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Friday, 25 January 2008


There are attempts to promote the official use of a version of Scots, partly on nationalist/sentimental grounds and partly from greed for subsidies. The language which it is proposed to adopt is a rather synthetic creation which owes a lot to the malignant inventiveness of Hugh MacDiarmid, and which in terms of freshness and directness does not measure up to Dunbar.

As it was 25th of January and you were in a supposedly Scotland series, I was quite expecting the Address to the Haggis or Auld Syne Lang which are far more difficult to understand (for me).
First time I read that kind of old and Latin-influenced English but I quite understand it. It sounds like a prayer or a song indeed and it reminds me La ballade des Pendus by François Villon which sounds even more like a prayer.

This is a tremendous poem -- thanks for posting it.

Coincidentally, I've just read part of that poem in a book on the history of medicine in Scotland in which Henryson, on the subject of the plague, was quoted too.
In his "Ane Prayer for the Pest" he asks God to "half mercy of us, indigent and pure; That dois no wrang to puniss our offenss: o Lord, that is to mankynd haill succure, preserve us fra this perrelus pestilens".
You could do a whole series on death and disease, Lindsay!

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