Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DANCE OF THE SEVIN DEIDLY SYNNIS, by WILLIAM DUNBAR

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THE DANCE OF THE SEVIN DEIDLY SYNNIS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Off februar the fyiftene nycht
Last Line: He smorit thame with smuke.
Subject(s): Evil

Off Februar the fyiftene nycht,
Full lang befoir the dayis Iycht,
I lay in till a trance;
And than I saw baith Hevin and Hell:
Me thocht, amangis the feyndis fell,
Mahoun gart cry ane Dance
Off Schrewis that were nevir schrevin,
Aganis the feist of Fasternis evin
To mak thair observance;
He bad gallandis ga graith a gyiss
And kast up gamountis in the Skyiss
As varlotis dois in France.

* * *

Heilie Harlottis on hawtane wyiss
Come in with mony sindrie gyiss,
Bot yit luche nevir Mahoun,
Quhill preistis come in with bair schevin nekkis,
Than all the Feyndis lewche, and made gekkis,
Blak-belly and Bawsy Broun.

* * *

Lat se, quoth he, now quha begynnis,
With that the fowll Sevin Deidly synnis
Begowth to leip at anis.
And first of all in Dance was Pryd,
With hair wyld bak, and bonet on syd,
Lyk to mak vaistie wanis;
And round abowt him, as a quheill,
Hang all in rumpillis to the heill
His kethat for the nanis:
Mony prowd trumpour with him trippit
Throw skaldand fyre, ay as thay skippit
Thay gyrnd with hyddous granis.
Than Yre come in with sturt and stryfe;
His hand wes ay upoun his knyfe,
He brandeist lyk a beir:
Bostaris, braggaris, and barganeris,
Eftir him passit in to pairis,
All bodin in feir of weir
In jakkis, and scryppis and bonettis of steill
Thair leggis wer chenyeit to the heill,
Frawart was their affeir:
Sum upoun uder with brandis beft,
Sum jagit uthers to the heft
With knyvis that scherp cowd scheir.

Nixt in the Dance followite Invy,
Fild full of feid and fellony,
Hid malyce and dispyte.
For pryvie hatrent that tratour trymlit;
Him followit mony freik dissymlit
With fenyeit wordis quhyte:
And flattereris in to menis facis;
And bak-byttaris in secreit placis,
To ley that had delyte;
And rownaris of false lesingis,
Allace! that courtis of noble kingis
Of thame can nevir be quyte.

Nixt him in Dans come Cuvatyce
Rute of all evill, and grund of vyce,
That nevir cowd be content:
Catyvis, wrechis, and ockeraris,
Hud-pykis, hurdaris, and gadderaris,
All with that warlo went:
Out of thair throttis thay schot on udder
Hett moltin gold, me thocht, a fudder
As fyre-flawcht maist fervent;
Ay as thay tumit them of schot,
Feyndis fild thame new up to the thrott
With gold of allkin prent.

Syne Sweirnes, at the secound bidding,
Come Iyk a sow out of a midding.
Full slepy wes his grunyie,
Mony sweir bumbard belly huddroun,
Mony slute daw, and slepy duddroun,
Him servit ay with sounyie.
He drew thame furth in till a chenyie
And Belliall with a brydill renyie
Evir lascht thame on the lunyie:
In Dans thay war so slaw of feit,
Thay gaif thame in the fyre a heit,
And made them quicker of counyie.

Than Lichery, that lathly corse,
Came berand Iyk a bagit horse,
And Ydilness did him leid;
Thair wes with him ane ugly sort,
And mony stynkand fowll tramort
That had in syn bene deid:
Quhen they were enterit in the Dance,
Thay wer full strenge of countenance,
Lyke tortchis byrnand reid,

* * *

Than the fowll monstir Gluttony
Of wame unsasiable and gredy,
To Dance he did him dress:
Him followit mony fowll drunckart,
With can and collep, cop and quart,
In sufflet and excess;
Full mony a waistless wally-drag,
With wamis unweildable, did furth wag,
In creische that did incress
Drynk! ay thay cryit with many a gaip,
The Feyndis gaif thame hait leid to laip
Thair leveray wes na less.

* * *

Na menstrallis playit to thame but dowt,
For gle-men thair wer haldin owt,
Be day, and eik by nycht:
Except a menstrall that slew a man,
Swa till his heretage he wan,
And enterit by breif of richt.

Than cryd Mahoun for a Heleand Padyane:
Syne ran a Feynd to feche Makfadyane,
Far northwart in a nuke;
Be he the Correnoch had done schout,
Ersche men so gadderit him abowt,
In Hell grit rowme thay tuke;
Thae tarmegantis, with tag and tatter,
Full lowd in Ersche begowth to clatter
And rowp lyk revin and ruke.
The Devill sa devt wes with thair yell,
That in the depest pot of hell,
He smorit thame with smuke.

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