To the Honour of the Ladyis

Thus comes from volume 1 of Allan Ramsay’s The Ever Green; a Collection of Scots Poems,Wrote by the Ingenious before 1600, 2 vols. (Glasgow 1875 [1724])

The language here is so resonant that I haven’t attempted any Anglicizing. Gerard Manley Hopkins said that his poetry needed to be heard. ‘Read it with the ears, as I always wish to be read, and my verse becomes all right.” Reading/hearing “To the Honour” aloud as its spelling suggests, and following the sentences along as they stretch, sometimes, across several lines can help with the diction. Despite the unfamiliar and inconsistent Scots spellings (I found some word spelled twenty different ways in the online Dictionary of the Scots Language), the number of basic words isn’t large. So what a word looks as if it might be doing may well be what it is doing, as with grit/great, hie/high, tung/tongue, suld/should, bissilie/busily, quho/who, quehen/when.

Ramsay provides The Ever Green with a glossary, and (R) indicates items that I definitely found there. (D) signifies the online Dictionary, which mostly was more helpful. A few of the meanings were ones that I already had in my head. I haven’t tried to gloss everything. The Dictionary is there at and is fun to consult.

As usual back then, the first letters of nouns are capitalized and proper names are in italics.

Just to declair…
Wirdyness> worthiness
Laud> “fame, glory, high reputation” (D)
barbir> barbarous (R)
Suth> truth
Femenyne> womankind

Thocht Doctors auld…
Doctor> “one eminent in learning and able to instruct others, especially in matters of theology or religion.” (D)
dyt> write
Wae worth> woe betide (D)
Rolls>cases? (D)
tittat> tit-for-tat (D)

For quho sae list…
reherse> say, repeat, express (D)
Habilitie> “Suitable power or skill; aptitude, capacity, proficieny” (D)
quehen Men.… >When men are sad, they impart solace to them as tabernacle.s
meis> mitigate (R)

Althoucht a Man…
But thair Solace… > Without their solace no wisdom can ever be found. ?

Sen God has…
sen> since
syne> afterwards
quhair> seek

Or Mary myld …
Blame> fault
brint> burned