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OBSERVANCES FOR THE RIGHT ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE HENRY,
CONTAINING A MARRIAGE-HYMN FOR THE MARRIED COUPLE, A CONSOLATION,
AND AN EXHORTATION TO PRINCE CHARLES THAT HE MUST IMITATE HIS BROTHER
TO THE RIGHT ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE CHARLES
LTHOUGH I am out of the habit of indulging in pursuits of this kind, right illustrious Prince, the public calamity and my love both of your deceased brother and of that great surviving couple, the most beloved parents of your brother and your sister, and also of the nation as a whole, has compelled me to dedicate these words, of whatever quality they may be, to you in your own proper person, being as you are destined to be his successor, not only in the hope of inheriting the throne, but in your imitation of his virtues and of the popular love he enjoyed. Others may discern things in him to praise, reasons to deplore his loss, or for rejoicing that he existed, or to admire. You also have things you must imitate. To this end you should read, read carefully, and repeatedly, either here or elsewhere, about your brother’s character, and never imagine you have read enough. For my part, I could not devise any small gift more honorable to give you to you, no more useful counsel, nothing worthier or more suitable for you, or any more magnificent encomium for him. So accept and profit from this in this spirit, and thus will you will be an enduring ornament and consolation to your nation and to your parents. Farewell, and prosper.
Your Highness’s most obedient servant,
DAVID HUME OF GODSCROFT, A SCOTO-BRITON
THE OBSERVANCES OF PRINCE HENRY
His father’s right hand, his mother’s glory, the dear delight of them both, observant to them both, a dutiful son and likewise a dutiful brother, his brother’s honor, and likewise his love, and also the honor of his sister; next to his father the support and pillar of Britain, whether united or divided into Scotland and England; born to the Scots, given to the English, and quite just to them both, and also dear to them. Let it not be right to compare the two nations, or to give preference to the one or the other, since reason vigorously urges the cases of them both, as does the consensus of all men and their much-sought union, joined by this common bond of affection, and a union joined by this common bond of sorrow. He was the darling of the common people, the knights, and of great Parliament, and the source of amazement, fear, and sweet reverence, being a rare thing for the world to look for through all the ages, a rare source of hope for good men, and a terror to the wicked. He was justly a terror to the Don, and likewise a joy to the both the Rhine and the Loire, and possibly also the Tajo; both the glory and the delight of this great world, and also its great wonderment. Whether on horseback he practiced warfare while clad in armor, or on foot brandished a spear and wielded a flashing sword, or fired his lightning-bolt with a sure shot, Henry was a great honor to Mars, being Mars’ great son.
He was possessed of a high yet gentle spirit, of a lofty character but a humble mind. He was upright and prudent, truthful and dedicated to keeping his word and abiding by old pledges, and yet canny at seeing through fraud and escaping deceit when he had perceived it, and shrewd at understanding, carrying out, and holding his tongue about secret matters. He was austere although his countenance was cheerful, strong yet a stranger to wrath and bile. He was easy to address and engage in conversation, affable and grave. He was frugal without meanness, generous without fault, bountiful and magnificent, but without smacking of grand ambition, being modest in deed, in expression, and words. Cherishing his hopes for the throne, he was chaste, although this age of the world, this morality, and his age in life would not have it so. He was wise and good, pious without superstition, just and wise. He was great in his intellect, his good fortune, and his great endowments of mind and of body, being fit for affairs yet not unfit for the Muses. For the learned he was a bulwark and a source of hope, and a solace to the Muses. He was clever, both at play and in handling serious matters. He was an object of concern for heaven, just as heaven was an object of concern for himself, and religion dwelt deep in his heart and permeated his senses.
He was a man such as present centuries would hope for, such as centuries of old would either pretend to have had or have praised, such as future ones could ever hope for as a king, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a lord, or a commander; a man inferior only to his father, knowing how to obey him alone, or else to rule and to restrain peoples with his proud government, giving laws to his people yet setting a limit on laws, being willing to set them examples, and lead their obedient spirits, whether peace required the toga or the situation called for arms. How he could have brought armies to the field and bombarded lofty cities, ready with his counsel and his hand! How he could have swept Neptune’s tracts as he flew along and mastered all the sea, and destroy the fugitive Indians beyond the poles!
Do you groan, deprived of him, piteous Britain? Why should you not? Keep on groaning, and pile up your tears and your laments. Let no amount of tears and laments be enough: let the sea know that the rivers which he receives are not your rivers, but rather your tears. Let the sky know that the winds with which it resounds are your sighs. Loosen the bridle on your pious sorrow, for you will die of sorrow if you do not thus loosen it. So come, with dejected countenance and weeds of mourning, your cheeks drenched, march in procession at slow gait, holding your silence (checking your plaints, your groans, and your wails), as befits you. Scarce ever has sorrow befallen you for such just cause, whether you mourn his death at an early age, or that the world has been robbed of its hopes and joys, good men’s hopes have been dashed, while the grim haughtiness of evil men is undisguised, as taunting Rome openly hurls its cruel roaring and threats. Open the way for your complaints, open it for your tears. Fill heaven and earth with your sobbing, shake the whole world with your plaints, shatter cliffs with your shouts, and break uncouth rocks where the Thames and the Tweed flow, and where Ultima Thule lies in a far corner of the world, all the way to the shores of the distant Ganges, whether the ground is frozen, pelted with winter sleet, or the soil is hot under a torrid sky. And let the peoples come to the mourning, joining their keening masses. Let these be great things, let them be the greatest, such as no place and no age of the world has ever seen, or will ever see in the future. Yet let them not last forever. Why should they? How would they help you? Be moderate in your mind, and let there be a limit on their time (I do not say on your grief), for time overmasters all things, save that eternal joys continue to exist for the pious man. You must bestow a change on these things. Soon the month will change and happy Hymen will be at hand, Hymen, undisturbed by any lamentation, when Elizabeth will marry the Palatine and fulfill the omen, so that her father himself and her husband, the Batavian and the Briton, may rejoice and Germany may celebrate a festival throughout all its fields, dance, and sing songs, when God Almighty settles men’s grief and the upheavals of its peoples, the great passions of its heart, its tumults and storms, its ebbs and its flows, intruding Himself and lessening their sufferings. as it surges forward, and lessening its labors, aspiring to achieve happy peace in its affairs and in its spirits.
Oh, may you be at hand, happy day, and favorably lend your brightness to a clear sky. Come, longed for by the British world. No day has dawned brighter on our shores, no hour has ever come more awaited by the pious. You come as an object of love to men both young and old, you come welcome to girls both wed and unwed, and to the commons, the knighthood, and the Fathers. Those who wield the reins and those who receive their commands cry out for you with a single voice, you are summoned by prayers both public and private. The Thames bears witness to this, as does the Tay, and England, wherever it stretches with its broad realms, and Caledonia, wherever it is struck by the Deucalidonian Sea. Do not tarry, Cynthia, come more hastily than usual, and you sun, pick up your step and allow your sister an early return. Do not contrive delays. Every hour which delays future joys is a lengthy one. Why should helpless envy croak so loudly? We adhere to you, mighty Frederick, you whom she has preferred to the Tajo and the Indus (not unfit for rule, and for war and feats of arms, suitable for your old-fashioned piety and religion, which you have imbibed from your great forebears, being a young man of consummate character and hope, outstanding for your comeliness, and in the flower of your youth) and we favor you with our prayers. May you be happy, may Hymen favor yourself, your lady, your in-laws, your peoples, and the British realms; and him to whom the Fates promise the British realms, for he is not lesser than his brother Henry, or of his great father..
Come now, lad, great thanks to the Fates and greatest in our prayers, rise up as a second Henry. Take on his manners and morals, his appearance, and adopt his concerns, worthy of a prince. Never will any spirit of virtue from some other source inspire you so, or be more fruitful in garnering you affection, than that which, coming from such a body, expresses the image of his mind, and walks in his footsteps. Assuredly, in this way great glory awaits you, but at the same time there awaits you an arduous route to strive for such great praises. But strive you must, and it is not allowed you to set down this burden or to despond in your mind. The road your brother took before you lies before you: just be daring, great boy. Ether follow behind him, or even take the lead, and may God bless your great enterprises.
Let this single hope wipe away our tears. With your tears set aside, Britain, devote yourself to this concern. And you, whatever Briton is at hand, either born and bred of ancient stock or having now chanced to be engrafted into it, who is powerful with your eloquence and wit, on whom either your own virtue or your destiny has imposed this burden, or indulged with this honor, so that you can understand and utter lively sentiments, apply your might and your strength to this. Here there is broad scope and fertile material for your discourses, so that you can lead him to virtue’s true path, lead him to virtue’s true citadel, and set forth a summary of true government and of the art of governing to guide his enterprise. That bold Tuscan who pollutes all this art (impious, unclean, ill-advised, wantonly bold-faced, silly in his shamelessness, inept, whorish in his villainy, the dregs of intelligence and a fomenter of crimes, being Crime himself, and furthermore a man in whom you can discover nothing great, disgusting, witless, a stranger to the Muses, a liar, a bungler, in all respects uncouth, and a dizzard), deserves to be hurled into the black Phlegethon, and banished far from our schools and royal courts, and relegated to his ancestral Avernus, being its kinsman, breathing such foul, dire things, and spewing forth ruination for kingdoms and their affairs. Charles, you must be on your guard and shun this plague on mankind, this enemy and reproach of nature, this heaven-hated monster. Now that you are growing, you must start to hate the things you must always avoid, and to shun them beginning in your tender young years, and believe that you can only govern by goodly arts, this being the single task that is worthy of your rule. You should not wish to be master of the world on any other terms, nor lower your divine mind to such vile servitude and (truly a slave) enter into such a workshop of felonies, surrendering yourself to shameful fraud. Nothing is more servile than fraud, nor more opposite to kingship, and the freer one rules, the less he is to be diminished by fraud. The majesty of consecrated rule is never to be stained by any blot or any show of servile fraud, and if a man acquires such a blot, he indeed profanes his scepter and the sacred crown of kings.
Oh, may the Parcae come late and draw out my thread! Even if, at a far distance as I keep within my private boundaries, my concerns and my household, I am not permitted to behold this, my mind is nevertheless eager to hear, even if a messenger must relate it to my shade, how Impiety has hidden herself from you, blushing and confessing that you are king without her (having had no need of her, nor having invited to her to have any share in your rule or your counsels), and has abandoned the royal ears and courts, but rather how Piety, and hoary Good Faith, and fair Virtue, content with unbending right and simple truth, yet no less wise and adroit, and quite sufficient and quite ready to perceive schemes and to counter them once they have been recognized, surround your throne, and bless your throne now that it has been confirmed; and how, on this score, you have been raised up above all kings, and how your rule has been extended to the ends of the earth, across the Alps, across the Euxine, across the Caucusus and the Indus, while it surpasses all the prayers and hopes of all men.
Mean you must grow accustomed to bear the yoke of your mild father: let him rule and wield the reins of affairs. He is paving a way to the steep Capitoline, and with his hand he is shaking its foundations, and, letting light into his lurking-places, opening up the secret places of that Palatine Cacus. We have caught sight of him, hiding and concealing himself in dark night, breathing fire and spewing forth smoke and mist, summoning all the squadrons of Jesuits into the fray, and vainly seeking to defend its entryway and cloisters, a pointless pile of great mass and vain effort.
So keep on, James, and, while he his terrified by the brilliance of true light and fearfully looks around his hiding-place, you must kill him with the point of your sword, both heavenly and regal, rout his band of conspirators against heaven, which dared raise its hand against the reverend throne of kings, of God, of whatever we dignify with a title in this great world. No less should you bring back to the highway of truth his legions, recruited to fight against the Word and freely entered into a sworn compact, or you must suppress them by your government, or banish them out of the realm to a place beyond the sea, until Roman impiety is entirely purged from your territories, and goes to seek Rome, or Orcus, from whence it came, being a whelp of the wicked Furies and Erebus, as well as figments manufactured by the vain human brain. Thus you should reign, thus should you live long, being just and pious. Thus you will be great, immune from all deceit and the art of Loyola’s men (born and bred of the Latin she-wolf and of the black stock hound of the Styx, that unspeakable monster), and be late in bequeathing your government to your latter-day progeny. Why hesitate? Heaven’s God keeps watch for you Himself: He dispels plots, and indeed He has already dispelled them. And we, a band so devoted to you, all loyal hearts, although slow to march against wrongdoings, are not slow to confront every manner of danger, wherever your commands summon us, and wherever we are summoned by the concern we owe you, and our ancient love for heaven and for yourself. Our enemy has experienced this and, should the situation require, will do so again.
Just propitiously be at hand, You Who furnish strength, and Who gives and takes away our courage, Who enlarges our counsels with happy successes and Who upsets them, governing all human enterprises in accordance with Your will, be agreeable, grant us our prayers, and do not favor this madness that has been begun. May You bring it about that, although in its greatness it has brewed up against us, we may see that, once it has been revealed you have cut it down in its first growth, we may make atonement with our tears for whatever our flock, our sovereign, our Fathers and commons. We all have sinned against You, Your worship and great commandments, by commission or omission, openly or in secret, either wittingly and willingly or unknowingly. Behold, our humble throng prostrates before your knees. Grant, oh grant, Your pardon and Your peace. Baffle our puffed-up enemy’s designs for our ruin, as he threatens unspeakable things, cast down the empty pride which his impious crew has assumed against Yourself. Let it learn that you are the Lord, enduring as our Father, and that You will not fail us. Let it likewise learn that Henry will not be failing to his father as long as Charles survives, and, oh, may he survive, not unequal to his father’s scepter when he comes of age, full of years and praise. May he fill the world with his acts, pious, just, and great, and be late in returning to heaven. May he succeed to his ancestral throne, and match every virtue of his forebears. As long as the earth is surrounded by the vast sea and unchanging ocean, may the descendants of James’ line govern the united British with a balanced scales, and champion Your covenants for the world, though the Styx be opposed.
These are our tears, this is our concern, these are our solemn prayers. It is right, Henry, for us to pay these observances at your tomb.
Great lord, or if anything is greater than great lords, farewell forever, and accept these tokens, small indeed, but tokens of our pious disposition. They are not your due (for who will give you your sufficient due?). But let our verses sound you with whatever noise they can make. Let my Muse celebrate you, although weak as she nears the threshold of her exhausted life, enfeebled and poverty-stricken, and sluggish because of disuse. But her it memorialize you in a grateful verse. In my eyes, whoever loves you will be a great man. I shall embrace with eternal love the man who embraces you with his genuine love, the one thing I can do.
SCOTLAND’S CONGRATULATION TO ITS KING
TO THE KING
I could not restrain myself from reviving my Muse, always meager but nowadays exhausted, so that she might greet you on your arrival, you rare light of your nation, you rare light of the world, and attest the disposition of Scotland (I mean this Scotland of yours). Others will give you better works, I hope they do so, but nobody will be better disposed in the giving
YOUR MAJESTY’S MOST DUTIFUL SUBJECT,
DAVID HUME OF GODSCROFT
SCOTLAND’S CONGRATULATION TO ITS KING
So you are here at length, your longed-for love of your nation has swept aside all delays, and my wishes and prayers have not proved fruitless, nor have the sighs I have sadly poured for you throughout three lustra, from the time that you began your tardy absence from Caledonian climes across the Thames, a son dear to your mother, dearer than all the children I gave you when I was your mother. Throughout all these lustra, my rivers, my watery fountains, my forests with their sad whispers, my valleys, watered with tears, and the wooded tops of my hills have sighed for you with their gloomy caverns. But now Father Tweed and the Forth with its current have received you, as well as the highlands of Lomond, together with the palaces of our lofty kings and Falkland, happy for its realms. Now the ridges of the Orchil Hills and the great walls of loyal Stirling, its ground crawled over, and its sky assaulted by the cries of your cradle years, stands, displaying the high battlements of its towers, and with all its hills it overtops only Edinburgh, laying claim to the pinnacle of the high scepter, a place which is a rival seat for government. Its citizens should now rejoice at your return, and hasten to catch a glimpse of your beloved face, a face that deserves to be revered with veneration. Now my rivers, my watery fountains, my forests and valleys, resounding with happy music and song, the wooded tops of my mountains raise their gladsome applause to high heaven and bid their king be of good health. They gratefully acknowledge that you are kindly and heedful, that you, being so great, have come after having traveled such a lengthy journal over expanses of broad lands to behold themselves, nursing true ardors in your heart.
Would that any of those great bards of ancient time, upon whom I used to rely, worthy of you, was present now, who could match the greatness of these events with his virtue, who could soften his great songs with sweet honey, songs which might with their music hymn our thanks, our prayers, and our praises in a way that you deserve. Now, since you have taken away the Muses with yourself into neighboring kingdoms, be friendly and accept, not what Apollo dictates, but what our genuine love of our nation, of God and yourself, can devise. Our love for you, conceived in your first cradle years, now persists in the times of your later life, this love which is not to be gnawed by any tooth of time, any spaces of land, any envy, any talk of an unfair critic, any unfavorable rumor.
Being the hundred and sixth great offspring of Fergus, who first established the scepter of Scotland, happily shine on your realms, with equal vigor and equal strength found the British kingdom, with equal destiny confirm the British kingdom, and bequeath it, confirmed, to your late progeny, as many as you count your forebears, unless the world’s machinery should intervene and overthrow your realms as part of its huge collapse.
Great Bruce, you sole king who restored the Scottish scepter for his sons, and bequeathed it (once deemed puny, but the foundation of things scarce puny) to his progeny, come hither and acknowledge your national household gods and your destined descendant, the ninth of his fated line, fated to govern so many realms, those of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland, and wherever the earth is is watered by the Tiber and flooded by the Jordan, although you fill men’s spirits with your great exertion and although, fulfilling your destiny, you surpass men’s hopes and prayers.
Great descendant of Banquo and scion of Fleance, by whom the House of Stuart and all those scepters of the realm was created, represented a race of ancient British stock, yet with an admixture of English, Norman, French, Danish, Spanish and German kings, government and commanders, so is not foreign to any nation of whose lords Europe, teeming with men, can boast, having promoted them to wield the reins of power. And yet it is this nation which reveres you as its son, and which reveres you as its father, loving and honoring you as both its scion and its father, and besieging heaven with its prayers for its scion and its father.
And yet, amidst all those lofty crowns, you deem it right to account this one private coronet among your titles, albeit a private one sprung from great kings and kindred to great kings, often acting the role of a king in war and in peace, and (which by itself is sufficient) creating a lofty king of noble stock, a king whose better the earth does not see: yourself, who wields the triple scepter of British rule: I mean the house of Douglas and of Angus. Neither ancient Rome or Greece can boast of a house second to theirs in virtue, whether you count the number of their heroes, or their strength of mind and body, or their loyalty to their nation, so that you combine a thousand scepters in yours, and count in your pedigree as many kings as this side of the wide world possesses. This is not your least praise, that you are so worthy to derive your origin from heroes.
So these are the lofty names of your forebears. But what are the personal points of your praise? You are the world’s treasure and darling, you miracle among kings. You mix private private endowments with your royal ones, and royal with your private, decorating the Muses with your crown and your crown with the Muses. You mix the lofty with the nourishing, the golden with the delightful, the useful with the pleasing. By your rich vein of divine genius you mix the human with that which far transcends everything human, a thing which no industry, no effort, no wise prudence of any inventor or teacher could ever confer. By divine intervention, this one thing is granted you among all your arts. It is something not granted all the gods, and to you alone among kings. Why envy this in vain, you grudging crew, no matter on what score you may lodge your complaint?
And here is a virtue no less personal for yourself, a rare thing down through the centuries and a wonderment to all the lands. You who, being powerful in arms and martial spirits, both by land and by sea, could shake the world with warfare and summon neighboring nations to battle, are a lover of peace, you cultivate nurturing peace. You restrain the Germans and French, the Italians, Dutchmen and Spanish as they would rush into bloody combat, their hatreds set aside, and you are eager to be called blessed for this, and to be called by no false name the umpire of Europe, and, by means of Europe, the umpire of the world.
And this is no less wonderful (so that your ears and eyes, accustomed to be surprised, may become accustomed to this), that, bringing so many companies of English into Caledonian territory, you bring peace as well, and make our harmless hands clasp in amity. Greetings, oh you true brothers, who the Rhine and the very Batavians acknowledge: the Tweed, the Forth, and the Tay, all Scotland greats you with its kindred language. Be good men, take on friendly faces and dispositions, with a common concern escort our common father, mindful of our common God, our common treaties, and our common mother herself, the land of Britain. Here there are no deceits, everything is made plain by the truth-telling Scots. Let pride and harm be absent from your words, you could not abide in greater security alongside the waters of the Thames.
My work grows by being diminished. Dead to the earth, I am borne up to the stars. Oh scion of heaven, dearest to heaven, heaven-defended and enhanced, set aloft on a high throne above kingdoms, watered by the dew of heavenly learning and eloquence, whence a golden stream of honey flows, softening men’s hearts, and whence with heaven-sent force you hurl thunderbolts and missiles such as once shattered the Tarpeian towers, levelling to the ground whatever has resisted high heaven, you object of heaven’s concern as long as you deal with heavenly things while still a guest on earth, and likewise when, free from that hospitality (or, if you prefer, from that prison), you mount up to your ancestral Olympus. Then, a citizen of heaven, you may assume a second set of realms in heaven (as greater for you as heaven’s high places are greater than the earth). Meanwhile, James, let your every care and handiwork militate for the benefit of heaven’s Master. Greater than every great thing, as much better than good as your scepters and honor wins over scepters to your side, you in your turn may dedicate your scepters, your glory and government to Him, along with your mind and your handiwork. You should consider this alone to be honor, you should think that glory flows from this one source. Such are your scepters, such is your descent from Fergus, Bruce, Fleance and Banquo, the clan of Stuart, your pedigrees of all those kings, and all your praiseworthy points, whether given you by fate, or the endowments of your nature or character, of your body or mind.
As far as I am concerned, you have been fed on this heavenly nectar. Once you imbibed this piety, it became fixed in your marrow together with your mother’s milk, and may it remain so fixed through all the years. In view of these things, I, as your mother, repeat my words and greet you. In this way I, as your daughter, revere you. Soon I shall happily gather the nectar dripping from your rosy mouth. Oh, may I steal kisses from your lips, and wrap my arms around your soft neck. Or, if this is too much, I shall kiss the soles of your feet and, hanging back and worshipping you from afar, I shall kiss your footprints.
Long may you live, my child and my father, for me, for God, and for the world, prudent and pious, great and greater than yourself. When you have performed heaven’s duties, be included in heaven, and, truly a king, rule for all the centuries.
TO THE SAME
Why is Clan Home, accustomed to encounter the English in arms, and to do and to suffer brave deeds, now schooled to clasp pacified, unarmed hands? It receives with hospitality those it traditionally greeted with spears. This, peace of the world, is your goodness, a source of wonder to the British. Henceforth, James, this peace of the world is your destiny.
TO THE SAME
Once upon a time Clan Home was the first faithful protection of your realm, and your front line in war. Now I am your front line in peace, and see how I, who was accustomed to lead your van, am now leading happy dances, I who once led the Scottish legion, bristling with spears, into the fray and join terrible battles with the Englishman. Either I’m a liar, or we think that an Englishwoman is not terrible in any respect, as you judge: just consider her countenance or her mind. Nor shall we join battles in cruel war, but rather we are observing the sacred laws of a chaste marriage. Hence a castle, built for me, which an English hand had once demolished, a better English hand is now rebuilding. Hence this union will go prosperously for you, you entire island, if you grow wise after my example.
That Scotland pours itself forth, clasps your hand, and kisses you, and that man and woman rush up to embrace you, cling to you, and cannot be torn away, and kiss you once again, and again take your hand and fall at your feat, something done by every sex and age, every kind of man, whether he dwells in towns or tills the soil, what is this but love and towards you as its king and your father? What but sure tokens of a devoted mind? And that you lovingly offer a ready hand to your loving people, for them to kiss, what else is this than your love? This is a sweet contest in loving, to see whether you love your people better, or your people you. You do not diminish the pinnacle of your rule thus: he who imagines this does not understand how true government gains its reputation. Other living things are led about by their bound necks, offering their backs to gods and their mouths to bits. But Man’s bond is his heart: he is led by his heart alone, particularly the men who inhabit ancient Caledonia. Whoever attempts to lead these men by the neck, will break their necks or his own first. And yet this is not easy: whoever has tried it has discovered that his power is without avail, or has atoned with his downfall. But you hold their hearts, king, and in your blessedness will always hold then. Thus you govern, thus you take advantage of your nature. Prudently continue, James, and be loved, and gently attest your love. These are the true bonds of a pious government.
A TARDY PRINTING
I was the first to give you the welcoming gifts of my Muses at the mouth of the Tweed, the first firstfruits of my welcoming nation, and of all the praises which Scotland is still singing, there where Clan Home was the first to lead its pacified squadrons, where union first sprang up thanks to the pious examples we set. Likewise I was among the first who sang the birth-songs of your great fame, and of the first beginnings of your life (though myself scarce emerged from my first years), and of the first British scepter to be wielded under your auspices. And yet I am the last to publish, whether this was happenstance or an omen, and because of the unlucky destiny of my nature, so that, though I was the first in love, I deserve to be the last in fact, and perhaps even to have no place at all. Whatever this may be, receive these first-and-last poems, James, always the First in my prayers, my mind, and my duty.
A DIFFICULT PRESENTATION
These poems have been sent to you at Berwick, Dunglass, Port Seton, and Kinnaird, and likewise to you at Edinburgh, whether you were arriving, going, coming, or staying there once more, and then once more departing. This was done on the Ides, Nones, and Kalends of May and June, and the days on which the moon shows her face to her brother, when she removes it, when she vanishes, both early in the morning and at midday, whether you are ending your sleep and eating your breakfast, or whether lunch or dinner summons, written, re-written, and yet are not printed. And yet it is not granted them to behold your serene countenance. Thus, the verses I once wrote in my first and middle youth, a boy addressing a boy, and what I have sung for you at Stirling, Edinburgh, and by the walls of great London, when happy England rejoiced at your arrival at the same time as sad Scotland mourned your departure, I expressed my sympathy for her, and congratulated you. I have no complaint: thus the Fates (call them favorable or call them unfavorable) desired, they bring this on and bring it on again. But these poems provide an example of my nature, according to which I dance attention on, am ardent for, and love you both present and absent, and serve as proof that henceforth I worship your great divinity. While I am still living, these attest my mind; when I have died, these same verses will remain as my mind’s monuments.
THE FRIENDLY COMBAT OF SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND
I, once hostile, used to fight against the hostile English, and I fiercely shot my savage missiles against those fierce fellows. I met hatred with hatred, fires with fires, arms with arms, and cruel deeds with cruel deeds. I suffered and inflicted the losses of war: plunder driven off, castles overthrown, towns and armies laid low. Now they have abandoned their haughty spirits: I copy them and do the same. They cease battle, so do I. Friendly, I abandon my arms and my terrible words, and, together with my arms, I set aside my hatred, worse than arms. Indeed, I strive to take the lead in acts of courtesy and I embrace my sister, I lovingly invite her to join in a pact. My greatest prayer, and yours as well, ought to be for the honor of our common father and our common nation. So come, either defeat me in this sweet combat, my sister, or I shall greatly defeat you and your men. For me, this kind of combat lives on. Thus it is permissible for sisters to fight each other, thus I find it sweet to conquer and to suffer defeat.
SCOTLANDS’ FAREWELL TO THE KING
My son, wrenched from my bosom although I had not yet given you enough kisses nor satisfied my spirit with our embraces, why should I complain or blame you. The Fates and the gods demand this, and I do not regard as my misfortune that which I deem to be good things for you. So farewell, live the long years of a Nestor, and conquer all things, so that you may come back some day. Meanwhile, while soft Amaryllis is holding you in her arms and gives you caresses, remember and, heaving a sigh, say to yourself that “my Phyllis loves me no less.”
SCOTLANDS’ FAREWELL TO ENGLAND
Sister, dear to me even if you crave to have a reputation for the more beautiful or the greatest, yet nevertheless my sister, receive this farewell from your dear sister. I have tried my best to demonstrate my true love, you must love this token of my true love, whatever it is, and you must adore man whom the gods gave to me as my son, and to you as your king (nor should I complain, or ever call the gods harsh). Yet I have deserved this of you, such as I could deserve because of my love or punctual dutifulness, that when you enter into lengthy praises of your the streams of your Thames, you should say that those of my Forth are not displeasing. When as a mother you happily admire your offspring, you should say, “and my sister has no mean children.” And when you study your worthy face in a mirror, you should say “and my sister also has a countenance which is hardly shameful.”