TEAMS Older Scots Texts
Gavin DOUGLAS, The Palyce of Honour, 2nd edition. Ed. David J. Parkinson. Douglas is most famous for his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid into Scots verse as The Eneados, but this 1501 work preceded it. A headstrong youthful narrator argues unwisely with Venus and explores the nature of Honour.
William DUNBAR, The Complete Works. Ed. by John Conlee. Poet at the court of James IV (r. 1488-1513) and one of the most famous of the medieval ‘makars’.
HARY, The Wallace: Selections. Ed. Anne McKim. The epic verse biography of national hero William Wallace (d. 1305), composed in the 1470s by ‘Blind’ Hary.
Robert HENRYSON, The Complete Works. Ed. David J. Parkinson. Schoolmaster in Dunfermline, Fife: another of the great ‘makars’, active in the last quarter of the fifteenth century.
JAMES I of Scotland, The Kingis Quair in The Kingis Quair and other Prison Poems, eds. Linne R. Mooney and Mary-Jo Arn. The poem’s narrator is clearly meant to be James I, portrayed at the point in his life when he had just married, but not yet returned to Scotland from his long imprisonment in England (which would date it to 1424 if this were the time of composition). Most scholars accept the attribution to James. The strong southern English character of its language — despite the Scotticised spellings of the only surviving copy — would be appropriate for someone who had been in England from the ages of 11 to 29.
Sir David LYNDSAY, The Historie and Testament of Squyer Meldrum, in Six Scottish Courtly and Chivalric Poems, including Lyndsay’s Squyer Meldrum, eds. Rhiannon Purdie and Emily Wingfield. This mid-sixteenth-century pair of poems is Lyndsay’s comic tribute to his contemporary William Meldrum — the first a glamorised romance biography of Meldrum’s youthful exploits, and the second a dramatic monologue in the aged Meldrum’s own voice.
Sir David LYNDSAY, The Answer to the King’s Flyting in Six Scottish Courtly and Chivalric Poems, including Lyndsay’s Squyer Meldrum, eds. Rhiannon Purdie and Emily Wingfield. What do you do when your young sovereign (in this case James V) challenges you to an insult-contest? This is Lyndsay’s solution.
Andrew of WYNTOUN, snippet on Robin Hood: taken from Wyntoun’s Original Chronicle and published here alongside exerpts from Scottish Latin chroniclers Walter Bower and John Mair [Major] in Robin Hood and other Outlaw Tales, eds. Stephen Knight and Thomas H. Ohlgren. See the Scottish Text Society publications for the full six-volume edition of Wyntoun’s Chronicle.
Texts by Unknown Authors
Complaint for the Death of Margaret, Princess of Scotland , in Six Scottish Courtly and Chivalric Poems, including Lyndsay’s Squyer Meldrum, eds. Rhiannon Purdie and Emily Wingfield. A mid-fifteenth-century poem mourning the death of Princess Margaret (d. 1445), daughter of James I and wife of the French dauphin (later Louis XI).
The Balletis of the Nine Nobles, in Six Scottish Courtly and Chivalric Poems, including Lyndsay’s Squyer Meldrum, eds. Rhiannon Purdie and Emily Wingfield. This early fifteenth-century poem argues that Robert Bruce should be added to the list of the traditional ‘Nine Worthies’ (celebrated examples of chivalry including Judas Maccabeus, King Arthur, Charlemagne and Alexander the Great).
The Freiris of Berwik Ten Bourdes, ed. Melissa M. Furrow. A fifteenth-century tale of trickery involving a husband, a wife, her would-be lover, and a very canny friar.
Golagros and Gawane (The Knightly Tale of Gologras and Gawain) in Sir Gawain: Eleven Romances and Tales, ed. Thomas Hahn. This fifteenth-century alliterative romance sees a patient Gawain mediate between King Arthur and the resolutely independent lord Gologras, who refuses to pay homage to Arthur and insists on defending his and his people’s freedom till death if need be….
Lancelot of the Laik, in Lancelot of the Laik and Sir Tristrem, ed. Alan Lupack. This fifteenth-century adaptation from a thirteenth-century Old French prose romance Lancelot do Lac is now incomplete. It tells the story of the early part of Lancelot’s affair with Guinevere, interwoven with his key role in reconciling the disaffected lord Galiot with Arthur. The whole is presented as a project undertaken by the lovelorn narrator to please the God of Love and his beloved.
The Lufaris Complaynt, in The Kingis Quair and other Prison Poems, eds. Linne R. Mooney and Mary-Jo Arn. This anonymous work is probably Scottish, but the mixed Scots and Southern English of its rhymes makes it difficult to be absolutely certain.
The Quare of Jelusy from Chaucerian Dream Visions and Complaints, ed. Dana M. Symons. The male poet, prevented from comforting one distressed lady by the inconvenient arrival of a second, takes it upon himself to bewail the sufferings of women at the hands of Jealousy.
Rauf Coilyear (The Tale of Ralph the Collier) in Three Middle English Charlemagne Romances, ed. Alan Lupack. A short comic romance from the fifteenth century, written in the same complex rhymed-alliterative stanzas as Gologras and Gawain. Rauf unwittingly entertains a disguised emperor Charlemagne for the night and is invited to court so his guest can repay his hospitality.
Saints’ lives ‘St Julian Hospitaller’ and ‘St Andrew and the Three Questions’ from the late fourteenth-century Scottish Legendary, in Saints’ Lives in Middle English Collections, eds. E. Gordon Whatley, Anne B. Thompson and Robert K. Upchurch.
The Talis of the Fyve Bestes, in Six Scottish Courtly and Chivalric Poems, including Lyndsay’s Squyer Meldrum, eds. Rhiannon Purdie and Emily Wingfield. A fifteenth-century poem presenting moral fables told by a horse, hart, unicorn, boar and wolf.