The School Bag

On His Heid-ake

William Dunbar

My heid did yak yester nicht,
this day to mak that I na micht.
    so sair the magryme dois me menyie,
    perseing my brow as ony ganyie,
that scant I luik may on the licht.

[My head did ache last night, so much that I cannot 
write poetry today.  So painfully the migraine does 
disable me, piercing my brow just like any arrow, 
that I can scarcely look at the light.]

And now, schir, laitlie, eftir mes
to dyt thocht I begowthe to dres,
    the sentence lay full evill till find,
    unsleipit in my heid behind,
dullit in dulnes and distres.

[And now, Sire, shortly after mass, though I tried 
to begin to write, the sense of it lurked very hard 
to find, deep down sleepless in my head, dulled 
in dullness and distress.]

Full oft at morrow I upryse
quhen that my curage sleipeing lyis.
    for mirth, for menstrallie and play,
    for din nor danceing nor deray,
it will not walkin me no wise.  

[Very often in the morning I get up when 
my spirit lies sleeping.  Neither for mirth, 
for minstrelsy and play, nor for noise nor 
dancing nor revelry, it will not awaken in 
me at all.]     

Scotland - Late 16th/17th century