Sylva II: Jacobo Stuarto Scotiae Proregi, patriae sub Amaryllidos nomine, de reditu ex Anglia, Gratulatio (c. 1568-69)
James Stewart, first earl of Moray and the illegitimate half-brother of Mary Stewart, was proclaimed regent on 22 August 1567 after Mary's abdication in the preceding month. Following Mary's flight and escape into England in the following year, Moray attended the York-Westminster Conference in England between October 1568 and January 1569, which attempted to arbitrate between the king's and queen's parties and investigated the culpability of Mary in the murder of Darnley, and which famously ended with a non-verdict. Moray had taken Thomas Maitland's brother, William Maitland of Lethington, with him to the conference, but only because he feared what his former close ally might do while he was away - with the removal of Bothwell from the political picture, the Maitland family as a whole had begun to show support for the restitution of Mary and her marriage to Thomas Howard, fourth earl of Norfolk, and Thomas in particular became wholly committed to the Marian party (On Moray, see Mark Loughlin, 'Stewart, James, first earl of Moray (1531/2-1570)', ODNB; Maurice Lee, James Stewart, Earl of Moray: A Political Study of the Reformation in Scotland (New York, 1953); and Gordon Donaldson, All the Queen's Men (London, 1983), passim.) With that in mind, this sylva - an extended play on several themes and ideas in Vergil's Eclogues, and which celebrates the return of Moray to Scotland after the conference - is a puzzling one, as it appears to have been written around the time that Moray entered into open hostility with Maitland (and by extension his family).
The central conceit of the poem builds on a description of Amaryllis, the lover of Tityrus, in Eclogue I, where she laments his absence at Rome:
Mirabar, quid maesta deos, Amarylli, vocares,
cui pendere sua patereris in arbore poma:
Tityrus hinc aberat. ispae te, Tityre, pinus,
ipsi te fontes, ipsa haec arbusta vocabant. (l.36-39)
[I used to wonder, Amaryllis, why so sadly you called on the gods, and for whom you let the apples hang on their native trees. Tityrus was gone from home. The very pines, Tityrus, the very springs, the very orchards here were calling for you! (trans. Fairclough and Goold)]
In Maitland's poem, Tityrus is replaced by Menalcas, another central character in the Eclogues, as the object of Amaryllis' affection, and Menalcas represents Moray throughout. The poem draws extensively on pastoral imagery from the Eclogues, and also references two other characters - Amyntas, a lover of Menalcas in Eclogue III but here a rival (who he is meant to represent is unclear); and Iolas, who represents the infant James VI (for more details on the relationship between Iolas and Menalcas, see the note at line 145). The poem also draws extensively on pastoral imagery from other poets, notably Ovid and Horace. Metre: hexameter.
Sylva II: Iacobo Stuarto Scotiae Proregi, patriae sub Amaryllidos nomine, de reditu ex Anglia, Gratulatio
1Populea laeti frontem vincite corona 1
pastores, et vos hilares celebrate choreas
virginibus misti pueri, puerisque puellae. 2
Venit festa dies, toties lux aurea votis
5exoptata meis, venit bonus ecce Menalcas. 3
Nectere mi flores, soli mi ferre solebam,
basia in amplexus solumque admittere nostros:
et quid enim aut animi formosa Amaryllis haberet 4
amplius, aut voti, quid nunc, licet improba, poscat,
10quam sibi cum illaesos reddi laetatur amores?
Dic mihi, plus animo atque oculis dilecte Menalca,
quis te restituit nobis hoc tempore casus?
An dea vicinis niveos quae in saltibus agnos 5
pascit, et humanam ludit mentita figuram:
15virgo procos gemitu, et lachrymis permota, dolori
(conscia quae castas exurit flamma medullas)
indoluit nostro, et patriae te reddidit orae,
an potius, quod malo, mei te mutuus ardor 6
traxit, nec dispar torret praecordia flamma?
20Eheu! Quam subito te discedente corollae
defluxere comis, 7 et me mea forma reliquit
pristina, vox etiam sylvestribus aemula Nymphis,
qua mulcere feras, quaque ardua saxa movere, 8
visa sui, blando arrisit modulamine nulli.
25Et quae laeta prius cecini, tunc carmina quali
voce canit cygnus moriens moriente canebam. 9
Saepe quidem invisae fugiens commercia turbae
errabam, et vacuae captavi umbracula sylvae,
tanquam turba gravis luctum et loca sola levarent,
30et frustra tacitum cantu lenire dolorem
sum conata. Meos sed nec deserta ferarum
lustra, 10 nec insanos minuerunt carmina luctus.
Sic amor absentis, sic torsit cura Menalcae.
Sive etenim cœpi fragiles inflare cicutas; 11
35fistula seu labris admota est, flebile semper
responsant, 12 nomenque tuum sonuere cicutae:
fistula formosum resonabat sumpta Menalcam.
Sin positis calamis tentabam voce canora
demulcere animum blando modulamine tristem,
40tristia lascivos turbant suspiria cantus,
hisque Deos precibus vicinaque rura ciebam:
'O Di, quaeque Deos ruralia numina Fauni 13
aequatis, si vera valet pietasque, fidesque,
si teneris sacras agnis oneravimus aras;
45nec merito frustrata Deos Amaryllis honore est;
unum pro meritis faciles concedite munus:
scitis, ut externis nostrae teneatur in oris
altera pars animae, 14 vos o mihi Numina partem
dimidiam servate animae, servate Menalcam.
50Vos quoque caerulei domitores aequoris Austri
dicite, noster amor sanus num vivat, et alta
mente parem premit, et nostro calet ille calore?
Anne illum magico remoratur carmine pellex, 15
successitque meae damnosa oblivio flammae?
55Quid querar ah? prius antra colent Nereides, antra
destituent, vitreasque colent Dordonides undas,
ante Caledonias scindet Germania sylvas,
caeruleumque bibet discors Cornubia Fortham;
quam nostro illius discedant pectore amores.
60Ille meam sociis formam praeferre puellis
suevit, et est nobis visus pulcherrimus ille.
Sed lentas perferre moras, et taedia longa 16
ferre, grave est: liceat gratos mihi cernere vultus:
tum nova semianimes fundetur vita per artus.' 17
65Haec et plura dolor 18 lachrymis suggessit obortis.
Saepe etiam placido dum somnus membra sopore
detinet, 19 ipsa tuos nobis evanida 20 vultus
somnia sistebant, mihi dulcia visa referre
oscula, et optatis necquicquam amplexibus haesi: 21
70deinde ubi luciferi dolor est renovatus ad ortus,
aspera mendaci feci convitia somno. 22
Quid facerem? Non ille mei praedator amoris
adfuerat, qui auro fluxos per colla 23 capillos
conferret, roseasque genas, 24 digitosque, pedemque
75laudibus et pulchram efferret sine crimine formam:
nec cui castaneas molles, 25 atque aurea ferrem
mala, 26 novos horti aut flores faelicis habebam.
Atque ideo, socia disjuncta ut vitis ab ulmo
languet humi, gratasque negat cultoribus uvas:
80sic ego, sed frustra, dum te mea vita requiro,
languida procubui cultus fœdata decoros.
Nec fuit iste mei duntaxat pectoris ardor, 27
par pecus, angebat pecoris par cura magistros.
Tristis oves scabies, et pestis tetrior hœdos
85infecit, parvique cadunt cum matribus agni.
Saepe lupus stabulis, saepe insidiatus ovili est; 28
et qui sola colunt rabidi spelaea leones, 29
invadunt avido ore gregem, quos pastor inermis
insequitur, pariterque urso et sit praeda leoni.
90Quin etiam nostri tanquam sint conscia luctus
flumina, constiterant, squalebant arva, 30 virentes,
sylva comas posuit, nudantur floribus horti,
dulcia destiterant modulari carmina Panes.
Nympharumque leves tum cessavere choreae:
95muta silet philomela, ululae concessit Acanthis,
Phœbus et adversos currum deflexit in Austros.
Nec mirum, Deus ille, pecus pecorisque magistros
qui rexit, cui sylva comis, cui fructibus arbos,
purpureis vites uvis, cui floribus horti,
100murmure cui rivi, cui grato germine tellus
blandita est, quem Pan cantu, Nymphaeque choraeis
pastores inter mecum oblectare solebant,
eheu longinquis absens errabat in oris. 31
Nunc postquam vultusque tuos formose Menalca
105cernere, et optatam fas est contingere dextram,
mœror abit, tristes decedunt pectore curae:
et nova sollicitae succedunt gaudia menti.
Quinetiam sensus pastores venit ad ipsos
laetitiae, gaudetque pecus, 32 dominumque salutat.
110Ipsa etiam tellus, Zephyris mulcentibus auras,
vere nitet, positos sibi sylva resumit honores,
et laudata redit redivivis gratia campis:
at mea praecipua est, cum te mea vita voluptas
aspicio, et patriis reducem complector in arvis. 33
115Ecce igitur, quacunque feres vestigia, sparsos
calcabis flores, ne laedant aspera plantas
saxa, aut spinosae convellant brachia sentes.
Haec castigatum molli velamine corpus
dextera purpureoque includet tempora flore;
120proque tua, sic dictat amor, 34 rata vota salute
solvemus, precibus Divos, et sanguine fuso
innocui sacras agni placabimus aras.
Nunc scio, quam deceat stabiles in amore puellas
esse, nec absenti visam praeponere formam,
125cum veniant gratae non expectantibus horae. 35
Nuper enim in placido tristes mihi littore vultus,
fœdatasque genas lachrymis, et sordibus ora
spectanti, pulchra facie se dives Amyntas 36
obtulit, et me muneribus captavit opimis,
130ostentator opum, et formae, raptumque minatur,
at me promissi cœpit nec muneris ardor,
nec movere minae. Valeat despectus Amyntas.
Nam mihi (sic stabilis sedit sententia menti,)
fas nec amare alios, nec fas odisse Menalcam. 37
135At tu perge gradu celeri mea tecta subire;
inque imos penetrare sinus dilecte Menalca. 38
Non ego virgineo nimium rubefacta 39 pudore
post corileta latens me risu at murmure prodo,
nec flammam vultu, aut tacitum tego mente furorem:
140sed niveos adoperta sinus tibi candida pando
brachia, delitiis adblandior usque petitis,
(invida nil curans quid de me fama loquatur)
dum tibi de charis dicar charissima Nymphis.
Quoque magis properare juvet, te parvus Iolas, 40
145parvulus ille tuus patria collusor in aula,
quem tu Narcisso, quem tu praeponere Iulo
saepe soles, cujus suavi fragrantia nardo
sola tibi ambrosiam fundunt et basia nectar;
blandius inclamans, teneris tua labra labellis, 41
150lacteaque exertis invitat colla lacertis.
En mihi poscenti fortes, Superosque roganti,
ut nobis immota sinant faelicia fata; 42
sic Deus (audivi? an nimius mihi somnia vana
fingit amor?), sed sic imo respondit ab antro:
155'eja age Nympha, Deo nimium dilecta, maritus
et pater, et natus faelices transiget annos;
157formosus tecum formosa Amarylli Menalcas.'
Sylva II: a giving of thanks to James Stewart, regent of Scotland, in the name of Amaryllis, on his return from England to his homeland
1Rejoicing shepherds, bind the crown of poplar-wood to the brow, and you boys mixed with maidens, and girls with boys, celebrate with blithe dances. The feast day comes, the golden light hoped for so often in my prayers, behold good Menalcas comes. I used to tie up flowers for myself, and carry them for myself alone, and only allow kisses in our embraces: and truly what more in mind or in prayer could shapely Amaryllis have than that which now, although rashly, she demands, when she rejoices that her loves are restored to her unhurt? Speak to me, Menalcas, more beloved than my mind and eyes: who restored you to us at this time of tumult? Was it the goddess a who feeds the snowy lambs in the neighbouring pastures, and who deceptively sports in human form: was it the virgin, thoroughly moved by the groaning of her suitors and by our tears, who grieved at our sorrow (a conscious flame which burns right through to our marrow), and returned you to the shores of your nation? [p164] Or was it rather, as I prefer it, our mutual love that drew you back, and the passion that enflames our vital parts in equal measure?
20Alas! How quickly after your departure did the flowers fall from my hair, and my former beauty abandoned me, and even my voice, rivalling the woodland Nymphs, which soothed the wild beasts, and which moved the unfeeling rocks (a sight in itself), with a sweet modulation laughed at nothing. And I who before happily sang then began to sing songs with a dying voice, like the voice with which the dying swan sings. b Indeed, often I began to wander, fleeing the daily business of the hated mob, and took shade in the bowers of an empty wood, as if the solemn crowd and these places alone could alleviate sorrow, and in vain I attempted to alleviate quiet sorrow with song. But neither the deserted dens of wild beasts, nor the songs diminished my frenzied sorrows. Such a passion for he who was absent, such love for Menalcas tormented me. Or even if I began to blow upon fragile reeds, or the pipe was brought near to my lips, they always echoed back tearfully, and your name sang out from the reed: the pipe taken up began to call the name of shapely Menalcas. But even then, having set down the reeds, as I began to attempt with sonorous voice to sooth my sad soul with sweet tune, sad sighs interrupted my frolicsome singing, and with these prayers I began invoking the gods and the surrounding countryside: c
42'O gods, whichever of you rural deities equal the gods of Faunus, d if both true piety and faith have power, if we burdened the sacred altars with a tender lamb, Amaryllis has not frustrated the gods of their deserved honour; yield a single gift easily for her due reward: you know that the other part of our soul is detained on foreign shores; keep safe, o you deities, the half part of my soul; keep Menalcas safe. And tell me, you masters of the sky-blue south sea, does our love survive intact, and press equally upon his noble mind, and does he burn with our heat? Or does a mistress make him linger with her bewitching song, and has ruinous oblivion taken the place of passion for me? e Ah, what use is my lamenting? Sooner will the Nereids live in caves, and the Dordonids abandon their caves and inhabit the glassy sea, f
[p165] Germany will first tear apart the Caledonian woods, and discordant Cornwall drink of the Forth, than love for him depart from our breast. He used to prefer my figure to all his girlfriends, and he always seemed the most handsome to me. But it is burdensome to submit to slow delays, and to bear continual weariness; please allow me to see his pleasing face: then new life will be poured into my half-dead limbs.' Sorrow prompted these and many other things as her tears welled up.
66Yet often when sleep detained my limbs in peaceful slumber, my fleeting dreams themselves kept putting your face before me, to remind me of kisses (sweet visions), and to no avail I clung to those desired embraces: then, when sorrow was renewed at the sun's rising, I made bitter curses against lying sleep. What shall I do? This robber of my love has not appeared, who gathers his locks that flow with gold around his neck, and who displays his stunning body without blemish, and rosy cheeks, and hands and feet for praise: neither can I provide him with mealy chestnuts or golden apples, or lay hold of new flowers from a blessed garden. And for that reason the partner has been separated as the vine that wilts upon the earth from the elm, and refuses pleasing grapes to its cultivators: so I, my life, while I look (but in vain) for you, have sunk from elegant appearance into exhausted ugliness.
82This love for you was not just in my breast; the anxiety was tormenting livestock and the masters of livestock alike. Foul scabies infected the sheep, and a worse plague the goats, and the little lambs fell with their mothers. Often the wolf was in the stables, often he laid in wait upon the sheep-pen; and the wild lions who inhabit isolated caves set upon the flock with hungry mouth, and the unarmed shepherd who follows them equally becomes fair game for bear and lion. Nay indeed, our sorrows are just like living floods, and the green fields, well planted, lie untilled; the woods have dropped their foliage, and the gardens are stripped of their flowers, and the woodland gods have refused to beat time to sweet songs. Then the blithe dances of the Nymphs stopped, the mute nightingale is silent, Acanthis yielded to wailing, g
[p166] and Phoebus turned his chariot against the opposing south winds. No wonder, as God himself - who ruled the livestock and the masters of the livestock, to whom the wood with its foliage, to whom the bower with its fruits, the vines with their crimson grapes, to whom the gardens with their flowers, to whom the rivers with their rushing, to whom the land with its pleasing produce was charming, whom Pan with his song, and the Nymphs with their dances and the shepherds with me among them used to fill with delight - was absent, alas, wandering on far-off shores. Now, handsome Menalcas, after such sorrow it is right to see your face, and to touch your longed-for hand: grief will depart, and sorrowful worries fall away from my breast: and new joys take precedence in my anxious mind. Nay indeed, feelings of joy come to the shepherds themselves, and the livestock rejoice, and welcome their lord: even the earth itself truly looks bright, with the gentle west winds soothing the air: the woodland takes up again the honours it had set down, and grace full of praise returns to resurrected fields: but my chiefest desire, my life, when I see you, is to embrace you when you return to your native soil.
115Thus behold, wherever you put your feet, you will tread on scattered flowers, lest harsh rocks bruise your soles, or prickly thorns tear at your arms. Your body, surrounded by soft fabric, will bind up these well-omened times in the purple flower. h And for your safe return, as love dictates, we will dispense the established prayers, and we will appease the gods with prayers, and the sacred altars with the spilled blood of an innocent lamb. Now I know how proper it is for girls to be unwavering in their love, and not to prefer a beautiful vision to he who is absent, when the hour so dear does not come to those awaiting it. For recently wealthy Amyntas, with his handsome face, proferred himself before me, seeing my sad expression on a peaceful shore-side, my cheeks fouled with tears, and face with filth, and held me spellbound with expensive gifts; the show-off threatens the plunder of my effort and of my beauty, but neither desire for his promised gift nor threats began to move me. Let Amyntas flourish far from my sight. It is not right for me (so the enduring wisdom prevails upon my mind) to love others, nor has it ever been right to hate Menalcas. [p167] But hurry yourself, beloved Menalcas, with swift step, to come under my roof, and enter into my most private hiding-places. i Blushing excessively with the bashfulness of a maiden, and hiding from laughter and gossip behind the trees, I do not reveal myself. Neither do I conceal passion in my look, or silent rage in my mind: but I extend my pale arms, once covered, and my snowy bosom to you, far sweeter than delights you've sought up to now (caring nothing for what spiteful rumour says about me), while I may say you are the dearest of the dear nymphs. This also might encourage you to hurry back faster: little Iolas, that tiny boy, your playmate in the national court, whom you often used to prefer to Narcissus and to Iulus, whose kisses poured ambrosia and nectar perfumed with sweet nard upon you, calls out more sweetly and invites your lips upon his little lips, with your arms extended around his milky neck. But look! My entreaties to fortune and pleas to those above has resulted in the happy fates, previously unmoved, giving us leave: so God (have I heard correctly? or does love instead fashion more empty dreams for me?) but so he replied from the deepest cave: 'now go Nymph, most beloved to God; and handsome Menalcas, as husband, father and son, will pass through happy years with you, beautiful Amaryllis.'
1: 'populea...corona': Horace, Odes I.7.23
2: 'virginibus pueris canto': Horace, Odes III.1.4; 'cursitant mixtae pueris pullae': Horace, Odes IV.11.10
3: 'uvidus hiberna venit de glande Menalcas': Virgil, Eclogues, X.20
4: Echoes Vergil, Eclogues I.30 ('Amaryllis habet')
5: 'niveos...agnos': Calpurnius Siculus, Eclogues V.37
6: 'mutuus ardor' (in same metrical position): Lucretius, De Rerum Natura IV.1216
7: 'defluxere comae' (in same metrical position): Ovid, Metamorphoses VI.141
8: 'mulcere feras' (in same metrical position): Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV.339; 'saxa' and variants of 'moveo' also used frequently by Ovid (eg, Amores III.7.58).
9: 'candidas ales modo movit alas,/ dulcior vocem moriente cygno': Seneca, Phaedra 302
10: 'deserta ferarum/ lustra': Vergil, Aeneid III.646-7
11: 'fragili...cicuta': Vergil, Eclogues V.85
12: 'Echioniae responsant flebile Thebae': Statius, Thebaid VI.14
13: 'praesentia numina, Fauni' (in same metrical position): Virgil, Georgics I.10-11
14: Echoes Horace, Odes, II.17.5-6
15: 'magico carmine' used in various forms and metrical positions: Propertius, Elegies II.28.35; Tibullus, Elegies I.5.12; Lucan, Bellum Civile VI.822; Ovid, Fasti II.246
16: 'lentas...moras': Martial, Spectacula XXII.12, XXIX.2; 'taedia...longa': Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV.158; Nux [sp.] 159
17: 'semianimesque artus': Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV.209
18: 'plura dolor': Ovid, Metamorphoses XI.708
19: 'lumina cum placido victa sopore iacent': Ovid, Heroides XVI.102
20: Rare word, likely sourced from Ovid, Metamorphoses V.435
21: The preceding two lines echoe Vergil, Aeneid VIII.405
22: 'mendaci somno': Carmina Tibulliana [sp.], III.4.12
23: 'tum lactea colla/ auro innectuntur': Vergil, Aeneid VIII.660-661
24: 'roseas...genas': Vergil, Aeneid XII.606
25: Vergil, Eclogues I.81
26: 'aurea...mala': Vergil, Eclogues VIII.52-3
27: 'quis adtoniti pectoris ardor erat?': Ovid, Ars Amatoria III.714
28: 'lupus..stabulis', and references to Iollas and Amaryllis: Vergil, Eclogues III.79-81 (see also Aeneid, IX.566)
29: 'spelaea ferarum': Vergil, Eclogues X.52
30: 'squalebant...arva': Lucan, Bellum Civile IX.626
31: 'longinquis mittit ab oris': Martial, Epigrammata III.1.1
32: 'gaudet pecus': Horace, Odes I.4.3
33: 'complector in omnis': Vergil, Aeneid IX.277
34: 'purpureus quae mihi dictat Amor!': Ovid, Amores II.1.38
35: 'grata superveniet quae non sperabitur hora': Horace, Epistulae I.4.14
36: A name used in several of the Eclogues. In II and V he is a rival to Corydon and Mopsus respectively in piping; in III he is Menalcas' lover, and is described as having received ten golden apples from Menalcas as a gift; in X he is described as 'dark-skinned' ('fusca') and as loving Gallus.
37: The juxtaposition of 'amare' and 'odisse' used frequently by Seneca (eg, Dialogi X.19.3.4)
38: 'Illyricos penetrare sinus atque intima tutus': Vergil, Aeneid I.243
39: Rare word used by Ovid, in Metamorphoses XII.382 (in same metrical position), XIII.394
40: Iollas appears in Eclogues II.56 as the master of Alexis, whom Corydon is in love with. However, at lines 13-15 Corydon declares that he would have been better 'to brook Amaryllis' sullen rage and scornful disdain' or love Menalcas, 'though he was dark and you are fair', than love the proud Alexis (Eclogues, trans. Fairclough and Goold, pp. 32-33).
41: 'labra labellis' (in same metrical position): Lucilius, Saturae, fragmenta VIII.303
42: ;immota...fata': Vergil, Aeneid I.257-8; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica V.87
a: Elizabeth, who is also the 'virgin' at line 15.
b: The swan was known in antiquity for the beautiful song it produced when it was close to death.
c: Both the pastoral setting, but in this context also the neighbouring country of England.
d: An early Roman god, associated with agrilculture, woodlands and oracles, who came to be associated with Pan.
e: In the manner of the sirens, luring unwary sailors to their deaths with their song: see Odyssey XII.52.
f: Nereids: sea-nymphs; Dordonids: presumably mountain-dwelling nymphs, but the word is not used in a Latin classical context.
g: Acanthis was transformed into a thistle finch by Zeus and Apollo.
h: Of rule.
i: With the appropriate connotations of double-entendre here.