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The Trial of the Fox
This foirsaid foxe that deit for his misdeid Had not ane barne wes gottin richteouslie That to his airschip micht of law succeid Except ane sone the quhilk in lemanrie He gottin had in purches privelie And till his name wes callit Father-war That luifit weill with pultrie tig and tar. It followis weill be ressoun naturall And gre be gre of richt comparisoun, Of evill cummis war, of war cummis werst of all, Of wrangus get cummis wrang successioun. This foxe, bastard of generatioun, Of verray kynde behuifit to be fals. Swa wes his father and his grandschir als. As nature will, seikand his meit be sent, Off cace he fand his fatheris carioun, Nakit, new slane and till him is he went, Tuke up his heid and on his kne fell doun Thankand grit God of that conclusioun And said,”Now sall I bruke, sen I am air, The boundis quhair thow wes wont for to repair.” Fy covetice, unkynd and venemous. The sone wes fane he fand his father deid Be suddand schot for deidis odious That he micht ringe and raxe intill his steid, Dreidand nathing the samin lyfe to leid In stouth and reif as he had done befoir Bot to the end attent he tuke no moir. Yit nevertheles throw naturall pietie The carioun upon his bak he tais. “Now find I weill this proverb trew,” quod he, “Ay rinnis the foxe, als lang as he fute hais,” Syne with the corps unto ane peitpoit gais Of watter full and kest him in the deip And to the Devill he gaif his banis to keip. O fulische man plungit in wardlynes To conqueis wrangwis guidis, gold and rent, To put thy saull in pane or hevines, To riche thy air quhilk efter thow art went, Have he thy gude, he takis bot small tent To sing or say for thy salvatioun. Fra thow be dede, done is thy devotioun. This tod to rest he carit to ane craig And thair he hard ane buisteous bugill blaw Quhilk as him thocht maid all the warld to waig, Than start he up quhen he this hard and saw Ane unicorne come lansand over ane law, With horne in hand, ane bill in breist he bure, Ane pursephant semelie, I yow assure. Unto ane bank quhair he micht se about On everilk syde, in haist he culd him hy, Schot out his voce full schyll, and gaif ane schout And “Oyas, oyas” twyse or thryse did cry. With that the beistis in the feild thairby, All mervelland quhat sic ane thing suld mene, Govand agast, thay gaderit on ane grene. Out of his buste ane bill sone can he braid And red the text withoutin tarying. Commandand silence, sadlie thus he said: “‘We, nobill Lyoun, of all beistis the king, Greting to God ay lestand but ending, To brutall beistis and irrationall I send as to my subjectis grit and small. “‘My celsitude and hie magnificence Lattis yow to wit that evin incontinent Thinkis the morne with royall deligence Upon this hill to hald ane parliament. Straitlie thairfoir I gif commandement For to compeir befoir my tribunall Under all pane and perrell that may fall.’” The morrow come, and Phebus with his bemis Consumit had the mistie cluddis gray. The ground wes grene and as the gold it glemis With gresis growand gudelie, grit, and gay. The spyce thay spred to spring on everilk spray. The lark, the maveis, and the merll full hie Sweitlie can sing, trippand fra tre to tre. Thre leopardis come, a croun of massie gold Beirand thay brocht unto that hillis hicht With jaspis jonit and royall rubeis rold And mony diveris dyamontis dicht. With pollis proud ane palyeoun doun thay picht And in that throne thair sat ane wild lyoun In rob royall with sceptour, swerd, and croun. Efter the tennour off the cry befoir That gais on fut all beistis in the eird As thay commandit wer withoutin moir Befoir thair lord the lyoun thay appeird And quhat thay wer, to me as Lowrence leird, I sall reheirs ane part of everilk kynd Als fer as now occurris to my mynd. As much The minotaur, ane monster mervelous, Bellerophont, that beist of bastardrie, The warwolf and the pegase perillous Transformit be assent of sorcerie, The linx, the tiger full of tiranie, The elephant and eik the dromedarie, The cameill with his cran-nek furth can carie, The leopard as I haif tauld beforne, The anteloip the sparth furth couth speid, The peyntit pantheir and the unicorne, The rayndeir ran throw reveir, rone, and reid, The jolie jonet and the gentill steid, The asse, the mule, the hors of everilk kynd, The da, the ra, the hornit hart, the hynd, The bull, the beir, the bugill, and the bair, The wodwys, wildcat, and the wild wolfyne, The hardbakkit hurcheoun and the hirpland hair, Baith otter and aip and pennit porcupyne, The gukit gait, the selie scheip, the swyne, The baver, bakon, and the balterand brok, The fowmart with the fibert furth can flok, The gray grewhound with slewthound furth can slyde With doggis all divers and different, The rattoun ran, the globard furth can glyde, The quhrynand quhitret with the quhasill went, The feitho that hes furrit mony fent, The mertrik with the cunning and the con, The bowranbane and eik the lerion, The marmisset the mowdewart couth leid Because that nature denyit had hir sicht. Thus dressit thay all furth for dreid of deid. The musk — the lytill mous with all hir micht In haist haikit unto that hillis hicht — And mony kynd of beistis I couth not knaw Befoir thair lord the lyoun thay loutit law. Seing thir beistis all at his bidding boun, He gaif ane braid and blenkit him about, Than flatlingis to his feit thay fell all doun. For dreid of deith, thay droupit all in dout. The lyoun lukit quhen he saw thame lout And bad thame with ane countenance full sweit, “Be not efferit bot stand up on your feit. “I lat yow wit my micht is merciabill And steiris nane that ar to me prostrait, Angrie, austerne, and als unamyabill To all that standfray ar to myne estait. I rug, I reif all beistys that makis debait Aganis the micht of my magnyficence. Se nane pretend to pryde in my presence. “My celsitude and my hie majestie With micht and mercie myngit sall be ay. The lawest heir I can full sone uphie And mak him maister over yow all I may. The dromedarie giff he will mak deray, The grit camell thocht he wer never sa crous, I can him law als lytill as ane mous. “Se neir be twentie mylis quhair I am The kid ga saiflie be the gaittis syde, Se tod Lowrie luke not upoun the lam Na revand beistis nouther ryn nor ryde.” Thay couchit all efter that this wes cryde. The justice bad the court for to gar fence, The sutis call, and foirfalt all absence. The panther with his payntit coit-armour Fensit the court as of the law effeird. Tod Lowrie lukit up quhair he couth lour And start on fute all stonist and all steird. Ryifand his hair, he rarit with ane reird, Quaikand for dreid and sichand couth he say, “Allace this hour, allace this dulefull day. “I wait this suddand semblie that I se Haifand the pointis of ane parliament Is maid to mar sic misdoars as me. Thairfoir geve I me schaw, I will be schent, I will be socht and I be red absent, To byde or fle it makis no remeid, All is alyke, thair followis not bot deid.” Perplexit thus in his hart can he mene Throw falset how he micht himself defend. His hude he drew far doun attoure his ene hood; And winkand with the ane eye furth he wend. Clinscheand he come that he micht not be kend And for dreddour that he suld thoill arreist He playit bukhude behind fra beist to beist. O fylit spreit and cankerit conscience Befoir ane roy renyeit with richteousnes, Blakinnit cheikis and schamefull countenance, Fairweill thy fame, now gone is all thy grace! The phisnomie, the favour of thy face For thy defence is foull and disfigurate, Brocht to the licht basit, blunt, and blait. Be thow atteichit with thift or with tressoun For thy misdeid wrangous and wickit fay, Thy cheir changis, Lowrence, thow man luke doun. Thy worschip of this warld is went away. Luke to this tod how he wes in effray And fle the filth of falset, I thee reid, Quhairthrow thair fallowis syn and schamefull deid. Compeirand thus befoir thair lord and king In ordour set as to thair stait effeird, Of everilk kynd he gart ane part furth bring And awfullie he spak and at thame speird Geve there wes ony beist into this eird Absent and thairto gart thame deiplie sweir And thay said nane except ane gray stude meir. “Ga make ane message sone unto that stude.” The court than cryit, “My lord, quha sall it be?” “Cum furth, Lowrie, lurkand under thy hude.” “Aa, schir, mercie, lo I have bot ane ee, Hurt in the hoche and cruikit as ye may se. The wolff is better in ambassatry And mair cunning in clergie fer than I.” Rampand he said, “Ga furth, ye brybouris baith!” And thay to ga withowtin tarying. Over ron and rute thay ran togidder raith And fand the meir at hir meit in the morning. “Now,” quod the tod, “Madame, cum to the king. The court is callit, and ye ar contumax.” “Let be, Lowrence,” quod scho, “your cowrtlie knax.” “Maistres,” quod he, “cum to the court ye mon. The lyoun hes commandit so indeid.” “Schir tod, tak ye the flyrdome and the fon. I have respite ane yeir and ye will reid.” “I can not spell,” quod he, “sa God me speid. Heir is the wolff, ane nobill clerk at all And of this message is maid principall. “He is autentik and ane man of age And hes grit practik of the chancellary. Let him ga luke and reid your privilage And I sall stand and beir witnes yow by.” “Quhair is thy respite?” quod the wolff in hy. “Schir, it is heir under my hufe, weill hid.” “Hald up thy heill,” quod he, and so scho did. Thocht he wes blindit with pryde, yit he presumis To luke doun law quhair that hir letter lay. With that the meir gird him upon the gumis And straik the hattrell of his heid away. Halff out of lyif, thair lenand doun he lay. “Allace,” quod Lowrence, “Lupus, thow art loist.” “His cunning,” quod the meir, “wes worth sum coist. “Lowrence,” quod scho,”will thow luke on my letter Sen that the wolff nathing thairoff can wyn?” “Na, be Sanct Bryde,” quod he. “me think it better To sleip in haill nor in ane hurt skyn. Ane skrow I fand and this wes writtin in (For fyve schillingis I wald not anis forfaut him), Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum.”5 With brokin skap and bludie cheikis reid, This wretchit wolff weipand on his wayis went Of his menye markand to get remeid — To tell the king the cace wes his intent. “Schir,” quod the tod, “byde still upon this bent And fra your browis wesche away the blude And tak ane drink for it will do yow gude.” To fetche watter this fraudfull foxe furth fure. Sydelingis a bank he socht unto ane syke. On cace he meittis, cummand fra the mure, Ane trip of lambis dansand on ane dyke. This tratour tod, this tirrant and this tyke, The fattest of this flock he fellit hais And eit his fill, syne to the wolff he gais. Thay drank togidder and syne thair journey takis Befoir the king, syne kneillit on thair kne. “Quhair is yone meir, schir tod, wes contumax?” Than Lowrence said, “My lord, speir not at me. This new-maid doctour of divinitie With his reid cap can tell yow weill aneuch.” With that the lyoun and all the laif thay leuch. “Tell on the cais now, Lowrence, let us heir.” “This wittie wolf,” quod he, “this clerk of age, On your behalff he bad the meir compeir And scho allegit to ane privilage: ‘Cum neir and se, and ye sall haiff your wage.’ Because he red hir rispite plane and weill, Yone reid bonat scho raucht him with hir heill.” The lyoun said, “Be yone reid cap I ken This taill is trew, quha tent unto it takis. The greitest clerkis ar not the wysest men, The hurt of ane happie the uther makis.” As thay wer carpand in this cais with knakis And all the court in garray and in gam, Swa come the yow, the mother of the lam, Befoir the justice on hir kneis fell, Put out hir playnt on this wyis wofully, “This harlet huresone and this hound of hell, He werryit hes my lamb full doggitly Within ane myle in contrair to your cry. For Goddis lufe my lord, gif me the law Of this lurker.” With that Lowrence let draw. “Byde!” quod the lyoun, “Lymmer, let us se Giff it be suthe the selie yow hes said.” “Aa soverane lord, saif your mercie,” quod he, “My purpois wes with him for to haif plaid, Causles he fled as he had bene effraid, For dreid of deith he duschit over ane dyke And brak his nek.” “Thow leis,” quod scho, “fals tyke.” “His deith be practik may be previt eith: Thy gorrie gumis and thy bludie snout, The woll, the flesche yit stikkis on thy teith And that is evidence aneuch but dout.” The justice bad ga cheis ane sis about And so thay did and fand that he wes fals Of murther, thift, and party tressoun als. Thay band him fast, the justice bad belyif To gif the dome and tak of all his clais, The wolf that new-maid doctour couth him schrif, Syne furth him led and to the gallows gais And at the ledder fute his leif he tais. The aip wes basare and bad him sone ascend And hangit him and thus he maid his end. Moralitas Richt as the mynour in his minorall Fair gold with fyre may fra the leid weill wyn, Richt so under ane fabill figurall Sad sentence men may seik and efter fyne As daylie dois the doctouris of devyne Apertly be oure leving can apply And preve thare preching be a poesye. The lyoun is the warld be liklynace To quhome loutis baith empriour and king And thinkis of this warld to get mare grace And gapis daylie to get mair leving, Sum for to reull and sum to raxe and ring, Sum gadderis geir, sum gold, sum uther gude, To wyn this warld, sum wirkis as thay wer wod. This wolf I likkin to sensualitie As quhen lyke brutall beistis we accord Our mynd all to this warldis vanitie, Lyking to tak and loif him as our lord. Fle fast thairfra gif thow will richt remord, Than sall ressoun ryse, rax, and ring And for thy saull thair is na better thing. The meir is men of contemplatioun Of pennance walkand in this wildernes As monkis and othir men of religioun That presis God to pleis in everilk place, Abstractit from this warldis wretchitnes In wilfull povertee fra pomp and pryde, And fra this warld in mynd ar mortyfyde. Hir hufe I likkin to the thocht of deid. Will thow remember, man, that thow man de, Thow may brek sensualiteis heid And fleschlie lust away fra thee sall fle. Wis Salomon sais — will thow nocht see — “For as thow may thy sely saull now wyn, Think on thy end — thow sall not glaidlie sin.” This tod I likkin to temptationis Beirand to mynd mony thochtis vane That daylie sagis men of religounis, Cryand to thame, “Cum to the warld agane!” Yit gif thay se sensualitie neir slane And suddand deith with ithand panis sore, Thay go abak and temptis thame no more. O Mary myld mediatour of mercy meik Sitt doun before thy sone celestiall, For us synnars his celsitude beseke Us to defend fra pane and perrellis all And help us up unto that hevinlie hall In gloir quhair we may se the face of God And thus endis the talking of the tod.
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