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On ane side, they their faes had,
ANDREW Wyntorn, the next important poet that the Scottish literature of this period presents, lived some time after the age of Barbour, but neither the place nor the period of his birth is now known. He was Prior of St. Serf's monastery at Lochleven, and about the year 1420, he completed an Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, including much universal history, and extending down to his own time. The genius of this author was inferior to that of Barbour; but his versification is easy, his language pure, and his style often animated.' His Chronicle is valuable as a picture of ancient manners, as a repository of historical anecdotes, and as a specimen of the literary attainments of that age in Scotland. It contains a considerable number of fabulous legends, such as we may suppose to have been told beside the parlor fire of the monasteries of those days, and which convey a curious idea of the credulity of the age. From this Chronicle we extract the following singular imaginary interview between St. Serf and Sathanas. St. Serf lived in the sixth century, and was the founder of the monastery of which Wyntoun was Prior ::
INTERVIEW OF ST. SERF WITH SATHANAS.
While St. Serf, intil a stead,
Of creatures made he was maker.
The devil askit him, 'Why God of noucht
Where was he, eft that, for his vice,
Besides Wyntoun there were a few other Scottish writers of the same period, such as Hutcheon of the Hall Royal, who wrote a metrical Romance entitled the Gest of Arthur; and Clerk of Tranent, who wrote a Romance entitled The Adventure of Sir Gawain. In the narrative of what remains of this latter poem, there is a sort of wildness which is very striking, though the language is often so obsolete, as to be quite unintelligible. The Howlate, an allegorical, satirical poem written about the same time by a poet named Howland, but of whom nothing more is known, strikingly reminds us of The ‘Prieke of Conscience,' and 'Pierce Ploughman's Vision.'
The last of the romantic or minstrel class of compositions in Scotland of this period was The Adventures of Sir William Wallace, written about the middle of the fifteenth century by a wandering poet usually called Blind Harry. Of the author, however, nothing is farther known than that he was blind from his infancy, that he wrote this poem, and that he supported himself by reciting it before company. The work abounds with marvellous stories respecting the prowess of its hero, and in one or two places, grossly outrages real history: its value has, perhaps, on this account been generally understated. But within a very few years past, several of the transactions attributed by the blind minstrel to Wallace, and hitherto supposed to be fictitious—such as his expeditions to France—have been confirmed by the discovery of authentic evidence. The poem is in ten-syllable lines, and is not deficient in poetical effect, and elevated sentiment. A paraphrase of it into modern Scotch, by William Hamilton of Gilbertfield, has long been a favorite volume among the Scotch peasantry; and it was the study of this book which had so great an effect in kindling the genius of Robert Burns. Perhaps the most striking passages in this poem are the Adventures of Wallace while fishing in Irvine Water—The Escape of Wallace from Perth—and Wallace's Death: the last of which follows:
THE DEATH OF WALLACE.
On Wednesday the false Southron furth brocht
1 Burn's life by Dr. Currie,
2 Contrived. 6 Caused.
And sadly heard his confession till ane end :
From these romantic writers of Scotland, we proceed to notice a few of a different class, the first of whom, in the order of time, is the Scottish king James the First.
JAMES THE First was the son of Robert the Third, king of Scotland, and was born 1395. His father being of a weak mind and easy disposition, allowed his brother, the Duke of Albany, to gain a complete ascendency over him. The reins of government consequently passed entirely into the duke's hands; and as he was the next heir to the crown after Robert and his issue, he soon entertained the ambitious and criminal design of securing the kingdom for himself. With this view, he so misrepresented the conduct of the king's eldest son, the Duke of Rothsay, that the weak monarch committed the prince to the care of the regent Albany, by whom he was immediately imprisoned in Falkland Castle, and soon after starved to death. The king, too weak to punish the man to whom he had foolishly committed the administration of the government, had still sufficient discernment to perceive the necessity of preserving his remaining son from a similar fate. With this view he, in 1404, caused the prince to embark, attended by a large retinue, for the court of his ally, Charles the Sixth of France, there to be educated. The vessel in which the prince sailed, had the misfortune to be captured on its way thither by an English ship-of-war, and James and his attendants were immediately conveyed to London as prisoners. This event occurred in the sixth year of the reign of Henry the Fourth ; and during the remaining eight years of that monarch's reign, throughout the whole of the reign of Henry the Fifth, and until the commencement of the fourth year of the reign of Henry the Sixth, James remained a prisoner in England. Though Windsor Castle was his prisonhouse during the eighteen years of his captivity, yet his captors treated him
every mark of respect and kindness, and bestowed upon him an education far superior to what he could, in that age, have received in his own country.
The captivity of the young prince so deeply affected his father's mind, that he soon sunk under the weight of the affliction, and James was, accordingly, in 1405, declared king by an assembly of the Scottish states, though the Duke of Albany still retained the regency.
In 1424, when James was set in liberty, and assumed the reins of the government of his country, he found his kingdom in such disorder that the most rigorous measures were required to curb the existing abuses. These measures bore very severely upon the usurpations of the crown lands by the nobility, in consequence of which a conspiracy was formed against the king, at the head of which was his uncle, the Earl of Athole. James received timely intelligence of the designs of the conspirators, but his natural intrepidity led him to treat the threatened danger with contempt; and while in the Dominican Convent, near Perth, attended by his queen
few of his courtiers, he was murdered in the most cruel manner, in the fortyfourth year of his age,
and the thirteenth of his reign.'' While James was a prisoner in Windsor Castle, and pining for his liberty, he accidentally saw, in an adjacent garden, a young princess, Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Duke of Somerset. This incident exerted a most remarkable influence over the tive, and induced him to seek the hand of the princess, which he eventually obtained. To the Lady Jane, James was most ardently attached, and her praises elicited his finest poetic strains.
The only unquestioned production of this youthful monarch, is a long poem entitled The King's Quhair, or Book. This poem, which embraces the relation of various particulars in his own life, and a full development of his passion for the Lady Jane, abounds in simplicity and pathos, and contains poetry superior to any other, with the exception of that of Chaucer, produced in England previous to the reign of Elizabeth. To sustain this remark, we need only present the following stanzas :
and a very
THE FIRST SIGHT OF LADY JANE BEAUFORT AS SEEN FROM
Bewailing in my chamber, thus alone,