt and wheels, And cadger’a avers, cast baith coals and creils, Fish.wpea cry, Fy, and cast down skulls and skeils, For rerd of thee, and rattling of thy butes. Some clashes thee, some clods thee on the cutea ‘ An allusion of the same nature as the concluding lines, to the fraternity of fishwives, occurs in the ‘‘ Devil’s Inquest,” by the same author, and would seem to afford historical evidence that the ancient characteristics of that hardy race are still ably represented in their descendants. Kennedp replies in equally caustic terms, ransacking history for delinquencies of the Dunbars, with which to brand their namesake, and thus advises him:- Pass to my Comtuiesar and be confest, And syne gar Stobo for thy life protest ; Before him cour on knees, and cum in will ; Renunce thy rymes, baith ban and burn thy bill, Heive to the Heaven thy hands and hall thee still. Do thou not thus, Brigane, thou sal1 be brint, With pik, tar, fyre, gun-powder, and lint, 011 Arthur-sate, or on me higher hill ! It may surprise us that this poet.ic warfare, though begun in play, did not end in earnest feud, from the zeal with which it is conducted; yet they seemed to have remained to the last good friends ; and in the “ Lament for the Makaris,” Dunbar bewails the approaching death of his rival, 8s a friend and brother. But we must hasten from these merry pastimes of the court, that open on us like a glimpse of some lively comedy enacted to sweet music of the olden time, delaying us too long by its quaint pleasantries, and pass on to the more stirring events of the time, that ended in ‘‘ Flodden’s bloody rout.” The leading historical incidents that preceded this disastrous field belong not to our subject, even if they were less familiar than they are to the general reader. But among those that possess a local interest, may be mentioned the General Synod of the Clergy, which assembled, by permission of the King, in the Blackfriars,’ at Edinburgh, where, in presence of the Pope’s nuncio, Bagimont’s roll was revised, and all benefices above forty pounds sterling yearly value, held bound to pay a certain sum to the Pope; the King, however, reserving to himself the right of making still larger demands when needed.’ The Queen had already given birth to two sons at Holyrood Palace, both of whom died in infancy; and in 1512, her third son, who speedily succeeded to the throne as James V., was born at Linlithgow ; when the King, seduced by the romantic challenge of the Queen of France, “ To ride, for her sake, three feet on English ground,” forgot his fair young Queen and infant son, and in defiance of every argument and artifice that his nobles could adopt to win him from his purpose, flung away the fruits of a prosperous reign in one unequal contest. Lindsay of Pitscottie’s account of the warnings that preceded the departure A.D. 1511. ’ Martial Achievementa, vol. ii p. 629.
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