Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Ane Monologue of the Actor
The Complaint of Scotland, 1549
THE SOLICITOUS and attentive labours that I took to write the passages before rehearsed, gart1 all my body become imbecile and weary, and my spirit become sopit2 in sadness, through the long continuation of study, whilk did fatigue my reason, and gart all my members become impotent. Then, to escape the evil accidents that succeed from the unnatural day-sleep, as catarrhs, head works,3 and indigestion, I thought it necessary to exercise me with some active recreation, to hold my spirits waking from dulness. Then, to execute this purpose, I passed to the green wholesome fields, situate most commodiously from distempered air and corrupt infection, to receive the sweet fragrant smell of tender grasses, and of wholesome balmy flowers most odoriferant. Beside the foot of ane little mountain, there ran ane fresh river as clear as beryl, where I beheld the pretty fish wantonly darting with their red vermillion fins, and their scales like the bright silver. On the tother side of that river, there was ane green bank full of rammel4 green trees, where there was many small birds hopping from bush to twist, singing melodious reports of natural music in accords of measure of diapason, prolations, triple and dyatesseron. That heavenly harmony appeared to be artificial music. In this gladful recreation I continued till Phbus was descended under the west north west oblique horizon, whilk was entered that same day in the xxv. degree of the sign of gemini, distant five degrees from our summer solstice, called the boreal tropic of cancer, the whilk, by astrological computation, accords with the sixth day of June. Thereafter I entered in ane green forest, to contemplate the tender young fruits of green trees, because the boreal blasts of the three borrowing days of March had chased the fragrant flowers of every fruit tree far athwart the fields. Of this sort I did pace up and down but sleep,5 the most part of the mirk night. Instantly thereafter I perceived the messengers of the red aurora, whilk through the might of Titan had pierced the crepuscle line matutine of the north north east horizon, whilk was occasion that the stars and planets, the dominators of the night, absented them, and durst not be seen in our hemisphere for dread of his awful golden face. And also fair Diana, the lantern of the night, became dim and pale when Titan had extinct the light of her lamp on the clear day. For from time that his lustrant beams were elevated four degrees above our oblique horizon, every planet of our hemisphere became obscure, and also all corrupt humidities and caliginous fumes and infected vapours that had been generated in the second region of the air when Titan was visiand6 antipodes. They consumed for sorrow when they saw ane sight of his golden shape. The green fields, for great drought, drank up the drops of the fresh dew, whilk of before had made dykes and dales very dank. Thereafter I heard the rumour of ramage7 fowls and of beasts that made great beir,8 whilk passed beside burns and bogs, on green banks to seek their sustentation. Their brutal sound did redound to the high skies, while the deep how9 caverns of cleuchs and rocky crags answered with a high note of that same sound as they beasts had blown. It appeared by presuming and supposing, that blabbering Echo had been hid in a how hole, crying her half answer, when Narcissus right sorry sought for his servants, when he was in a forest far from any folks, and thereafter for love of Echo he drowned in a draw-well.