Imagens da página

reign's desire, and the marriage was performed January 1, 1537, in the church of Notre Dame, in the presence of the Kings of France and Na. varre, the queen, dauphin, and other members of the royal family, seven cardinals, and a numerous and splendid assemblage of French and Scottish nobility, with many illustrious strangers. Ronsard, in a kind of epithalamium, not inelegantly, and very minutely describes the persons of the royal bride and bridegroom. The poet was then a page in the suite of the Duke of Orleans, who presented him to the Queen, and she afterwards carried him into Scotland. To honour the wedding France displayed all her riches and gallantry, so that it was said nothing had ever before equalled its splendour. Nor was the bridegroom behindhand in magnificence: amongst other noble presents he ordered a number of covered cups or macers, filled with coined gold, and standing on frames of the same metal, to be presented to the guests as the produce of the mines of Scotland. He was the most brilliant and conspicuous figure in all the martial games; and as he had won the Princess, so did he every prize that was contended for at the ring * All this must have been a gratifying sight to what Chalmers calls the heraldic eyes of Lindsay.' 'For,' says the garrulous and pleasant Pitscottie, there was such jousting and tournament, both on horse and foot, in burgh and land, and also upon the sea with ships, and so much artillerye shot in all parts of France, that no man might hear for the reard thereof, and also the riotous banquetings, delicate

* Mitchell's Scotsman s Library, pp. 518, 519.


and costly clothings, triumphant plays and feasts, pleasant sounds of instruments of all kinds, and cunning carvers having the art of necromancy, to cause things appear that were not, as flying dragons in the air, shots of fire at other's heads, great rivers of water running through the town, and ships fighting thereupon, as it had been in bullering streams of the sea, shooting of guns like cracks of thunder ; and these wonders were seen by the nobility and common people. this was made by men of ingyne, for outsetting of the triumph, to do the King of Scotland and the Queen of France their master's pleasure *.'

It formed part of Lindsay's duties, as Lord Lion, to marshal processions on occasions of state and rejoicing, to invent and superintend the execution of pageants, plays, moralities, or interludes; and for all this his genius appears to have been cast in a happy mould. He possessed ingenuity, wit, and that playful satirical turn which, under the license permitted by the manners of the age to such performances, could lash the vices and laugh at the follies of the times with far greater effect than if the lesson had been conveyed through a graver medium. Of his pageants one of the most brilliant appears to have been intended for exhibition on the coronation of Magdalen, the youthful queen of James the Fifth. This beautiful princess after her marriage, attended by her royal husband, and accompanied by the Bishop of Limoges, had sailed from France, and landed in Scotland in May, 1537. On stepping from the ships upon

* Pitscottie's History of Scotland, pp. 249, 251.

the strand, she lifted a handful of sand to her mouth, and thanking God for her safety, prayed with emphatic sensibility for prosperity to the land and its people. Her countenance and manners were impressed with the most winning sweetness, but her charms were already touched by the paleness of disease, and only forty days after she had entered her capital, amid shouts of joy and applause, the voice of universal gratulation was changed into lamentation for her death.

It was on this occasion that Lindsay composed his pathetic • Deploratioun for the Death of Quene Magdalen :'

Oh, traitor death, whom none may countermand,

Thou might have sene the preparatioun
Maid be the thre estaittis of Scotland

With great comfort and consolatioun
In every city, castell, toure, and town,

And how each noble set his whole intent

To be excelling in habiliment.
Theif! saw thou not the great preparatives

Of Edinburgh, the noble, famous town?
Thou saw the people labouring for their lives

To mak triumph, with trump and clarioun ;
Sic pleasure never was in this regioun,

As should have been the day of her entrace,

With richest presents given to her Grace. It has been well observed by Warton, that the verses which immediately follow, exclusive of this artificial and very poetical mode of introducing a description of those splendid spectacles, instead of saying plainly and prosaically that the Queen's death interrupted the superb ceremonies which would have attended her coronation, possess the merit of transmitting the ideas of the times in the exhibition of a royal entertainment*. We have the erection of the costly and gilded scaffolding; fountains spouting wine, troops of actors on each stage, disguised like divine creatures; rows of lusty fresh gallants, in splendid apparel; the honest yeomen and craftsmen, with their long bows in their hands, lightly habited in green; and the richer burgesses in their coats of scarlet. Next come

1 estates.

Provest and baillies, lordis of the town,

The senators, in order consequent,
Clad into silk of purple, black, and brown ;

Then the great lords that form the parliament,

With many knightly baron and banrent,
In silk and gold in colouris comfortable :

By thee, alas! all turned into sable. He next describes the procession of the Lords of Religion, the venerable dignitaries of the Church, surrounded by the inferior clergy; then the din of the trumpets and clarions, the heralds in their « awful vestments," and the macers marshalling the procession with their silver wands.

Then last of all, in order triumphal,

That most illuster Princess honorabill,
With her the lovely ladies of Scotland,

Which should have been a sight most delectabill:

Her raiment to reherse I am nocht habill,
Of gold and pearl and precious stonis bright,

Twinkling like stars in a clear frosty night. The Princess was to have walked under a canopy of gold borne by burgesses in robes of silk, marshalled by the great master of the household, and followed by the King's train. She was to have been received by a troop of beautiful virgins, crying • Vive la Reine,'

colours. * Warton's History of English Poetry, vol. iii., p. 142.

With a harmonious sound angelical.
Thou should have heard the ornate oratouris,

Making her highness salutation,
Both of the clergy, town, and councillors,

With many a notable narration.

Thou should have seen her coronatioun,
In the fair Abbey of the Holyrood,
In presence of a mirthful multitude.
Sic banquetting, sic awful tornaments

On horse and foot, that time which should have been,
Sic chapel royal, with sic instruments

And crafty music singing from the splene,

In this country was never heard nor seen.
But all this great solemnitie and gam",

Turued thou hast in requiem æternam. The poem concludes with a patriotic wish very gracefully exprest. Although the heavenly flower of France, the flower de luce, be rooted up by death, yet its fragrance will remain ; and, dispersing itself through both realms, preserve them in peace and amity :

Tho' death has slain the heavenly flower of France,

Which wedded was unto the thistle keen,
Wherein all Scotland saw their whole plesance,

And made the lion joyful from the splene* ;

Tho'root be pull'd, and shed its leaves so green,
The fragrance ne'er shall die—despite of thee

'Twill keep these sister realms in peace and amitie. Of Lindsay's private life and character we know so little, that it is difficult to ascertain whether it was exclusively from deep convictions on the sub

' from the heart game. * heart.


« AnteriorContinuar »