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



A. Major

i. The Asloan MS., written c. 1515 by John Asloan, formerly in the possession of the Boswell family at Auchinleck, but since 1882 in that of R. W. Talbot, now Lord Talbot de Malahide. Inedited, though extracts have been printed at various times.

ii. The Bannatyne MS, written in 1568 by George Bannatyne, now in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh (MS. I. I. 6). Printed, in its entirety, by the Hunterian Club (1873–1902). See the introduction there, also Memorials of George Bannatyne (Bann. Club, 1829).

iii. The Maintland Folio MS., compilied c. 1580 by Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington, Lord Privy Seal of Scotland, preserve in the Pepysian collection in the library of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Inedited, though extracts have been printed at various times.

iv. The Maitland Quarto MS., written by Sir Richard’s daughter Marie, in 1586, containing 42 pieces from the folio MS., also preserved in the Pepysian collection. Unprinted.

B. Minor

v. The Makculloch MS., a collection of lecture-notes in Latin by Magnus Makculloch at Louvain in 1477, now in the Laing collection of MSS. in the library of the University of Edinburgh. The Scots pieces are written on fly-leaves and blank pages throughout the MS.

vi. The Gray MS., written c. 1500 by James Gray, notary public and priest of the diocese of Dunblane, now in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh (MS. 34. 7. 3). The Scots pieces are interpolated throughout the MS.


Chepman and Myllar’s Prints, printed in 1508 by Walter Chepman and Andrew Myllar, preserved in a unique volume in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh. The collection (20 pieces) was reproduced in facsimile by David Laing in 1827, but copies are extremely scare.

NOTE. For a more detailed account of the above collections see the bibliography in G. Gregory Smith’s Specimens of Middle Scots, pp. LXVI–IXXV. An early account of the Maitland Folio and Quarto MSS. will be found in Pinkerton’s Ancient Scotish Poems, 1786, II, pp. 437–471.

EDITIONS (Selections)

Hailes, Lord, Ancient Scottish Poems. Published from the MS. of George Bannatyne, MDLXVIII. Edinburgh, 1770.

Laing, David, Select Remains of the Ancient Popular and Romance Poetry of Scotland. Re-edited by John Small. Edinburgh, 1885.

—— Early Scottish Metrical Tales. New Edition. Edinburgh, 1889.

Pinkerton, John. Ancient Scotish Poems, never before in Print. But now published from the MS. Collections of Sir Richard Maitland… 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1786.

Sibbald, J. Chronicle of Scottish Poetry. 4 vols. Edinburgh, 1802.

Smith, G Gregory. Specimens of Middle Scots. Edinburgh, 1902.

NOTE. The earliest reprint is Allan Ramsay’s The Evergreen, being a Collection of Scots Poems, wrote by the Ingenious before 1600, 2 vols., 1724. The volumes are of the highest importance to the study of the later vernacular revival, but they make no pretence to textual accuracy.


Abacuk Bysset. Inedited. See extract in Specimens, u.s., pp. 239–241, 315.

Chepman and Myllar, u.s. See Specimens, u.s., p. 70.

Craft of Deyng, etc. Ed. Lumby (see note on p. 284).

Gau’s Richt Vay. Ed. Mitchell, A. F. S.T.S. 1888.

Gilbert of the Haye’s Prose Manuscript (A.D. 1456). Vol. I. The Buke of the Law of Armys, or Buke of Bataillis. Ed. J. H. Stevenson. S.T.S. 1901. See Specimens of Middle Scots, u.s., pp. 77–91, 293–4.

John of Ireland. Text not yet printed. See extracts in Specimens, u.s., pp. 92–101, 294.

Murdoch Nisbet. The New Testament in Scots (c. 1520). Ed. T. Graves Law. S.T.S. 3 vols. 1901–5. See Specimens, pp. 101–6, 294–5.

Schort Memoriale, The. Ed. Thomas Thomson. 1827.

Spectakle of Luf, The. Ed. Laing, Bannatyne Miscellany, II. See Specimens, u.s., pp. 17–20.

[For other prose works referred to at the conclusion of the chapter, see volume III of the present work.]