Wednesday, February 10, 2016

William Dunbar's Lament For The Makers - 1

                                                      [William Dunbar (1460-1520)]

AG: (searching through his anthology)  (Is (Robert) Creeley ….in the Norton book?… yeah, one-two-two-five..yeah, I think that might be… One-two-two-five, that might’ve been it?…No.  I’ll find it, there is some poem of his that’s like that.

So we have (William) Dunbar’s "Lament for the Poets" or "Lament for theMakers" – You remember poesis was making, making - “makeles” here – 15th-16th century. It’s (this poem's) like my own poem, "Howl", in theme and subject . It’s a lament for all the poets that he knew that lived and died, that he knew of.

So, actually, it’s his.. it’s a recitation of his lineage, an outline of who the poets were that influenced him, William Dunbar.

Is Pat O’Brien here ? – [to Pat O'Brien - Student] - (You want to try to read it?  You have a good.. you got a good.. is this a good text? I have a couple of texts here that.. maybe the one we have in the Oxford book is better?
Pat O’Brien: (.. (Norton) - page seventy-two)
AG: I’ll be up here tho’ – Can you help out (since you know the language)?

Student (P O'B) I can just do this in common Middle English. I’m not very good at Middle Scots
AG: Well, is it Middle Scots?
Student (P O'B)  Yeah, you've got to give it the Scots, roll the "r"s and so forth, and I can't do any of that.
AG: Okay
Student (P O'B):  “Lament to the Makers"
AG: Is that makers and not muckers?
Student (P O'B): Yeah
AG: Makers?
Student (P O'B): Right, well, you might say mucker
AG: Muckers?
Student (P O'B): But in general, you don’t pronounce the “i-s” after a vowel in Middle Scots (except when you feel it!)
AG: Okay ..and it’s "while he was sek?" – right?
Student (P O'B): Right
AG: In our book, we don’t have that. The full title is "Lament to the Makers When He Was Sek” -  Q-W-H-E-N - "Qwhen he was Sek" (S-E-K} – You might write that in - Q-W-H-E-N… Q-W-H-..
Student (PO'B): Q-U?
AG:  I have “Q-W” here  in the..   What do you have? Do they have that one?
Student (PO'B): Q-U-H-E..
AG: Q-U-H-E-N – he has Q-U-H-E-N,  I have  Q-W-H-E-N,  so we take a choice – "Whan he was sek" – S-E-K
Student – S-E-I-K
AG: S-E-I-K? – I have S-E-K here. What have you got?
Student (PO'B): - S-E-I-K
AG: Do it strong, oratorical 
Student: Oratorical?
AG: Yeah

[P O'B (Pat O'Brien) begins reading Dunbar's poem approximately  three-and-a-half minutes in]

THAT in heill was and gladnèss

Am trublit now with great sickness

And feblit with infirmitie:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Our plesance here is all vain glory,
This fals world is but transitory,

The flesh is bruckle, the Feynd is slee:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

The state of man does change and vary,

Now sound, now sick, now blyth, now sary,
Now dansand mirry, now like to die:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

No state in Erd here standis sicker;

As with the wynd wavis the wicker

So wannis this world's vanitie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Unto the Death gois all Estatis,

Princis, Prelatis, and Potestatis,

Baith rich and poor of all degree:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He takis the knichtis in to the field

Enarmit under helm and scheild;

Victor he is at all mellie:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

That strong unmerciful tyrand
Takis, on the motheris breast sowkand,

The babe full of benignitie:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He takis the campion in the stour,

The captain closit in the tour,
The lady in bour full of bewtie:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He spairis no lord for his piscence,

Na clerk for his intelligence;

His awful straik may no man flee:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Art-magicianis and astrologgis,

Rethoris, logicianis, and theologgis,

Them helpis no conclusionis slee:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

In medecine the most practicianis,

Leechis, surrigianis, and physicianis,

Themself from Death may not supplee:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

I see that makaris amang the lave
Playis here their padyanis, syne gois to grave;

Sparit is nocht their facultie:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He has done petuously devour

The noble Chaucer, of makaris flour,
The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

The good Sir Hew of Eglintoun,

Ettrick, Heriot, and Wintoun,

He has tane out of this cuntrie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

That scorpion fell has done infeck

Maister John Clerk, and James Afflek,

Fra ballat-making and tragedie:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

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 has tane,
That made the anteris of Gawaine;

Sir Gilbert Hay endit has he:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He has Blind Harry and Sandy Traill

Slain with his schour of mortal hail,
Quhilk Patrick Johnstoun might nought flee:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He has reft Merseir his endite,

That did in luve so lively write,

So short, so quick, of sentence hie:—
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

He has tane Rowll of Aberdene,

And gentill Rowll of Corstorphine;

Two better fallowis did no man see:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

In Dunfermline he has tane Broun

With Maister Robert Henrysoun;

Sir John the Ross enbrast has he:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

And he has now tane, last of a,

Good gentil Stobo and Quintin Shaw,

Of quhom all wichtis hes pitie:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Good Maister Walter Kennedy

In point of Death lies verily;
Great ruth it were that so suld be:—

    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Sen he has all my brether tane,

He will naught let me live alane;

Of force I man his next prey be:—

    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.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at the beginning of the tape and continuing to approximately eight-and-a-half minutes in]

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