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Good hroth and good kecping do much now and then :
Morat Reflection on the Wind.
lofty ships leave anchor in mud,
SCOTTISH POETS. The difference between the English and Scottish languages has now become decided. In Barbour and Wyntoun, the variation is very slight; but before another century had elapsed, the northern dialect was a separate and independent speech. This distinction had probably existed long before in the spoken language of the people; but it was only developed in poetry in the writings of Henryson, Dunbar, and Lyndsay. The Anglo-Saxon element predominated in the north, and it was proved to be not unfitted for the higher purposes of poetry. Dunbar is a vigorous imaginative poet, greater than any that liad appeared since the days of Chaucer, and only wanting a little more chivalrous feeling and a finer tone of humanity to rival the father of English verse.
JAMES I OF SCOTLAND. This chivalrous Scottishi prince was born in 1391. In order to save him from the unscrupulous hands of his uncle, the Duke of Albany, James was privately despatched to the court of Charles VI. of France, but the vessel in which he embarked was seized off the coast of Norfolk, and the young prince, then in his eleventh year, was forcibly detained by Henry IV. of England This act of gross injustice completed the calamities of the infirm and imbecile King Robert III. of Scotland, who sank under the blow, and it led to the captivity of James for more than eighteen years. Henry, however, furnished the captive prince with liberal means of instruction. In all the learning and polite accomplishments of the English court he became a proficient, excelling not only in knightly and athletic exercises, but in the science of music and in acquaintance of the classic and romantic poets Chaucer and Gower he studied closely. Original composition followed; and there are few finer strains than those with whichi
James soothed his hours of solitary restraint within Windsor Tower. His description of the small garien which lay before his chamber windowo-once the moat of the Tower--and the first glimpse he there obtained of his future queen, the Lady Joan Beaufort, form a beauti: ful and touching episode in our literary anuals. Jumos obtained his release, married the Lady Joan in February, 1424, and in May of llie same year was crowned King of Scotland--the most accomplished prince of his age, to rule over a turbulent and distracted country. lle set himself vigorously to reduce the power of the profligate nobles, and to insure the faithful administration of justice, resolving, as he said, ibat the key should keep the castle, and the bush secure the cow. The sentiment was worthy a prince; but James pursued his measures in some instances, too far, and clouded the aspect of justice with ineffaceable stains of cruelty and vengeance. A conspiracy was formed against him (the chief actor in which was his uncle, Walter Stuart, Earl of Athole), and he was assassinated ai Perth, on the 20th of February, 1437.
The principal poem of James I. is entitled “The King's Quhair.' meaning the king's Quire, or Book. Only one Ms. of the pou (which extends to nearly 1400 lines) is extant, preserved in the Bodlleian Library. Oxford, and was printed in 1783, edited by William Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee. The subject is the royal poei's love for Lady Joan Beaufort, described in the allegorical style of the age, in the manner of Chancer, and with much fine description, sentiment, and poetical fancy. It places James liigh in the rank of romantic poets. Two humorous Scottish poems are also ascribed to him –
Christis Kirk on the Grene,' and 'Peblis to the Play,' both descriptive of rustic sports and pastimes, and the former ridiculing the Scot. tislı want of skill in archery. They are excellent thougli coarse, lillmorous poems. The claim of James to the authorship of either has, however, been disputed, though it seems supporied-at least in the Case of Christis Kirk on the Grene'-- by good testimony: The style las certainly a more modern cast than would be looked for, but no claimant more probable than James I. has yet been named; and Sir Walter Scott--as well as Tytler and others—unhesitatingly ascribes
Christie Kirk on the Grene' to the royal poet. In the following quotation, and subsequent extracts, the spelling is modernised: James I. a Prisoner in Windsor, first sees Lady Joan Beaufort, who
afterwards was his Queen.
Now was there made, fast by the Towris wall,
Cast I down mine eyes again,
Or are ye god Cupidis own princess, And comin are to loose me out of band ? Or are ye very Nature the goddess, That have depainted with your heavenly hand, This garden full of flowers as they stand? What shall I think, alas! what reverence Shall I mister (5) unto your excellence ? If ye a goddess be, and that ye like To do me pain, I may it not astart: (6). If ye be wardly wight, that doth me sike, (7) Why list (8) Göd make you so, my dearest heart, To do a seely (9) prisoner this smart,
2 Went and came.
3 Confounded for a little while.
That loves you all, and wot of pought but woe ?
Of her array the form if I shall write,
Methought the day was turned into night. Of the lighter poems of King James, we subjoin a specimen. The following are the opening stanzas of Christ's Kirk of the Green':
1 Inlaid like fret-work. 2 A kind of precious stone. 3 Glittering,
4 A kind of lily. It is conjectured that the royal poet may here allude covertly to the name of his mistress, which, in the diminutive, was Janet or Jonet.– Thomson's Edition of King Quhair (Ayr, 1824). 5 Enamel,
7 Flame. 8 Match. 9 Before.
10 Slightly, 11 Knowledge.
They were so nice when men them
Was nane so jimp as Gillie,
Her lyre (9) was like the lily.
But she of love was silly ;
At Christ's Kirk of the Green that day.
Their lasses light of laits, (3)
Their shoon were of the Straits (5)
Weel prest with many plaits.
The ‘Adventures of Sir William Wallace,' written about 1460, by a wandering poet usually called BLIND HARRY, enjoyed great popiilarity up to our own time. Of the author, nothing is known but that he was blind from his infancy; that he wrote this poem, and made a living by reciting it, or parts of it, before company, It is said by himself to be founded on a narrative of the life of Wallace, written in Latin by Arnoki Blair, chaplain to the Scottish hero, and which, if it ever existed, is now lost. The chief materials, however, have evidently bein the traditionary stories told respecting Wallace in the minstrel's own time, which was a century and a half subsequent to that of the hero. In this respect, “The Wallace resembles "The Bruce;' but the longer time which had elapsed, the unlettered character of the author, and the comparative humility of the class from whom he would chiefly derive bis facts, made it inevitable that the work should be much less of a historical document than that of the learned archdeacon of Aberdeen. It is, in reality, such an account of Wallace as might be expected of Montrose or Dundee from some unlettered but ingenious poet of the present day, who should consult only Highland tradition for his authority. Harry's Wallace is a merciless champion, for ever hewing down the English with his strong arm and terrible sword, and delighting in the suffering of his enemies. In the following passage, we have this relentless spirit blazivg forth:
Storming of Dunnottar Castle.
1 Merriment, disorder (from the French derauer). 2 t Falkland and Peebles, archery and other games took place. 3 Light of manrers: 4 Supposed to be from run or rai, a roe-deer, and fell, a skin, 5 Shoes of morocco leather from the Straits. 6 Came nigh them. 7 Goats. & Those parts of the face which in youth and bealth have a ruddy colour. --Jamiesor, 9 Flesh, skin (Ang.-Sax, liru).