The Morall Fabillis (.PDF transfusion, click to read the whole thing)


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The Morall Fabillis (.PDF transfusion, click to read the whole thing)


Esope, myne authour, makis mentioun Of twa myis, and thay wer sisteris deir, Of quham the eldest duelt in ane borous toun; The uther wynnit uponland weill neir, Richt soliter, quhyle under busk and breir, Quhilis in the corne, in uther mennis skaith, As owtlawis dois and levis on thair waith. This rurall mous in to the wynter tyde Had hunger, cauld, and tholit grit distres; The uther mous, that in the burgh can byde, Was gild brother and made ane fre burges, Toll-fre als, but custum mair or les, And fredome had to ga quhair ever scho list Amang the cheis and meill, in ark and kist. Ane tyme quhein scho wes full and unfute-sair, Scho tuke in mynd hir sister upon land, And langit for to heir of hir weilfair, To se quhat lyfe scho led under the wand. Bairfute allone, with pykestaf in hir hand, As pure pylgryme, scho passit owt off town To seik hir sister, baith ovre daill and down. Throw mony wilsum wayis can scho walk, Throw mosse and mure, throw bankis, busk, and breir, Fra fur to fur, cryand fra balk to balk, "Cum furth to me, my awin sister deir! Cry peip anis!" With that the mous culd heir And knew hir voce, as kinnisman will do Be verray kynd, and furth scho come hir to. The hartlie cheir, Lord God! geve ye had sene Beis kith quhen that thir sisteris met, And grit kyndnes wes schawin thame betuene, For quhylis thay leuch, and quhylis for joy thay gret, Quhyle kissit sweit, quhylis in armis plet, And thus thay fure quhill soberit wes their mude; Syne fute for fute unto the chalmer yude. As I hard say, it was ane semple wane, Off fog and farne full misterlyk wes maid, Ane sillie scheill under ane erdfast stane, Off quhilk the entres wes not hie nor braid; And in the samin thay went, but mair abaid, Withoutin fyre or candill birnand bricht, For comonly sic pykeris luffis not lycht. Quhen thay wer lugit thus, thir sely myse, The youngest sister into hir butterie hyid, And brocht furth nuttis and peis, in steid off spyce; Giff this wes gude fair, I do it on thame besyde. This burges mous prunyit forth in pryde, And said, "Sister, is this your dayly fude?" "Quhy not," quod scho, "is not this meit rycht gude?" "Na, be my saull, I think it bot ane scorne." "Madame," quod scho, "ye be the mair to blame. My mother sayd, efter that we wer borne, That I and ye lay baith within ane wame; I keip the ryte and custome off my dame, And off my syre, levand in povertie, For landis have we nane in propertie." "My fair sister," quod scho, "have me excusit; This rude dyat and I can not accord. To tender meit my stomok is ay usit, For quhy I fair als weill as ony lord. Thir wydderit peis and nuttis, or thay be bord, Wil brek my teith and mak my wame ful sklender, Quhilk usit wes before to meitis tender." "Weil, weil, sister," quod the rurall mous, "Geve it yow pleis, sic thing as ye se heir, Baith meit and dreink, harberie and hous, Sal be your awin, will ye remane al yeir. Ye sall it have wyth blyith and mery cheir, And that suld mak the maissis that ar rude, Amang freindis, richt tender, sueit, and gude. "Quhat plesans is in feistis delicate, The quhilkis ar gevin with ane glowmand brow? Ane gentill hart is better recreate With blyith visage, than seith to him ane kow. Ane modicum is mair for till allow, Swa that gude will be kerver at the dais, Than thrawin vult and mony spycit mais." For all hir mery exhortatioun This burges mous had littill will to sing, Bot hevilie scho kest hir browis doun, For all the daynteis that scho culd hir bring; Yit at the last scho said, halff in hething, "Sister, this victuall and your royall feist May weill suffice unto ane rurall beist. "Lat be this hole and cum unto my place: I sall to yow schaw, be experience, My Gude Friday is better nor your Pace, My dische likingis is worth your haill expence. I have housis anew off grit defence; Off cat, na fall, na trap, I have na dreid." "I grant," quod scho, and on togidder thay yeid. In stubble array, throw gers and corne, Under cowert full prevelie couth thay creip; The eldest wes the gyde and went beforne, The younger to hir wayis tuke gude keip. On nicht thay ran and on the day can sleip, Quhill in the morning, or the laverok sang, Thay fand the town, and in blythlie couth gang. Not fer fra thyne, unto ane worthie vane, This burges brocht thame sone quhare thay suld be. Withowt God speid thair herberie wes tane In to ane spence with vittell grit plentie: Baith cheis and butter upon skelfis hie, And flesche and fische aneuch, baith fresche and salt, And sekkis full off grotis, meill, and malt. Efter, quhen thay disposit wer to dyne, Withowtin grace, thay wesche and went to meit, With all coursis that cukis culd devyne, Muttoun and beif, strikin in tailyeis greit. Ane lordis fair thus couth thay counterfeit Except ane thing: thay drank the watter cleir In steid off wyne; bot yit thay maid gude cheir. With blyith upcast, and merie countenance, The eldest sister sperit at hir gest Giff that scho be ressone fand difference Betuix that chalmer and hir sarie nest. "Ye, dame," quod scho, "bot how lang will this lest?" "For evermair, I wait, and langer to." "Giff it be swa, ye ar at eis," quod scho. Till eik thair cheir ane subcharge furth scho brocht, Ane plait off grottis and ane disch full off meill; Thraf caikkis als I trow scho spairit nocht Aboundantlie about hir for to deill, And mane full fyne scho brocht in steid off geill, And ane quhyte candill owt off ane coffer stall In steid off spyce, to gust thair mouth withall. This maid thay merie, quhill thay micht na mair, And "Haill, Yule, haill!" cryit upon hie. Yit efter joy oftymes cummis cair, And troubill efter grit prosperitie. Thus as thay sat in all thair jolitie, The spenser come with keyis in his hand, Oppinnit the dure, and thame at denner fand. They taryit not to wesche, as I suppose, Bot on to ga, that micht formest win. The burges had ane hole, and in scho gois; Hir sister had na hole to hyde hir in. To se that selie mous, it wes grit sin; So desolate and will off ane gude reid; For verray dreid scho fell in swoun neir deid. Bot, as God wald, it fell ane happie cace: The spenser had na laser for to byde, Nowther to seik nor serche, to char nor chace, Bot on he went, and left the dure up wyde. The bald burges his passing weill hes spyde; Out off hir hole scho come and cryit on hie, "How fair ye, sister? Cry peip, quhair ever ye be!" This rurall mous lay flatling on the ground, And for the deith scho wes full sair dredand, For till hir hart straik mony wofull stound; As in ane fever trimbillit fute and hand; And quhan hir sister in sic ply hir fand, For verray pietie scho began to greit, Syne confort hir with wordis hunny sweit. "Quhy ly ye thus? Ryse up, my sister deir! Cum to your meit; this perrell is overpast." The uther answerit hir with hevie cheir, "I may not eit, sa sair I am agast. I had lever thir fourty dayis fast With watter caill, and to gnaw benis or peis, Than all your feist in this dreid and diseis." With fair tretie yit scho gart hir upryse, And to the burde thay went and togidder sat. And scantlie had thay drunkin anis or twyse, Quhen in come Gib Hunter, our jolie cat, And bad God speid. The burges up with that, And till hir hole scho fled as fyre of flint; Bawdronis the uther be the bak hes hint. Fra fute to fute he kest hir to and fra, Quhylis up, quhylis doun, als tait as ony kid. Quhylis wald he lat hir rin under the stra; Quhylis wald he wink, and play with hir buk heid; Thus to the selie mous grit pane he did; Quhill at the last throw fortune and gude hap, Betwix the dosor and the wall scho crap. And up in haist behind the parraling Scho clam so hie that Gilbert micht not get hir, And be the clukis craftelie can hing Till he wes gane; hir cheir wes all the better. Syne doun scho lap quhen thair wes nane to let hir, Apon the burges mous loud can scho cry, "Fairweill, sister, thy feist heir I defy! "Thy mangerie is mingit all with cair; Thy guse is gude, thy gansell sour as gall; The subcharge off thy service is bot sair; Sa sall thow find heir-efterwart may fall. I thank yone courtyne and yone perpall wall Off my defence now fra yone crewell beist. Almichtie God keip me fra sic ane feist. "Wer I into the kith that I come fra, For weill nor wo suld I never cum agane." With that scho tuke hir leif and furth can ga, Quhylis throw the corne and quhylis throw the plane. Quhen scho wes furth and fre scho wes full fane, And merilie markit unto the mure; I can not tell how eftirwart scho fure, Bot I hard say scho passit to hir den, Als warme as woll, suppose it wes not greit, Full beinly stuffit, baith but and ben, Off beinis and nuttis, peis, ry, and quheit; Quhen ever scho list scho had aneuch to eit, In quyet and eis withoutin ony dreid, Bot to hir sisteris feist na mair scho yeid. Freindis, heir may ye find, will ye tak heid, In this fabill ane gude moralitie: As fitchis myngit ar with nobill seid, Swa interminglit is adversitie With eirdlie joy, swa that na state is frie Without trubill and sum vexatioun, And namelie thay quhilk clymmis up maist hie, That ar not content with small possessioun. Blissed be sempill lyfe withoutin dreid; Blissed be sober feist in quietie. Quha hes aneuch, of na mair hes he neid, Thocht it be littill into quantatie. Grit aboundance and blind prosperitie Oftymes makis ane evill conclusioun. The sweitest lyfe, thairfoir, in this cuntrie, Is sickernes, with small possessioun. O wantoun man, that usis for to feid Thy wambe and makis it a god to be, Luke to thy self, I warne the weill on deid. The cat cummis and to the mous hes ee; Quhat vaillis than thy feist and royaltie, With dreidfull hart and tribulatioun? Thairfoir, best thing in eird, I say for me, Is merry hart with small possessioun. Thy awin fyre, my freind, sa it be bot ane gleid, It warmis weill, and is worth gold to the; And Solomon sayis, gif that thow will reid, "Under the hevin thair can not better be Than ay be blyith and leif in honestie." Quhairfoir I may conclude be this ressoun: Of eirthly joy it beiris maist degré, Blyithnes in hart, with small possessioun


Robert Henryson


University of Rochester: Robbins Digital Library Project


University of Rochester




Robert L. Kendrick (Editor)