Lament for the Makers

I that in heill was and gladnes,

Am trublit now with gret serknes,

And feblit with infermite;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

Our plesance heir is all vane glory,

This fals warld is bot transitory,

The flesche is brukle, the Fend is sle;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

The stait of men does change and vary,

Now sound, now seik, now blith, now sary,

Now dansand mery, now like to dee

Timor mortis conturbat me.

No stait in erd heir standis sickir;

As with the wynd waves the wickir.

Wavis this world’s vainite.

Timor mortis conturbat me.

On to the ded gois all estatis,

Princis, prelotis and potestatis,

Baith rich and pur of al degre;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

He takis the knychtis in to feild,

Anarmit under helme and scheild;

Victour he is at all mellie;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

That strang unmercifull tyrand

Takis, on the moderis breist sowkand,

The bab full of benignite;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

He takis the campion in the stour,

The capitane closit in the tour.

The lady in bour full of bewtie;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

He spares no lord for his puisence,

Nor clerk for his intelligence;

His awfull strak may no man fle;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

Art magicians and astrologgis,

Rhetoris, logicianis and theologgis,

Thame helpis no conclusions sle;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

In medicyne the most practicianis,

Lechis, surrgianis and phisicianis,

Thame self from ded may not supple;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

I see that makiris anong the laif,

Playis heir their pageant, syne gois to graif;

Sparit is nocht ther faculte.

Timor mortis conturbat me.

He has done petuously devour.

Chaucer, of makaris floure,

The Monk of Bery, and Gower, all thre;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

The gude Syr Hew of Eglintoun,

And eik Heryot and Wyntoun.

He has tane out of this cuntre;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

That scorpion fell hes done infeck

Maister John Clerk and Jame Afflek,

Fra balat making and tragidie;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

Holland and barbour he hes berevit;

Allace! that he nocht with us levit

Schir Mungo Lokert of the Le; 

Timor mortis conturbat me.

Clerk of Tranent eik he has tane,

That maid the Anteris of Gawane;

Schir Gilbert Hay endit has he;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

He hes Blind Hary and Sandy Traill

Slaine with his schour of mortall haill,

Quhilk Patrik Johnestoun myght not fle;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

He hes reft Merseir his endite.

That did of luf so lifly write,

So schort, so quyk, of sentence hie;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

He has tane Roull of Aerdebe,

And gentle Roull of Corstorphine;

Two bettir fallowis did no man se;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

In Dumphermelyne he hes done roune

With Maister Robert Henrisoun;

Schir John the Ros embrast has he;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

And hes now tane, last of aw,

Gud gentill Stobo and Quintyne Schaw,

Of quham all wichtis hes pete:

Timor mortis conturbat me.

Gud Maister Walter Kennedy

In poynt of dede lyis veraly,

Gret ruth it wer that so suld be:

Timor mortis conturbat me.

Sin he has all my brether tane,

He will nocht lat me lif alane,

On forse I man his nyxt pray be;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

Sen for the deid remeid is none,

Best is that we for dede dispone,

Eftir our deid that lif may we;

Timor mortis conturbat me.

William Dunbar, c.1459-1530

Probably the most famous poem on the plague in the English (or Scots) language. There are versions with modernized spellings available on-line and wikipedia has a good article with notes on all the “makers” or poets mentioned in the text.

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