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cree of the Council of Constance, his bones were For he hath behulden the mekenesse of his handdisinterred and burnt, and the ashes thrown into a mayden: for lo for this alle generatiouns schulen seye brook. •This brook,' says Fuller, the church his- that I ain blessid. torian, in a passage which brings quaintuess to the For he that is mighti hath don to nie grete thingis, borders of sublimity, hath conveyed his ashes into and his name is holy. Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow And his mercy is fro kyndrede into kyndredis to seas, they into the main ocean: and thus the ashes men that dreden him. of Wickliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which He hath made myght in his arm, he scatteride is now dispersed all the world over.'

proude men with the thoughte of his herte. As a specimen of the language of Wickliffe, his He sette doun myghty men fro seete, and enhauntranslation of that portion of Scripture which con- side meke men. He hath fulfillid hungry men with tains the Magnificat, may be presented

goodis, and he has left riche men voide.

He heuynge mynde of his mercy took up Israel [The Magnificat.)

his child. And Marye seyde, My soul magnifieth the Lord. As he hath spokun to oure fadris, to Abraham, and And my spiryt hath gladid in God myn helthe. to his seed into worlds.

Second Period.

FROM 1400 TO 1558.

[graphic]

POETS.

walking in the adjacent garden. This lady, a daugh

ter of the Earl of Somerset, was afterwards married ZHILE such to the young king, whom she accompanied to Scotminds as Chaucer's

take shape, in some measure, from the state of learn

ing and civilisation which may prevail in their time, it is very clear that they are

never altogether created or brought into exercise by such circumstances. The rise of such men is the accident of nature, and whole ages may pass without producing them. From the death of Chaucer in 1400, nearly two hundred years elapsed in England, before any poet comparable to him arose, and yet those two centuries were more enlightened than the times of Chaucer. This long period, however, produced several poets not destitute of merit.

JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND. Among these was JAMES I. of Scotland, whose mind and its productions, notwithstanding his being a native of that country, must be considered as of English growth. James had been taken prisoner in his boyhood by Henry IV. of England, and spent the nineteen years preceding 1424 in that country, where he was instructed in all the learning and polite ac

James I of Scotland. complishments of the age, and appears, in particular, to have carefully st.died the writings of Chaucer. land. While in possession of his kingdom, he is The only certain pr duction of this young sovereign said to have written several poems descriptive of is a long poem, called The King's Quhair, or Book, humorous rustic scenes ; but these cannot be cerin which he describes the circumstances of an attach- tainly traced to him. He was assassinated at Perth ment which he forned, while a prisoner in Windsor in the year 1437, aged forty-two. Castle, to a young English princess whom he saw The King's Quhair contains poetry superior to

any besides that of Chaucer, produced in England Of her array the form if I shall write, before the reign of Elizabeth—as will be testified by Towards her golden hair and rich attire, the following verses :

In fretwise couchitl with pearlis white

And great balasa leaming as the fire, [James I., a Prisoner in Windsor, first secs Lady Jane With mony ane emeraut and fair sapphire; Beaufort, who afterwards was his Queen.]

And on her head a chaplet fresh of hue,
Bewailing in my chamber, thus alone,

Of plumis parted red, and white, and blue.
Despaired of all joy and remedy,
For-tired of my thought, and woe-begone,

Full of quaking spangis bright as gold,

Forged of shape like to the amorets,
And to the window gan I walk in hyl
To see the world and folk that went forbye, 2

So new, so fresh, so pleasant to behold,

The plumis eke like to the flower jonets,4 As, for the time, though I of mirthis food

And other of shape, like to the flower jonets ;
Might have no more, to look it did me good.

And above all this, there was, well I wot,
Now was there made, fast by the towris wall, Beauty enough to make a world to doat.
A garden fair; and in the corners set

About her neck, white as the fire amail,5
Ane arbour green, with wandis long and small

A goodly chain of small orferory,6 Railed about, and so with trees set

Whereby there hung a ruby, without fail, Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet,

Like to ane heart shapen verily, That lyf was none walking there forbye,

That as a spark of low, so wantonly That might within scarce any wight espy

Seemed burning upon her white throat, So thick the boughis and the leavis green

Now if there was good party, God it wot. Beshaded all the alleys that there were,

And for to walk that fresh May's morrow, And mids of every arbour might be seen

Ane hook she had upon her tissue white,
The sharpe greene sweete juniper,

That goodlier had not been seen to-forow,9
Growing so fair with branches here and there,
That as it seemed to a lyf without,

As I suppose ; and girt she was alite, lo
The boughis spread the arbour ..ll about.

Thus halflings loose for haste, to such delight

It was to see her youth in goodlihede, And on the smalle greene twistis3 sat,

That for rudeness to speak thereof I dread. The Little sweete nightingale, and sung

In her was youth, beauty, with humble aport, So loud and clear, the hymnis consecrat

Bounty, richess, and womanly feature, Of loris use, now soft, now loud among,

God better wot than my pen can report : That all the gardens and the wallis rung

Wisdon, largess, estate, and cunningll sure,
Right of their song.

In every point so guided her measure,
Cast I down mine eyes again,

In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance,
Where as I saw, walking under the tower,

That nature might no more her child avance !
Full secretly, new comen here to plain,
The fairist or the freshest younge flower

And when she walked had a little thraw
That erer I saw, methought, before that hour, Under the sweete greene boughis bent,
For which sudden abate, anon astart, 4

Her fair fresh face, as white as any snaw, The blood of all my body to my heart.

She turned has, and furth her wayis went ;

But tho began mine aches and torment, And though I stood abasit tho a lite,

To see her part and follow I na might;
No wonder was ; for why? my wittis all

Methought the day was turned into night.
Were so overcome with pleasance and delight,
Only through letting of my eyen fall,
That suddenly my heart became her thrall,
For ever of free will,—for of menace

JOHN THE CHAPLAIN, THOMAS OCCLEVE, a lawyer, There was no token in her sweete face.

and John LYDGATE, were the chief inmediate folAnd in my head I drew right hastily,

lowers of Chaucer and Gower. The performances And eftesoons I leant it out again,

of the two first are of little account. Lydgate, who And saw her walk that very womanly,

was a monk of Bury, flourished about the year 1430. With no wight mo', but only women twain.

His poetical compositions range over a great variety Then gan I study in myself, and sayn,6

of styles. His muse,' says Warton, was of uni• Ah, sweet ! are ye a worldly creature,

versal access; and he was not only the poet of the Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature ?

monastery, but of the world in general. If a dis

guising was intended by the company of guldsmiths, Or are ye god Cupidis own princess,

à mask before his majesty at Eltham, a Maygame And comin are to loose me out of band ?

for the sheriffs and aldermen of London, a mumming Or are ye very Nature the goddess,

before the Lord Mayor, a procession of pageants That have depainted with your heavenly hand,

from the Creation for the festival of Corpus Christi, This garden full of flowers as they stand ?

or a carol for the Coronation, Lydgate was consulted, What shall I think, alas ! what reverence

and gave the poetry. The principal works of this Shall I mister 7 unto your excellence ?

versatile writer are entitled, The History of Thebes, If ye a goddess be, and that ye like

The Fall of Princes, and The Destruction of Troy. He To do me pain, I may it not astart :8

had travelled in France and Italy, and studied the If ye be warldly wight, that doth me sike, 9

poetry of those countries; and though his own writWhy list 10 God make you so, my dearest heart, To do a seely 1 prisoner this smart,

1 Inlaid like fretwork. ? A kind of precious stone. That loves you all, and wot of nought but wo ?

8 Glittering.

4 A kind of lily. It is conjectured thal And therefore mercy, sweet ! sin' it is so.'

the royal poet may here allude covertly to the name of his mis

tress, which, in the diminutive, was Janet or Jonet.—Thom1 Haste. ? Past. 3 Twigs

4 Went and came. son's Edition of King's Quhair. Ayr, 1824. $ Confounded for a little while.

6 Enamel 6 Gold work. 7 Flame. 8 Match. 9 Makes me sigh. 10 Pleased. 11 Wretched. 9 Before.

11 Knowledge.

87

JOHN LYDGATE.

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6 Say.

7 Minister.

8 Fly.

10 Slightly.

ings contain only a few good passages, he is allowed One bade me buy a hood to cover my head ;
to have improved the poetical language of the coun- But, for want of money, I might not be sped.
try. He at one time kept a school in his monastery, Then I hied me unto East-Cheap,
for the instruction of young persons of the upper One cries ribs of beef, and many a pie ;
ranks in the art of versification; a fact which proves Pewter pots they clattered on a heap;
that poetry had become a favourite study among the

There was harp, pipe, and minstrelsy ; few who acquired any tincture of letters in that age.

Yea by cock ! nay by cock ! some began cry; In the words of Mr Warton, “ there is great soft- Soine sung of Jenkin and Julian for their meed; ness and facility” in the following passage of Lyd- But, for lack of money, I might not speed. gate's Destruction of Troy :

Then into Cornhill anon I yode, [Description of a Sylvan Retreat.]

Where was much stolen gear among ; Till at the last, among the bowes glade,

I saw where hung mine owne hood, Of adventure, I caught a pleasant shade ;

That I had lost among the throng ; Full smooth, and plain, and lusty for to seen,

To buy my own hood I thought it wrong : And soft as velvet was the yonge green :

I knew it well, as I did my creed ; Where from my horse I did alight as fast,

But, for lack of money, I could not speed. And on the bow aloft his reine cast.

The taverner took me by the sleeve, So faint and mate of weariness I was,

"Sir,' saith he,' will you our wine assay ! That I me laid adown upon the grass,

I answered, “That can not much me grieve, Upon a brinke, shortly for to tell,

A penny can do no more than it may ;' Beside the river of a crystal well;

I drank a pint, and for it did pay ;
And the water, as I reherse can,

Yet, sore a-hungered from thence I yede,
Like quicke silver in his streams y-ran, And, wanting money, I could not specd, &c.
Of which the gravel and the brighte stone,
As any gold, against the sun y-shone.

The reigns of Edward IV., Richard III., and Henry

VII., extending between the years 1461 and 1509, A fugitive poem of Lydgate, called the London Lyck- were barren of true poetry, though there was no penny, is curious for the particulars it gives respect- lack of obscure versifiers. It is remarkable, that ing the city of London in the early part of the this period produced in Scotland a race of genuine fifteenth century. The poet has come to town in poets, who, in the words of Mr Warton, displayed search of legal redress for some wrong, and visits, in a degree of sentiment and spirit, a command of phrasuccession, the King's Bench, the Court of Common seology, and a fertility of imagination, not to be Pleas, the Court of Chancery, and Westminster found in any English poet since Chaucer and LydHall.

gate.' Perhaps the explanation of this seeming The London Lyckpenny.

mystery is, that the influences which operated upon

Chaucer a century before, were only now coming Within the hall, neither rich, nor yet poor

with their full force upon the less favourably situWould do for me ought, although I should die : ated nation which dwelt north of the Tweed. OverWhich seeing, I gat me out of the door,

looking some obscurer names, those of Henryson, Where Flemings began on me for to cry,

Dunbar, and Douglas, are to be mentioned with • Master, what will you copen' or buy?

peculiar respect. Fine felt hats ? or spectacles to read ? Lay down your silver, and here you may speed.'

ROBERT HENRYSON. Then to Westminster gate I presently went,

Of this poet there are no personal memorials, When the sun was at high prime :

except that he was a schoolmaster at Dunfermline, Cooks to me they took good intent, 2

and died some time before 1508. His principal poem And proffered me bread, with ale, and wine, is The Testament of Cresseid, being a sequel to Ribs of beef, both fat and full fine ;

Chaucer's romantic poem, Troylics and Cresseide. A fair cloth they gan for to spread,

He wrote a series of fables, thirteen in number, and But, wanting money, I might not be sped.

some miscellaneous poems, chiefly of a moral cha

racter. One of his fables is the common story of Then unto London I did me hie, Of all the land it beareth the price ;

the Town Mouse and Country Mouse, which he treats

with much humour and characteristic description, ‘Hot peascods ! one began to cry, Strawberry ripe, and cherries in the rise !'3

and concludes with a beautifully expressed moral. One bade me come near and buy some spice ; [Dinner given by the Town Mouse to the Country Mouse.] Pepper, and saffron they gan me beed ;4

their harboury was tane But, for lack of money, I might not speed.

Intill a spence, where victual was plenty, Then to the Cheap I gan me drawn,

Baith cheese and butter on lang shelves richt hie, Where much people I saw for to stand ;

With fish and flesh enough, baith fresh and salt, One offered me velvet, silk, and lawn,

And pockis full of groats, baith meal and malt. Another he taketh me by the hand,

After, when they disposit were to dine, • Here is Paris thread, the finest in the land !

Withouten grace they wuish? and went to meat, I never was used to such things, indeed ;

On every dish that cookmen can divine, And, wanting money, I might not speed.

Mutton and beef stricken out in telyies grit ; Then went I forth by London Stone,

Ane lordis fare thus can they counterfeit, Throughout all Canwick Street :

Except ane thing-they drank the water clear Drapers much cloth me offered anon ;

Instead of wine, but yet they made gude cheer. Then comes me one cried hot sheep's feet;' With blyth upcast and merry countenance, One cried mackerel, rushes green, another gan greet, The elder sister then spier'd at her guest,

Gif that sho thoucht by reason difference 1 Koopen, (Flem.) is to buy. 2 Took notice ; paid attention.

Betwixt that chalmer and her sairy? nest. 8 On the twig. 4 Offer. 6 A fragment of

* Yea, dame,' quoth sho, 'but how lang will this last ! London stone is still preserved in Cannon Street, formerly

1 Washed. raMed Canwick, or Candlewick Street.

38

6 Cry.

2 Sorry

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'For erermair, I wait, and langer too ;
"Gif that be true, ye are at ease,' quoth sho.
To eik the cheer, in plenty furth they broucht
A plate of groatis and a dish of meal,
A threif? of cakes, I trow sho spared them noucht,
Abundantly about her for to deal.

Furiage full fine sho broucht instead of jeil, "! A white candle out of a coffer staw,

Instead of spice, to creish their teeth witha'.
Thus made they merry, while they micht nae mair,
And, 'Hail Yule, bail!' they cryit up on hie ;
But after joy aftentimes comes care,
And trouble after grit prosperity.
Thus as they sat in all their solity,
The Spenser cam with keyis in his hand,
Opened the door, and them at dinner fand.
They tarried not to wash, as I suppose,
But on to gae, wha micht the foremost win ;
The burgess had a hole and in sho goes,
Her sister had nae place to hide her in;
To see that silly mouse it was great sin,
Sae desolate and wild of all gude rede,
For very fear sho fell in swoon, near dead.
Then as God wald it fell in happy case,

The Spenser had nae leisure for to bide,
i Nowther to force, to seek, nor scare, nor chase,

But on he went and cast the door up-wide.
This burgess mouse his passage weel has spied.
Out of her hole sho cam and cried on hie,

How, fair sister, cry peep, where'er thou be.'
The rural mouse lay flatlings on the ground,
And for the deid sho was full dreadand,3
For till her heart strake mony waeful stound,
As in a fever trembling foot and hand ;
And when her sister in sic plight her fand,
For very pity sho began to greet,
Syne comfort gave, with words as honey sweet.
"Why lie ye thus ? Rise up, my sister dear,
Come to your meat, this peril is o'erpast.'
The other answered with a heavy cheer,
I may nought eat, sae sair I am aghast.
Levert I had this forty dayis fast,
With water kail, and green beans and peas.
Then all your feast with this dread and disease.
With fair ’treaty, yet gart she her rise ;
To board they went, and on together sat,
But scantly had they drunken anes or twice,
When in cam Gib Hunter, our jolly cat,
And bade God speed. The burgess up then gat,
And till her hole she fled as fire of Aint ;
Bawdrons the other by the back has hent.
Frae foot to foot he cast her to and frae,
While up, while down, as cant as only kid ;
While wald he let her run under the strae
While wald he wink and play with her buik-hid ;
Thus to the silly mouse great harm he did ;
While at the last, through fair fortune and hap,
Betwixt the dresser and the wall she crap.
Syne up in haste behind the paneling,
Sae hie sho clam, that Gilbert might not get her,
And by the cluiks craftily can hing,
Till he was gane, her cheer was all the better :
Syne down sho lap, when there was nane to let her ;
Then on the burgess mouth loud couth sho cry,
• Fareweel sister, here I thy feast defy.
Thy mangery is mingets all with care,
Thy guise is gude, thy gane-full sour as gall;
The fashion of thy feris is but fair,
80 shall thou find hereafterward may fall.
I thank yon curtain, and yon parpane wall,

• Suppose. ? A set of twenty-four.
3 She was in fear of immediate death. 4 Rather. 6 Mixed.

Of my defence now frae yon cruel beast ;
Almighty God, keep me fra sic a feast !
Were I into the place that I cam frae,
For weel nor wae I should ne'er come again.'
With that sho took her leave, and forth can gae,
While through the corn, while through the plain.
When she was furth and free she was right fain,
And merrily linkit unto the muir,
I cannot tell how afterward sho fúre.
But I heard syne she passit to her den,
As warm as woo', suppose it was not grit,
Full beinly stuffit was baith butt and ben,
With peas and nuts, and beans, and rye and wheat;
Whene'er sho liked, sho had enough of meat,
In quiet and ease, withouten [ony) dread,
But till her sister's feast nae mair sho gaed.

[From the Moral.]
Blissed be simple life, withouten dreid ;
Blissed be sober feast in quieté ;
Wha bas eneuch of no more has he neid,
Though it be little into quantity.
Grit abundance, and blind prosperity,
Oft timis make ane evil conclusion;
The sweetest life, theirfor, in this country,
Is of sickerness, with small possession.

The Garment of Good Ladies.
Would my good lady love me best,

And work after my will,
I should a garment goodlicst

Gar make her body till.
Of high honoùr should be her hood,

Upon her head to wear,
Gamish'd with governance, so good

Na deeming should her deir.
Her sark3 should be her body next,

Of chastity so white :
With shame and dread together mixt,

The same should be perfyte.
Her kirtle should be of clean constance,

Lacit with lesum5 love ;
The mailies6. of continuance,

For never to remove.
Her gown should be of goodliness,

Well ribbon'd with renown ;
Purfilld 7 with pleasure in ilk8 placo,

Furrit with fine fashioùn.
Her belt should be of benignity,

About her middle meet ;
Her mantle of humility,

To thole 9 both wind and weit. 10
Her hat should be of fair having,

And her tippet of truth;
Her patelet of good pansing, 11

Her hals-ribbon of ruth.12
Her sleeves should be of esperance,

To keep her fra despair :
Her glovis of good governance,

To hide her fingers fair.
Her shoen should be of sickerness,

In sign that she not slide ;
Her hose of honesty, I guess,

I should for her provide. 1 Cause to be made to her shape. 2 No opinion should injure her.

3 Shift. 4 Perfect. 5 Lawful. 6 Eyelet-holes for lacing her kirtle. 7 Parfilé (French), fringed, or bordered. 8 Each. I Endure.

10 Wet 11 Thinking. 12 Her neck ribbon of pity.

WILLIAM DUNBAR.

Would she put on this garment gay,

allegorical poems are the Thistle and the Rose (a I durst swear by my seill,

triumphant nuptial song for the union of James and That she wore never green nor gray

the Princess Margaret), the Dance, and the Golden That seta her half so weel.

Terge ; but allegory abounds in many others, which do not strictly fall within this class. Perhaps the most remarkable of all his poems is one of those

here enumerated, the Dance. It describes a procesWILLIAM DUNBAR, a poet,' says Sir Walter Scott,

sion of the seven deadly sins in the infernal regions, unrivalled by any that Scotland has ever produced, flourished at the court of James IV., at and for strength and vividness of painting, would the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the six-stand a comparison with any poem in the language. teenth centuries. His works, with the exception of The most

solemn and impressive of the more ex

clusively moral poems of Dunbar, is one in which he one or two pieces, were confined, for above two centuries, to an obscure manuscript, from which they sides in a debate on earthly and spiritual affections,

represents a thrush and nightingale taking opposite were only rescued when their language had become the thrush ending every speech or stanza with a so antiquated, as to render the world insensible in a recommendation of a lústy life in Love's service,' great measure to their many excellencies. To no other and the nightingale with the more melodious declacircumstance can we attribute the little justice that ration, All Love is lost but upon God alone.' is done by popular fame to this highly-gifted poet, There is, however, something more touching to comwho was alike master of every kind of verse, the solemn, the descriptive, the sublime, the comic, and mon feelings in the less laboured verses in which he the satirical. Having received his education at the moralises on the brevity of existence, the shoriness university of St Andrews, where, in 1479, he took and uncertainty of all ordinary enjoyments, and the the degree of master of arts, Dunbar became a friar wickedness and woes of mankind. of the Franciscan order (Grey Friars), in which ca

This wavering warld's wretchedness pacity he travelled for some years not only in Scot

The failing and fruitless business, land, but also in England and France, preaching, as The misspent time, the service vain, was the custom of the order, and living by the alms

For to consider is ane pain. of the pious, a mode of life which he himself acknowledges to have involved a constant exercise of false The sliding joy, the gladness short, hood, deceit, and flattery. In time, he had the grace, The feigned love, the false comfort, or was enabled by circumstances, to renounce this The sweir abade, the slightful train, sordid profession. It is supposed, from various al

For to consider is ane pain. lusions in his writings, that, from about the year

The suggared mouths, with minds therefra, 1491 to 1500, he was occasionally employed by the

The figured speech, with faces tway ; king (James IV.) in some subordinate, but not un

The pleasing tongues, with hearts unplain, important capacity, in connexion with various fo

For to consider is ane pain. reign embassies, and that he thus visited Germany, Italy, Spain, and France, besides England and Ire- Or, in another poemland. He could not, in such a life, fail to acquire

Evermair unto this warld's joy, much of that knowledge of mankind which forms so

As nearest heir, succeeds annoy; important a part of the education of the poet. In

Therefore when joy may not remain, 1500, he received from the king a pension of ten pounds, afterwards increased to twenty, and finally

His very heir, succeedés Pain, to eighty. He is supposed to have been employed He is, at the same time, by no means disposed habituby James in some of the negotiations preparatory to ally to take gloomy or desponding views of life. He his marriage with the Princess Margaret, daughter has one poem, of which each stanza ends with ‘For of Henry VII., which took place in 1503. For some

to be blyth methink it best.' In another, he advises, years ensuing, he seems to have lived at court, re- since life is so uncertain, that the good things of this galing his royal master with his poetical composi- world should be rationally enjoyed while it is yet tions, and probably also his conversation, the charms possible. Thine awn gude spend,' says he, while of which, judging from his writings, must have been thou has space. There is yet another, in which very great. It is sad to relate of one who possessed these Horatian maxims are still more pointedly so buoyant and mirthful a spirit, that his life was enforced, and from this we shall select a few not, as far as we can judge, a happy one. He ap- stanzas :pears to have repined greatly at the servile courtlife which he was condemned to lead, and to have Be merry, man, and tak not sair in mind longed anxiously for some independent source of in The wavering of this wretched world of sorrow; come. Amongst his poems, are many containing To God be humble, to thy friend be kind, nothing but expressions of solicitude on this subject. And with thy neighbours gladly lend and borrow; He survived the year 1517, and is supposed to have His chance to-night, it may be thine to-morrow; died about 1520, at the age of sixty; but whether Be blyth in hearte for my aventure, he ultimately succeeded in obtaining preferment, is For oft with wise men it has been said aforow, not known. His writings, with scarcely any excep- Without Gladness availes no Treasure. tion, remained in the obscurity of manuscript till the beginning of the last century; but his fame has Make thee gude cheer of it that God thee sends, been gradually rising since then, and it was at

For warld's wrak but welfare3 nought avails; length, in 1834, so great as to justify a complete Nae gude is thine save only that thou spends, edition of his works, by Mr David Laing..

Remanant all thou bruikes but with bails ;The poems of Dunbar may be said to be of three

Seek to solace when sadness thee assails; classes, the Allegorical, the Moral, and the Comic; In dolour lang thy life may not endure, besides which there is a vast number of productions

Wherefore of comfort set up all thy sails; composed on occasions affecting himself, and which Without Gladness availes no Treasure. may therefore be called personal poems. His chief

1 Delay.

2 Snare. 3 World's trash without health * Injuries.

1 Salyı tion.

? Became.

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