The Night is Neir Gone

I have used the lightly tweaked text of the poem in John McQueen and Tom Scott, eds., The Oxford Book of Scottish Verse (1966)

(O) refers to their notes.

(P) refers to the notes by David J. Parkinson in Alexander Montgomerie, Poems, ed. David J. Parkinson, 2 vols.(2000)

(D) refers to the online Dictionary of the Scots Language

Hay! Now the day…
Dawis> dawns
shroudis> dress richly (D); shawis> groves (O); “now the thickets adorn (themselves)” (P)
thissell>”the male song thrush calls” (P)
skaillis> clears (O); “Now the clouds disperse” (P)

The fieldis …
gowans> large wild daisies (O)
low> flame (O)
rone> rowan (O); mountain ash, with red berries (P)
pairtie>partner (O), betrothed (P)

Now hairtis …
“Now harts and hinds follow their natures.” (P)
tursis> toss (O)
tyndis>antler-branches (O), tines (P)
hurchonis>hedgehogs (O)
hairs> hares (P)

The sesone…
Muse on> look with wonder on, marvel at (D)
maikis> mates (D)
syn> then

All curageous knichtis…
dichtis> make ready (O)
stoned > ungelded (P)
crampis> prances (D), uprears (O), curvets (P
lampis> gallops (O), lopes (P)

The freikis …
freikis>fighting men (D)
wight>strong, bold (D)
Titan> sun (D)
“shields shining as brightly as Titan [i.e. the sun] enthroned” (P)
reists> rests
cursors>coursers, war horses; stallions (D)
cristis> crests (O)

So hard…
swayis> fall down (D)
blonkis> white horses (O)
brayis> whinny (P)
assayis> assail (D)

The Secreit Prais of Love

The text that I have used is in Alexander Montgomerie, Poems, ed. David J. Parkinson, 2 vols. (2000).

(P) signifies Parkinson’s notes, (D) the online Dictionary of the Scots Language.

I haven’t tried to gloss every unfamiliar-looking word. Reading the lines aloud will often indicate what the more “English” spelling of a word would be. It helps to keep in mind that the range of the diction here isn’t large, and that if a word looks as though it’s performing the same kind of function as a familiar English word, it probably is.

Following the practice in The Oxford Book of Scottish Verse with respect to Montgomerie’s “The Night is Neir Gone,” I haven’t replaced “qu” with “w” in words like “quhat” and “quhais” (whose)


As everie object…
dissaivis> deceives
stains> stones
quhais> whose
cunning> knowledge, learning, skill (D)

Even sa…
sessone> grounds (P), evidence (D)
consaiv> “to grasp with the mind; to
comprehend or understand”(D)

Imagination is…
quhilk> which
quharthrou>wherethrough, whereby

Of hevins or earth
some similitude or shape> “some facsimile or model”(P)
counterfurt>counterfeit, make a replica of
And bot…> “And only thus, when this feeling is eloquently expressed—and even so I acknowledge the greater part is left to conjecture.” (P)

Suppose the hevins…
be tyme> in time
carde> map (D)

Quhat force is this …
tygris> tigers (D)
vehemency? “(great or overwhelming) force or violence” (D)

A Godly Prayer

I have used the text in Alexander Montgomerie, Poems, ed., David J. Parkinson, 2 vols. (2000).

(P) refers to Parkinson’s notes, (D) to the online Dictionary of the Scots Language.

Peccavi Pater…
Peccavi Pater, miserere mei> “Father, I have sinned, be merciful to me.” (Luke) (P)
prodigue>prodigal (D)
sillie>pitiful (P)

I am abash’d…
anes> once
Sed salvum me fac dulcis fili Dei> “But save me, precious Son of God.” (P)

If thou …
clenge>cleanse (P)
bund> obliged (P)
grund>pretext (P)
hellish hund> Cerberus (P)

I hope for mercy…

O gratious God…
perfyte>complete? perfect?
say>endeavour (P)

Suppose I slyde…
sleuth> sloth
sik> such
ingyn>intellect (P)
loif>praise (P)
trim>well-ordered, proficient (P)
tyne>lose (P)

Thy spirit my spirit…
refuse>repudiate (P)

Stoup stubborne…
stomock> “the stomach, source of unrelenting fleshly appetite” (P)
hardnit>hardened (D)

To gret Jehovah…
shupe>created, fashioned (D)
gyder> guide?
fray>frighten (P)
Cor mundum crea> “Create in me a cleaner heart” (P)