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donald, a petty chieftain of the north, displeased with a widow on his estate for threatening to appeal to the king, had ordered hier feet to be shod with iron plates nailed to the soles; and then insultingly told her that she was thus armed against the rough roads. The widow, however, found means to send her story to James, who seized the savage, with twelve of his associates, whom he shod with iron, in à similar manner, and having exposed them for several days in Edinburgh, gave them over to the executioner.
While a prisoner in Windsor Castle, James had seen and admired the beautiful Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Duke of Somerset. Few royal attachments have been so romantic and so happy. His poem entitled the Quair , in which he pathetically laments his captivity, was devoted to the celebration of this lady; whom he obtained at last in marriage, together with his liberty, as Henry conceived that his union with the grandaughter of the Duke of Lancaster might bind the Scottish monarch to the interests of England.
James perished by assassination, in the 44th year of his age, leaving behind him the example of a patriot king, and of a man of genius universally accomplished.
1 Quair is the old Scotch word for a book.
THE KING THUS DESCRIBES THE APPEARANCE OF HIS MISTRESS, WHEN HE FIRST SAW HER FROM A WINDOW OF FIJS PRISON AT WINDSOR.
FROM CANTO II. OF THE QUAIR.
Now was there made fast by the touris wall
3 Herbary, or garden of simples.
Railed about and so with treeis set
XV. Worshippe, O ye that lovers bene, this may! For of your bliss the calends are begun; And sing with us, “ away! winter away! Come summer come, the sweet season and sun; Awake for shame tha have
heavens won ; And amorously lift up your headès all Thank love that list
you mercy call.”
And therewith cast I down mine eye again,
XVII. Of her array the form gifs I shall write, Toward her golden hair, and rich attire, In fret wise couched with pearlis white, And greatè balas 4 lemyng 5 as the fire; With many an emerant and faire sapphire, And on her head a chaplet fresh of hue, Of plumys parted red and white and blue.
XXIX. About her neck, white as the fyr amaille , A goodly chain of small orfevyrie 7, Whereby there hang a ruby without fail Like to a heart yshapen verily, That as a spark of lowe 8 so wantonly Seemèd burnyng upon her whitè throat; Now gif there was good parly God it wote.
XXX. And for to walk that freshè mayè's morrow, An hook she had upon her tissue white, That goodlier had not been seen toforrow',
1 An unexpected accident. 2 Started back. 3 If. 4 Rubies. 5 Burning
6 Mr. Ellis conjectures that this is an error, for fair einail, i. e, enamel. 7 Goldsmith's work,
As I suppose, and girt she was a lyte !
Nothing is known of the life of Henryson, but that he was a schoolmaster at Dumferling. Lord Hailes supposes his office to have been preceptor of youth in the Benedictine convent of that place. Besides a continuation of Chaucer's Troilus and Cresseide, he wrote a number of fables, of which MS.copies are preserved in the Scotch Advocates Library.
1 A little.