The School Bag




from The Testament of Cresseid

Robert Henryson

‘Lovers be war and tak gude heid about
quhome that ye lufe, for quhome ye suffer paine.                                          whom
I lat yow wit, thair is richt few thairout                                                          existing
quhome ye may traist to have trew lufe agane;
Preif quhen ye will, your labour is in vaine.                                                   test
Thairfoir I reid ye tak thame as ye find,                                                         advise
For thay ar sad as Widdercock in Wind.                                                         steady
 
‘Becaus I knaw the greit unstabilnes,
brukkill as glas, into my self, I say -                                                               brittle
traisting in uther als greit unfaithfulnes,
als unconstant, and als untrew of fay -                                                            faith
thocht sum be trew, I wait richt few ar thay:
quha findis treuth, lat him his lady ruse;                                                         praise
nane but my self as now I will accuse.’
 
Quhen this was said, with Paper scho sat doun,
and on this maneir maid hir Testament:
‘Heir I beteiche my Corps and Carioun                                                          bequeath
with Wormis and with Taidis to be rent;                                                         toads
My Cop and Clapper, and myne Ornament,
and all my gold the Lipper folk sall have,
quhen I am deid, to burie me in grave.
 
‘This Royall Ring, set with this Rubie reid,
quhilk Troylus in drowrie to me send,                                                           which
to him agane I leif it quhen I am deid,
to mak my cairfull deid unto him kend.                                                         sorrowful/unknown
thus I conclude schortlie and mak ane end:
ty Spreit I leif to Diane, quhair scho dwellis,
to walk with hir in waist Woddis and Wellis.
 
‘O Diomeid, thou hes baith Broche and Belt
quhilk Troylus gave me in takning as                                                             tokens
of his trew lufe," and with that word scho swelt.                                           died
and sone ane Lipper man tuik of the Ring,
syne buryit hir withouttin tarying;                                                                  then
to Troylus furthwith the ring he bair,
and of Cresseid the deith he can declair.
 
Quhen he had hard hir greit infirmitie,
his Legacie and Lamentatioun,
and how scho endit in sic povertie,
he swelt for wo and fell doun in ane swoun;
for greit sorrow his hart to brist was boun;                                                     ready
siching full sadlie, said, ‘I can no moir;                                                          sighing
scho was untrew and wo is me thairfoir.’
 
Sum said he maid ane Tomb of Merbell gray,
and wrait hir name and superscriptioun,
and laid it on hir grave quhair that scho lay,
iIn goldin Letteris, conteining this ressoun:
‘Lo, fair Ladyis, Cresseid of Troyis toun,
sumtyme countit the flour of womanheid,
under this stane, lait Lipper, lyis deid.’
 
Now, worthie wemen, in this Nallet schort,
made for your worschip and Instructioun,
of Cheritie, I monische and exhort,                                                                admonish
ming not your lufe with fals deceptioun:                                                        mingle
Beir in your mynd this schort conclusioun
of fair Cresseid, as I have said befoir.
Sen scho is deid I speik of hir no moir.    

1532