Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MORAL FABLES: THE SHEEP AND THE DOG, by AESOP

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MORAL FABLES: THE SHEEP AND THE DOG, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Esope ane taill puttis in memorie
Last Line: In to this eirth, grant us in hevin gude rest.
Subject(s): Scottish Translations

Esope ane Taill puttis in memorie,
How that ane Doig, because that he wes pure,
Callit ane Scheip to the Consistorie,
Ane certaine breid ffra him ffor to recure.
Ane fraudfull Wolff was Juge that tyme, and bure
Authoritie and Jurisdictioun;
And on the Scheip send furth ane strait summoun.

For by the use, and cours, and common style
On this maner maid his Citatioun:
'I, Maister Wolff, partles off fraud and gyle,
Under the panis off hie Suspensioun,
Off grit Cursing, and Interdictioun,
Schir Scheip, I charge the for to compeir,
And answer to ane Doig befoir me heir.'

Schir Corbie Ravin wes maid Apparitour,
Quha pykit had ffull mony Scheipis Ee;
The charge hes tane, and on the letteris bure;
Summonit the Scheip befoir the Wolff, that he,
Peremptourlie, within twa dayis or thre,
Compeir under the panis in this bill,
'To heir quhat Perrie Doig will say the till.'

This Summondis maid befoir witnes anew;
The Ravin, as to his office weill effeird,
Indorsat hes the write, and on he flew;
The selie Scheip durst lay na mouth on eird,
Till he befoir the awfull Juge appeird,
The oure off cause, quhilk that the Juge usit than,
Quhen Hesperus to schaw his face began.

The Foxe wes Clerk and Noter in the Cause;
The Gled, the Graip, at the Bar couth stand;
As Advocatis expert in to the Lawis,
The Doggis pley togidder tuke on hand,
Quhilk wer confidderit straitlie in ane band,
Aganis the Scheip to procure the sentence;
Thocht it wes fals, thay had na conscience.

The Clerk callit the Scheip, and he wes thair;
The Advocatis on this wyse couth propone.
'Ane certaine breid, worth fyve schilling or mair,
Thow aw the Doig, off quhilk the terme is gone.'
Off his awin heid, but Advocate allone,
The Scheip avysitlie gave answer in the cace:
'Heir I declyne the Juge, the tyme, the place.

'This is my cause, in motive and effect:
The Law sayis, it is richt perrillous
Till enter in pley befoir ane Juge suspect;
And ye, Schir Wolff, hes bene richt odious
To me, for with your Tuskis ravenous
Hes slane full mony kinnismen off mine;
Thairfoir, Juge as suspect, I yow declyne.

'And schortlie, of this Court ye memberis all,
Baith Assessouris, Clerk, and Advocate,
To me and myne ar ennemies mortall,
And ay hes bene, as mony Scheipheird wate;
The place is fer, the tyme is feriate,
Quhairfoir na Juge suld sit in Consistory,
Sa lait at evin, I yow accuse ffor thy.'

Quhen that the Juge in this wyse wes wes accusit,
He bad the parteis cheis, with ane assent,
Twa Arbeteris, as in the Law is usit,
For to declair and gif Arbitriment,
Quhidder the scheip suld answer in Jugement
Befoir the Wolff; and so thay did but weir,
Off quhome the Namis efterwart ye sall heir.

The Beir, the Brok, the mater tuke on hand,
For to discyde gif this exceptioun
Wes off na strenth, nor lauchfully mycht stand;
And thairupon, as Jugis, thay sat doun,
And held ane lang quhyle disputatioun,
Seikand full mony Decreitis off the Law,
And Glosis als, the veritie to knaw.

Of Civile Law volumis full mony thay revolve,
The Codies and Digestis new and ald;
Contrait, Prostrait Argumentis thay resolve,
Sum objecting, and sum can hald;
For prayer, or price, trow ye that thay wald fald?
Bot hald the glose, and Text of the Decreis,
As trew Jugis; I beschrew thame ay that leis.
Schortlie to mak ane end off this debait:
The Arbiteris than sweirand plane,
The sentence gave, and proces fulminait:
The Scheip suld pas befoir the Wolff agane,
And end his pley. Than wes he nathing fane,
For ffra thair sentence couth he not appeill.
On Clerkis I do it, gif this sentence wes leill.

The Scheip agane befoir the Wolff derenyeit,
But Advocate, abasitlie couth stand.
Up rais the Doig, and on the Scheip thus plenyeit:
'Ane soume I payit have befoir the hand
For certane breid;' thairto ane Borrow he fand,
That wrangouslie the Scheip did hald the breid;
Quhilk he denyit; and thair began the pleid.

And quhen the Scheip this stryif had contestait,
The Justice in the cause furth can proceid;
Lowrence the actis, and the proces wrait,
And thus the pley unto the end thay speid.
This Cursit Court, corruptit all ffor meid,
Aganis gude faith, Law, and eik conscience,
For this fals Doig pronuncit the sentence.

And it till put to executioun
The Wolff chargit the Scheip, without delay,
Under the panis off Interdictioun,
The soume off silver, or the breid, to pay.
Off this sentence (allace) quhat sall I say,
Quhilk dampnit hes the selie Innocent,
And Justifyit the wrangous Jugement?

The Scheip, dreidand mair the executioun,
Obeyand to the sentence, he couth tak
His way unto ane Merchand off the Toun,
And sauld the woll that he bure on his bak;
Syne bocht the breid, and to the Doig couth mak
Reddie payment, as it commandit was:
Naikit and bair syne to the feild couth pas.


This selie Scheip may present the figure
Of pure commounis, that daylie ar opprest
Be Tirrane men, quhilkis settis all thair cure
Be fals meinis to mak ane wrang conquest,
In hope this present lyfe suld ever lest;
Bot all begylit, thay will in schort tyme end,
And efter deith to lestand panis wend.

This Wolf I likkin to ane Schiref stout,
Quhilk byis ane forfalt at the Kingis hand,
And hes with him ane cursit Assyis about,
And dytis all the pure men up on land.
Fra the Crownar haif laid on him his wand,
Thocht he wer trew as ever wes sanct Johne,
Slain sall he be, or with the Juge compone.

This Ravin I likkin to ane fals Crownair,
Quhilk hes ane portioun of the Inditement,
And passis furth befoir the Justice Air,
All misdoaris to bring to Jugement;
Bot luke, gif he wes of ane trew Intent,
To scraip out Johne, and wryte in Will, or Wat,
And tak ane bud at boith the parteis tat.

Of this fals tod, of quhilk I spak befoir,
And of this Gled, quhat thay micht signify,
Of thair nature, as now I speik no moir;
Bot of this Scheip, and of his cairfull cry
I sall reheirs; for as I passit by
Quhair that he lay, on cais I lukit doun,
And hard him mak sair lamentatioun.

'Allace' (quod he),' this cursit Consistorie,
In middis of the winter now is maid,
Quhen Boreas with blastis bitterlie
And hard froistes thir flouris doun can faid;
On bankis bair now may I mak na baid.'
And with that word in to ane coif he crap,
Fra sair wedder, and froistis him to hap.

Quaikand for cauld, sair murnand ay amang,
Kest up his Ee unto the hevinnis hicht,
And said,' Lord God, quhy sleipis thow sa lang?
Walk, and discerne my cause, groundit on richt;
Se how I am, be fraud, maistrie, and slicht,
Peillit full bair: 'and so is mony one
Now in this warld, richt wonder, wo begone!

Se how this cursit sone of covetice,
Loist hes baith lawtie and eik Law.
Now few or nane will execute Justice,
In falt of quhome the pure man is overthraw.
The veritie, suppois the Juge it knaw,
He is so blindit with affectioun,
But dreid, for micht, he lettis the richt go doun.

Seis thow not (Lord) this warld overturnit is,
As quha wald change gude gold in leid or tyn;
The pure is peillit, the Lord may do na mis;
And Simonie is haldin for na syn.
Now is he blyith with okker maist may wyn;
Gentrice is slane, and pietie is ago,
Allace (gude Lord) quhy thoilis thow it so?

Thow tholis this evin for our grit offence,
Thow sendis us troubill, and plaigis soir,
As hunger, derth, grit weir, or Pestilence;
Bot few amendis now thair lyfe thairfoir.
We pure pepill as now may do no moir
Bot pray to the, sen that we ar opprest
In to this eirth, grant us in hevin gude rest.

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