Monday, August 18, 2014


The Death of Robert Henryson

David J. Parkinson, ed., Robert Henryson, The Complete Works (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2010), from the Appendix: Sir Francis Kynaston's Anecdote about the Death of Robert Henryson (footnotes omitted):
Being very old he dyed of a diarrhea or fluxe, of whom there goes this merry though somewhat unsavory tale, that all the phisitians having given him over and he lying drawing his last breath, there came an old woman unto him, who was held a witch, and asked him whether he would be cured, to whom he sayed, "Very willingly." Then quod she, "There is a whikey tree in the lower end of your orchard, and if you will goe and walke but thrice about it, and thrice repeate theis wordes, 'Whikey tree, whikey tree, take away this fluxe from me,' you shall be presently cured." He told her that beside he was extreme faint and weake, it was extreme frost and snow, and that it was impossible for him to go. She told him that unles he did so, it was impossible he should recover. Mr Henderson then lifting upp himselfe and pointing to an oken table that was in the roome, asked her and seied, "Gude dame, I pray ye tell me if it would not do as well if I repeated thrice theis words, 'Oken burd, oken burd, garre me shit a hard turd'?" The woman, seing herselfe derided and scorned, ran out of the house in a great passion; and Mr Henderson within halfe a quarter of an houre departed this life.

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