Duncane Laideus Testament and other Comic Poems in Older Scots

Duncane Laideus Testament and other Comic Poems in Older Scots

Edited by Janet Hadley Williams


Scottish Text Society



First modern scholarly edition of a number of late medieval Scottish poems, in the comic tradition.
This volume contains eleven Scottish examples of particular kinds of humorous writing - comic, parodic, and satiric - of the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Previously unavailable in modern scholarly editions, these works are freshly established from diverse sources, including the manuscript that is the earliest extant of John Knox's "Historie of the Reformatioun of Religioun". A manuscript owned by the Campbell of Glenorchy family is the source of the volume's most substantial work, Duncane Laideus Testament; the poem's bicultural outlook provides an important reference point for historians, as well as scholars of early Scottish and Gaelic literature. Other texts include David Lyndsay's The Complaint of Bagsche and the anonymous "My gudame wes a gay wif".
To assist study of the development of early Scottish writing, and to chart historical, especially religious, change, the poems are arranged in their probable order of composition. Each is introduced separately, with consideration of witnesses; evidence for date of composition and authorship; title, metre, and genre; and full apparatus. Explanatory notes examine matters of interest or potential difficulty, including the sense of contemporary expressions, wordplay, legal and Latin terms, and debts to earlier writers.The volume also includes a full Bibliography, Glossary, and Index of Names and Places.

Dr Janet Hadley Williams is Honorary Visiting Fellow, School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University.


October 2016
1 black and white illustrations
278 pages
21.6x13.8 cm
Scottish Text Society
Scottish Text Society Fifth Series
ISBN: 9781897976388
Format: Hardback
Scottish Text Society
BISAC LIT011000, POE001000, POE002000
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

Introductions to the Texts
Roule, Devyne poware of michtis maist
My gudame wes a gay wif
The Gyre Carling
Sym of Lyntoun, be the ramis horn
Lichtoun, Quha doutis dremis is bot phantasye?
Lord Fergus Gaist
God and Sanct Petir
Sir David Lyndsay, The Complaint of Bagsche
Alexander Cunningham, Ane Epistle direct fra the holy Armite of Allarit to his bretheren the Gray Freires
Duncane Laideus alias Makgregouris Testament
Off the Macgregouris armes
The Texts
Explanatory Notes to the Texts


Hadley Williams's detailed knowledge of the period makes the circumstances in which the texts were produced clear and in doing so she reveals aspects of politics that have been largely ignored. The utility of this work extends well beyond the purely literary. PARERGON

Also by Author

Also in Series