Percy's Reliques - Robin and Makyne.

Robin and Makyne.


The palm of pastoral poesy is here contested by a contemporary writer with the author of the foregoing. The critics will judge of their respective merits; but must make some allowance for the preceding ballad, which is given simply as it stands in the old editions; whereas this, which follows, has been revised and amended throughout by Allan Ramsay, from whose Ever-Green, vol. i. it is here chiefly printed. The curious reader may however compare it with the more original copy, printed among "Ancient Scottish poems, from the manuscript of George Bannatyne, 1568," Edinb. 1770, 12mo. Mr. Robert Henryson (to whom we are indebted for this poem) appears to so much advantage among the writers of eclogue, that we are sorry we can give little other account of him besides what is contained in the following eloge, written by W. Dunbar, a Scottish poet, who lived about the middle of the 16th century:

In Dumferling, he [Death] hath tane Broun,
With gude Mr. Robert Henryson.

Indeed some little further insight into the history of this Scottish bard is gained from the title prefixed to some of his poems preserved in the British Museum; viz. "The morall Fabillis of Esop compylit be Maister Robert Henrisoun, Scolmaister of Dumfermling," 1571.-- Harleian MSS. 3865. i.

In Ramsay's Ever-Green, vol. i. whence the above distich is extracted, are preserved two other little Doric pieces by Henryson; the one intitled The Lyon and the Mouse; the other, The Garment of gude Ladyis. Some other of his poems may be seen in "Ancient Scottish Poems printed from Bannatyne's manuscript" above referred to.

ROBIN sat on the gude grene hill,
Keipand a flock of fie,
Quhen mirry Makyne said him till,
"O Robin rew on me:
I haif the luivt baith loud and still,
Thir towmonds twa or thre;
My dule in dern bot giff thou dill,
Doubtless but dreid Ill die."

Robin replied, "Now by the rude,
Naithing of luve I knaw,
But kelp my sheip undir yon wod:
Lo quhair they raik on raw.
Quhat can have mart thee in thy mode,
Thou Makyne to me schaw;
Or quhat is luve, or to be lude?
Fain wald I leir that law."

"The law of luve gin thou wald leir,
Tak thair an A, B, C;
Be heynd, courtas, and fair of feir,
Wyse, hardy, kind and frie,
Sae that nae danger do the deir,
Quhat dule in dern thou drie;
Press ay to pleis, and blyth appeir,
Be patient and privie."

Robin, he answert her againe,
"I wat not quhat is luve;
But I hail marvel in certaine
Quhat makes thee thus wanrufe.
The wedder is fair, and I am fain;
My sheep gais hail abuve;
And sould we pley us on the plain,
They wald us baith reprove."

"Robin, tak tent unto my tale,
And wirk all as I reid;
And thou sail haif my heart all hale,
Eik and my maiden-heid:
Sen God, he sendis bute for bale,
And for murning remeid,
I'dern with thee bot gif I dale,
Doubtless I am but deid."

"Makyne, to-morn be this ilk tyde,
Gif ye will meit me heir,"
"Maybe my sheip may gang besyde,
Quhyle we have liggd full heir;
But maugre haif I, gif I byde,
Frae they begin to steir,
Quhat lyes on heart I will nocht hyd,
Then Makyne mak gude cheir."

"Robin, thou reivs me of my rest;
I luve bot thee alane."
"Makyne, adieu! the sun goes west,
The day is neir-hand gane."
"Robin, in dule I am so drest,
That luve will be my bane."
"Makyn, gae luve quhair-eir ye list,
For leman I luid nane."

"Robin, I stand in sic a style,
I sich and that full sair."
"Makyne, I have bene here this quyle;
At hame I wish I were."
"Robin, my hinny, talk and smyle,
Gif thou will do nae mair."
"Makyne, som other man beguyle,
For hameward I will fare."

Syne Robin on his ways he went,
As light as leif on tree;
But Makyne murnt and made lament,
Scho trow'd him neir to see.
Robin he brand attowre the bent:
Then Makyne cried on hie,
"Now may thou sing, for I am shent
Quhat ailis luve at me? "

Makyne went hame withouten fail,
And weirylie could weip;
Then Robin in a full fair dale
Assemblit all his sheip.
Be that some part of Makyne's ail,
Out-throw his heart could creip;
Hir fast he follow to assail,
And till her tuke gude keip.

"Abed, abyd, thou fair Makyne,
A word for ony thing;
For all my luve, it sall be thyne,
Withouten departing.
All hale thy heart for till have myne,
Is all my coveting;
My sheip to morn quhyle hours nyne,
Will need of nae keiping.

"Robin, thou hast heard sung and say,
In gests and storys auld,
The man that will not when he may,
Sall have nocht when he wald.
I pray to heaven baith nicht and day,
Be eiked their cares sae cauld,
That presses first with thee to play
Be forrest, firth, or fauld."

"Makyne, the nicht is soft and dry,
The wether warm and fair,
And the grene wod richt neir-hand by,
To walk attowre all where:
There may nae janglers us espy,
That is in luve contrair;
Therin, Makyne, baith you and I
Unseen may mak repair."

"Robin, that warld is now away,
And quyt brocht till an end:
And nevir again thereto, perfay,
Sall it be as thou wend;
For of my pain thou made but play;
I words in vain did spend:
As thou hast done, sae sall I say,
Murn on, I think to mend."

"Makyne, the hope of all my heil,
My heart on thee is set;
I'll evermair to thee be leil,
Quhyle I may live but lett,
Never to fail as uthers feill,
Quhat grace so eir I get."
"Robin, with thee I will not deill;
Adieu, for this we met."

Makyne went hameward blyth enough,
Outowre the holtis hair;
Pure Robin murnd, and Makyne laugh
Scho sang, and he sicht sair:
And so left him hayth wo and wreuch,
In dolor and in care,
Keipand his herd under a heuch,
Among the rushy gair.


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