Dunbar's also noted as being the first writer to get his four letter words printed. It's interesting to see that his great English contemporaries rank so high - no "effete ****holes" in the Dunbar bestiary - not English ones, anyway - and it's sad that many of the Scots he praises leave no surviving work. There's a worthy task for antiquaries and researchers - to find the verses of Stobo, Herriot, Blind Harry and the rest.
I, that hearty was and hale,Am troubled, sick and like to fail,Enfeebled by infirmity;Our pleasure here is all vainglory,This false world is but transitory,The flesh is bruckle, the Fiend is sly;Timor mortis conturbat me.The state of man does change and vary,Now sound, now sick, now blithe, now sorry,Now dancing merry, now like to die;Timor mortis conturbat me.Nought of this earth here stands securely;So trembles worldly vanity.Timor mortis conturbat me.On unto Death go all estates,Of Court, of Church, all potentates,Both rich and poor of all degree;Timor mortis conturbat me.He cuts the knights down in the field,Timor mortis conturbat me.That warlord merciless and wildTears from the mother's breast the child,
And sorrowing he leavès she;Timor mortis conturbat me.The captain in the strongest tower,The bowered beauty, all takes he;Timor mortis conturbat me.He spares no lord for elegance,Nor clerk for his intelligence;His deadly stroke may no man flee;Timor mortis conturbat me.Logicians or theologers,Timor mortis conturbat me.
In medicine the best practicians,
The leeches, surgeons, and physicians,
Find Death to have no remedy;Timor mortis conturbat me.Poets and playwrights of our daySpared not for their great faculty;Timor mortis conturbat me.The noble Chaucer, of poets the flower,Timor mortis conturbat me.The good Sir Hew of Eglintoun,Also Herriot, and Wyntoun,All taken out of this country;Timor mortis conturbat me.Of ballad-making and tragedy;Timor mortis conturbat me.Alas ! He would not even leaveTimor mortis conturbat me.That wrote Adventures of Gawain;Sir Gilbert Hay - ended is he;Timor mortis conturbat me.He has Blind Harry and Sandy TraillSlain with his shower of mortal hail,Timor mortis conturbat me.That did of love so lively write,Timor mortis conturbat me.And gentle Roull of Corstorphine;Two better men you'll never see;Timor mortis conturbat me.Timor mortis conturbat me.And he's now ta'en, last of all,All men might wish he'd left them be:Timor mortis conturbat me.At point of death lies verily,Great pity that such thing should be;Timor mortis conturbat me.Since he has all my brethren ta'en,He will not let me live alone,And I shall be his next, you'll see;Timor mortis conturbat me.For death there is no remedy,That after death, new life may be;Timor mortis conturbat me.