Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  9. Freedom

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

John Barbour. d. 1395

9. Freedom

A! Fredome is a noble thing! 
Fredome mays man to haiff liking; 
Fredome all solace to man giffis, 
He levys at ese that frely levys! 
A noble hart may haiff nane ese,         5
Na ellys nocht that may him plese, 
Gyff fredome fail; for fre liking 
Is yarnyt our all othir thing. 
Na he that ay has levyt fre 
May nocht knaw weill the propyrtè,  10
The angyr, na the wretchyt dome 
That is couplyt to foule thyrldome. 
Bot gyff he had assayit it, 
Than all perquer he suld it wyt; 
And suld think fredome mar to prise  15
Than all the gold in warld that is. 
Thus contrar thingis evirmar 
Discoweryngis off the tothir ar. 
GLOSS:  liking] liberty.  na ellys nocht] nor aught else.  yarnyt] yearned for.  perquer] thoroughly, by heart.