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THE PROLOUG

OF

THE SEXT BUIK OF ENEADOS



Heir begynnis preamblis of the Sext Buik,
and first tuiching the opinions that poetis
and auld philosophouris had of Hell and
placis tharof.

PLUTO, thow patron of the deip Acheron,
Fadir of turmentis in thine infernale see,
Amid the fludis Stix and Flegiton,
Lethe, Cochite, the wateris of oblivie,
With dolorus quhirling of furious sisteris thre,
Thyne now sal be my muse and drery sang ;
To follow Virgile in this dirk poese,
Convey me, Sibill, that I ga nocht wrang.

Quhat wenis fulis this sext buke bene bot japis
All full of leis or aid idolatreis ?
O hald ʒour pece, ʒe verray goddis apis !
Reid, reid agane, this volume, mair than tuise ;
Consider quhat hid sentence tharin lyis :
Be war to lak, les than ʒe knaw weill quhat ;
And gif ʒow list nocht wirk eftir the wise,
Heich on ʒour heid set wp the foly hat.

All is hot gaistis and elriche fantasies,
Of browneis and of bogillis full this buke.
Out on thir wanderand spiritis, wow ! thow cryis ;
It semis a man war manglit, tharon list luik,
Lyke dremis or dotage in the monis cruik,
Vane superstitionis aganis our rycht beleif.
Quhat of thir fureis, or Pluto that plukkit duke,
Or call on Sibil, deir of a revin sleif ?

Wald thow I suld this buke to the declair,
Quhilk war impossible til expreme at schort ?
Virgile is full of sentence our allquhair ;
Bot heirintill, as Seruius gan proport,
His hie knawledge he schawis, that euery sort
Of his clausis comprehend sic sentence,
Thair bene tharof, set thow think this bot sport,
Maid gret ragmentis of hie intelligence.

In all his werkis Virgile doith descrive
The stait of man, gif thow list onderstand ;
Baith life and deid in thir first buikis five ;
And now, into the saxt, we haif on hand,
Eftir thair deid in quhat plite saulis sall stand.
He writis like a philosophour naturall ;
Twichand our faith mony clausis he fand,
Quhilk bene conforme, or than collaterall.

Schawis he nocht heir the synnis capitall ?
Schawis he nocht wickit folk in endles pane ?
And purgatorie for synnis veniale,
And virtuus peple into the plesand plane ?
Ar all sic sawis fantasy and in vane ?
He schawis the way, euer patent, doun to hell,
And rycht difficil the gait to hevin agane,
With ma gud wordis than thow or I can tell.

Heir tretand vertu, taxis he pane for vice,
Feill wofull turmentis of wrechit cativis sary,
Notable historyis, and divers proverbis wise,
Quhilkis to rehers war our prolixt a tary.
Althocht he, as a gentile, sum tyme vary,
Full perfitlie he writis seir mysteris fell,
As how thir hethin childir thar weirdis wary,
Wepand and waland at the first port of hell.

And, thocht our faith neid nane authorising
Of gentilis buikis, nor by sic hethin sparkis,
Ʒit Virgile writis mony just claus conding,
Strenthand our belief, to confound payane werkis.
How oft rehersis Austyne, cheif of clerkis,
In his gret volume of the Cetie of God,
Hundreth versis of Virgile, quhilk he merkis
Agane Romanis, till vertu thaim to brod !

And of this sax buik walis he mony a scoir :
Nocht but guid ressoun; for, thocht Crist ground our faith,
Virgilis sawis ar worth to put in stoir.
Thai aucht nocht be hald wagabound nor waith ;
Full riche tresour thai bene and precius graith,
For oft by Sibillis sawis he tonis his stevin ;
Thus faithfully in his Buikolikis he saith,
The maid cumith bryngis new lynage fra hevin.

As tuiching hym, writis Ascencius :
Feill of his wordis bene lyke the appostillis sawis ;
He is ane hie theolog sentencing,
And maist profound philosophour he hym schawis.
Thocht sum his writis frawart our faith part drawis,
Na wondir ; he was na cristin man, per de ;
He was a gentile, and leifit on payane lawis,
And ʒit he puttis ane God, Fadir maist hie.

We trow a God, regnand in personis thre,
And ʒit angellis hevinlie spritis we call ;
And of the hevinlie wychtis oft carpis he,
Thocht he beleiffit thai wer nocht angelis all.
Quhill Cristis passioun, of Adam throw the fall,
All went to hell, thocht all wer nocht in pane.
Or Crist he wrait this buik, quhare reid ʒe sall
Destinet in hell specially placis twane.

And principally the sted of fell turmentis,
With seir departingis in that laithlie hald ;
Ane vthir place quhilk purgatory representis,
And, dar I say, the Lymb of faderis auld,
With Lymbus puerorum, as I haif tauld.
Schawis he nocht eik, by werkis meritory,
How just peple, in welthis mony fauld,
Rejosis, singand sangis of hevinlie glory ?

And, as he tuichis greis seir in pane,
In blis, elykwise, sindry stagis puttis he.
Quhat sall I of his wondir werkis sane ?
For all the plesance of the camp Elise,
Octavian, in his Georgikis, ʒe may se.
He consalis nevir lordschip in hell desyre,
Bot evir in hevin, into sum hie degre,
To cheis his place, and nocht amang the fire.

Quhat cristnit clerk suld hym haue consalit bettir,
Althocht he nevir was catholik wight ?
He has writin full mony attentik lettre :
In that ilk buik he techis ws full rycht,
The warld begouth in veir, baith day and nycht ;
In veir he sais that God als formit man,
The son, the mone, and all the sternis brycht :
We grant in veir that first the warld began.

Happy wer he that knew the caus of all thingis,
And settis on syde all dreid and cuir, quod he,
Wndir his feit at treddis and doun thringis
Chancis vntretable of fatis and destany,
All feir of deid, and eik of hellis see.
Happy he callis sic wychtis, and sa do I ;
Quhair may we sua obtene felicite ?
Nevir bot in hevin, empire abone the skye.

Till write ʒow all his tryit and notable vers
Almaist impossible war, and half in vane :
For me behuvit repeting and rehers
In seir placis the samyn wordis agane.
This may suffice, I will na mair sane.
Ane mover, ane begynnar puttis he,
Sustenis all thing, and doith in all remane ;
And be our faith the sammyn thing grant we.

I say nocht all his werkis bene perfite,
Nor that saulis turnis in vthir bodeis agane ;
Thocht we traist, aud may preif be haly write,
Our saull and body sall anis togiddir remane.
At thar bene mony Goddis I will nocht sane ;
Thocht haly scripturis just men, Goddis, clepe.
Quhom call I Pluto, and Sibilla Cumane,
Hark ; for I will na fals Goddis wirschepe.

Sibylla, til interpret propirly,
Is clepit ane maid of Goddis secrete priue,
That has the spreit divine of prophecy.
Quha bettir may Sibilla namyt be,
Than may the glorius modir and madyn fre,
Quhilk of hir natur consavit Criste, and buir
Al hail the misteris of the Trinite,
And maist excelland werk had ondir cuir.

Thow art our Sibill, Cristis modir deir,
Prechit by prophetis and Sibilla Cumane ;
Thow brocht the hevinlie lynage in erd heir,
Modir of God, ay virgine doith remane,
Restoring ws the goldin warld agane.
Sathan the clepe I, Pluto infernale,
Prince in that dolorus den of wo and pane,
Nocht God tharof, bot gretast wreche of all.

To name the God, it wer a manifest le ;
Is bot a God, makar of euery thing.
I favour nocht the errour of Maniche :
Set thow to Vulcane haif full gret resembling,
And art sum tyme the minister of thundring,
Or sum blind Ciclopes of thi laithlie wra,
Thow art bot Jovis smyth, in the fire blawing
And dirk fornace of perpetuall Ethna.

Thow wrocht na thing, bot maid thi self a devill,
And that wes nocht to mak, bot rather faille,
For Austyne sayis, syn, myscheif, or euill
Is nocht at all ; for quhy ? thay nocht availʒe.
The dym dongeoun of Ditis to assailʒe,
Or in the lyknes thys misty poetry,
Help me, Mary ! for certis, vailʒe que vailʒe,
War at Pluto, I sall hym hunt of sty.

Finis Prologi Sexti Libri.