Final stanza of rima liii

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Dunbar gloats in the virtues of Margaret; only in the first stanza he repeatedly calls her “fair”, “pleasant”, “preclare” and “lusty”, and throughout the whole poem he continues on the same line. On verse 7 there is an alliteration, a repetition of the sound

“f” that underlines the words that furtherly glorify the princess: “freshe fragrant floure of fayrehede shene”. This ornamental language re-appears on verse 9: “swet lusty lusum lady clere”, which basically addresses the fairness of the girl. Not contempt with this, Dunbar also praises her parents, the kings of England, now related to the Crown of Scotland, on verses 10 and 11 (“Most mighty kyngis dochter dere, / Borne of a princes most serene). Another way of addressing the future queen, on verse 13, “Rose bothe rede and whyte”, refers to the symbol of the Tudors. The Wars of the Roses had confronted the two English Houses of Lancaster and York for years. When Henry VII, a Lancaster, arrived to the throne, he married Elizabeth of York and put an end to the confrontation. The symbol of their new dynasty, the Tudors, unified the Red Rose of Lancaster and the White Rose of York.

Since the arrival of these Renaissance monarchs, vernacular languages were promoted, because the strong monarchs were a symbol of nationalistic pride. Our text is written in Middle English, with certain characteristics such as the use of “y” instead of “i” and the final “e” (line 1: “fayre” for “fair”). However, it is written in the so-called aureate language, which means that it contains sophisticated words only used in poetry. There are elements borrowed from French (verse 7: “flour”, nowadays “flower”) and from Latin (verse 10: “dere”, nowadays “dear”). The verses rhyme and are organised in stanzas, with a chorus at the end of each of them: “Welcome of Scotland to be queen!” (in modern English), which produces a repetition that underlines the supposed positive attitude of the Scots towards Princess Margaret.


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