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 Monarchie
By Sir David Lindsay (1490?–1555)
CHRIST, efter his glorious Ascentioun,
  Tyll his Disciplis send the Holy Spreit,
In toungis of fyre, to that intentioun,
  Thay, beand of all languages repleit,
  Throuch all the warld, with wordis fair and sweit,        5
Tyll every man the faith thay suld furth schaw
In thare owin leid, 1 delyverand thame the Law.
Tharefore I thynk one gret dirisioun,
  To heir thir Nunnis and Systeris nycht and day
Syngand and sayand Psalmes and Orisoun,        10
  Nocht understandyng quhat thay syng nor say.
  Bot lyke one Stirlyng or ane Papingay,
Quhilk leirnit ar to speik be lang usage:
Thame I compair to byrdis in ane cage.
Rycht so childreyng and ladyis of honouris        15
  Prayis in Latyne, to thame ane uncuth 2 leid,
Mumland 3 thair Matynis, Evinsang, and thair Houris,
  Thare Pater Noster, Ave, and thare Creid.
  It wer als plesand to thare spreit, in deid,
God have mercy on me, for to say thus,        20
As to say, Miserere mei Deus.
Sanct Jerome in his propir toung Romane
  The Law of God he trewlie did translait,
Out of Hebrew and Greik, in Latyne plane,
  Quhilk hes bene hid from us lang tyme, God wait,        25
  Onto this tyme: bot, efter myne consait,
Had Sanct Jerome bene borne in tyll Argyle
In to Yrische toung his bukis had done compyle.
Prudent Sanct Paull doith mak narratioun
  Twycheyng 4 the divers leid of every land,        30
Sayand, there bene more edificatioun
  In fyve wordis that folk doith understand,
  Nor to pronounce of wordis ten thousand
In strange langage, sine wait 5 not quhat it menis:
I thynk sic pattryng is not worth twa prenis. 6
*        *        *        *        *
Note 1. language. [back]
Note 2. unknown. [back]
Note 3. Mumbling. [back]
Note 4. Touching. [back]
Note 5. without knowing. [back]
Note 6. pins. [back]

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