Originally published as a pamphlet at Edinburgh by Robert Waldegrave in 1590, and composed in just two days at the command of the king, the poem was delivered by Melville at the coronation of Queen Anne (James Doelman, James I and the Religious Culture of England (Suffolk, 2000), p. 60; Maureen M. Meikle, 'Anna of Denmark's coronation and Eentry into Edinburgh, 1590: cultural, religious and diplomatic perspectives', in MacDonald and Goodare, Sixteenth-Century Scotland, pp. 277-94, at pp. 285-6; Thomas M'Crie, The Life of Andrew Melville (2 vols, 1819 edn), vol. 1, Note FF, pp. 483-7). Melville's flattery of the king and his lineage, his playful allusions to his journey across the North Sea to collect his bride, and his exploration of what makes a good and just king so pleased James that he ordered its immediate publication. The discussion at the core of the poem, on the means by which a king comes to and retains power, is decidedly ambiguous. Melville walks a fine line between recognising James' rights as a hereditary monarch and acknowledging George Buchanan's ideas (seen in the 'Dialogue on the Law of Kingship among the Scots' (De Iure Regni apud Scotos Dialogus, Edinburgh, 1579)) on the elective and contingent nature of Scottish kingship. However, he is absolutely clear that a king's main role is to serve the cause of God and the common good of his people. For a fuller analysis, see Steven J. Reid, 'Andrew Melville and the law of kingship', in Mason and Reid, Andrew Melville, pp. 47-74. Metre: hexameter.
ΣΤΕΦΑΝΙΣΚΙΟΝ ad Scotiae Regem habitum in coronatione Reginae, 17 Maii 1590
ΣΤΕΦANIΣKION ad Scotia Regem, habitum in coronatione Reginae, 17 Maii, 1590
1Qua regnum quis recta adeat, quo justa regantur
sceptra modo, quae pacem artes, quae bella gubernent,
nunc canerem: ni me terreret limine in ipso
argumentum ingens, et onus cervicibus impar.
5Quanquam o! Si nostrum annuerit mihi numen amicum,
suscipiam hisce humeris: et me labor iste juvabit
cunctantem, et rerum injusto sub fasce labantem. 1
Quippe ego (cui nec parva queunt, et magna recusant
ferre humeri) indubitemne 2 meis, si numen amicum 3
10viribus? Et tanto cessabo hoc cardine rerum? 4
Non ita me sanctae primis docuere sub annis
Pierides. Audendum adeo: et praeludia parva
tanti operis tentanda mihi. Sic 5 carmina regi
nostra placent, pergendum etiam tanto auspice rege
15et regis caelestis ope. Ergo o maxime regum,
caelicolum rex alme, tuo qui numine reges
das regnis haud indecores, et regibus addis
inclyta regna bonus, rerum et successibus auges:
atque alios contra, haud necquicquam iratus avito
20exturbas solio, dum recti in lancibus aequis
fas versum atque nefas aequato examine pensas: 6
te veniam, te pacem oro tam grandibus ausis:
et velis mare tranquillum, et tractabile caelum: 7
sulcanti remis regni imperiosius aequor, 8
25da remos, et vela rati; da stringere littus,
extremamque oram, et scopulos vitare sonantes;
aspira facilemque auram, lucemque serenam,
[p72] donec laeta suo condatur cymbula portu.
Tuque adeo quem septem arceis et mœnia Romae 9
30iam dirum hostem horrent, fataliaque arma tremiscunt.
Ferguso generate, poli certissima proles: 10
quot reges tulit olim orbis, quot regna Britannus,
tot regnis augende haeres, tot regibus orte,
tot reges geniture olim faelicibus astris;
35laetus in optatae sanctis amplexibus Annae.
Annae, cujus amor te tot vada caerula mensum, 11
tot scopulos, tot praeruptas saxa ardua rupes,
tantam hyemem, tot fœta feris et inhospita tesqua
raptavit, gelidisque morantem distulit oris:
40quam procul a patria, ac populo regnisque relictis. 12
Tam proprior Phœbo, Musis lucem annue nostris,
dum canimus decus omne tuum, decus omne tuorum 13
Rex Iacobe, decus Musarum et Apollinis ingens.
Amplum, augustum, ingens decus, alta ab sede verendum
45omnibus unum aliis dare jussa, imponere leges, 14
et maria, et terras, et pacem, et bella tueri.
Tam laus digna Deo quam divinae aemula laudis,
fraudem arcere bonis, cladem importare profanis,
et sanctos servare tuo sub numine. Sed quo
50major honos, hoc majus onus. Res ardua quam sit,
regnare, et sceptris gentes fraenare superbas, 15
cum ratio, tum exempla docent. Illam inspicis? Arte
qua fas, quanta mole coercere 16 a capite uno
tot capita? Ac vulgum infraenem discordibus armis 17
55atque animis, numeroque ferocem e viribus acrem,
in gyrum rationis agi, cogique sub orbem
imperii, jurisque manu, legisque flagello?
Ferre jugum, fraenosque pati, et mansuescere habena?
Exemplis te facta movent? Volve, atque revolve
60aevi omnis memores longis anfractibus annos, 18
omnia regna, omnes longo demum ordine reges:
quam paucos tandem invenias, qui munere tanto
defuncti cum laude, omni sine labe reperti:
qui meriti nomen regis, vel nominis umbram. 19
65Fama est regem Asiae quondam dixisse potentem:
[p73] 'una omnes inscribi uno posse annulo, et una
includi gemma, fulvum quae dividit aurum.' 20
Undoso hoc cursum in pelago rectum usque tenere,
per brevia et syrtes, caecasque sub aequore cautes,
70pene nefas: ni multa ratem firma anchora fundet
virtus, et varios rerum experientia ventos
exploret: fluctusque feros clementia cœli 21
mulcere, et clarum puppi praetendere lumen
alma velit: clavumque regat, velisque ministret.
75Tantae molis opus, regnandi innare per aequor. 22
Vis arcana tamen naturae, et conscia fati 23
semina, scintillaeque novus quibus emicat ignis,
lucis inardescens radiis genitalibus almae
nunc reliquis, nec prorsum alta caligine mersis, 24
80succendunt ardore novo mortalia corda. 25
Hinc flammata virûm vis densa per ardua rerum
fertur ovans, regumque sibi deposcit honores. 26
Quin facilis pro laude labor: levat alta laborem
gloria, celsi animi pennis sublimibus apta.
85Quid studium humani generis? Quid vivida virtus, 27
ignavae impatiens umbrae atque ignobilis oti? 28
Quid proavi? Quid sanguis? Amor quid conjugis aureae?
Et dulces nimium dilecta e conjuge nati?
Et praedulce decus patriae: populique patrumque 29
90vel bello quaerenda salus, per mille pericla,
mille neces, et morte ipsa quod durius usquam est?
Quo patriae non raptet amor caelestis, et aulae
aetheriae, aeterna regem quae luce coronat?
Quo summi genitoris honos? Quo gloria nati?
95Quae rapere una potest humiles super aethera mentes
sidereo invectas curru, et caelestibus alis:
queis Pietas petit astra, viamque affectat Olympo. 30
Nos etiam quot, quanta trahunt! O quam sumus una
conjuncti, qui regnamur, cum rege catena?
100Virtutis secat ille viam dux praevius, ultro
nos comites. Fertur praeceps per devia? Jam nos
praecipites. Vernat Zephyris faelicibus? Et nos 31
floremus. Lapsum urget hyems? Nos flore caduci
defluimus, ruimusque. Ita nodo adstringimur arcto
[p74] 105devincti: commune bonum, commune periclum.
Qualis ab aethereo Phœbus molitur Olympo,
sive poli pulsu celeres, seu sponte quadrigas,
nunc revehens cum luce diem, nunc noctis opacas 32
obducens tenebras mortali rebus in orbe:
110talis agens celsa princeps sublimis ab aula
seu procerum impulsu, seu sponte volubilis, infert
laetitiae lucem populo, luctusque tenebras:
et recti pravique vices, luxumque, modumque.
Quisquis es ergo hominum qui rex moliris habenas, 33
115seu lectus magno e populo, seu natus avito
in solio, vel lege nova, vel more vetusto
sortitus sceptrique decus regnique coronam;
huc aures adverte, et conde haec sensibus imis 34
quae dicam. Mea dicta ferent, mihi crede, salutem:
120'quam magis, haud cogi in regno, optandum atque beatum,
tam magis, haud suaderi etiam miserum et fugiendum.'
Est lapis ardenti quondam fornace recoctus:
algidus in tantum exterior, quantum intimus ardet.
Cui nomen calx viva. Latex si depluit undae
125hunc super, ignem intus latitantem frigidus imber
irritat: citus ecce foras ruit ardor anhelans,
atque aestu flagrante vomens incendia circum
cum fumo, crepituque, et tetro infamis odore.
Haud aliter (si magna licet componere parvis) 35
130quae Phlegetontaeis animorum incocta caminis
saxea dutrities, vitiorum et pasta sub artus
flamma nocens, et avara auri, regnique cupido,
atque irae, atque odii, Venerisque, gulaeque libido
condita visceribus, caecisque inclusa cavernis 36
135delitet ut regni illecebris ros impluit aulae
blandior: et regi cum fulmine legis ad aures
vox tonat. Effracta cito nube erumpit in auras,
et fœdam glomerat tempestatem, ignibus atris 37
fumiferam involvens noctem: vastoque fragore
140regna ruens sordentem exhalat in astra Mephitim. 38
Mota adeo Camarina furit graveolentis Averni, 39
dat strepitum longe applaudens Stygii aula tyranni,
at cœlum late circum rubet omne pudore.
Quare ea dicta cave sanctas demittere in aures 40
145palponum quae turba canit: quod degitur aevi
dulce venenum aulaeque omnis: Stygio orta profundo
Hetrusca de peste lues: 'extraque, supraque
esse fori pilas, legum et tabularia regem.
Stat regi ut regni domino pro lege voluntas.' 41
150Talia dicta vomit diris e faucibus Orcus. 42
Inficit aulam omnem: insinuat se in pectora regum.
Da pater hoc nostris aboleri dedecus armis
omnipotens! Haec dira meo fac vulnere pestis
pulsa cadat regumque aulas et limina linquat. 43
155Imperet hic servis tantum? Rex ergo tyrannus
an patriae pater? An custos populique, patrumque? 44
An juris legumque sacer sanctusque minister?
Hoc, quo quisque Deo se rex gerit ipse minorem,
hoc Deus est: aut viva Dei viventis imago: 45
160cui bellare nefas: cui fas parere: potestas
servire est: 46 regnatque Deo regnata voluntas.
Cujus atque 47 aequi omnis rectique est norma, voluntas. 48
Est pecus, est pejor pecude, est fera bellua, soli
qui sibi se natum credit: qui non nisi in ipso
165cogitat imperium imperio: qui denique secum 49
non putat ipse datum se civibus, at sibi cives. 50
Nonne est dono hominum et divino munere, reges,
in vestrum collata sinum Respublica, non ut 51
lactetis spe vana, at eam foveatis alumni?
170Nonne praeest populo princeps, non principis ergo,
sed populi? Populique salus lex aurea regi? 52
Aurea quae summo collucent sydera cœlo,
luminis alma sui indulgent mortalibus auram:
qui regno inlucent reges, clarissima mundi 53
175lumina, si lucem officio, si laude tuentur,
nonne suo accendant nobis de lumine lumen?
Ac veluti in mare velivolum vaga flumina cursu
praecipitant, repetuntque suos verso agmine fontes
omnia sub magna retro labentia terra: 54
180haud secus ad regem refugo redit acta recursu
gratia larga: suo quam rex de fonte profundit
in populum: quaque imperii rigat arva beata. 55
O praestantem animi, magnae nec mentis egentem, 56
et nimium felicem illum, qui in culmine summo
185rerum audire bonus mavult, quam magnus: et in quo
majestate modus, sceptrisque modestia crevit:
quem populus, proceresque, orientem et luce nitentem
quale jubar Phœbi, aut radiati numinis instar,
adspiciunt certatim omnes medii inter amorem,
190atque metum, alternisque animis, atque ore salutant 57
ambigui patremne bonum, regemne severum.
Hic praeclarus honos, haec regum turris ahena,
quo vos nunc humana vocant, divinaque jura:
et sensus sapientum omnis, qui legibus orbem 58
195fundarunt: qui rexerunt: qui voce magistra
quique manu docuere artes moremque regendi.
Cura poli populique salus, jus normaque regni, 59
laus sceptri, lux imperii, flos ipse coronae
quam vobis servet florentem, atque ubere largo
200eximios fœtusque diu fructusque ferentem
iustitiaeque piae, et justae pietatis, et omnis
officii, quod mox sanctae virtutis amara
pullulet ab radice tibi densissima sylva, 60
Rex Iacobe, tibi regina ab suavibus Anna
205floribus: et sancta faciat vos prole parentes
(quae regat immensum Christi sub legibus orbem) 61
Rex regum, Divûm dominus, Deus ille Deorum.
Christiadum genitor, rex omnipotentis Olympi, 62
longe clara tui splendescat nominis aura:
210late sceptra tui pateant caelestia regni:
sic terra, ut caelo, fiat tua sancta voluntas. 63
Nobis nostrum hodie da victum, et commoda vitae.
Da tabulas nullo aere novas. Nam nos damus ultro.
Et ne nos praedae exponas: sed libera ab hoste.
215Nam regnum, roburque tuum, et decus omne per aevum est.
THE SMALL GARLAND given to the King of Scotland at the coronation of the Queen,17 May 1590
1I would now recite the correct means by which someone may take up a kingdom, where the honours of kingship are governed only in accordance with law, the crafts which govern peace, and which govern war: if the remarkable subject-matter, and the unequal burden on my neck, were not deterring me on the very threshold. But oh! If our amicable divinity were to nod approvingly to me, I would take it upon these shoulders: and this labour will alleviate my dawdling, and giving way beneath the unjust load of such an undertaking. For why should I (whose shoulders cannot bear even small things, and refuse to bear great ones), throw doubt upon my strength, if the divinity is amicable? And shall I hold back such a great turn of events? Not so did the Sacred Muses instruct me during my first years. I approach the thing which must be dared: and I should attempt some small prefatory remarks before such a great work. So: if our poetry pleases the king, the work should proceed with such a king as its patron, a and with the support of the heavenly king. Therefore, o greatest of kings, dear king of the heaven-dwellers, you who by your divine will gives kings not indecorous to kingdoms, and enriches celebrated kingdoms with good kings, and enhances them with the successes of their undertakings: and wrathful against others, not without good reason you drive them from them their ancestral throne, while on equal scales you weigh up the goodness and sin of the righteous turned on a levelled balance: grant, I beg you, favour, peace, to such great deeds of daring: and to the boat, b ploughing the calm sea and manageable sky with its sails and the imperious sea of the kingdom with its oars, give oars and sails; grant that it may lightly cruise the sea-shore, and the farthest shore-line, and avoid the ringing rocks; and breath gentle air, and peaceful light, [p72] until the joyful little skiff is closed up in its port. And I approach you who the dire enemy among the seven citadels and ramparts of Rome now shudders at, and before whom deadly arms quake. Begotten from Fergus, c the most indisputable offspring of Heaven: just as the Briton d once raised kings for the world, and as many kingdoms, so you are going to raise as many heirs to the kingdoms, you who have risen from so many kings, you who will raise so many kings in the future with fortunate stars; a happy man in the sacred embraces of much-desired Anna. Anna, whose love swept you away, after you had traversed so many sky-blue shallows, so many crags, so many steep cliffs and rugged rocks, such a winter, and so many inhospitable wastes pregnant with wild animals, and brought you back from tarrying on frozen shores: so far away from your homeland, both from the people and the kingdoms which you left behind. Being so much closer to Phoebus, e grant light to my Muses, while I sing your every honour, all the honour of your people, King James, you great glory of the Muses and Apollo.
44It is a great, majestic, huge honour, to be revered upon the highest seat to give commands to all others, to impose laws, to defend both sea and lands, and peace and war. It is a praise as worthy of God as it is emulous of divine praise, to keep fraud away from good people, to bring destruction to the profane, and to watch over the saints under your divine majesty. But with this greater honour there is the greatest burden. How hard a thing it is to reign, and to curb the proud races with kingship, first reason, then example teaches. Do you wish to investigate this? By what craft is divine law, under one person with such a burden, to control so many people? And to drive the unbridled people, discordant in arms and mind, untamed and fierce both in number and in strength, into the circle of reason, and to round them up beneath the bounds of rule, and the hand of justice, and the whip of law? To bear the yoke and suffer the bridles, and to become accustomed to the reins?
59 Do deeds done excite you by their example? Unroll, and roll back f the years, mindful of every age in long coils, until all kingdoms, all kings are in a long line: how few kings you find at last, who have discharged such a great duty with praise, who have been found without any failing: who have merited the name of king, or the shadow of the name. The story goes that once a powerful king of Asia had said: [p73] 'all kings could be engraved together upon one ring, and enclosed in the single gem which divides the tawny gold.' g
68To hold this course straight on the wavy sea, through the shallows and the sand-banks, and the blind rocks beneath the surface, is almost unnatural: unless virtue secures the raft with a firm anchor, and experience reads the changeable winds of circumstance: and the gracious mercy of heaven is willing to soothe the fierce floods, and to extend a clear light for the ship: and rule the rudder, and attend to the sails. So heavy is the burden on he that sails upon the sea of ruling.
76Yet a secret power of nature, and elements privy to their destiny, and the sparks of light from which a new flame shines forth, sets mortal hearts alight with new heat, now enflaming with generative rays of nourishing light those now lingering and not wholly immersed in the deep gloom. Hence this power, kindled among men through the dense adversity of wordly affairs, is borne rejoicing, and demands for itself the honours due to kings. But in fact, the labour is easy to praise: high glory, fitted with the outstretched wings of a lofty spirit, makes the work light. Is it affection for the human race? What about a lively sense of virtue, unable to endure lazy shade and ignoble leisure? What about ancestry? What about blood? What about the love of a golden wife? And the exceedingly sweet children born from a beloved wife? And the luscious splendour of one's homeland? And the safety of one's people and one's forefathers which must be sought even by war, or by a thousand trials, a thousand killings, and by death istelf, a thing too hard to bear? How would love for the heavenly homeland not take hold, and for the celestial court, which crowns the king with eternal light? And the honour of the highest creator? And the glory of birth? The glory which alone can snatch up the humble minds carried above the firmament on starry chariots and on heavenly wings: for whose benefit piety strives for the stars, and aims for the path of Olympus. Yet how many of us, and how many things, they carry with them! O how are we joined with a single bond, we who are ruled with a king? That leader already travels the path of his virtue: We, his companions, follow behind. Does he carry us headlong across difficult paths? Now we press onwards. Does he flourish under the west winds? We too flower. Does winter cause his fall? Cut off in the prime of life, we totter and fall down. In such a way are we drawn close, [p74] bound in a tight knot: as the common good, so the common danger.
106Just as Phoebus sets his swift chariot in motion from lofty Olympus, h whether at the instigation of heaven or by his own will, first bringing back the day with light, then bringing forth the dark shadows of night to the affairs of the mortal world: just so is the sublime prince in action in his high court, either by the prompting of the nobles, or turning i on his own will, brings the light of joy to his people and the shadows of grief: and right and wrong, and debauchery and restraint, in quick succession. Thus whoever of you men is king, j you who wields the reigns, whether selected as the best from the people, or born from your ancestors onto the throne, whether by new law, or ancient custom, appointed to the honour of the sceptre and the crown of the kingdom; turn your ears here, and store up with the deepest observations that which I say. Believe me, my words will bear salvation: 'just as in a kingdom subjects cannot be compelled to do that which is best and most blessed, so even more so the wretched course, the one which deserves to be shunned, is not to be urged on them.'
122There was a stone once boiled down in a blazing furnace: as cold as it was on the outside, so the inner part blazed correspondingly. Its name is quicklime. k If seawater rains down upon this stone, the cold downpour kindles the fire lying hidden within: behold the flame, stirred and panting for air, rushes out, and with burning heat spews forth flames all around with smoke, and crackling, and a foul smell. This is just the same (if great things can be compared to small ones) as the unflinching hardness of souls cooked up in the Phlegethonian furnaces, and the harmful flame of vices fed into the arteries, and greed for gold, and lust for power, and rage, and hatred, and sex, and the wantonness of appetite concealed in the bowels and hidden in the blind depths which grows as the more flattering dew-drops of the court rains upon the kingdom with enticements: and the voice of the king, with the lightning-bolt of law, thunders in the ears. This rapidly moving storm cloud, broken open, now bursts forth in the air, and gathers up a foul tempest, with black flames rolling upon the smoking night: and rushing down with a huge din breathes out a soiling exhalation of sulphur upon the stars and kingdoms. Thus Camarana, l moved from noisome Lake Avernus, m rages, while far below the applauding court of the Stygian Tyrant n gives out a rumble, but all heaven roundabout reddens with shame.[p75]
144So guard against dinning in our sacred ears those things which the throng of flatterers sings: which endures as the sweet poison of the age and of the whole court. Now risen from the Stygian depths, the spreading evil of the Tuscan plague o is: 'that the king is outside, and above, and beyond the columns of the law court and legal acts. The will of the king, as the lord of the kingdom, stands as law.' Hell spews up such sayings from its vicious jaws. It corrupts the whole court: it ingratiates itself into the breasts of kings.
152O almighty father, grant that this shame be obliterated by our weapons! Make it so that this dire plague, assaulted by my wounding of it, falls in battle and quits both the courts and borders of the kingdoms.
155Can such as he give commands to those who serve him? Is a king a tyrant or the father of his country? p Or guardian of the people, and of the senate? Or the sacred and holy minister of justice and the laws? When he, each king, comports himself as inferior to God, this is God: or the living image of the living God: against whom it is a sin to wage war, and right to obey: the king's remit is to serve: and his will, ruled by God, reigns. God's will is the standard of all justice and rightness. He is an animal - he is worse than an animal, he is a wild beast! - who believes that he has been born for himself alone: who thinks that the power of ruling exists solely in his rule: and finally who by himself does not think that he is given to his subjects, but his subjects to him. O kings, is it not a gift of the people, and by divine endowment, that the commonwealth has been entrusted to your bosom, not so that you may dupe it with vain hope, but so that you may cherish it, being its sons? Is the prince not set above his people, not for the sake of the prince, but for that of the people? And isn't the salvation of the people the golden law for a king? q
172The golden stars which shine brightly in the highest heaven, are the dear stars of his light which gives breath to mortals: those kings who shine upon a kingdom, the brightest lights of the world, if they safeguard that light while doing their duty, and if they do so with praise, do they not kindle light in us from their light?
176And just as on the sea unsettled waters hammer down upon the journey of ships, and return to their sources after the tide has turned, all flowing back underneath the great earth: not otherwise does bountiful grace return to the king driven by a backwards-flowing current: a grace which the king pours forth from his own supply upon his people: and whereby he waters the sacred fields of his empire.[p76]
183O he is outstanding in spirit, not wanting for a great mind, and exceedingly happy, who on the highest peak of worldly affairs would prefer to hear the good rather than the great: and in whom good measure is discerned in his majesty, and modesty in his exercise of royal power: whom, as he rises and shines with his light, as if the brilliance of the Sun, or just like a radiating divinity, the people and the nobles altogether eagerly look to, as they waver between hope and fear, and with uncertain minds, they are unsure whether to acclaim him a good father, or a severe king.
192This brilliant honour, this bronze tower of kings, into which human and divine laws now call you: and all the opinions of wise men, who built the world upon laws: who ruled: who with their teaching words and hand taught the arts and manner of ruling.
197The care of heaven and salvation of the people, the law and standard of rule, the praise of governance, the light of authority, the very flower of the garland r which flourishes as it serves you, and with a great richness long bears forth exceptional productions and fruits both of pious justice, and just piety, and of every kind of duty, which now the densest wood of pungent and blessed virtue sprouts from its root for you, King James, and from its sweet flowers for you, Anna: and may the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the God of Gods himself arrange it so that you are the parents of a blessed offspring (which might rule the vast world under the laws of Christ). s
208Father of the Christ-son, Almighty King of Heaven, t long may the clear brilliance of your name shine: so on earth, as in heaven, may your holy will be done. Give us today our sustenance, and the good things of life. Give us new account books without debt. u For we will give willingly. And do not expose us to plunder: but keep us free from the enemy. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and all glory, for ever.
1: The phrase 'injusto sub fasce' is found in Virgil, Georgics III.347
2: Split at 'ne' in 1590 text
3: 'numen amicum' is found, as here and four lines previous, in the fifth and sixth foot of Virgil, Aeneid II.735
4: Virgil, Aeneid I.672
5: 'Si' in 1590 text
6: Virgil, Georgics I.505. Also, this and the previous line cf. Virgil, Aeneid XII.725
7: 'tractabile caelum': Virgil, Aeneid IV.53
8: The phrase 'imperiosius aequor' is found in Horace, Odes I.14.8-9
9: Virgil, Aeneid I.7
10: Virgil, Aeneid VI.322
11: Virgil, Aeneid VII.198
12: Virgil, Eclogues X.46
13: Cf. Virgil, Eclogues V.34
14: Cf. Virgil, Aeneid VI.852. The beginning of this line ('dare jussa') is reminiscent of Aeneid I.523, a line which Melville quotes verbatim six lines below '...gentes fraenare superbas'.
15: Virgil, Aeneid I.523
16: 'Coerceri' in 1590 text
17: Cf. Virgil, Georgics II.459
18: Cf. Lucan, Bellum Civile I.605
19: Lucan, Bellum Civile I.135. This is an allusion to Lucan's famous description of Pompey the Great: '...stat magni nominis umbra'.
20: Virgil, Aeneid X.134
21: Cf. Lucan, Bellum Civile VIII.366
22: Cf. Virgil, Aeneid I.33
23: The phrase 'conscia fati' is found in the final two feet in both Virgil, Aeneid IV.519; and Manilius Astronomica I.1-2. In both the main noun is 'sidera', which follows at the beginning of the next line (as 'semina' does here).
24: Virgil, Aeneid VI.267
25: Fifth and sixth foot line ending twice in Virgil: Georgics I.123;330
26: A favourite passage of Melville's from Virgil. Virgil produces two slightly different versions of the same line at Aeneid VI.589, and XI.219. Melville is clearly interacting with both versions in this one line. We also find him using the same passages at 'Carmen Mosis' (d2_MelA_005), l.179, and 'Antichristus' (d2_MelA_055), l.170.
27: Virgil, Aeneid XI.386
28: Virgil, Georgics IV.564. Virgil explores the ambiguous nature of the 'umbra' in both his Eclogues and Georgics. See Eclogue X especially for the idea of the oppressive and debilitating nature of the shade. The passage to which Melville directly alludes at the end of this line unfavourably (superficially at least) contrasts 'otium' and 'umbra' with the activity of politics and empire.
29: Virgil, Aeneid XI.155
30: Virgil, Georgics IV.562. As so often with Melville, we find sections taken from the same Vergilian passage grouped closely together in his verse. This line continues Melville's reworking of the end of the Georgics which began eleven lines above - 'ignobilis oti'.
31: Virgil, Georgics III.120
32: Cf. Virgil, Aeneid VIII.658; and XI.183
33: Cf. Virgil, Aeneid XII.327
34: The phrase 'sensibus imis' is found in Virgil, Eclogues III.54. However, Justus Lipsius also employs it in the preface to his Civilis Doctrinae libri, a work which Melville quotes extensively below.
35: Virgil, Georgics IV.176
36: Virgil, Aeneid II.19
37: Virgil, Aeneid XI.185
38: Virgil, Aeneid VII.84
39: Virgil, Aeneid VI.201
40: Virgil, Aeneid IV.429
41: Juvenal, Satires VI.223. Melville reuses this line several times (and in several variations) throughout his work. We find it largely unchanged at 'Antichristus' (d2_MelA_054), l.248. Interestingly Martin Luther (Works, vol. 35: 'Words and Sacraments', 185) also uses this very phrase (including the variant manuscript reading of 'stat' for sit') to describe the papacy.
42: Reworking of Virgil, Aeneid VI.273
43: From 'Da pater' to the end of the present line we find Melville at his Vergilian best. These three lines employ four separate passages from Virgil. They appear in this order: Aeneid XI.789-90; XI.792-3; III.616; and Georgics II.504.
44: '...populique, Patrumque'. A phrase used to denote the Senate and the People at Statius, Silvae I.IV.115.
45: Cf. Matthius Flacius, Clavis Scripturae Sacrae 370: 'viva imago Dei viventis', used to describe the nature of man before the fall.
46: Asterisk here in 1590 text
47: 'Et' in 1590 text
48: Reworking of the same Juvenal passage from above, but there seems to be a much clearer link between Luther's reuse of the passage and Melville's employment of it here. Melville fuses the idea here with a measuring metaphor which he employs in 'Antichristus' (d2_MelA_054) 238: 'Quod Papa Romanus vult, norma est juris et aequi'. Note too that this line immediately precedes Melville's use of the Juvenal quote. So Melville is clearly thinking of Juvenal's line in an anti-Papal context (Luther).
49: There now begins an extended interaction with Justus Lipsius, Civilis Doctrinae Libri, 'Praefatio': '...qui non nisi in ipso / cogitat imperium imperio' is a verse rendering of this passage from Lipsius: 'qui in imperio non nisi imperium cogitant'.
50: This line is a verse rendering of this passage from Lipsius: 'qui se non civibus datos arbitrantur, sed sibi cives. Justus Lipsius, Civilis Doctrinae Libri, 'Praefatio'.
51: Verse rendering of 'Collata est in sinum vestrum a Deo hominibus Respublica'. Justus Lipsius, Civilis Doctrinae Libri, 'Praefatio'.
52: Cicero, de Legibus III.8
53: The end of this and start of next line: Virgil, Georgics I.5-6
54: Virgil, Georgics IV.366
55: Cf. Horace, Odes III.3.48; III.5.23
56: Virgil, Aeneid XII.19
57: 'Salutent' in 1590 text
58: '...legibus orbem': Manilius, Astronomica I.8. There is a much closer rendering of the line below (twelve lines down).
59: This line is a recapitulation of the Luther/Juvenal/Lipsius/Cicero (de Legibus III.8) passage above.
60: Virgil, Georgics II.17
61: Manilius, Astronomica I.8
62: Virgil, Aeneid XII.791
63: 'fiat tua sancta voluntas' is part of the classical paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer which makes up this last stanza. This line, though, gains added weight in the context of the Luther/Juvenal message that man (especially the Pope) is not the measure of all things, which is developed by Melville in this poem and the 'Antichristus' (d2_MelA_054).
a: There is some ambiguity here over whether the 'king' who should be patron is James or God.
b: In the following stanza and a half Melville is making reference to the difficulties Anna and James faced in returning to Scotland from Denmark. Anna had attempted to travel to Scotland herself in the autumn of 1589 but had been repelled by storms; James became so anxious at this that he organised a hasty trip in person to collect his bride, and the two met in Old Oslo on 19 November 1589 and were married four days later. The couple spent their honeymoon in Denmark, and did not return to Scotland until 1 May. Their return journey was also beset by storms, which were believed to have been caused by a coven of witches in North Berwick working at the command of the earl Bothwell. Their ensuing trial led to the first of several witch-panics in Scotland. Maureen M. Meikle, 'Anna of Denmark's coronation and entry into Edinburgh, 1590', pp. 277-8; Melville of Halhill, Memoirs, pp. 395-397; Moysie, Memoirs , p. 85.
c: Fergus I, the mythical first ruler of Scotland who apparently ruled from 330BC.
d: Presumably Brutus of Troy, mythical descendant of Aeneas and first king of Britain, whose children went on to rule the Heptarchy, a collection of separate kingdoms believed to have predated England.
e: A reference to the fact that James has recently returned from Denmark to the relatively warmer climes of Scotland.
f: Melville here is thinking of the dual meanings of 'volvo' and 'revolvo' as literally unrolling old papyrus scrolls to look into history, but also figuratively reviewing the long circuit of past time.
g: It is unclear who this Asian king is, but the sentiment is clear - there have been so few truly good and just kings that their names could be engraved on one small ring.
h: Phoebus here is Helios, the 'charioteer of the sun' who brings light to the world by driving from east to west across the sky each day.
i: With the double connotation of 'turning over' in one's mind.
j: For discussion of the influence of George Buchanan on this key passage, see Reid, 'Andrew Melville and the law of kingship, pp. 58-61.
k: Quicklime, or calcium oxide (CaO), is formed from heating materials containing calcium carbonate (such as limestone) in a kiln. It is highly unstable, and when exposed to water gives off an intense exothermic reaction; when heated it gives off a powerful glow. Melville is perhaps thinking of its supposed usage in 'Greek fire', the term given to a variety of compounds used against enemy ships in naval warfare whose exposure to seawater produces enough heat to set them alight.
l: A small town in south-west Sicily, here standing as the home of the popes.
m: Lake Avernus (Lago d'Averno in Italian) is a crater lake in the Campania region of Italy, reputed in antiquity to be a gate to the underworld.
o: Another example of an Italian place-name being used metonymically for the Papacy.
p: This stanza is heavily redolent of Buchanan's views of tyranny, particularly the reference to his being worse than a wild beast, which echoes Thomas Maitland's comments in the De Iure Regni that a tyrant 'must be regarded as the enemies of God and of men, and must be classed as wolves or some other type of dangerous beast rather than as human beings. If anyone rears such beasts, he is rearing destruction for himself and for others; whoever kills them benefits not only himself but the whole community.' See Mason and Smith (eds), A Dialogue on the Law of Kingship, p. 89.
q: Melville's own usage of this Ciceronian maxim - salus populi suprema lex esto - is slightly different to its usage by Buchanan and James VI in their political writings. See Reid, 'Andrew Melville and the law of kingship'.
r: Here standing as the kingdom of Scotland.
s: Here we see Melville's hope, expressed in several of his other poems, that James and Anna's heir will go on to rule a united Protestant British empire that in turn will confederate with other Protestant nations around Europe to combat Catholicism. See d2_MelA_008.
t: Melville concludes with his own version of 'The Lord's Prayer' (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4).
u: To supply 'novae tabulae' for old ones meant that debts were abolished either partially or completely. Melville here is creating a classicised version of 'forgive us our debts'. See Lewis and Short, 'Tabula', II.B for instances.