Sally Evans

(1942 / London)

Lyndsay's Pageant [Stirling Castle]


Sir David Lyndsay gives the clue,
herald and diplomat, poet who drew
plans for the pageant in '35
when Magdalene of France was still alive,
the new young wife of Scotland's King.

Excitement reigned, though not Stirling
but Edinburgh would host the plays
and pageants. We prepared to raise
wooden hoardings layered with azure
and gold, for a princess' pleasure.

But alas, that actor Death,
jealous of every happy breath
crept on the scene and took her hand
and black and grey engulfed the land.
Sir David Lyndsay folds his plans.

The thought of folk on every hand
in numbers on the Royal Mile,
free wine, free fountains, raises smiles
even in grief. They were to dress
as gods and heroes, at a guess,

forty or sixty braw tableaus.
Lyndsay's word 'disagysit' shows
how actors and guisers would be there,
in mood of happiness, to share
such atmosphere of life and frolic.

Death takes the pageant as he took
the poets listed in Dunbar's book,
but Lyndsay pennned his fine lament
of Magdalene before he went,
and told us what he had intended.

The King's fortunes were soon mended.
Again he brings a Queen to wealth,
tapestry, painting, show and pelf
and this time, wooden plaques depict
the welcome pageant death had kicked

from Edinburgh. Now for all time
thanks to Lyndsay's power of rhyme,
the people's memory and tales,
the Castle's strength against all gales,
political, religious, real,

we have these pictures of the zeal
with which the Scots welcomed their Queen,
the pageant that was never seen
in Edinburgh, with all its feeling,
colours and truth, here on this ceiling.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Edited: Sunday, September 11, 2011

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