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Wherefore, sen' thou has sic capacity
To learn to play so pleasantly, and sing, Ride horse, run a spears, with great audacity,
Shoot with hand-bow, cross-bow, and culvering, AMONG THE REST, SIR, LEARN TO BE A KING!
The poem usually called the Monarchy, which comprehends more than half the volume, is a sort of abstract of universal history, in question and answer, the interlocutors being Experience and a Courtier. This fanciful mode of narration was convenient for the author's purpose, which was not so much to give an exact chronicle of facts, as to justify, by examples from sacred and profane history, the moral, political, and religious tenets, which he meant to inculcate. The work is professedly of the most popular kind
“ to colliers, carters, and to cooks, “ To Jack and Tom, my rhyme shall be directed.” For this reason he often varies his metre and his style, being sometimes grave and sententious, sometimes satirical and humorous, but never losing sight of his principal object, which is the overe. throw of popery. The most impressive passage in the whole work is that chapter in the fourth book which describes the day of judgment, from whence I have extracted the following lines :
1“ The complaynte, &c. of a Popinjay,” London, 1530, 4to, reads “ seeing." 2 Ed. 1530, “ ryve.”
Then, with'one roar, the earth shall rive,
[Fourth Book of the Mon, ad fin.]
The defence of thevulgar tongue in the first book, --the description of the confusion of tongues, the ridicule of idolatry, and the remarks on the effects of pilgrimages, in the second,mand the satire on the
2 Shriek Vox a sono conficta. Rudd. Gl.
4 3 Scream; like the former.
Howling 5. Weeping. 6 Without. 7 Dying
nuns and friars, in the third,
have a different kind of merit. The following comparison, in the fourth, is such a singular attempt to explain, by human reason, one of the darkest mysteries of our religion, that I cannot forbear submitting it to the reader. '
Take ane crowat," ane pint-stoup, and ane quart,
Ane gallon-pitcher, ane puncheon, and ane tun; Of wine, or balm, give every one their part;
And fill them full till that they be oʻer-run:
The little crowat in comparison ? Shall be sa full that it may hold no more : (Of sic measures though there be twenty score
Into the tun, or in the puncheon :)
So all those vessels, in ane quality,
Yet have they not alike in quantity.
Sa by this rude example thou may see Though every one be not alike in glóre, Are satisfied, sa that they desire no more.
Sir David Lindsay's Play (reprinted in the second volume of Mr Pinkerton's Scotish Poems,
Cruet, a small vessel. The edit. 1566, reads flacket, i. ex flasket, a small flask.
? i. e, the cruet, though little in comparisons
1792) is a curious specimen of the ancient moralities, and forms a most entertaining commentary on the manners of the times in which it was written. The scenes of " the poor man and the
pardoner," (beginning at page 61,) and of “ the parliament of correction,” (p. 141,) are, perhaps, the most striking.
But the most pleasing of all this author's works is certainly the History of Squire Meldrum.* The romantic and singular, but authentic, character of the hero, is painted with great strength and simplicity; and the versification possesses a degree of facility and elegance at least equal to the most polished compositions of Drayton. Of this the reader will judge from the following specimen, which is taken from the beginning of the second book (Scot. P. vol. I. p. 179, &c.)
And as it did approach the night,
* Printed at Edinburgh, 1592, by H. Charteris, in an edition of Lindsay's work, afterwards by ditto separately, 1694, from which it was republished by Mr Pinkerton in his “ Scotish Poems," vol. I. p. 143. The title runs thus : “ The Historie of ane nobil and wailyeand Squyer, Wil« liame Meldrum, umquhyle Laird of Cleische and Bynnis." Also “ The Testament of the said Williame Meldrum,
And then, after his great travail,
This squyer and the lady gent
1 Work, Fr. or perhaps travel, i. e. journey. 2 The original spelling is, bere, necessary for the shyme. 3 Lady Gleneagles( Vide Lindsay's Hist. of Scot. p. 200.) 4 Adventures, Fr. s Tedious, Sax. 6 Since, afterwards.