Thursday, August 30, 2012


To Be Merry Is Best

Sir Richard Maitland (1496-1586), Advice to Leesome Merriness, in The Northern Muse: An Anthology of Scots Vernacular Poetry, ed. John Buchan (1924; rpt. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., 1947), p. 387:
When I have done consider
  This warldis vanitie,
Sa brukil and sa slidder,
  Sa full of miserie;
  Then I remember me        5
That here there is no rest;
  Therefore apparentlie
To be merrie is best.

Let us be blyth and glad,
  My friendis all, I pray.        10
To be pensive and sad
  Na thing it help us may.
  Therefore put quite away
All heaviness of thocht:
  Thoch we murne nicht and day        15
It will avail us nocht.
Leesome (title): lawful
warldis (2): world's
Sa brukil and sa slidder (3): So brittle and so slippery
thocht, thoch, nicht, nocht (14-16): thought, though, night, nought
murne (15): mourn

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