Excerpt from “The Buke of the Howlat” by Richard Holland with rough rendering into modern English by flusteredduck

(The Owl, complaining of the plainness of his looks, has appealed to the Pope of the Birds for redress. The Pope has convened a Council of Birds to consider the Owl’s case.)

Than fairlie the fader thir fowlis he franyt
Of thar counsall in this cais, fen the richt thaj knewe;
Off thaj the howlat mycht helpe, that was so hard paynit?
And thaj weraly awysit, full of wirtewe,
The maner, the mater, and how it remanyt;
The circumstance and the stait all couth thai argewe.
Mony allegiance leile, in leid nocht to layne it,
Off Arestotill and ald men, scharplie thai schewe;
The Prelatis thar apperans proponit generale;
Sum said to, and sum fra,
Sum nay, and sum ȝa;
Baith pro and contra
Thus argewe thaj all.

Then fairly the father the fowls he asked
Of their counsel in this case, happily the right they knew;
Of they the owl might help, that was so hard pained?
And they verily advised, full of virtue,
The manner, the matter, and how it remained;
The circumstance and the state all refined they argued.
Many allegiance lawful, in language not to conceal it,
Of Aristotle and old men, sharply they showed:
The Prelates their opinions put forward generally;
Some said to, and some from,
Some nay, and some yay;
Both pro and con
Thus argued they all.

From: Holland, Richard and Laing, David (ed.), The Buke of the Howlat, 1823, Bannatyne Club: Edinburgh, p. xxxix.

Date: c1450

By: Richard Holland (14??-c1483)


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