Robert Henryson

The Bludy Serk

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This hindir zeir i hard be tald
Thair was a worthy king
Dukis erlis and barronis bald
He had at his bidding
The lord was anceane and ald
And sexty zeiris cowth ring
He had a dochter fair to fald
A lusty lady zing

Off all fairheid scho bur the flour
And eik hir faderis air
Off lusty laitis and he honour
Meik bot and debonair
Scho wynnit in a bigly bour
On fold wes none so fair
Princis luvit hir paramour
In cuntreis our-allquhair

Thair dwelt alyt besyde the king
A fowll gyane of ane
Stollin he hes the lady zing
Away with hir is gane

And kest hir in his dungering
Quhair licht scho micht se nane
Hungir and cauld and grit thristing
Scho fand in to hir wane
He wes the laithliest on to luk
That on the grund mycht gang
His nailis wes lyk ane hellis cruk
Thairwith fyve quarteris lang
Thair wes nane that he ourtuk
In rycht or zit in wrang
Bot all in schondir he thame schuke
The gyane wes so strang

He held the lady day and nycht
Within his deip dungeoun
He wald nocht gif of hir a sicht
For gold nor zit ransoun
Bot gife the king mycht get a knycht
To fecht with his persoun
To fecht with him both day and nycht
Quhill ane wer dungin doun

The king gart seik baith fer and neir
Beth be se and land
Off ony knycht gife he micht heir
Wald fecht with that gyand
A worthy prince that had no peir
Hes tane the deid on hand
For the luve of the lady cleir
And held full trew cunnand

That prince come prowdly to the toun
Of that gyane to heir
And fawcht with him his awin persoun
And tuke him presoneir
And kest him in his awin dungeoun
Allane withouttin feir
With hungir cauld and confusioun
As full weill worthy weir

Syne brak the bour had hame the bricht
Vnto hir fadir deir
Sa evill wondit was the knycht
That he behuvit to de
Vnlusum was his likame dicht
His sark was all bludy
In all the warld was thair a wicht
So peteous for to sy

The lady murnyt and maid grit mone
With all hir mekle micht
I luvit nevir lufe bot one
That dulfully now is dicht
God sen my lyfe wer fra me tone
Or i had sene zone sicht
Or ellis in begging evir to gone
Furth with zone curtas knycht

He said fair lady now mone i de
Trestly ze me trow
Tak ze my sark that is bludy
And hing it forrow zow

First think on it and syne on me
Quhen men cumis zow to wow
The lady said be mary fre
Thairto i mak a wow

Quhen that scho lukit to the serk
Scho thocht on the persoun
And prayit for him with all hir harte
That lowsd hir of bandoun
Quhair scho was wont to sit full merk
In that deip dungeoun
And evir quhill scho wes in quert
That was hir a lessoun

Sa weill the lady luvit the knycht
That no man wald scho tak
Sa suld we do our god of micht
That did all for ws mak
Quhilk fullely to deid wes dicht
For sinfull manis saik
Sa suld we do both day and nycht
And prayaris to him mak

This king is lyke the trinitie
Baith in hevin and heir
The manis saule to the lady
The gyane to lucefeir
The knycht to chryst that deit on tre
And coft our synnis deir
The pit to hell with panis fell
The syn to the woweir

The lady was wowd bot scho said nay
With men that wald hir wed
Sa suld we wryth all syn away
That in our breist is bred
I pray to iesu chryst verrey
For ws his blud that bled
To be our help on domysday
Quhair lawis ar straitly led

The saule is godis dochtir deir
And eik his handewerk
That was betrasit with lucifeir
Quha sittis in hell full merk
Borrowit with chrystis angell cleir
Hend men will ze nocht herk
For his lufe that bocht ws deir
Think on the bludy serk
(ffinis quod mr r. henrici)

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Robert Henryson