صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

show that Lindsay attended the Uni- weird spectres of former ages, has versity beyond 1509. It has been in- incorporated the incident in Marmion, ferred, from references in his poems, that and in a note quotes Lindsay of Pit. he travelled, or finished his education scottie's account of it, which is to the abroad ; but the passages on which such following effect :conjectures are founded are of themselves The King (during the preparation too indirect to be sufficient evidence of for the war with England) repaired to the fact, without corroboration. Linlithgow, to seek such religious support

The first notice of his appearance at and guidance as suited his circumstances, the court of James IV. is supplied by the and while engaged in prayer in the Treasurer's accounts for the year 1511, church of St Michael, he was saluted by when the sum of £3, 4s. was paid for a an aged man in pilgrim attire, who play-coat to David Lindsay, for the play warned him against undertaking the played in the Abbey of Holyrood, before war, and then disappeared in the same the King and Queen. The probability is, mysterious manner in which he came. that he was in the royal service a year It was the popular belief that the King's or two previously; but the loss of the monitor was St Andrew, the titular Treasurer's accounts from 1508 to 1511, saint of Scotland, who was thus comdeprives us of the chief means of infor- missioned by the Virgin to warn James mation concerning the private concerns of the sad issue of the war. “I know of the court during these years. not,” says Scott, “by what means St

On the birth of Prince James, after- | Andrew got the credit of having been wards James V., in April 1512, Lindsay the celebrated monitor of James IV., was appointed his usher, or chief page ; for the expression in Lindsay's narrative, and a very pleasing and natural account My mother has sent me,' could only be of how he attended upon his young used by St John, the adopted son of the charge, and ministered to his youthful | Virgin Mary. The whole story,” he enjoyments, forms reminiscences in his adds, “is so well authenticated that we two earliest poems, “The Dream," and have only the choice between a miracle “The Complaint to the King.” or an imposture." Buchanan, after re

While thus forming an intimate cording the incident, remarks “that member of the royal household, his David Lindsay of The Mount, a man of testimony, as an eye-witness, is said to unsuspected probity and veracity, atauthenticate an incident on which the tached to literature, and during life tragic results of the Battle of Flodden, invariably opposed to falsehood ; from which closely followed, very possibly whom, unless I had received the story threw back a supernatural reflection, to as narrated vouched for truth, I had which the superstitious and excited omitted to notice it as one of the comtemper of the times attached an im- monly reported fables.” portance out of proportion to the reality After the death of James IV., Lindsay of the occurrence. Scott, whose ro- continued as master of the young King's mantic nature loved to reanimate the household, for which he had a salary of £40 a-year, and had, as his associate in estate of Garmylton, near Haddington, charge of the youthful monarch, Sir and about 1528, at the age of thirtyJames Inglis, as chaplain, who was also seven, made his first essay in literature, private secretary to the Queen Dowager, by the publication of “ The Dream,' and a poet, to whom the Maitland MS. which is prefaced by an "Epistle to the attributes a poem of sixteen stanzas, en- King's Grace.” To this succeeded, about titled “A General Satyre,” but which 1530, “The Complaint to the King," and the Bannatyne MS. ascribes to Dunbar. “The Complaint of the Papyngo.” The On even less satisfactory evidence, he chief burden of these three poems is the has been credited with the authorship disorder and dishonesty that, both in of The Complaint of Scotland. John Church and State, were ruining the Bellenden was at the same time clerk country. of accounts in the King's service ; and But now began to be heard the first Gavin Dunbar, afterwards Archbishop indistinct murmurs of the storm that of Glasgow, and Lord Chancellor of was to purify the polluted atmosphere Scotland, was James's preceptor. in which the ecclesiastical life of

In 1522, Lindsay was married to Janet Scotland maintained its unhealthy Douglas, a lady who was also in the existence; and the Romish priesthood, King's service, as his seamstress, and urged by the fears that ever haunt the which appointment she retained even slaves of superstition, steeped in effemiafter her husband's retirement from nacy, manifested the natural cruelty of court ; for the Treasurer's accounts up their instincts, by passing an Act of to 1537,contain various entries of moneys Parliament, denouncing “the damnable paid to her for the King's wardrobe. opinions of heresy spread in divers

The quarrels of the Queen Dowager countries by the heretic Luther and his and her husband, the Earl of Angus, at disciples, and as this realm has ever length led to her having him divorced; been clean of all sic filth and vice ;': but on the retirement of the governor, and ordaining under the severest Albany, with whom she sided, to France, penalties, “that nae manner of person in 1524, Angus recovered the control of bring with them any books of the said affairs, and, with the view of strengthen- Luther, his disciples, or servants.” Nor ing his party, nominally placed the King, were they long in obtaining a victim in now in his twelfth year, in supreme the person of Patrick Hamilton, who power, while he kept him in a state of had returned from Germany, and began semi-captivity, the more effectually to to proclaim the doctrines of the Reforuse him as the instrument of his own mation to his countrymen. ambitious designs. Lindsay, and others brought to the stake in 1527-8. of the King's early guardians, were too The escape of James from the custody honest to suit the view of the Angus of the Douglases, in July 1528, again party; yet though dismissed from the brought Lindsay into public life ; and in service of the King, his pension was 1529 he was appointed Chief Herald, continued to him. He retired to his with the title of Lyon King of Arms,

He was

and the honours of knighthood. In treaty of marriage between James and 1531, along with Sir John Campo Marie de Bourbon, daughter of the bell of Lundy, he was sent on an Duke of Vendome. But before the embassy to Flanders, for the purpose terms were concluded, the King in person, of renewing a treaty of commerce, but disguised as one of his retinue, concluded by James I. in 1430. appeared upon the scene, and was disThe Queen of Hungary, sister of the covered by the Princess, who had his Emperor Charles V., who was then portrait sent her secretly from Scotland. Governess of the Netherlands, along Yet after the most cordial reception, the with her brother the Emperor, received impulsive monarch, at the end of eight the Scottish ambassadorsat Brussels with days, took an abrupt leave of the great distinction. Lindsay had here an Princess, on the plea of consulting the opportunity of witnessing the splendours King of France. of the court, and the pageantry of a Francis I. advised him to carry out grand tournament; and in a letter, still his engagement with the Princess de preserved, which he wrote from Antwerp, Bourbon, but James set his affections he records the impression made upon on Magdalene, the King's eldest daughhim by the unusual splendours of which ter, whose hand, after some hesitation he was

a spectator, the cordiality on the part of her father, he at last with which they were received, and the obtained. They were married in the success of their mission. A detailed Cathedral of Notre Dame, on the 1st account of his observation, written for of January 1536-7, and the account of the King's perusal, has not been preserved. the marriage given by Pitscottie is said

Buchanan relates that the Scottish to have been supplied him by Lindsay, ambassadors were authorized to report who witnessed the splendid ceremonial. in reference to a matrimonial alliance James returned to Scotland in May, with a member of the Emperor's family ; accompanied by his bride, who, howand Charles, desirous of severing Scot. ever, only survived her arrival forty land's ancient connection with France, days. The King's grief was excessive, in 1534, wrote James a letter, giving and Lindsay composed an elegy, entitled him the choice of three princesses of “ The Deploration of the Death of his own blood, all Marys. Pitscottie Queen Magdalene." states that this matter formed the James, in a short time, again turns occasion of a special mission in 1535; his thoughts to a second French allibut whether James was dissatisfied ance, and selects Mary, daughter of with the appearance of the ladies, the Duke de Guise, as his partner. whose portraits were sent him, or pre- Lindsay did not accompany the emferred the French alliance, does not bassy that was sent to bring home appear.

the Queen, but superintended the preLindsay's next foreign mission was to parations made for her reception at St France, in 1536, when he accompanied | Andrews, where the King decided upon the ambassadors sent to negotiate a receiving her. As part of the entertain

[ocr errors]

ments of the court on this occasion, he Herald for having “used himself right wrote the “ Jousting betwixt Watson discreatelye, and moche to our contenand Barbour, the King's 'medicinars.' tation.”

It is not at all improbable that his Lindsay's next poem, “The Tragedy concern with the pageantry and amuse- of the Cardinal," is one on account of ments of this occasion may have turned which he has incurred the displeasure his thoughts to the composition of of his most assiduous editor, Chalmers. his most remarkable production, The From our present standpoint, it may be Satire of The Three Estates. Dr admitted to be a composition whose Laing rejects the common belief that it defects, in point of taste, are not comwas enacted at Cupar, in 1535, and pensated by poetical merits ; yet it canassigns its first representation to January not be said to be outrageous as an 1539-40, at Linlithgow. Lindsay's next exponent of the spirit of the times. It work was of an official character, A may indeed have been considered a Register of the Arms of the Scottish moderate exposition of the estimate of Nobility and Gentry, completed under Bcaton's character, held by those whom his directions, as Lyon Herald, in 1542. the cruel deaths of Hamilton and This volume is preserved in the Advo Wishart filled with just resentment at cate's Library, and its execution, Dr the authors of such villanies. It is also Laing remarks, is "creditable to the quite in harmony with Lindsay's numerstate of the heraldic art in Scotland.” ous other forcible denunciations of the

On 14th December of this year, James lives and practices of the priesthood of V. died at Falkland, in his 31st year, a Church, of which it is very doubtful a week after the birth, at Linlithgow, of that he ever desired the overthrow, but his infant daughter and heiress, Mary. only the reformation. It does appear, When the announcement of this event from Knox's History of the Reformation, was made to him on his death-bed, he that Lindsay was present at a private is said to have replied, “Fairweil; it cam conference of the great Reformer and with ane lass, and it will pass with ane his friends, on one occasion, at St Anlass.” In connection with James's death, drews, but this was a year after the Lindsay, in 1544, was commissioned Cardinal's assassination, and had no to restore the statutes and badges of connection with the perpetrators of that the different orders of knighthood that deed of retribution. He sat as commiswere bestowed upon him, among which sioner for the burgh of Cupar, in the was that of the Golden Fleece, by the Parliament in which Norman Lesley Emperor Charles V., that of St Michael, and his associates were declared guilty by Francis I., and that of the Garter, by of treason ; and it devolved on him, as Henry VIII.

Lyon Herald, to make public proclamaIn acknowledging the receipt of the tion of the sentence. insignia of the Garter, Henry, in a His last mission abroad was in 1548, letter to the governor, the Earl of Arran, when he was sent to Denmark, to takes occasion to commend the Lyon solicit ships for the defence of the

[ocr errors]

Scottish coast against England, and to with himself, must have predeceased negotiate a free trade, especially in grain, him—was acknowledged as his successor between the merchants of both countries. on the 18th April 1555, which must He only succeeded in accomplishing the have been very shortly after his death. latter part of his mission.

Lindsay has been regarded as a reAbout this time he published “The former as well as a poet. Dr Laing History and Testament of Squire observes, what no one who reads his Meldrum,” which Chalmers considers poems can fail to see, that “all his the most pleasing of his poems, though writings had for their object an unmistak. blemished by occasional coarseness, able attempt to expose and reform trifling jests, and fulsome ribbaldry. In abuses, whether in Church or State. 1553, he finished The Monarchie, which That they had a powerful effect in has been characterized as his "greatest” | promoting such reforms is sufficiently work. That it his longest work admits obvious. In no other sense can he be of no dispute, and it may also be called a reformer.” reckoned as his last poem ; yet while it It is quite clear, both from Lindsay contains many forcible passages, and and Dunbar's attacks upon the lives displays an extensive acquaintance with of the Romish clergy, that very great history, the greater part of it does not licence was tolerated in this direction ; rise in style, or conception, above the and it appears to be true of all ecclesiordinary metrical chronicle.

astical institutions, that though the vices His play of “ The Three Estates” of the priesthood are most fatal to their was acted on the Playfield, Edinburgh, stability, the slightest deviations from the in April 1554, before the Queen mother, faith excite their resentment more than the Court, and the Commons; and the most violent attacks upon the morals Henry Charteris, the Edinburgh pub- and conduct of the clergy. The Church lisher of Lindsay's works, who was of Rome at length did try to put an present, says that the author superin end to writings of this class ; for by an tended the representation.

act of Queen Mary, printers are for One of Lindsay's last public acts was bidden, under pain of confiscation and the convening of a chapter of Heralds, banishment, to issue books without a in the Abbey of Holyrood-house, in licence, with special reference to the January 1554-5, “for the trial and stoppage of such publications. Neither punishment of William Crawar, a Lindsay nor Dunbar appears to have messenger, for abuse of his office.”

diverged from the faith of their Church. The exact date of his death is un- It has been already indicated that we known, but Dr Laing gives an extract consider Lindsay's poetry of an inferior from the Privy Council Register, which order to Dunbar's, and in loftiness of shows that his brother, Alexander imagination to that of Douglas ; yet in Lindsay, his next of kin, and heir of arrangement and clearness of concepentail—for he had no heirs of his body, tion, in proportion and perspective, he is and his wife, who was in conjunct fee Douglas's superior ; and in dramatic

« السابقةمتابعة »