« PreviousContinue »
But deem thyself in truth blest and im- Here would I dwell ! Oblivious !* aya paradised.
Passions and pangs that plague the A Roman king-the second of the se
human beart, ries
Content to range this goodly grot NUMA, who reigned upon Mount Pa
Loth, like the lotus-eater, to dePossessed a private grotto called Ege
part, Where, being in the legislative line, Deeming this cave of joy the genuine He kept an oracle men deemed di
CELLAR, though dark and dreary, yet What nymph it was from whom his
I ween “ law” he got
[of wine, Dépôt of brightest intellect thou None ever knew; but jars, that smelt
art! Have lately been discovered in a grot Calm reservoir of sentiment serene! Of that Egerian vale. Was this the Miscellany of mind! wit's GLORIOUS MAnymph? God wot.
Of George Buchanan Scotland may be justly proud; though I suspect there exists among our northern friends a greater disposition to glory in the fame he has acquired for them than an anxiety to read his works, of which there was never an edition published on the other side of the great wall of Antonine save one, and that not until the year 1715, by Ruddiman, in 1 vol. folio. The continental editions are innumerable. The Scotch have been equally unmindful of certain earlier celebrities, such as John Holybush, known abroad by the name of Sacrobosco, who flourished in 1230; Duns Scotus, who made their name famous among the Gentiles in 1300, and concerning whom a contemporary poet thought it necessary to observe
“Non Σκοτος 8 tenebris sed Σκωτος nomine dictus,
A populo extremum qui colit oceanum.” Then there was John Mair, a professor of Sorbonne, born among them in 1446; not to speak of Tom Dempster, professor at Bologna, and Andrew Melvin the poet, on whosa patronymic the following execrable pun was perpetrated :
“Qui non mel sed fel non vinum das sed acetum
Quam malé tam belli nominis omen habes." As to the Admirable Crichton, the pupil of Buchanan, I don't much blame them for not making a fuss about him, as the only copy of his works (in MS.) is in my possession, discovered by me in an old trunk in Mantua. To return to Buchanan, he has taken the precaution of writing his own
*"Quittous ce lieu ou ma raison s'enivre." —BERANGER.
life, conscious that if left to some of nature's journeymen it would be sadly handled. Born in 1506, in the shire of Lennox, poor and penniless, he contrived to get over to Paris, where having narrowly escaped starvation at the university (the fare must have been very bad on which a Caledonian could not thrive), he returned "bock agin," and enlisted at Edinburgh in a conpany of French auxiliaries, merely, as he says, to learn “wilitary tactics.”
He spent a winter in hospital, which sickezed him of martial pursuits. So to Paris he sped on a second spree, and contrived to get appointed master of grammar at the college of Ste. Barbe. Here a godsend fell in his way in the shape of Kennedy, Earl of Cassilis, who brought him to Scotland, and introduced him at Court. James made him tutor to one of his bastard sons; another being placed under the care of Erasmus. These lads were born with a silver spoon! Meantime Buchanan's evil star led him to lampoon the Franciscan friars, at the request, he says, of the king, who detested the fraternity ; but it cost him dear. Were it not for the kind offices of the young princess Mary (whom he subsequently libelled), it would have gone hard with him. Be that as it may, he contrived to get out of prison, fled from the vengeance of Cardinal Beaton into England, where Henry was then busy bringing to the stake folks of every persuasion ; wherefore he crossed the Channel, but found Beaton before him at Paris : so he proceeded to Bordeaux, and met a friendly reception from André Govea, the Portuguese rector of that Gascon university. While in this city he composed the tragedy of Jephté, to discourage the foolish melodrames of that period called “mysteries,” of which Victor Hugo has given such a ludicrous specimen in the opening chapters of his Notre Dame; he also presented a complimentary address to Charles V. on his passage from Madrid to Paris. Govea subsequently took him to Coimbra, of which celebrated academy he thus became one of the early promoters. But the friars, who never yet lost sight of a foe, got him at last here into the clutches of the Inquisition; and, during a long captivity in Banco St. Dominici, he was at leisure to execute his glorious transiation of the psalms into Latin lyrical verse.
From Portugal he managed to escape in a Turkish vessel
bound for London, and thence repaired to France, for which country he appears to have bad a peculiar predilection. He there got employment as tutor in the Marechal Brissac's family; and meantime wrote verses in honour of every leading contemporary event, such as the raising of the siege of Metz, the taking of Vercelles, and the capture of Calais by the Duc de Guise in 1557. This latter occurrence is one of such peculiar interest to an English reader, and gives Buchanan such an opportunity of expressing his real sentiments towards England, that I have selected it for translation. It is strange that in his autobiography he abuses the hero whom he celebrates in his ode, and who was no other than the celebrated Guise le Balafré (so called from a scar on his left cheek), whose statue may be seen in our own day on the market-place of Calais, and whose military genius and activity much resembled the rapid conceptions and brilliant execution of Buonaparte. The allusion to the prevalent astrological mania at court is quite characteristic of the philosophic poet, ever grave and austere even in the exercise of fancy; but the abuse lavished on the ex-emperor Charles V. is not a proof of Buchanan’s consistency.
Ad Franciæ Regem, Henricum II., Ode on the taking of Calais, addressed
post ictos Caletes, GEORGIUS to Henry II., King of France, by BUCHANAN, Scotus.
GBORGE BUCHANAN. Non Parca fati conscia, lubricæ
Henry! let none commend to thee Non sortis axis, sistere nescius,
FATE, FORTUNE, Doom, or Destiny, Non siderum lapsus, sed unus
Or Star in heaven's high canopy,
With magic glow
For weal or wo.
The hidden mover;
Down on thy Louvre.
Mercy unto the meek dispense,
With bit and bridle,
Burns for an idol.
And bade Pavia's victor bid
To power farewell ?
Nec tu secundo filamine quem super
Umbriferæ fremitum procellæ.
Sed pertinax hunc fastus adhuc premit, Urgetque pressum, et progeniem sui Fiduciâque pari tumentem,
Clade pari exagitat Philippum.
Te qui minorem te superis geris, Culpamque fletu diluis agnitam, Vitis parens placatus audit,
Et solitum cumulat favorem.
Redintegratæ nec tibi gratiæ Obscura promit signa. Sub algido Nox Capricorno long. terras
Perpetuis tenebris premebat,
Rigebat auris bruma nivalibus, Amnes acuto constiterant gelu, Deformis horror incubabat
Jugeribus viduis colono.
At signa castris Francus ut extulit Ductorque Franci Guizius agminis, Arrisit algenti sub arcto
Temperies melioris auræ.
Hvems retaso languida spiculo
Nube cavå stetit imber arvis,
Ergo nec altis tutu paludibus
Præcipitem tenuere cursum.
Thou, too, hast known misfortune's blast;
Thy gallant ship:
Hushed is the deep.
The sky still scowls;
The tempest howls.
Thy feet anshod,
And kissed the rod.
Pardon and peace thy penance bought;
For th nd France ;
'Twas dark and drear! 'twas winter's reign! Grim horror walked the lonesome plain; The ice held bound with crystal chain
Lake, flood, and rill;
His music shrill.
But when the gallant Guise displayed
Its rigour cease :
The FLEUR DE Lys.
Winter his violence withheld,
Unveil'd the sun-
Began to run.
And yawning trench,
To stay the French,
of slavery kept her,
Upheld her sceptre.
LORÆNE princeps ! præcipuo Dei
Ut premeres domitrice dextra.
Unius anni curriculo sequens Vix credet ætas promeritas tibi
Tot laureas, nec si per æthram
Pegaseâ* veherere pennå.
Cossere saltus ninguidi, et Alpium
Subjiceres humeros ruinæ.
Defensa Roma, et capta Valentia,
Barbarica face liberatus.
Æquor procellis, terra paludibus,
Munierant animos Caletum
Fame in her narrative should give
Thee magic pinions
All earth's dominions.
With viper sting,
O'erawed the Turk :-
In all the pomp
Queen of a swamp!
Climb, storm, and seize?
O gallant Guise !
Between them rolls
Yon wave controls.
Loræna virtus, sueta per invia
Laude nova veterem refellit.
Ferox BRITANNUS viribus antehac
Fluctibus Oceani diremptus.
Regina, pacem nescia perpeti
Vindicis et furiæ flagellum.
Let ruthless MARY learn from hence
That treaties broken,
At length have woken.
Infest her palace;
The brimming chalice!
Huic luce terror Martius assonat,
Terrificis agitant figuris.
Every schoolboy knows that this event broke Queen Mary's heart, so inconsolable was she for the loss of those “keys of France” which the monarchs of England, from Edward to the bluff Harry, bad gloried in wearing suspended to the royal girdle. * Buchanan appears to have the following verse of Hesiod in view :
Την μεν Πηγασος ειλε και εσθλος Βελλεροφωντης.-Theog.