William Dunbar

January 28 2013

I that in heill was and gladnèss
Am trublit now with great sickness
And feeblit with infirmity:
Timor Mortis conturbat me …

That strong unmerciful tyrand
Takis, on the motheris breast sowkand,
The babe full of benignitie:
Timor Mortis conturbat me …

He spairis no lord for his piscence,
Na clerk for his intelligence;
His awful straik may no man flee:
Timor Mortis conturbat me …

He has done petuously devour
The noble Chaucer, of makaris flour,
The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three:
Timor Mortis conturbat me …

He has tane Rowll of Aberdene,
And gentill Rowll of Corstophine;
Two better fallowis did no man see:
Timor Mortis conturbat me …

Sen he has all my brothers tane,
He will nocht let me live alane;
Of force I mon his next prey be:
Timor Mortis conturbat me …

From William Dunbar’s Lament for the Makaris, written in Scots c 1505.

Dunbar was associated with the court of James IV, who was killed at Flodden Field in 1513. Makar meant maker, ie poet or bard. The phrase in the refrain comes from a responsory of the Office of the Dead in the third Nocturn of Matins and was often used in late medieval Scottish and English poetry. The two Rowlls are unidentified. There are twenty-five verses, but only these are quoted.

A Study of History, Vol IV, OUP, 1939

One Response to “William Dunbar”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    The last English king to die in battle was the Yorkist Richard III at Bosworth Field in 1485.

    The last British king to die in battle was James IV at Flodden Field in 1513.

    The last British king to lead his army in battle was George II at Dettingen in 1743.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s