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him to consider the propagation of calumnies re garding his parents and ancestors, as among
the offences which he should scarcely pardon ; evi. dently an allusion to his own feelings in regard to Buchanan's history. At another place, where he recommends to his son a careful study of the his. tory of his own country, be anxiously says, “I mean not such infamous invectives as Buchanan and Knox's Chronicles ; if any of which remain to your days, use the law upon the keepers there of; for in that point I would have you a Pythagorist, and think that the very spirits of these archibellouses of rebellion have made transition into them that hoard their works or maintain their opinions, punishiug them even as it were their authors risen again. Indeed, convinced as the King must have been of his mother's innocence, he would have been the most contemptible slave on earth, if he could have ever entertained a sincere friendship for the man who had so ungratefully, so unprovokedly, and so wickedly traduced her.
In 1584, when eighteen years of age, the King made his first appearance as an author. His work was a small thin quarto, entitled, “Essayes of a Prentice in the divine art of Poesie, with the Rewlis and Cautelis to be pursued and avoided.'
It consisted partly of poetry and partly of prose. The chief poems are a series of Sonnets to the Gods, in all probability the result of the King's exercises in versification under Buchanan. The prose part of the work is a code of laws for the construction of verse according to the ideas of that age. There is something odd enough in this association, the laying down of rules being rather
the proper business of an experienced master than of an apprentice. Yet, the whole work is respectable. The poetry, it is true, contains none of the hair-brained sentimental graces which we look for in modern verse, contains no striking descriptions of external nature, no treasures from the far recesses of thought, no forceful exhibitions of passion, no joyful or melancholy ponderings on the fate and character of man, such as we find in almost every thing now written under the name of poetry. • There is no evidence,' says Mr Gil. lies, introducing a new edition of King James's Essays, that he ever loved or hated, rejoiced or suffered like a poet.
But the truth is, King James wrote according to the taste of his own age, not of the present. Judging his compositions by those of his contemporaries—the only way in which they ought to be judged—they appear very good.' The poems of Montgomery, Hume, and others, whose names are preserved as the poetic ornaments of his Scottish court, are as unsuitable to the taste of the present generation as those of their royal patron. When the years of the writer are considered, they are entitled to be called wonderful. To write at eighteen, with a proper understanding of the selection and collocation of words, whether there be ideas at the same time or not, is no small merit. And such merit is surely to be allowed to the author of the following poem, which is foạnd at the end of the poetical department of the book ;
ANE SCHORT POEME OF TYME.
As. I was pansing in a morning aire,
And could not sleip nor nawyis take me rest,
Furth for to walk, the morning was so faire,
Athort the fields, it seemed to me the best.
The East was cleare, whereby belyve I gest That fyrie Titan cumming was in sight, Obscuring chaste Diana by his light.
Who by his rising in the azure skyes,
Did dewlie helse all thame on earth do dwell. The balmie dew through birning drouth he dryis,
Which made the soile to savour sweit and smell,
By dew that on the night before downe fell, Which then was squkit up, by the Delphienus heit Up in the aire :, it was so light and weit.
Whose bie ascending in his purpour chere
Provokit all from Morpheus to flee :
Men tu their labour, bissie as the bee;
Yet idle men devysing did I see,
Then woundred I to see them seik a wyle,
So willingly the precious tyme to tine : And how they did themselfis so farr begyle,
To fushe of tyme, which of itself is fyne.
Fra tyme be past to call it backwart syne
Por what hath man bot tyme into this lyfe,
Which gives him dayis his God aright to know? Wherefore then sould we be at sic a stryfe,
So spedelie our selfis for to withdraw
To flie from us, suppose we fled it noght?
But sen that tyme is sic a precious thing,
I wald we sould bestow it into that Which were most pleasour to our heavenly King.
Flee ydilteth, which is the greatest lat;
Bot sen that death to all is destinat, Let us employ that tyme that God hath send us, In doing weill, that good men may commend us.
THE KING'S CONDUCT REGARDING HIS MOTHER AT HER
One of the most difficult and trying circumstances in James's early life, was his situation in regard to his mother-she a Catholic, a suspected murderess, a deposed and imprisoned queen, and he educated a Protestant, and forced, whether he would or not, to be the usurper of her throne. Separated from her at the age of ten months, and living ever since under the charge of her enemies, it was impossible that he could feel towards her the ordinary sensations of a son in regard to a mother: he could entertain no warmer feeling on the subject, than one of vague respect for a personage who, he was told, had brought him into the world, and whom one of the commandments enjoined him to reverence; a sentiment too general, and too much the effect of a mere idea of duty, to approach to filial affection.
No intercourse whatever took place betwixt James and his mother till he fell under the control of his favourites. A messenger who came to Stirling Castle during Morton's period of power,