Gateway to the Classics: Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 1 by Arthur Quiller-Couch
Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 1 by  Arthur Quiller-Couch


A! Fredome is a noble thing!

Fredome mays man to haiff liking;

Fredome all solace to man giffis,

He levis at ese that frely levis!

A noble hart may haiff nane ese,

Na ellys nocht that may him plese,

Gyff fredome fail'th; for fre liking

Is yharnit ouer all othir thing.

Na he that ay has livit fre

May nocht knaw well the propyrté,

The angyr, na the wretchit doom

That is couplit to foule thraldome.

But giff he had assayit it,

Than all perquer he suld it wit;

And suld think fredome mar to prise

Than all the gold in warld that is.

Thus contrar thingis evermar

Discoweringis of the tothir ar.

— John Barbour
d. 1395   

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