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Greek Verse, the beginnings.

Complaint, sometimes called Jeremiad is a genre of poetry that carries a theme of bitter sorrow. The rhetoric "rails against cruel fate" NPOPP. The Occitan version of the Complaint is the enuig. By the Middle Ages there were loosely 3 types of Complaint:

  1. satirical poems exposing evil in the world.
  2. didactic verse focusing on the decline of someone "great" and
  3. verse lamenting over unrequited love.

Although there is not always a specific structure identified with this genre, an interpretation of the Complaint made popular by Scot poet, William Dunbar's (1460-1520) Lament for Makers , is framed:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
  2. metered, often iambic or trochaic tetrameter.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme aabB ccbB ddbB etc. B being a refrain

    Lament for the Makers by William Dunbar (1460-1520)

    I that in hell was and gladness,
    Am trublit now with great sickness,
    And feblit with infermite;
    Timor mortis conturbat me.

    Our plesance heir is all vane glory,
    This false world is but transitory,
    The flesche is brukle, the Fend is sle;
    Timor mortis conturbat me*.

    The state of man does change and vary,
    Now sound, now sick, now blyth, now sorry,
    Now dansand mirry, now like to die:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    No state in Erd here stands sicker;
    As with the wand waves the wicker
    So wants this world's vanity:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    Into the Death gois all Estatis,
    Princis, Prelatis, and Potestatis,
    Baith rich and poor of all degree:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    He takis the knichtis in to the field
    Enarmit under helm and scheild;
    Victor he is at all mellie:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    That strong unmerciful tyrant
    Takis, on the mother's breast sowkand,
    The babe full of benignitie:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    He takis the campion in the stour,
    The captain closit in the tour,
    The lady in bour full of beauty:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    He spairis no lord for his piscence,
    Na clerk for his intelligence;
    His awful strike may no man flee:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    Art-magicianis and astrologgis,
    Rethoris, logicianis, and theologgis,
    Them helpis no conclusionis slee:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    In medecine the most practicianis,
    Leechis, surrigianis, and physicianis,
    Themself from Death may not supplee:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    I see that makaris amang the lave
    Playis here their padyanis, syne gois to grave;
    Sparit is nocht their facultie:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    He has done petuously devour
    The noble Chaucer, of makaris flour,
    The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    The good Sir Hew of Eglintoun,
    Ettrick, Heriot, and Wintoun,
    He has tane out of this cuntrie:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    That scorpion fell has done infeck
    Maister John Clerk, and James Afflek,
    Fra ballat-making and tragedie:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    Holland and Barbour he has berevit;
    Alas! that he not with us levit
    Sir Mungo Lockart of the Lee:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    Clerk of Tranent eke he has tane,
    That made the anteris of Gawaine;
    Sir Gilbert Hay endit has he:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    He has Blind Harry and Sandy Traill
    Slain with his schour of mortal hail,
    Quhilk Patrick Johnstoun might nought flee:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    He has reft Merseir his endite,
    That did in luve so lively write,
    So short, so quick, of sentence hie:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    He has tane Rowll of Aberdene,
    And gentill Rowll of Corstorphine;
    Two better fallowis did no man see:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    In Dunfermline he has tane Broun
    With Maister Robert Henrysoun;
    Sir John the Ross enbrast has he:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    And he has now tane, last of a,
    Good gentil Stobo and Quintin Shaw,|
    Of quhom all wichtis hes pitie:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    Good Maister Walter Kennedy
    In point of Death lies verily;
    Great ruth it were that so suld be:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    Sen he has all my brether tane,
    He will naught let me live alane;
    Of force I man his next prey be:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.

    Since for the Death remeid is none,
    Best is that we for Death dispone,
    After our death that live may we:--
    Timor Mortis conturbat me.
    *("Timor mortis conurbat me" is Latin, loosely translated, I'm scared to death of dying.)

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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