Ad Ioannem Gordonium (n.d.)

Like David Cunningham (see d2_MaiT_015), John Gordon appears to have been another of Maitland's university classmates - he studied at St Leonard's College in the early 1560s and then went to Paris and Orléans in 1565 for two years. Gordon was the illegitimate son of Alexander Gordon, brother to the fourth Earl of Huntly, and had a varied career which included service to Thomas Howard, fourth Duke of Norfolk and to Queen Mary during the Marian Civil War, and as a gentlemen ordinary of the privy chamber to Charles IX, Henri III and Henri IV of France. Gordon published several works in English and Latin celebrating the accession of James VI and I in 1603 (including a Panegyrique of Congratulation (1603) and Elizabethae Reginae manes de religione et regno (1604)), and on the strength of these was called to England by James VI and I to take up the position of Dean of Salisbury, which he held until his death (see Alexander Gordon, 'Gordon, John (1544-1619)', rev. David George Mullan, ODNB). Metre: elegiac couplets.

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Ad Ioannem Gordonium

Gordoni, eximia si laus virtute paratur, 1
laus tribuenda aliis, laus tribuenda tibi. 2
Dulcis enim eloquii cum sit laudanda facultas;
est tua tergemino lingua polita sono.
Nemo Palladias tractat faelicius artes,
ingenii tantum dexteritate vales.
Quid? Quod forma viro digna est, sine crimine corpus,
et Iuno eximias polliceatur opes.
Magna quidem sunt haec: nam quę laudanda putantur,
cur ego digna suis laudibus esse negem?
Link to an image of this page  [p175] Sed candor morum magis est mirabilis illis
doctrina, ingenio, sanguine, forma, opibus.

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To John Gordon

Gordon, if exceeding praise is equal to virtue, the praise that should be paid to others is the praise that should be due to you. for (since sweet fluency in rhetoric is a thing to be praised) your speech has been refined three times in its sound. No man more happily practices the arts of Pallas, you flourish so greatly with a readiness of character. Why? Because you have beauty worthy of a man, a body without blemish, and Juno promises exceeding wealth. These things are great indeed; for the things which are thought to be praised, why should I deny that they are worty of praise in themselves? Link to an image of this page  [p175] But more remarkable that these riches, than your learning, character, lineage or beauty, is the honesty of your behaviour.



1: 'laus eximiae virtutis': Cicero, In Verrem II.I.56.3

2: 'laus...tribuenda' used frequently by Cicero (eg De Oratore II.167.2; De Officiis III.64.1)