by Alexander Montgomerie (c1550 - 1598)

A bony No,” with smyling looks agane
Language: Scottish (Scots) 
A bony “No,” with smyling looks agane,
    I wald ye leirnd, sen they so comely ar.
As touching “Yes,” if ye suld speik so plane,
    I might reprove you to haif said so far.
    Noght that your grant in ony wayis micht gar
Me loth the fruit that curage ocht to chuse;
    Bot I wald only haif you seme to skar,
And let me tak it, fenzeing to refuse;

And warsill, as it war against your will,
    Appeiring angrie, thoght ye haif no yre:
For haif, ye heir, is haldin half a fill.
    I speik not this as trouing for to tyre;
    Bot as the forger, vhen he feeds his fyre,
With sparks of water maks it burne more bald;
    So sueet denyall doubillis bot desyr,
And quickins curage fra becomming cald.

Wald ye be made of, ye man mak it nyce;
    For dainties heir ar delicat and deir,
Bot plentie things ar prysde to litill pryce.
    Then, thoght ye hearken, let no wit ye heir,
    Bot look auay, and len thame ay your eir.
For, folou love, they say, and it will flie.
    Wald ye be lovd, this lessone mon ye leir;
Flie vhylome love, and it will folou thee.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Scottish Poetry of the Sixteenth Century, Edited by George Eyre-Todd, William Hodge & Co., Glasgow, 1891-96, Page 266.

Glossary gar = cause
skar = scare
fenzeing = feigning
warsill = wrestle
forger = smith
vhylome = for a time

Modernised version set by Scott

A bonnie ‘No’, with smiling looks again,
  I wald ye learn’d, sen they so comely are.
As touching ‘Yes’, if ye suld speak so plain,
  I might reprove you to have said so far.
  Nocht that your grant, in ony ways, micht gar
Me loathe the fruit that courage ocht to choose;
  But I wald only have you seem to skar,
And let me tak it, feigning to refuse;

And warsle, as it were against your will,
  Appearing angry, though ye have no ire:
For have, ye hear, is halden half a fill.
  I speak not this as trowing for to tire;
  But as the forger, when he feeds his fire,
With sparks of water maks it burn more bauld;
  So, sweet denial doubles but desire,
And quickens courage fra becoming cauld.

Wald ye be made of, ye maun mak it nice;
  For dainties here are delicate and dear,
Bot plenty things are priz’d to little price.
  Then, though ye hearken, let no wit ye hear,
  But look away, and len them aye your ear:
For, follow love, they say, and it will flee.
  Wald ye be lov’d, this lesson maun ye leir;
Flee whilom love, and it will follow thee.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Iain Sneddon [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2019-04-17
Line count: 24
Word count: 201