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DIMEV 4912
IMEV 3151
NIMEV 3151
Sith through virtue increases dignity
God’s Span for Man’s Inch, attributed to James I of Scotland — 3 stanzas rhyme royal‘The Ballad of Good Counsel’, attributed to James I of Scotland — 3 stanzas rhyme royal
Author(s): James I, king of Scotland (attrib.); James I, king of Scotland (attrib.)
Title(s): God’s Span for Man’s Inch
Subjects: advice, political; political poems
Versification: — seven-line — ababbcc



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Kk.1.5, Part VI, f. 5
First Lines:
Sen trew vertew encresses dignytee
and wertew floure and rut is of noblay…
Last Lines:
…kep thi behest one to thi lord and thane
ffore ilk ynch he wyll the quyt a spane
Note: Stanzas 1 and 3 only.
Editions:
Lumby, Joseph Rawson, ed. Ratis Raving, and other Moral and Religious Pieces in prose and verse. EETS o.s. 43 (1870); repr. 1973: 119, 10-11.
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Kingis Quaire, together with a Ballad of Good Counsel. Scottish Text Society 1 (1884); 2nd ed., rev., Scottish Text Society n.s. 1. Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1911: 51-4.
Stevenson, Joseph. The Scottish Metrical Romance of Lancelot du Lak. Maitland Club 48. Edinburgh, 1839: 171.
Ritchie, W. Tod, ed. The Bannatyne Manuscript. 4 parts in 4 vols. Scottish Text Society 3rd ser. 5 (1928); n.s. 22 (1928); n.s. 23 (1930); n.s. 26 (1934) Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1928-34; ed. by Ritchie et al: 2.145.
Cohen, Helen Louise. The Ballade. New York: Columbia UP, 1915: 296.
Brown, Carleton Fairchild, ed. Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century. Oxford: Clarendon, 1939: 290-1.
Lawson, Alexander, ed. The Kingis Quair and The Quare of Jelusy. London: Black, 1910: 102-3.
Girvan, Ritchie, ed. Ratis raving, and other early Scots poems on morals. Scottish Text Society 3rd ser. 11. Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1939: 176.
2.Source: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 [Bannatyne MS], ff. 58v-59
First Lines:
Sen throw vertew incressis dignitie
and vertew is floure & rute of nobill ray…
Last Lines:
…And keip thy faith thow aw to god and man
And for ilk inche he will the quyt a span
Note: Stanzas 1 and 3 only.
Facsimiles:
Fox, Denton, and William A. Ringler. The Bannatyne Manuscript: National Library of Scotland Advocates’ MS. 1.1.6 London: Scolar Press, in Association with The National Library of Scotland, 1980.
Editions:
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Kingis Quaire, together with a Ballad of Good Counsel. Scottish Text Society 1 (1884); 2nd ed., rev., Scottish Text Society n.s. 1. Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1911: 51-4.
Murdoch, James Barclay. The Bannatyne Manuscript. 4 vols. in 11 parts, paged continuously. Hunterian Club 16, 32, 40, 46, 50, 55-56, 64-67 Glasgow: Anderson, 1873-1896: 15-60.



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 2996.7. [Wedderburn, John], Ane co[m]pendious [buik] of godlie psalmes and spirit[uall sangis] collectit furthe of sindrie pa[rtis of] Scripture…With [aug]mentation of sindrie…ballatt[is] not contenit in th[e] first editioun, [1578] , p. 202
Transcription:
Sen throw vertew Incressis dignitie
And vertew is flour and rute of Nobles ay
Of ony wit or quhat estait thow be,
His steppis follow, and dreid for none effray:
Eiect vice and follow treuth alway
Lufe maist thy God that first thy lufe began
And for ilk Inche he will quyre the ane span.

Be not ouir proude in thy propseritie
For as it cummis, sa wil it pas away,
The tyme to compt to schort thow may weill se,
For of grene gres sone cummis wallowit hay
Labour in treuth, quhilk suith is of thy fay
Traist maist in God,for he best gyde the can
And for ilk Inche he will the quyte ane span.

Sen word is thrall and thocht is only fre,
Thow dant thy toung, that power hes and mey,
Thow steik thy ene fra warldis vanitie
Refraine thy lust, and harkin quhat I say
Graip or thow slyde, and keip furth the hie way,
Thow hald the fast vpon thy god and man
And for ilk Inche he will the quyte ane span.
FINIS
Quod King Iames the first
Editions:
Irving, David. History of Scottish Poetry. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1861: 152 (from 1621 edition).
Laing, David. A compendius book of Psalms…commonly known as The Gude and Godlie Ballates. Edinburgh: Paterson, 1868; orig. published Edinburgh: Ros, 1578; repr. Mitchell, 1897: 202.
Eyre-Todd, George. Mediaeval Scottish Poetry. Abbotsford Series of the Scottish Poets. Glasgow: W. Hodge, 1892: 75.
Fitzgibbon, Henry Macaulay. Early English and Scottish Poetry. London, New York, and Melbourne: White, 1888: 87.
Mitchell, Alexander Ferrier, ed. A Compendious Book of Godly and Spiritual Songs commonly known as ‘The Gude and Godlie Ballatis’. Scottish Text Society 39. Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1897; cf. Laing (1868): 238-9.
Neilson, William Allan, and Kenneth Grant Tremaye Webster. Chief British Poets of the 14th and 15th Centuries London: Dent; and New York: Dutton, 1916: 360 (from 1621 edition).
Lumby, Joseph Rawson, ed. Ratis Raving, and other Moral and Religious Pieces in prose and verse. EETS o.s. 43 (1870); repr. 1973: 119, 10-11.
Lawson, Alexander, ed. The Kingis Quair and The Quare of Jelusy. London: Black, 1910: 102, 103.
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Kingis Quaire, together with a Ballad of Good Counsel. Scottish Text Society 1 (1884); 2nd ed., rev., Scottish Text Society n.s. 1. Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1911: 51-4.