Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

which Folly preaches his sermon, the stocks, which are frequently used as a punishment throughout the piece, and a gallows on which malefactors are hanged, constitute the whole. Some of the stagedirections are quaint and amusing. Here shall the wyvis ding their gudemen with silence.' Here shall Flattery spy Veritie with ane dumb countenance.' • Here sall Johne Commonweill loup the stank, or else fall in it;' a singular alternative to be left to honest Johne, who, at this time, is represented as clothed in tattered garments and almost naked.

There is a letter published by Pinkerton, in the appendix to his History, from Sir Ralph Evre to the Lord Privy Seal of England, in which a marked allusion is made to this play of Lindsay's having been acted before the king. It appears that Sir Ralph had been commissioned by Henry the Eighth to sound the Scottish monarch as to his disposition to reform the spiritual estate in his dominions after the same system that his uncle had pursued in England. • I had divers communings,' says Evre, 'with Sir Thomas Bellenden, one of the said councillors for Scotland, a man by estimation, appearing to be the age of fifty years or above, and of gentle and sage conversation, touching the staye of the spiritualitie in Scotland. And gathering him to be a man inclined to the sort used in our sovereign's realm of England, I did so largely break with him in those behalves, as to move to know of him what minde the king and council of Scotland was inclined unto, concerning the Bishop of Rome, and for the reformation of the misusing of the spiri

tualitie in Scotland. Whereunto he gently and lovingly answered, shewing himself well contented of that communing, and did say that the King of Scotland himself, with all his temporal council, was greatly given to the reformation of bishops, religious persons, and priests within the realme ; and so much, that by the king's pleasure, he being privy thereunto, they have had ane interlude played in the feast of the Epiphanie of our Lorde last paste, before the king and queen, at Lithgow, and the whole counsil spiritual and temporal. The whole matter thereof concluded upon the declaration of the naughtiness in religion, the presumption of bishops, the collusion of the spiritual courts, called the consistory courts, in Scotland, and misusing of priests. I have obtained a note from a Scotsman of our sorte being present at the playing of said enterlude; of the effect thereof, which I send unto your lordship, by this bearer. My lord, the same Mr. Bellenden shewed me that after the said interlude finished, the King of Scots did call upon the Bishop of Glasgow, being Chancellor, and divers other bishops, exhorting them to reform their factions and manner of living, saying, that unless they so did, he would send sax of the proudest of them unto his uncle of Englonde ; and as those were ordered, so he would order all the rest who would not amend.' The note of the play here alluded to, and transmitted along with this letter, clearly proves that the interlude enacted at Linlithgow, in 1540, was materially different from the play as published by Lindsay.

Lindsay had already been employed in a successful negociation with the Estates of the Netherlands, and in 1536 he was dispatched by his royal master on a matrimonial mission to the court of France, along with Sir John Campbell, of London. James's object was to demand a daughter of the house of Vendosme, and the ambassadors, who soon after followed Lindsay's mission, selected Marie de Bourbon. The king sent her his picture, and a treaty of marriage was actually in the course of negociation, when some unforeseen difficulties occurred to interrupt it. Angry at the delay, and intent upon effecting an alliance with France, the youthful monarch determined to proceed thither in person, and set sail in 1536, though the expedition was much against the opinion of many of his nobles. Sir James Hamilton had the courage, when he slept, to steer again to Scotland, but no excuses could mollify the king, who embarked again, and at Dieppe paid a visit at the palace of Vendosme, where, notwithstanding his strict incognito, the Princess Mary, from his resemblance to the picture he had sent her, soon discovered her royal lover. Upon this, James ardently embraced the duke and duchess, and saluted them, with their daughter, not passing over the grandees and ladies of the court who were present. On the part of his host no respect was omitted which befitted such an occasion. Music, with galliard dancing in masques, farces and plays, with justing and running at the ring, and every species of gallant amusement, occupied the time. A costly palace was prepared for the Scottish monarch, the apartments of which were splendidly decorated, hung with tapestry of cloth of gold and silk, the floor was spread with green frieze, a rarity in those times, when the apartments were generally strewed with rushes ; the beds glittered with curtains of cloth of gold; and when the king sat at meat, a circlet of gold, studded with precious stones, was suspended from the ceiling immediately above his head ; the halls and chambers were perfumed with sweet odours; and, in short, the noble Vendosme exhausted his exchequer and his imagination in providing every species of pleasure for the youthful monarch. James was now in his twenty-fourth year, and, from Ronsard's description, who was intimately acquainted with him, must have been a very handsome prince :

Ce Roi d'Escosse estoit en la fleur de ses ans
Ses cheveux non tondus comme fin or linsans,
Cordonnez et crespez, flottans dessus sa face,
Et sur son col de lait lui donnoit bon grace.
Son port estoit royal, son regard vigoureux,
De vertu, et d'honneur, et de guerre amoureux.
La douceur, et la force illustroient son visage,

Si que Venus et Mars en avoient fait partage. A prince in the flower of his years, his long golden ringlets floating, in the style of the times, down his shoulders, or gracefully curling on his white neck; a countenance in which manliness, energy, and beauty, were blended ; a kingly manner, and a mind devoted to virtue, honour, and war; such a suitor was well calculated to engage the affections of the daughter of Vendosme, but from some reason not now discoverable, the king seems to have been disappointed in the choice of his ambassadors. He left the palace abruptly,

It was

and hearing that Francis the First was about to set out for Provence, with the design of attacking the imperial forces, he resolved to join him. On the road between Tarray and St. Saphorin, the Scottish monarch was met by the French dauphin, with a message from the king, informing him, that the emperor having been obliged to quit the kingdom, he had delayed his military preparations, and had sent the dauphin to conduct him to Paris. In Francis, James, on his arrival at the capital, found the affectionate tenderness of a parent, who omitted no endearment that could shew the satisfaction he received in the attachment he had manifested to France. in vain, however, that he urged him to marry Marie de Bourbon. The young sovereign was now bent on uniting himself to the Princess Magdalen, the daughter of the French king. When he first saw her, she was in a chariot, on account of her ill health, but the delicacy of her constitution did not discourage him ; the tender passion seemed to have mutually seized them, and they declared they would never consent to any other marriage. The danger of exposing so tender a frame to an inhospitable climate was strongly urged, and the royal lover was even warned that he must not look for an heir to his throne from such a union; but all was unavailing, and Francis at last reluctantly consented.

James instantly sent the news to Scotland, ordering an addition to his attendants of six earls, six lords, six bishops, and twenty great barons, who were directed not to leave iheir best garments behind them. They complied with their sove

« AnteriorContinuar »