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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time

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28 MEMORIAL S OF EDlNB UR GH. ings of red and blue, with a canopy of state, of cloth of gold. “ Ther wer also in the sum chmmr a rich 6ed of astat, and the Lord Gray served the King with water for to wash, and the Earle of Huntley berred the towalle ! ” The commons testified their sympathy by bonfires and other tokens of public rejoicing, while dancing, music, and feasting, with coursing, joustings, and the like pastimes of the age, were continued thereafter during many days, “ and that done, every man went his way,” the Earl of Surrey,with the chivalry of England, to bide their second meeting on the field of Flodden. This propitious alliance-which, notwithstanding the disastrous period that intervened, ultimately led to the permanent union of the two kingdoms-was celebrated by Dunbar in his beautiful allegory of “ The Thrissil and the %is,’’ a poem, notwithstanding its obsolete language, scarcely surpassed in beauty by anything written since. “ At this time,” says its excellent biographer, ‘‘ Dunbar appears to have lived on terms of great familiarity with the King, and to have participated freely in all the gaieties and amusements of the Scottish Court; his sole occupation being that of writing ballads on any passing event, and thus contributing to the entertainment of his royal master.’ From several of his writings, as well as from “ The Flyting ” with his poetic rival Walter Remedy, many curious local allusions may be gleaned. One satirical poem, an “ Address to the Merchants of Edinburgh,” is particularly interesting for our present object, conveying a most graphic, though somewhat highly-coloured picture of the Scottish capital at this period.’ ‘‘ The principal streets crowded with stalls-the confused state of the different markets-the noise and cries of the fishwomen, and of -other persons retailing their wares round the cross-the booths of trade& crowded together ‘ like a honeycomb,’ near the church of St Giles, which was then, and continued till within a very recent period, to be disfigured with mean md paltry buildings, stuck round the buttresses of the church-the outer stairs of the houses projecting into the street-the swarm of beggars-the common minatrek, whose skill was confined to one or two hackneyed tunes-all together form the subject of a highly graphic and interesting delineation.” TO THE MERCHANTS OF EDINBURGH. Quhy will ye, Meqchauta of renoun, Let Edinburgh, your noble bun, For lak of reformation The common profit tyne and fame 1 That ony other region Sal1 with dishonour hurt your name! Think ye nocht schame, May nane pass throw your principal gates, For stink of haddocks and of scatea ; For cries of carlings and debates ; For sensum flyttinga of defame : Think ye nocht schame, Before strangers of all estates That sic dishonour hurt your name ! Dunbar, by D. Laing, 1834, vol. i. p. 23. 8 Ibid, p. 32.
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YAMES JV, TO THE EATTLE OF RLODDEN. Your stinkand scule that standis dirk, Holds the light from your Parruche Kirk ; Your forestaira makia your houees mirk. Lyk nae country but here at hame : Sae little policie to work In hurt and sclander of your name I Think ye nocht schame, At your high Croea, quhair gold and silk Sould be, thair is but curds and milk ; And at your Trone but cokill and wilk, Pansches, pudings of Jok and Jame : Sen as the world sayis that ilk In hurt and sclander of your name ! Think ye nocht schame, Your common Menstrals have no tone, But, Now the day dawis, and Into June ; Cuninger men maun aerve Sanct Cloun, And never to other craftis clame : To hold’sic mowes on the moon, In hurt and sclander of your name I Think ye nocht schame, Tailors, Soutters, and craftia vyll, The fairest of your streeta do fyll; And merchandis at the Stinkand Sty11 Are hampert in ane hony came : That ye have neither witt nor wyle To win yourself ane better name ! Think ye nocht schame, Your Rurgh of beggars is me nest, To shout thai swenyours will nocht rest; All honest folk they do molest, Sa pitsouslie they cry and rame : That for the poor hes no thing drest, In hurt and sclander of your name! Think ye nocht achame, Your proffeit daily does increaa, Your godlie workis less and le=; Through streittia nane may mak progress, For cry of cruikit, blind, and lame : That ye Sic substance do possess, And will nocht win ane better name I . Think ye nocht schame, In Gawin Douglas’s Prologue to the Eighth Book of the Bneid, there is another admirable satire on the manners of the times, but the allusions are mostly more general in their application. Again, in Dunbar’s Tydingis fra the Sessioun,” where a country man tells his neighbour, ‘‘ 1 come of Edinburgh fra the BesEiioun,” the picture is equally lively and pungent. In his ‘‘ Remonstrance to the King,” there occurs an inventory of 1 Probably stile; 1) F g e which led t b u g h the Luckenbootha, to St Gia’a Church, diictly [email protected] the Advocates’ Close, continued to be known by thia name till the whole waa removed in 1811.
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