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Directions for Cultivating a Hop-garden.
Whom fancy persuadeth, among other crops, To have for his spending sufficient of hops, Must willingly follow, of choices to choose, Such lessons approved, as skilful do use.
Ground gravelly, sandy, and mixed with clay,
Choose soil for the hop of the rottenest mould,
Well dunged and wrought, as a garden-plot should;
Not far from the water, but not overflown,
The sun in the south, or else southly and west,
Meet plot for a hop-yard once found as is told, Make thereof account, as of jewel of gold; Now dig it, and leave it, the sun for to burn, And afterwards fence it, to serve for that turn.
The hop for his profit I thus do exalt,
'Good huswife provides, ere a sickness do come,
Moral Reflections on the Wind.
Though winds do rage, as winds were wood,1
The difference between the English and Scottish languages had 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 of poetry. Dunbar is a vigorous imaginative poet, proved to be not unfitted for the higher purposes greater than any that had 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 Scottish prince was born in 1394. 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 with the classic and romantic poets. Chaucer and Gower he studied closely. Original composition followed; and there are few finer strains than those with which James soothed his hours of solitary restraint within Windsor Tower. His description of the small garden which lay before his chamber windowonce the moat of the Tower-and the first glimpse he there obtained of his future queen, the Lady Joan Beaufort, form a beautiful and touching episode in our literary annals. James obtained his release, married the Lady Joan in February 1424, and in May of the same year was crowned king of Scotland-the most accomplished prince of his age, to rule over a turbulent and distracted country. He set himself vigorously to reduce the power of the profligate nobles, and to insure the faithful administration of justice, resolving, as he said, that 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 at 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 poem (which extends to nearly 1400 lines) is extant, preserved in the Bodleian
Library, Oxford, and was printed in 1783, edited by William Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee. The subject is the royal poet's love for Lady Joan Beaufort, described in the allegorical style of the age, in the manner of Chaucer, and with much fine description, sentiment, and poetical fancy. It places James high 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 Scottish want of skill in archery. They are excellent though coarse, humorous poems. The claim of James to the authorship of either has, however, been disputed, though it seems supported—at least in the case of Christis Kirk on the Grene-by good testimony. The style has 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 Christis Kirk on the Grene to the royal poet. In the following quotation, and subsequent extracts, the spelling is modernised:
And in my head I drew right hastily,
'Or are ye god Cupidis own princess,
'If ye a goddess be, and that ye like
Of her array the form if I shall write,
Full of quaking spangis bright as gold,
About her neck, white as the fire amail,11
And for to walk that fresh May's morrow,
In her was youth, beauty, with humble aport,
And when she walked had a little thraw
8 A kind of precious stone. 10 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's Quhair (Ayr, 1824). 11 Enamel. 15 Before.
12 Gold-work. 16 Slightly.
3 Fly. 4 Makes me sigh. 7 Inlaid like fret-work. 9 Glittering.
13 Flame. 17 Knowledge.
subjoin his strong arm and terrible sword, and delighting opening in the sufferings of his enemies. In the following passage, we have this relentless spirit blazing forth:
Of the lighter poems of King James, we a specimen. The following are the stanzas of Christ's Kirk of the Green:
Was never in Scotland heard nor seen
At Christ's Kirk on ane day :
To dance thir damsellis them dight,
Their gloves were of the raffel right,*
Weel prest with many plaits.
Of all thir maidens mild as mead,
But she of love was silly;
The Adventures of Sir William Wallace, written about 1460, by a wandering poet usually called BLIND HARRY, enjoyed great popularity 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 Arnold Blair, chaplain to the Scottish hero, and which, if it ever existed, is now lost. The chief materials, however, have evidently been 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 lettered character of the author, and the comparative humility of the class from whom he would chiefly derive his 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
Some of the incidents in Harry's narrative are so palpably absurd (such as the siege of York, the visit of the queen of England to Wallace's camp with her offer of £3000 in gold, and the combats of Wallace with the French champions and the lion), that they could never have been intended to be received as matters of real history. That Wallace was in France, however, has been confirmed by the discovery of authentic evidence. All the editors conclude that as Harry could not himself, from his blindness, have written out the work, it may have suffered greatly from amanuenses or transcribers; but they have not attended to dates. The only manuscript of the work which exists is dated 1488, and was written by that careful but obscure scribe, John Ramsay, who also transcribed Barbour's Bruce. The blind minstrel was in existence four years after the date of Ramsay's manuscript, as we know from the treasurer's books of the reign of James IV.; and Ramsay had most likely the benefit of the author's revision—perhaps took it down from his recitation. Few copies would be made of a poem extending to 11,858 lines, and this fact shews how enthusiastic and gifted must have been the blind bard who could compose and retain in his memory a poem of such length, and so various in its incidents and descriptions. The poem is in ten-syllable lines, the epic verse of a later age, and it is not deficient in poetical effect or elevated sentiment. A vulgar paraphrase of it into modern Scotch, by William Hamilton of Gilbertfield, has long been a favourite un-volume amongst the Scottish peasantry: it was the study of this book which had so great an effect in kindling the patriotic ardour and genius of Burns.
1 Merriment, disorder (from the French derayer).
2 At Falkland and Peebles, archery and other games took place. 3 Light of manners. 4 Supposed to be from ra or rae, a roe deer, and fell, a skin. 5 Shoes of morocco leather from the Straits.
Storming of Dunnottar Castle.
6 Came nigh them.
8 Those parts of the face which in youth and health have a ruddy colour.-Jamieson. 9 Flesh, skin (Ang.-Sax. lira).
Wallace on fire gart set all hastily,
Brunt up the kirk, and all that was therein.
Then Wallace leuch, said: 'I forgive you all ;
As a specimen of the original orthography, we subjoin a few of the opening lines of the poem :
Our antecessouris, that we suld of reide,
2 Many (Ang.-Sax. feala).
1 The rest, the remainder.
Adventure of Wallace while Fishing in Irvine Water.
Wallace, near the commencement of his career, is living in hiding with his uncle, Sir Ranald Wallace of Riccarton, near Kilmarnock. To amuse himself, he goes to fish in the river Irvine, when the following adventure takes place :
So on a time he desired to play.
In Aperil the three-and-twenty day, Till Irvine water fish to tak he went ;
Sic fantasy fell into his intent.
To lead his net a child furth with him yede ;1
Three slew he there, twa fled with all their might
The lord speirit:9 How mony might they be?'
Wha meins it maist the devil of hell him drown!
This day for me, in faith, he bees not sought.'
6 Rest. 9 Inquired.
The Ghost of Fawdoun.
One of Wallace's followers, Fawdoun, was of broken reputation, and held in suspicion; and while the Scots were pursued by a formidable party of English, led by a blood-hound, Wallace slew Fawdoun, and retreated to Gask Hall with a small party of thirteen
In the Gask Hall their lodging have they ta'en;
Syne furth he went whereat he heard the horn;
Right weel he trowed that was no sprite of man!
Up through the hall thus wight Wallace gan glide
Again he blent what 'pearance he saw there;
A great rafter he had intill his hand.
Or what it was in likeness of Fawdoun,
Robin sat on gude green hill,
Robin, thou rue on me;
Among the minor yet popular poets about the middle of the fifteenth century, was HOLLAND, author of The Buke of the Howlat (owl), an allegorical poem, containing an exhibition of the feathered tribes under a great variety of civil and ecclesiastical characters, to which is added a digression on the arms and exploits of the Douglases. Nothing is known of the author Makyne explained and pleaded, but her advocacy
was out of tune:
-not even his Christian name; but Mr David Laing, editor of the Howlat, supposes the poet to have been Sir Richard Holland, a priest, one of the followers of the exiled family of Douglas. The poem appears to have been written about 1453 at Ternoway (now Darnaway), on the banks of the Findhorn, the seat of the Earls of Moray; and it was composed to please the Countess of Moray, dowit, or wedded, to a Douglas. The story is taken from the fable of the jackdaw with borrowed feathers. It is but a very mediocre alliterative production.
There are other alliterative Scottish poems of the beginning and middle of the fifteenth century-as the Tale of Rauf Coilzear, alluded to by Dunbar and Gavin Douglas; the Awntyrs of Arthure, Orfeo and Heurodis, &c. A selection of these early pieces, twenty-five in number, all
from sources anterior to the close of the sixteenth century, was published by Mr Laing in 1822, with the title of Select Remains of Ancient Popular Poetry of Scotland.
But far surpassing these early and obscure worshippers of the native Muse, was Master ROBERT HENRYSON, a moral poet, in character not unlike the English poet Daniel-gentle, meditative, and observant. Of Henryson there are no personal memorials, except that he was chief schoolmaster at Dunfermline-perhaps, as Lord Hailes suggests, preceptor in the Benedictine convent there-and that he was admitted a member of the university of Glasgow in 1462, being described as the 'Venerable Master Robert Henrysone, licentiate in arts, and bachelor in decrees.' Mr Laing, who has edited the works of Henryson (Edinburgh, 1865), places the time of his decease towards the close of the century, when he was probably about seventy years of age. The principal works of Henryson are: Moral Fables of Esop, thirteen in number, with two prologues; Robene and Makyne, a pastoral; Orpheus and Eurydice, and The Testament of Cresseide, being a sequel to Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida. The last of these poems is the most important, but the pastoral of Robene and Makyne is believed to be the earliest production of the kind in our national poetry. It is a simple love dialogue between a shepherd and shepherdess. The old stock properties of the pastoral-the pipe and crook, the hanging grapes, spreading beech, and celestial purity of the golden age-find no place in the northern pastoral. Henryson's Robin sits on a good green 2 My grief in secret unless thou share. hill keeping his flock, and is most ungallantly (Ang.-Sax. dyrn, secret). insensible to the advances of Makyne:
Robin answered: 'By the Rood,
Or what is love, or to be lo'ed,
Robin on his wayis went,
As licht as leaf of tree;
And trowed him never to see.
Then Makyne cryed on hie:
The tables, however, are soon turned. Robin grew sick as Makyne grew well, and then she had the malicious satisfaction of rejecting him. This is the old story with the old moral, which, though pastoral poetry has long been dead, will never become obsolete. We subjoin part of the fable of the Town and Country Mouse, called by the poet The Uplandis Mous and the Burges Mous:
Extract from the Town and Country Mouse.
Frae foot to foot he cast her to and frae,
Syne up in haste behind the panneling,
'Thy mangery is minget 5 all with care;
Chaucer has derne love
3 Range in a row. 4 To hinder her; hence the phrase 'without let or hinderance.' 5 Mingled.
6 Companionship, or friendship.