« PreviousContinue »
SIR DAVID LYNDSAY.
· BORN 1490.
David Lyndsay, according to the conjecture of his latest editor', was born in 1490. He was educated at St. Andrew's, and leaving that university, probably about the age of nineteen, became the page and companion of James V., during the prince's childhood, not his tutor, as has been sometimes inaccurately stated. When the young king burst from the faction which had oppressed himself and his people, Lyndsay published his Dream, a poem on the miseries which Scotland had suffered during the minority. In 1530, the king appointed him Lyon at Arms, and a grant of knighthood, as usual, accompanied the office. In that capacity he went several times abroad, and was one of those who were sent to demand a princess of the imperial line for the Scottish sovereign. James having however changed his mind to a connexion with France, and having at length fixed his choice on the Princess Magdelene, Lyndsay was sent to attend upon her to Scotland ; but her death happening, six weeks after her arrival, occasioned another poem from our author, entitled
" Mr. G. Chalmers.
the “ Deploracion.” On the arrival of Mary of Guise, to supply her place, he superintended the ceremony of her triumphant entry into Edinburgh ; and, blending the fancy of a poet with the godliness of a reformer, he so constructed the pageant, that a lady like an angel, who came out of an artificial cloud, exhorted her majesty to serve God, obey her husband, and keep her body pure, according to God's commandments.
On the 14th of December 1542, Lyndsay witnessed the decease of James V., at his palace of Falkland, after a connexion between them, which had subsisted since the earliest days of the prince. If the death of James (as some of his biographers have asserted) occasioned our poet's banishment from court, it is certain that his retirement was not of long continuance; since he was sent, in 1543, by the Regent of Scotland, as Lyon King, to the Emperor of Germany. Before this period, the principles of the reformed religion had begun to take a general root in the minds of his countrymen; and Lyndsay, who had already written a drama in the style of the old moralities, with a view to ridicule the corruptions of the Popish clergy, returned from the continent to devote his pen and his personal influence to the cause of the new faith. In the parliaments which met at Edinburgh and Linlithgow, in 1544_45 and 46, he represented the county of Coupar in Fife; and in 1547, he is recorded among
the champions of the reformation, who counselled the ordination of John Knox. : The death of Cardinal Beaton drew from him a poem on the subject, entitled, a Tragedy, (the term tragedy was not then confined to the drama) in which he has been charged with drawing together all the worst things that could be said of the murdered prelate. It is incumbent, however, on those who blame him for so doing, to prove that those worst things were not atrocious. Beaton's principal failing was a disposition to burn with fire those who opposed his ambition, or who differed from his creed; and, if Lyndsay was malignant in exposing one tyrant, what a libeller must Tacitus be accounted ?
His last embassy was to Denmark, in order to negotiate for a free trade with Scotland, and to solicit ships to protect the Scottish coasts against the English. It was not till after returning from this business that he published Squyre Meldrum, the last, and the liveliest of his works. The time of his death is uncertain.
DESCRIPTION OF SQUYRE MELDRUM.
He was bot? twintie yeiris” of age,
His Gallantry to an Irish Damsel.
And saifit nouther barne nor byrell: But.—Years.—3 When.--4 Courageous.—5 Active.- Could endure excessive fatigue.--7 Stood, ---S Then.9 Coast --- 10 Host, army-11 Cowhouse.
It was greit pitie for to heir',
But this young Squyer bauld and wicht
1 Hear.- People.—3 Spoilt.-4 Abused.-5 Where.-- 6 Perceive. – 7 Beautiful.- Voice. Spoiled.-10 Naked.—1 She.12 War.—13 Before.--14 Who.--15 Parting. - 16 Than she was. -17 Any.-18 Before.- 19 Means for him, viz. Christ, who conquered or plundered hell.—20 Shift.