Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
Extracts from The Lament for the Makaris Quhen He Was Seik
By William Dunbar (1460?–1520?)
I THAT in heill 1 wes and glaidness,
Am trublit now with gret seikness,
And feblit with infirmitie;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Our plesance heir is all vane glory        5
This fals Warld is bot transitory
The flesche is brukle, 2 the Feynd is slé;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
The stait of Man dois change and vary
Now sound, now seik, now blyth, now sary,        10
Now dansand mirry, now like to die;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
No Stait in Erd heir standis sicker,
As with the wynd wavis the wickir, 3
So wavis this warldis vanité;        15
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Unto the Deid gois all Estaitis
Princis, Prellattis, and Potestaitis,
Baith riche and puire of all degré;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.        20
He takis the knychtis in to 4 feild,
Anarmit under helme and scheild,
Victour he is at all mellie; 5
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
*        *        *        *        *
I see that Makaris amang the laif 6        25
Playis heir thair padyanis, syne gois to graif;
Spairit is nocht thair faculté;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He hes done peteouslie devour
The noble Chawcer of makaris flouir 7        30
The Monk of Bery, and Gower, all thré;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
*        *        *        *        *
He hes Blind Hary, and Sandy Traill
Slaine with his schot of mortall haill
Quhilk Patrick Johnestoun mycht nocht flé;        35
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He hes reft Merseir his endyte,
That did in luve so lifly write,
So schort, so quyk, of sentence hie;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.        40
He hes tane Roull of Abirdene,
And gentil Roull of Corstorphine;
Two bettir fallowis did no man sé;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
In Dumfermelyne he hes tane Brown        45
With Maister Robert Henrisoun
Schir Johne the Ross embraist hes hé;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
And he hes now tane, last of aw,
Gud gentill Stobo and Quintyne Schaw        50
Of quhome all wichtis hes petie;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Gud Maister Walter Kennedy,
In poynt of dede lyis veraly,
Gret reuth it were that so suld be;        55
    Timon Mortis conturbat me.
Sen he has all my Brether tane,
He will nocht lat me leif alane,
On forse I mon his nyxt pray be;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.        60
Sen for the Deid remeid is non,
Best is that we for deid dispone, 8
Eftir our deid that leif may we;
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Note 1. health. [back]
Note 2. brittle. [back]
Note 3. osier. [back]
Note 4. in the. [back]
Note 5. mêlée. [back]
Note 6. poets among the rest. [back]
Note 7. flower of poets. [back]
Note 8. make ready for death. [back]

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