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Poem by William Dunbar

A Meditation in Winter

Into thir dirk and drublie dayis
Quhone sabill all the hevin arrayis
With mystie vapouris, cluddis, and skyis,
Nature all curage me denyis
Of sangis, ballattis, and of playis.

Quhone that the nycht dois lenthin houris
With wind, with haill, and havy schouris,
My dule spreit dois lurk for schoir;
My hairt for langour dois forloir
For laik of Symmer with his flouris.

I walk, I turne, sleip may I nocht,
I vexit am with havie thocht.
This warld all ovir I cast about,
And ay the mair I am in dout,
The mair that I remeid have socht.

I am assayit on everie syde.
Despair sayis ay, "In tyme provyde
And get sumthing quhairon to leif,
Or with grit trouble and mischeif
Thow sall into this court abyd."

Than Patience sayis, "Be not agast;
Hald Hoip and Treuthe within thee fast,
And lat Fortoun wirk furthe hir rage,
Quhome that no rasoun may assuage
Quhill that hir glas be run and past."

And Prudence in my eir sayis ay,
"Quhy wald thow hald that will away?
Or craif that thow may have no space,
Thow tending to aneuther place,
A journay going everie day?"

And than sayis Age, "My freind, **** neir,
And be not strange, I thee requeir:
****, brodir, by the hand me tak.
Remember thow hes compt to mak
Of all thi tyme thow spendit heir."

Syne Deid castis upe his gettis wyd
Saying, "Thir oppin sall thee abyd;
Albeid that thow wer never sa stout,
Undir this lyntall sall thow lowt -
Thair is nane uther way besyde."

For feir of this all day I drowp.
No gold in kist nor wyne in cowp,
No ladeis bewtie nor luiffis blys
May lat me to remember this,
How glaid that ever I dyne or sowp.

Yit quhone the nycht begynnis to schort,
It dois my spreit sum pairt confort
Of thocht oppressit with the schowris.
****, lustie Symmer, with thi flowris,
That I may leif in sum disport.

William Dunbar

William Dunbar's other poems:
  1. The Tretis of the Twa Mariit Women and the Wedo
  2. On the Resurrection of Christ [Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro]
  3. The Ballad of Kynd Kittock
  4. To the King [Of benefice, sir, at everie feist]
  5. Best to Be Blithe

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