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In issuing this, the Eleventh Number of the Chronicle, the Editor again begs to acknowledge the valuable services of the contributors, as well as the kindly interest taken in the periodical by the many who also aid with suggestion and
With regard to the present position and prospects of the Chronicle he has nothing to add to what was said at the last annual meeting of the Federation, a report of which will be found in the present issue.
A SKETCH OF SCOTTISH LITERATURE
FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES.
HE coming in of the Sixteenth Century brought with it
far reaching changes which were destined to effect the
whole texture of the social and religious life of Scotland. With the great disaster of Flodden Field in 1513, the flower of the nobility in the south of Scotland, if not “a' wede away,” was sorely broken and scattered, and the national spirit, which had been kindled into such fervour at Bannockburn, was almost quenched in despair for the time being. Like most transitional periods, the full significance of the altered conditions was not realised by the actors in the drama beyond a vague apprehension that the old order of things was passing away; and to many the future was dark and unpromising. Before effete institutions can be uprooted drastic remedies are required, and in the process sorrow and despair is the lot of not a few, as was the experience of many at the time of which I write. In the mediaval period of Scottish history the feudalism and ecclesiastical hierarchy to which the people had been so long accustomed had a charm and splendour of its own which fascinated the more opulent classes of the country, making them apprehensive of the slightest change. The great religious revolution of the century had broken upon the Continent of Europe, and, though the sentiments which had inspired it had not taken definite shape in the nation, a spirit of unrest was being felt by the more impressionable of the people who realised the existence of similar causes in Church and State in Scotland to those on the Continent which were shaking the old order of things to their foundation. The Church and State had fostered so many evils in their organisation that they could not long escape the coils of the revolu
tion already so active in Germany and Switzerland; and Sir David Lyndsay, 1490-1557, was preparing his countrymen for
the revolution soon to visit them. From his Sir D. Lyndsay,
own time till the advent of Robert Burns, 1490-1557.
Sir David Lyndsay, of the Mount, was the most popular of all the old Scottish poets, and during the time which elapsed between him and Burns something like twentytwo editions of his works were published. Moreover, it must be remembered that during the earlier troubles of the Reformation the works of Lyndsay had to be secretly printed, and the surprise is that their revolutionary tendency was not discovered for a long time after they were freely circulated among all classes of the people, his criticism of contemporaries and institutions was so severely satirical and unmerciful.
6 The Dreme” is a characteristic production, and though by no means his most important, it is one of his most vigorous pieces, and is admirably constructed from a poetical point of view. In the same year, 1528, he wrote his “Complaynt of the King's Grace,” in which he fearlessly exposed the corruptions and abuses practised by former Governors of the nation, concluding with wise counsel to the young King James the Fifth. To the King's credit, he received Lyndsay's counsel in a kindly spirit, and not only conferred the honour of knighthood upon him, but appointed him to the office of Chief Herald, which was an office of considerable political importance in those days. Two years after “ The Dreme” and his “Complaynt of the King's Grace” were written, he wrote his
. “Testament and Complaynt of Our Soverane Lordis Papyngo” or parrot, one of his most important works, which was a most scathing exposure of the corruption and disorder of the Church of which he himself was a dignitary. Nor did this end his satirical productions; he wrote a stage play almost immediately entitled “Ane Pleasant Satire of the Thrie Estaitis,” which was first performed at Linlithgow in the presence of the King and Queen and a large assembly of bishops and nobles, its representation occupying nine hours. This play is a fearless and satirical exposure of the corruption of the clergy and nobles who palliated one another's faults, but it says much for their patience and toleration that they were able to witness for so many hours their own weakness and folly held up to ridicule and scorn. Lyndsay's minor productions are also of