The adaptability of William Dunbar’s “Lament for the Makaris” tempts me. While one would struggle to find a way to end every stanza with “Timor mortis conturbat me”–not a contemporary phrase even when translated to: “I’m scared shitless of dying”–Dunbar is able to toss in a new stanza for every dead guy that happens to merrit his notice. From “noble Chaucer, of makaris flour” to “Gud Maister Walter Kennedy”, just toss in the corpse and beat out the rhyme.
On the other hand, except for those written for the living, I’ve never succeeded with the eulogies. (March 27, 2008)