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life and writings of the author, and the second on Scotish music. A strange fatality seems to have attended the literature of this period. It has been just observed that King James's work was lately recovered by the casual preservation of a single manuscript. His contemporary, CHARLEs DUKE of OR LEANs, father of Louis XII. is still very imperfectly known to the public by means of some short specimens of his poetry given in the Annales Poetiques (Paris, 1778), and of a few more published in M. de Paulmy's Mélanges d'une grande Bibliotheque. It is singular enough, that the two best poets of the age,_both of royal blood, both prisoners at the same court, both distinguished by their military as well as literary talents, both admired during their lives, and regretted after death, as the brightest ornaments of their respective nations,— should have been forgotten by the world during more than three centuries, and at length restored to their reputation at the same period. The Duke of Orleans, who was taken prisoner at the battle of Agincourt, acquired such a proficiency in our language, during a stay of twenty years in this country, as to write several small pieces of English poetry, which are said to be still preserved in MS. in the Royal Library at Paris. These may possibly not
be worth transcribing;” but, whatever be their poetical merit, they may fairly be adduced as a
* Mr. Ritson has printed (page 47 of his Dissertation on Ancient Songs and Music, prefixed to his Ancient Songs, London, 1792) a specimen of this prince's English poetry, copied from No. 682 of the Harleian MSS. It is a dialogue between a lover and his mistress, but, being founded on a strange sort of pun or play on words, it is very obscure, and apparently not worth unriddling.
Another MS. in the Museum (Bibl. Reg. 16. F. ii), solely consisting of poems by the Duke of Orleans, affords three speciments of his attempts at English poetry; and, as they are very short, and never were printed, I shall here subjoin them all, in their original orthography.
Chan so N.
Go forth &c. • Care, attention. * Lowliness. 3 if that 2 * At any time?
* I cannot understand the word iniust; perhaps it means exactly. Helis is perhaps hele-less, i.e. unhealthy, diseased.
proof that our language had at this time acquired some estimation in the eyes of foreigners.
CH AN son • My hertly love is in your governauns, And ever shal, whill that I lyve may: I pray to god I may see that day That we be knyt with trouthfull alyauns. Ye shal not fynd feymyng or variauns, As in mv part : that wyl I trewly say. My hertly &c. C Hans on , Ne were • my trewe innocent hert, How ye hold with her aliauns, That somtym with word of plesauns Desceyved you under covert. Thynke how the stroke of love com smert, Without warning or deffauns. * Ne were my &c. And * ye shall, pryvely or appert, See her by me in love's dauns, With her fair femenyn contenauns, Ye shall never fro her astert! Ne were my &c. The MS. from which the foregoing extracts were made contains some illuminations of exquisite beauty. One of these represents a person of rank, probably the duke, in the white tower, writing, and attended by guards: at a distance is London bridge, with the houses and chapel built upon it; and the latter building is so minutely drawn, as to afford
a very good idea of what it really was. The MS. was written for the use of Henry VII. * On. ... if a mistake of the transcriber,
It has been observed, that King James is represented to have been a complete master of music. This art, indeed, was considered, perhaps from some indistinct notion of its effects in humanizing the savage inhabitants of the earth, as a part of education, not only essential to the accomplished knight, but, to the sovereign, legislator, and divine ; and as closely connected with every branch of learning, whether abstract or practical. In Pierce Ploughman, Study says of Scripture,
“Logic I learned her, and many other laws, “And all the unisons in music I made her to know.” [Pass. x.]
Fordun, in his Scotichronicon, has employed a whole chapter in describing James's uncommon excellence in the art; and Mr. Tytler, combining this testimony with a very curious passage in the works of Alessandro Tassoni, has inferred that James I. was the “reformer, if not the inventor “of the Scotish songs or vocal music.” By this he means, not that the peculiar melody of Scotish airs took its rise in the fifteenth century, but, that James I. adapted it to modern harmony, and introduced it into regular composition, by which means it became known to the musical professors of Italy and the rest of Europe. Mr. Pinkerton, on the contrary, is of opinion that the “Giacomo,
o Re di Scozia,” mentioned by Tassoni, is the sirth, and Mr. Ritson is of the same opinion. The reader must decide for himself.
After the death of the duke of Albany, the incapacity of his successor induced the Scotish nobility to enter into serious negotiation for the liberty of their captive sovereign; who, after agreeing to pay a heavy ransom for his freedom, was married in 1424 to his beloved mistress, and at the same time restored to his kingdom. In 1437 he was assassinated at Perth, after a reign of twelve years, equally honourable to himself and beneficial to his people.