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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume II. The End of the Middle Ages.

XI. The Middle Scots Anthologies: Anonymous Verse and Early Prose

§ 7. Gyre Carling

The short tale of Gyre Carling (in three stanzas of the riming-alliterative type, with the bob) relates how this mother-witch, who dwelt in “Betokis bour” and fed on Christian men’s flesh, was loved by Blasour, her neighbour “on tge west syd.”

  • For luve of hir lawchane lippies, he walit and he weipit;
  • and he gathered a crowd of moles to warp down her tower. But the unresponsive lady cudgelled him well (as St. Peter served Kynd Kittok) until he bled “a quart off milk pottage inwart.” She laughed, and, after the manner of Gog Magog’s spouse in the Interlude of the Droichis Part, ejaculated North Berwick Law in her mirth. Then the king of Faery, with his elves and all the dogs from Dunbar to Dunblane and all the tykes of Tervey (which might well be Topsy Turvy land!), laid siege to the fair; but she transformed herself into a sow and went “gruntling our the Greik Sie.” There, in spite, she married Mahomet or Mahoun, and became queen of the Jews. She was sadly missed in Scotland; the cocks of Cramond ceased to crow, and the hens of Haddington would not lay.
  • All this langour for lufe befoirtymes fell,
  • Lang or Betok wes born,
  • Scho bred of ane acorne;
  • The laif of the story to morne
  • To [char] ow I sall tell.
  • This piece might well be by Dunbar.