Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
IV. Inevitable
Lament for the Makaris
By William Dunbar (1460?–1520?)
 
I THAT in heill was and glaidness
Am trublit now with great seikness
And feblit with infirmitie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
Our plesance heir is all vain glory,        5
This fals world is but transitory,
The flesh is brukle, the Feynd is slee:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
The state of man does change and vary,
Now sound, now sick, now blyth, now sary,        10
Now dansand mirry, now like to die:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
No state in Erd heir standis sicker;
As with the wynd wavis the wicker
So wavis this world’s vanitie:—        15
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
Unto the Deid gois all Estatis,
Princis, Prelattis, and Potestatis,
Baith rich and poor of all degre:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.        20
 
He takis the Knychtis in to feild
Enarmit under helm and scheild;
Victour he is at all mellie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
That strang unmercifull tyrand        25
Takis, on the motheris breast sowkand,
The babe full of benignitie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
He takis the campioun in the stour,
The captain closit in the tour,        30
The lady in bour full of bewtie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
He spairis no lord for his piscence
Na clerk for his intelligence;
His awfull straik may no man flee:—        35
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
Art-magicianis and astrologis,
Rethoris, logicianis, and theologis,
Them helpis no conclusionis slee:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.        40
 
In medecyne the most practicianis,
Leechis, surrigianis and physicianis,
Themself fra Death may nocht supplee:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
I see that makaris amang the lave        45
Playis here their padyanis, syne gois to grave;
Spairit is nocht their facultie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
He hes done petuously devour
The noble Chaucer, of makaris flour,        50
The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
The gude Sir Hew of Eglintoun,
Ettrick, Heriot, and Wyntoun,
He has tane out of this cuntrie:—        55
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
That scorpion fell hes done infeck
Maister John Clerk, and James Afflek,
Fra ballat-making and tragedie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.        60
 
Holland and Barbour he has berevit;
Alas! that he not with us levit
Sir Mungo Lockart of the Lee:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
Clerk of Tranent eke he hes tane,        65
That made the awnteris of Gawane;
Sir Gilbert Hay endit hes he:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
He hes Blind Harry and Sandy Traill
Slain with his schour of mortal hail,        70
Quhilk Patrick Johnstoun might nocht flee:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
He has reft Merseir his endyte
That did in luve so lively write,
So short, so quick, of sentence hie:—        75
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
He has tane Rowll of Abirdene,
And gentill Rowll of Corstorphine;
Two better fallowis did no man see:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.        80
 
In Dumfermelyne he has tane Broun
With Maister Robert Henrysoun;
Sir John the Ross enbrasit hes he:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
And he hes now tane, last of a,        85
Good gentil Stobo and Quintyne Shaw,
Of quhom all wichtis hes pitie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
Good Maister Walter Kennedy
In poynt of dede lies verily;        90
Great ruth it were that so suld be:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
Sen he hes all my brothers tane,
He will nocht let me live alane;
Of force I mon his next prey be:—        95
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
 
Since for the death remeid is none,
Best is that we for death dispone
After our death that live may we:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.        100
 
 
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