The Excusation of the Prentar by John Bellenden/Ballantyne with rough rendering into modern English by flusteredduck

Prefixed to the Translation of Boece’s History.

Ingyne of man be inclinatioun
In sindry wyse is gevin, as we se.
Sum men ar gevin to detractioun,
Invy, displeseir, or malancolie,
And to thair nychbouris hes no cherite.
Sum ar so nobill and full of gentilnes,
Thay luf no-thing bot joy and merynes.

Sum ar at undir and sum maid up of nocht:
Sum men lufifis peace, and sum desiris weir.
Sum is so blyth in-to his mery thocht
He curis nocht, so he may perseveir
In grace and favour of his lady deir.
Sum boldins at othir in maist cruell feid,
With lance and dagar rynnis to the deid.

Ane hes that mycht ane hundreth weil sustene,
And leiffis in wo and pennance at his table,
And of gud fallois comptis nocht ane bene:
His wrechit mynd is so insaciable;
As hevin and hell wer no-thing bot ane fable
He birnis ay, but sycht to gud or evil,
And rynnis with all his baggis to the devil.

And I the prentar, that dois considir weil
Thir sindry myndis of men in thair leving,
Desiris nocht bot on my laubour leil
That I mycht leif, and of my just wynnyng
Mycht first pleis God, and syne our noble Kyng,
And that ye reders bousum and attent
Wer of my laubour and besynes content.

And in this wark, that I have heir assailyeit
To bring to lycht, maist humely I exhort
Yow nobill reders, quhare that I have failyeit
In letter, sillabe, poyntis lang or schort.
That ye will of your gentrice it support,
And tak the sentences the best wyse ye may;
I sall do better, will God, ane-othir day.

The Printer’s Excuse by John Bellenden/Ballantyne

Genius of man be inclination
In sundry wise is given, as we see.
Some men are given to detraction,
Envy, displeasure, or melancholy,
And to their neighbours have no chairty.
Some are so noble and full of gentleness,
They love nothing but joy and merriness.

Some are thoughtful, and some made up of nought:
Some men love peace, and some desire war.
Some are so blythe in his merry thought
He cares nought, so he may persevere
In grace and favour of his lady dear.
Some rage at other in most cruel feud,
With lance and dagger runs to the death.

One has that might one hundred well sustain,
And lives in woe and penance at his table,
And of good fellows counts not a bean;
His wretched mind is so insatiable;
As heaven and hell were nothing but a fable,
He burns all, but heeds not good or evil,
And runs with all his baggage to the devil.

And I the printer, that does consider well
The sundry minds of men in their living,
Desire nought but on my labour loyal
That I might live, and of my just winning
Might first please God, and then our noble King,
And that you readers pleasant and alert
Were of my labour and business content.

And in this work, that I have here assailed
To bring to light, most humbly I exhort
You noble readers where that I have failed
In letter, syllable, points long or short,
That you will of your kindness it support,
And take the sentence the best wise you may;
I shall do better, will God, another day.

From: Eyre-Todd, George (ed.), Scotish Poetry of the Sixteenth Century, 1892, William Hodge & Co: Glasgow, pp. 134-135.
(https://archive.org/details/scottishpoetryof00eyre

Date: c1536

By: John Bellenden/Ballantyne (fl. 1533-1550)

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