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James sought to found the basis of his power on the affections of his people. He attached the lower orders to him by the reformation of abuses, the temperate and equitable administration of justice, the encouragement of the arts of peace, and the promotion of every thing that could diffuse comfort, competency, and innocent enjoyment through the humblest ranks of society. He mingled occasionally among the common people in disguise; visited their firesides; entered into 78 their cares, their pursuits, and their amusements; informed himself of their mechanical arts, and how they could best be patronized and improved; and was thus an all-pervading spirit, watching with a benevolent eye over the meanest of his subjects. Having in this generous manner made himself strong 79 in the hearts of the common people, he turned himself to curb the power of the factious nobility; to strip them of those dangerous immunities which they had usurped; to punish such as had been guilty of flagrant offences; and to bring the whole into proper obedience to the crown. For some time they bore this with outward submission, but secret impatience and brooding resentment. A conspiracy was at length formed against his life, at the head of which was his own uncle, Robert Stewart, Earl of Athol, who, being too old himself for the perpetration of the deed of blood, instigated his grandson, Sir Robert Stewart, together with Sir Robert Graham, and others of less note, to commit the deed. They broke into his bedchamber at the Dominican Convent, near Perth, where he was residing, and barbarously murdered him by oft-repeated wounds. His faithful queen rushing to throw her tender body between him and the sword, was twice wounded in the ineffectual attempt to shield him from the assassin 80; and it was not until she had been forcibly torn from his person, that the murder was accomplished 81.
It was the recollection of this romantic tale of former times, and of the golden little poem which had its birthplace in this tower, that made me visit the old pile with more than common interest. The suit of armour hanging up in the hall, richly gilt
78) to enter into = eingehen in, theilnehmen an.
80) assássin Meuchelmörder, fr. assassin, entstammt aus d. arab. haschischin, dem Namen einer muhammedanischen Seete im 11. Jahrhundert, deren Mitglieder, durch einen aus indischem Hanf bereiteten Trank (Haschisch) berauscht, jeden von ibrem Oberhaupt ihnen aufgetragenen Mord verübten.
81) Zu dem Geschichtlichen vergl. Sir Walter Scott, Tales of a Grandfather, herausgeg. v. E. Pfundheller, Capit. IX.
and embellished as if to figure in the tournay, brought the image of the gallant and romantic prince vividly before my imagination. I paced the deserted chambers where he had composed his poem; I leaned upon the window, and endeavoured to persuade myself it was the very one where he had been visited by his vision; I looked out upon the spot where he had first seen the Lady Jane. It was the same genial and joyous month; the birds were again vying with each other in strains of liquid melody; every thing was bursting into vegetation, and budding forth the tender promise of the year. Time, which delights to obliterate the sterner memorials of human pride, seems to have passed lightly over this little scene of poetry and love, and to have withheld his desolating hand. Several centuries are gone by, yet the garden still flourishes at the foot of the tower. It occupies what was once the moat of the keep; and though some parts have been separated by dividing walls, yet others have still their arbours and shaded walks, as in the days of James, and the whole is sheltered, blooming, and retired. There is a charm about a spot that has been printed by the footsteps of departed beauty, and consecrated by the inspirations of the poet, which is heightened, rather than impaired, by the lapse of ages. It is, indeed, the gift of poetry to hallow every place in which it moves; to breathe round nature an odour more exquisite than the perfume of the rose, and to shed over it a tint more magical than the blush of morning.
Others ‘may dwell on the illustrious deeds of James as a warrior and a legislator; but I have delighted to view him merely as the companion of his fellow-men, the benefactor of the human heart, stooping from his high estate to sow the sweet flowers of poetry and song in the paths of common life. He was the first to cultivate the vigorous and hardy plant of Scottish genius, which has since become so prolific of the most wholesome and highly flavoured fruit. He carried with him into the sterner regions of the north all the fertilizing arts of southern refinement. He did every thing in his power to win his countrymen to the gay, the elegant, and gentle arts, which soften and refine the character of a people, and wreathe a grace round the loftiness of a proud and warlike spirit. He wrote many poems, which, unfortunately for the fulness of his fame, are now lost to the world; one, which is still preserved, called „Christ's Kirk of the Green“82, shows how diligently he had made
82Vergl. Chambers's Cyclop. of Engl. Literat., Part I, p. 39: „Two humorous Scottisch poems are also ascribed to him – Christis
himself acquainted with the rustic sports and pastimes, which constitute such a source of kind and social feeling among the Scottish peasantry; and with what simple and happy humour he could enter into their enjoyments. He contributed greatly to improve the national music; and traces of his tender sentiment, and elegant taste, are said to exist in those witching airs, still piped among the wild mountains and lonely glens of Scotland. He has thus connected his image with whatever is most gracious and endearing in the national character; he has embalmed his memory in song, and floated his name to after-ages in the rich stream of Scottish melody. The recollection of these things was kindling at my heart, as I paced the silent scene of his imprisonment. I have visited Vaucluse 88 with as much enthusiasm as a pilgrim would visit the shrine at Loretto 84; but I have never felt more poetical devotion than when contemplating the old tower and the little garden at Windsor, and musing over the romantic loves of the Lady Jane and the Royal Poet of Scotland.
hirk on the Grene, and Peblis (Peebles, Hauptstadt der südschottischen Grafschaft Peebles (Tweeddale), von Alters her ein Versammlungsort der schottischen Bogenschützen) to the Play, both descriptive of rustic sports and pastimes, and the former ridiculing the Scottish want of skill in archery. They are excellent though coarse, humorous poems. The claim of James to the authorship of either bas, however, been disputed, though it seems supported -- at least in the case of Christis Kirk on the Grene — by good testimony. The style has certainly a more modern cast than would be looked for, but no claimant more probable than James I. has yet been named“.
88) Vaucluse (lat. vallis clausa), Dorf im arrondissem. Avignon, départem. Vaucluse im südöstl, Frankreich, in einem wildromantischen Felsenthale gelegen, berühmt durch den Aufenthalt Petrarcas (1304– 1374), der die Reize der Umgebung in seinen Sonetten feierte. Unweit davon ist die von dem Dichter viel besungene, eine schöne Cascade bildende Fontaine de Vaucluse, die Quelle der Sorgues.
84) Loretto, Stadt im Königreich Italien, Provinz Macerata, ungefähr 3 Meilen südlich von Ancona und 1 Stunde von der adriat. Küste, hat unter der Kuppel seiner Hauptkirche das „heilige Haus“ (casa santa). Dieses 32 Fuss lange, 13 Fuss breite und 19 Fuss hohe Haus soll dasjenige sein, welches Maria zu Nazareth bewohnte, und welches nach der Legende Engel 1291 nach Tersat (bei Fiume, am Golf von Quarnero), von da 1295 in einen Wald bei Recanati (in der Nähe von Loretto) und endlich einige Monate später an den jetzigen Ort gebracht haben sollen.
THE COUNTRY CHURCH.
- A gentleman!
Shepherd's Bush4. THERE are few places more favourable to the study of character than an English country church. I was once passing a few weeks at the seat of a friend, who resided in the vicinity of one, the appearance of which particularly struck my fancy. It was one of those rich morsels of quaint antiquity which give such a peculiar charm to English landscape. It stood in the midst of a country filled with ancient families, and contained, within its cold and silent aisles, the congregated dust of many noble generations. The interior walls were incrusted with monuments of every age and style. The light streamed through windows dimmed with armorial bearings, richly emblazoned in stained glass. In various parts of the church were tombs of knights, and high-born dames, of gorgeous workmanship, with their effigies in coloured marble. On every side the eye was struck with some instance of aspiring mortality; some haughty memorial which human pride had erected over its kindred dust, in this temple of the most humble of all religions.
The congregation was composed of the neighbouring people of rank, who sat in pews, sumptuously lined and cushioned, and furnished with richly gilded prayer-books; of the villagers and peasantry, who filled the back-seats, and a small gallery beside the organ; and of the poor of the parish, who were ranged on benches in the aisles.
1) chest Kiste, Kasten, Brustkasten v. lat. cista, gr. xlorn. .
2, lists of velvet = Sammetstreifen; list zu ahd. lîsta, nhd. Leiste, schon altengl. liste Tuchstreifen.
3) gentry hier in dem veralteten Sinne „hoher Stand, vornehme Abkunft, Vornehmheit“, vergl. Shaksp., Coriolan Act III, Scene 1: gentry, title, wisdom. Ueber die moderne Bedeutung von gentry vergl. S. 75, Aom. 34.
4) Von Beaumont und Fletcher, vergl. S. 93, Adm. 42.
b) aisle (spr ile) Seitenschiff einer Kirche v. d. altfr. aisle, neufr. aile v. lat. ala Flügel.
Irving, The Sketch Book.
The service was performed by a snuffling, well-fed vicar, who had a snug dwelling, near the church. He was a privileged guest at all the tables of the neighbourhood, and had been the keenest fox-hunter in the country; until age and good living bad disabled him from doing any thing more than ride to see the hounds throw off, and make one' at the hunting dinner.
Under the ministry of such a pastor, I found it impossible to get into the train of thought suitable to the time and place: so having, like many other feeble Christians, compromised with my conscience, by laying the sin of my own delinquency at another person's threshold, I occupied myself by making observations on my neighbours.
I was as yet a stranger in England, and curious to notice the manners of its fashionable classes. I found, as usual, that there was the least pretension where there was the most acknowledged title to respect. I was particularly struck, for instance, with the family of a nobleman of high rank, consisting of several sons and daughters. Nothing could be more simple and unassuining than their appearance. They generally came to church in the plainest equipage, and often on foot. The young ladies 'would stop and converse in the kindest manner with the peasantry, 'caress the children, and listen to the stories of the humble cottagers. Their countenances were open and beautifully fair, with an expression of high refinement, but, at the same time, a frank cheerfulness, and an engaging affability. Their brothers were tall, and elegantly formed. They were dressed fashionably, but simply'; with strict neatness and propriety, but without any mannerism or foppishness. Their whole demeaņour was easy and natural, with that lofty grace and noble frankness, which bespeak free-born souls that have never been checked in their growth by feelings of inferiority. There is a healthful hardiness about real dignity, that never dreads contact and communion with others, however humble. It is only spurious pride that is morbid and sensitive, and shrinks from every touch. I was pleased to see the manner in which they would converse with the peasantry about those rural concerns and field-sports, in which the gentlemen of this country so much delight. In these conversations, there was neither haughtiness on the one part, nor servility on the other; and you were only
7) to make one = mit dabei seio, theilnehmen. 8) beautifully fair dtsch. etwa: von lichter Schönheit. 9) refinement = Eleganz.