Almost nothing is known of the John Scot who wrote this poem, save that he was cousin to John Scot of Scotstarvit and son of Sir William Scot and Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of Thomas Hamilton of Priestfield and sister to the earl of Haddington. The little information we have of Scot's life comes from the prefatory remarks appended to the first edition of this work, published posthumously by Scotstarvit in Edinburgh in 1619 under virtually the same title (In serenissimi et invictissimi Regis Iacobi Sexti, e Scotia sua decessum, Hodoeporicon). Here (A2v) Scotstarvit informs us that Scot, his cousin on his father's side ('patruelem'), had died from the plague in La Rochelle, where he had been sent by his father to further his humanistic education. Scot had originally written this poem to celebrate James VI's accession to the throne of England, but Scotstarvit had kept it among his own papers for some fifteen years prior to its editing and publication ('Ejus carmina Serenissimo nostro Regi ante decessum in Angliam dicata, annos jam quindecim in pluteis scriniisque meis...publici juris facere institui'), along with a range of his own verse (given the sub-title of 'Schediasmata Miscellanea') at fos C2r-E4v: a revised version of these poems appears in the DPS, vol. 2, pp. 479-490. Thus Scot was alive around 1603, but his birth and death dates are unknown. For further discussion of the 1619 edition, see T.G. Snoddy, Sir John Scot Lord Scotstarvit: his Life and Times (Edinburgh, 1968), pp. 20, 43-44. The translation of this poem, and the critical apparatus for the Latin text, were completed by Joel Leslie. Metre: hexameter.
Hodaeporicon: In Serenissimi et Principis Iacobi Sexti e Scotia sua decessum
HODÆPORICON In Serenissimi & invictissimi Principis Iacobi Sexti e Scotia sua decessum
1Quis novus 1 Aonii subito de vertice montis 2
auditur fragor? inque adytis et limina Phœbi
quis strepitus? quid sacra antro cortina remugit? 3
Scilicet Arctois nova lux affulsit ab oris,
5fulgida lux, totum radios sparsura per orbem.
Hinc Phœbi trepidant adytus, et Delphica rupes, 4
Pimpleusque chorus: citharae hinc Paena repertor
ingeminans Arcas, divinum in carmina poscit
Maeoniden, et Threicei modulamina plectri.
10Digna quidem lux ista tibi Phœbeia lampas
affulsit, quae primum et quae te Sexte potentem
undarum, triplicisque soli, et quas gurgite vasto
Arctoum hinc virus lavat, atque hinc Sole tepescens
occiduo pelagus, sparsas per littora terras,
15auricomae primum percussit cuspide lucis:
quam vel Maeonii sublimior alite versus
Musa canat, vel Miniciadae vena aurea vatis.
Nam sive innumeros proavos, et sceptra tenentes
Arctoa enumerare libet, quos ordine longo 5
20insequeris rex ante alios illustrior omnes:
seu pietatis honos, 6 triplicis seu gloria sceptri; 7
turrigeraeque urbes, et nullo sanguine parta
regna placent: quamvis veniant in carmina Phœbus
atque novem cœtu Pallas comitata Sororum;
25castalis ipsa licet sicco pede murmuret unda, 8
non tibi digna tua reddentur carmina laude.
Iam tandem venit illa dies, venit aurea trinis
exoptata dies populis, qua nescia solvi
vincula diversas unirent sanguine gentes:
30atque uni tria regna forent, qua subdita 9 sceptro 10
lux multum spectata venit, lux illa pudicis
[p471] quam matres votis, 11 pueri, innuptaeque puellae 12
sollicitis petiere animis, quum saepe pudendis
vulneribus pulsos 13 lugubri voce parentes
35deflerent dulcesque viros. Tu meta laborum
tantorum, tu sola quies, tu vincla Gradivo
injicis, et chalybum nodis 14 adamanteque duro
constrictum residere jubes, pausamque fragori
horrifico facere, et belli sedare tumultus.
40Adspice, gemmatis circum pax aurea pennis 15
te volitat. Te cana fides, te gloria curru
aurato cingit, comes huic Astraea virago
exultat: nec caeca magis Rhamnusia, cujus
dextram armat temo, sed laevam Acheloia cornu 16
45copia, nec fessura magis, stat fixa, soloque
subjectum multo stringit sufflamine 17 saxum.
Seque tuam jam tota vocat, victamque fatetur. 18
Tu vero ne his auspiciis, aut cardine rerum, 19
neu tanto bellorum oneri, pacisque beatae
50imparilem praestato, polo charissime regum:
sed, tibi quae teneris immulserat ubera labris 20
Iustitia, et fictae pietas non conscia fraudis,
circumstent solium, et rerum moderentur habenas.
Unum autem (sate gente Deum) 21 praeque omnibus unum 22
55imprimis venerare illum, quem cuncta tremiscunt,
namque hic te placido nascentem aspexerat ore:
hic tantos dirarum aestus, discrimina tanta
evitasse dedit, conjuratosque pusilli
Tartareos in fata ducis, 23 Stygiasque cohortes:
60cui solum retulisse licet: diademate cingas
quod triplici regale caput: quin pectore toto
et precibus mactes: hujus non ulla laborum
immemorem arguerit facies, aut nomina rerum. 24
Instructos pietate animos, virtutis amore
65imperiis assuesce piis. Qui jussa Tonantis
non timet, humani regis qui sceptra tremiscet?
Hac solum tibi surget honos, hac sceptra tenentur,
hac iter ad Superos et celsa cacumina rerum.
At parte ex alia qua se Babylonia longe
70ostentat meretrix, famosi ad Tibridis undas,
[p472] purpureos ornata sinus, cui regius ostro
velat honos laeves humeros, cui plurimus auro
argentoque micat circum atria pulchra cynaedus,
et rerum ducibus magni rectoribus Orbis
75Lenaeum libat laticem, 25 atque in pocula mentem 26
mergit, et insana captos vertigine perdit;
heu fuge crudeles terras, fuge littus avarum
Ausoniae, et magicis Circes te avertito tectis.
Illic praedo jacet terrarum, vindice flagrans. 27
80Ira permiscere polum, terramque, fretumque
Eumenidumque ciere faces, incendia belli
doctus, ne immeritis ruat Itala pergula fatis.
Hinc caedes iraeque ducum, commissaque bellis
innumeris Europa: hinc Christi in regna furore
85Barbaries Otomanna ruit crudeliter acta;
dum nusquam servata fides. 28 Scit Varna, Padusque,
scit Macetum tellus, 29 necnon Byzantia regna.
Heu mundi labem infamem, fœtamque malorum
pestem, iramque Deum, Stygiis quae emissa cavernis!
90Coccineam fuge Sexte lupam, ne corda Britannum
semiviro submitte gregi: confide potenti
terrarum caelique Deo, dabit ille secundos
eventus belli, totus licet orbis, et una
Tartareae insurgant fraudes, lethumque minentur.
95Haud ignota cano: testis sit classis Ibera,
horrendis lacerata modis, cum remige multo
spumaret Tethys, totam cum Hispanus Iernen 30
moverat, et refugos Rutupini marmoris aestus;
tum pavor attonitis 31 vexabat pectora, nusquam
100humani spes auxilii, quum vincla minaces
injicere, atque uno belli disperdere casu
Saxonidas, Scotosque parant; Deus almus Olympo
armatas hyemes, 32 tempestatesque sonoras, 33
nubigenasque acies immisit, et impete laxat
105agminis Æolii celeres, diroque fragore
horrificas rubri contorsit fulminis alas 34
aera per liquidum, 35 nimbis tum fulgor hiulcis
intonat, et testes confirmant undique flammae
auxilium adventare Dei: tum gurgite vasto
[p473] 110arma virum, tabulaeque, et multos gaza per annos 36
convasata natat: classis ludibria ventis
debuit, et pictis crebro testata carinis
Romuleae portenta lupae, atque instructa cynaedis
Albanis collisa vadis, appulsaque saxis
115navifragis, confracta jacet, Neptunia fuso
arva cruore rubent, multoque cadavere stratus
Nereus infectas queritur turparier undas.
Sic Martis praesignis honos, 37 et sanguine nullo
parta Deo fisos illustrat adorea reges.
120Ah quid vana furis? quin desine Musa caloris.
quid caedes, quid bella refers? Non agmina Eoae
telluris populata domos viridantia thyrso;
non quinquaginta regum, regemque patremque
regnatorem Asiae: non libera fulmine Cadmi
125mœnia celsa canis: junctas dic fœdere gentes:
dic inimica odiis olim discordibus (almae
consiliis Divae, quae nunc nitet aurea caelo)
regna uni parere simul coeuntia Sexto.
Ista aliis meminisse vacat, quos barbara regum
130fata juvant, cunctisque nimis via trita Poetis.
Multa quidem vates, quorum pellacia linguae
Mendaces Heliconis aquas ad ludicra quaevis
traduxit, cecinere ducum fera bella priorum,
queis varias varii gentes per crimina quaevis,
135perque omnes scelerum facies, per quicquid acerbūm,
horrendum, crudele, ingens, sibi quisque subegit:
queis tamēn ad Superos, transque ignea mœnia mundi, 38
proh pudor! ascendisse datum est, fœdaeque rapinae
fit pretium caelum, venaliaque astra cruore.
140Multi etiam fisi titulis, et sanguinis alti
ex serie, dum regna petunt sibi debita, caussa
nixi, dum insidam reputant pro numine dextram,
atque nefas nihil esse putant, residere paterno
dum liceat solio; totos modo torqueat angues,
145incendatque faces belli furialis Enyo:
ius sceleri 39 accumulant: infandaque viribus ausos
heu miseros tandem videas, causamque nefando
pondere depressam adversis mersarier undis.
[p474] Sed tibi nec titulus, ficti nec stemmatis ordo,
150Dux Fergusiade assurgit, sed sanguine utroque
in commune simul coeunt tibi debita sceptra.
Nec saevas Bellona faces, nec Gorgona quassat
terrificam Pallas, nec dextram armante flagello
sanguineo Mavors aeratas ante cohortes:
155non tuba, non litui stridunt, non lethifer ensis 40
perfurit infanda rupturus caede phalanges:
ut populos, urbesque domes, tibi Marte propinquas. 41
Qualis Pellaei proles vesana Philippi
perque Asiae populos, pharetratae et Perfidos urbes,
160discolor aurato et qua cingitur India Gange,
humana cum strage ruit: clementior in te
et Deus, et placidi fuit indulgentia caeli. 42
Te rex virgo vocat, Tamesin te propter amœnum
cycnea virgo vocat jam jam moritura. Caystri
165qualis olor ripas letho jam instante canoros
dans per colla modos, mulcet, sonat amnis et omnis
pulsa palus, resonant longe vernantia prata:
sic tua te regina vocat, regina Britannis
sceptrigera praeposta manu, cui paruit ingens
170Nereus, Eoas seu qua se immittit in undas
hinc rapidus Ganges, atque hinc Nysaeus Hydaspes,
seu qua longinquas vasto sale verberat oras
hinc maris Arctoi fluctus, qua hinc gurgite vasto
Aethiopum praetensa solo ferit Amphitrite,
175seu quos descendens curru fugiente vaporat
Phœbus, et occiduo collustrat lampade fluctus:
quam Stygii tremuere lacus, quam portitor Orci
saxa super residens titulo Tarpeja superbo
Papatus (qui summus honos Acheronte sub imo est:)
180te regina vocat tanta ad fastigia rerum,
auspiciis adeunda suis: sequere omina tanta: 43
occiduas rege Sexte oras: discordia junge
regna, et dissimiles sociali fœdere gentes. 44
Nec tauro, nec porca opus est, aut ariete caeso.
185telluri, Phoeboque, 45 humano et sanguine mistum
quid juvat exhausisse merūm? quidve ungue tenello
elicito floccos vestis tinxisse cruore,
[p475] purpureum et scisso linxisse e pollice rivum?
Et trucibus quaecunque placet concordia regnis
190Germanisque, Scythisque feris? via promptior illis
relligione animos arcte constringere vinclis: 46
corda ligare Dei, sic nexu fœdus aheno
firmius, et liquido plumbo, ferrique rigore,
componet placida gentes cum pace propinquas.
195Non aliter prima nascentis origine Romae
indomitos feritate animos et corda superba
sacrificum fraenasse Numam, 47 illuviemque latronūm,
quam sacris referunt, et relligione Deorum.
Hinc Nymphae Ægeriae monitus, nocturnaque sacra,
200lanigerique apices, et lapsa ancilia caelo, 48
et Latiis quaecunque leges mysteria chartis.
Sed veterum cunctos placeat modo volvere fastos,
eque chao 49 tibi surgat opus, 50 fundamina prima 51
qui posuit regni, et mansurae in saecula 52 molis:
205aut qui diversas jussit coalescere gentes,
illi tum ritus curae, tum sacra Deorum,
numinis ut possint cultu mansuescere corda. 53
Tantum relligio potuit mulcere rebelles.
Verum ubi jam composta virum se saecla Britanni
210nominis auspiciis, altum super aethera tollent:
nec mage jam Scotus, nec prisco è sanguine natus
Saxonis, aut Brutum, duros Trojaeque labores
inter avos referens, glacialisque incola Iernes 54
dissimiles proferre sonos, aut dissona prisco
215corda ciere aestu, nec avitae incumbere sectae
vana superstitio, quam et veri ignara Tonantis 55
traderet, interea nusquam vesana cupido
immodici census regum praecordia peste
tabifica oblimans, populos tentare propinquos
220Marte tuas (Iacobe) oras impellet. An orbae
Tigridis Hyrcanus quisquam se offerre furori
saltibus incipiet? fulvum ramosa Leonem
an pavidus contra cervus sua cornua tollet?
Externo sin Marte placet contendere bello,
225si tentare paras hostes, Christique, tuosque;
aude, fata vocant: te vatum oracla priorum 56
[p476] ire jubent claro Capitolia ad alta triumpho
Romanas ruiturum arces, Latiumque lupanar.
Iam litui streperaeque tubae mihi Sexte minaci
230murmure perstringunt aures, fulgore fugaces
armorum terres aquilas; nimiumque decoro
pulvere fœdatos videor mihi cernere 57 reges.
Quis renuat tua signa sequi? vel Marte furentem
quis te Iacobe videns timeat comitarier unquam?
235Sanguineamque Rosam, rubrumque in bella Leonem?
Ast ubi jam placidae libitum tibi carpere pacis
commoda, et imperio populos fraenare quietos,
orbe velut princeps alio, penitusque repostis 58
iura dabis terris, procul omni et ab hoste, et ab omni
240securus casu, saevo et discrimine belli.
Cernis ut Oceanus cingat circumfluus oras
Sexte tuas? pelagi monstrosa et inhospita nautis
obtendat maria: haec rerum tutela tuarum
certa magis, quam si fortunas servet easdem
245Hesperidum serpens, Phryxei aut velleris ultor.
Æquoreos aequata polo stat machina 59 portus
defensura super, fastu spectanda minarum
ingenti, ignivomis loricas undique cincta 60
tormentis, ac fœta viris Mavortia tellus, 61
250tellus innumeris semper praeclara triumphis.
Sit Veneri dilecta Cypros, sit Gallia Marti,
indomito populata ruat cum sanguine noto,
purpureus Rhodanus cum vasta strage Garumna,
Vasconidis regnator aquae 62 se evolvat in aequor.
255Sit nunquam pacatus Iber, pelagoque potentes
testetur populos, tum mundi barbara damnis 63
Turcia et Eoi tractus, 64 subque axe reposti,
Hesperiae gentes, testis Manrusia lympha, 65
nec semel infaustis 66 Arctos tentata carinis.
260Quid vastae telluris opes? aut aere rigentes
commemorem montes? quid ferri pondere glebas
aut auri gravidas? rutilis crispantia gemmis
flumina Erythraeo passim certantia fundo?
Hinc nostris, si vera fides narrantibus, oris
265insula inexhaustis fertur generosa metallis, 67
[p477] quam pigro Arctous Nereus circumluit aestu.
Illic effœtum corpus, lassataque membra
Saturni veteris recubant, vastoque sub antro
canities inculta jacet, et pumicis aurei
270in latebris molli devictum membra sopore
floribus et dulci solatur amaracus umbra:
at circum multo madidantes nectare pennas
alituum genus omne quatit, semperque recentes
Ambrosiae portans succos: quam et monstra ferarum 68
275et centum geminus Briareus, 69 vastusque Typhœus,
atque alii horrendis circumstant Daemones umbris.
Quid tibi militiamque soli, 70 curruque notatos
Mopsopii juvenis saltus? 71 quid mille per artes
vellera, diversos ex se parientia quaestus, 72
280quid referam Æmoniis etiam prata aemula sylvis?
Prata tibi omnigeno florum ridentia luxu?
hic violae ferrugo nitet, hic sanguine pulchro
blanditur rosa: tum fatum testatus acerbum
Ajacis pubescit honos: Panchaia rura 73
285provocat, et placido depingit lumine 74 campos.
Haec tellus, haec illa fuit, quo remige Iason
Argoo contendit, et hic curvata metallo
Pervigil auricomae servavit brachia sylvae
Hesperidum serpens. Quid pinguia culta? sonantes
290amnes? quid bellis gravidas, opibusque potentes
totve urbes? urbs illa cluet, urbs illa superba,
Britanni regina soli, cui mercibus Ormus
cesserit, aut opibus Venetum ditissima mater.
Ausonios olim hic fasces, trabeamque Quirini 75
295Romulidum gessere patres, aquilasque superbas.
haec te sollicitis votis, 76 haec anxia poscit,
haec gestit spectare oculos, regalis honoremque
oris, et incoctum generoso pectus amore. 77
Virtutis te festa manent, laetaeque choreae
300saltantes, plausuque fremens sonituque secundo
agmen, ut augustam cantu comitetur ad urbem.
O niveum faustumque diem! Cressaque notanda 78
o lux alma nota! quando tua regna petentem
Tamesis accipiet te lato fluminis alveo!
[p478] 305Tamesis Angligenas inter pulcherrimus amnes:
Tamesis aurata fundens sua flumina ab urna.
Nec tamen aut facient pompae, aut Paeana canentes,
nec quae luxurians confingit ludicra Plutus,
immemorem te Sexte tui: tibi mente sagaci
310humanae sors nota vicis, ludibria rerum
magnarum, et malefida locis Rhamnusia summis.
Ægypti virides olim per divitis agros
sceptra gerens regum curru bis bina Sesostris, 79
aurato subjunxit acerbo colla triumpho,
315quorum uni radios spectanti, 'age fare, 80 quid usquam
volventes avido tueris sic lumine canthos?'
'Miror', ait, 'suprema rotae cito quam infima fiat
pars, cito supremam regionem quam occupet ima':
qua Pelusiacus permotus voce tyrannus
320dat durum abjectare jugum, vinclisque solutis
servitii, ad patrios placide remeare penates.
Nonne vides, alta in sylva cum germine quercus
pubescit tenero, atque annosae matris in umbra
laeta virens ventosque simul contemnit et imbres?
325At simul aereo lucum supereminet omnem
vertice, et ingenti loca proxima contegit umbra,
tum Iovis iratique minas, et turbinis horret
Æolii furias, lassoque cacumine nutat:
sic te, dum majora petis per culmina rerum
330tendere, dum sceptris tria regna adjungere avitis.
Invidia majore petet fortuna, sororum
Eumenidum comitata choro, et terroribus Orci:
nunquam humiles versare casas, tugurique labantes
haec curat servos; reges atque aurea tecta
335cogitat, et labefacta ruit fastigia rerum.
Ergo Deo fer sacra libens, Dominumque potentem
supplicibus supera votis, dabit omnia laeto
eventu, adversas fortunae spernere pennas
efficiet, caelo et terris regnare relictis.
340O nimium dilecte polo! 81 cui crescet honorum
cum titulis virtutis honos, cui posthuma curae
regna, et despectis caeli templa aurea terris.
Namque hic nulla quies: jacet extra sydera tellus,
[p479] extra anni, Solisque vias, ubi maxima rerum
345conspicienda venti: ubi tandem aetate peracta
temperieque fruens caeli, et splendoribus aureae
347Lucis, caelituum compostus pace quiescas. 82
A travelling-poem on the departure of the most fair and unconquerable King James VI from his native Scotland
1What strange crash was heard from the summit of the Boeotian Mountain? a What wild clamour rose from within the dwelling and secret place of Phoebus? Why has the sacred cauldron resounded in its cave? b See, a new light has appeared from the Northern shores, a shining light, which has spread its rays throughout the whole world. On this side, the sanctuary of Phoebus trembled, the Delphic cliff too, and the Pimplean chorus. c On that side, the cithara's Arcadian inventor d chants paeans and demands to hear divine Homer in song, and melodies of the Thracian lyre. Indeed that light - Phoebus' torch - shone with favour upon you, and you were worthy of that day which, with its golden-leaved trident of light, struck you - the Sixth - powerful over the waves and the three lands, first of all; and then it struck the sea, warmed by the Western sun, and then the lands scattered along the shore, even those soaked by Northern floods. Either let a Muse more elevated than the poet of Maeonian song e sing of that day, or let the golden genius of the Minciadian poet f sing about it. For whether one prefers to enumerate your innumerable ancestors, and those who have held the Northern sceptre, whom you, as a king more illustrious before all others, will succeed in long succession; or whether the honour of your piety or the glory of your triple sceptre, and your turreted cities, and kingdoms acquired without bloodshed are a source of delight; and however much Phoebus should fall into song and Pallas come accompanied by the crowd of the nine Sisters; and even if the Castalian spring g itself murmured with stilted foot, they would not deliver songs worthy of your praise.
27Now at last that day has come, that golden day which has been greatly desired by three nations, when chains unable to be released have unified diverse nations in blood. And the day came, closely observed, when three kingdoms were subjected to one sceptre. That day which [p471]mothers demanded with chaste prayers, and which boys and unmarried girls sought with troubled souls, as they used to weep with mournful voice over parents struck down with shameful wounds, and dear husbands too. You are the limit of such great struggles, you alone are the refuge; you harness the God of War with chains, and order him, bound with bonds of iron and hard steel, to subside, to put a stop to his terrifying noise, and to cease the tumult of war. Look, golden Peace hovers around you with bejewelled wings. Old Faith surrounds you, and Glory equips you with a gilded chariot. The Astraean maiden leaps up, with you as her companion. h And Nemesis, no longer blind, with a staff placed in her right hand, and an Acheloian cornucopia in her left, i intends to remain seated no more; she stands erect and, crunching with her shoes the rock on the ground under her feet, she proclaims herself utterly yours, and admits her subjugation to you.
48Indeed, may you not, under their direction, or turn of events, prove unequal to the great burden of wars, or of blessed peace, most beloved of kings to the gods. But let Justice, who has milked her breasts into your delicate lips, and Piety, unaware of false deceit, stand around your throne, and harness the reins of your affairs. First of all, however, honour Him alone in front of all men (sprung from the race of the gods), He whom all things fear. For indeed He looked upon you at your birth with a nourishing gaze. He allowed you to avoid the mighty force of the Furies, and great dangers, and has vanquished the hellish conspirators and Stygian cohorts of that weak leader. j He alone may bring them back. Since you crown his royal head with a triple diadem, why not glorify him with your whole being and with prayers: for no sight of his labours, or list of his deeds, will make you forgetful of Him. Accustom to your pious rule minds that have been instructed in piety and in love of virtue. Who does not fear the orders of the Thunderer? Who does not fear the authority of a human king? In this way, honour will rise only to you, kingdoms are acquired, and your path will rise to the gods and to the upper peaks of the universe.
69But, from another direction, the Babylonian whore, dressed in a scarlet toga, flaunts herself to the waves of the famous Tiber from afar. k [p472]Royal honour covers her ill-omened shoulders with a purple drape. Her most shameless beauty twinkles with gold and silver around beautiful courtyards. She offers the water of Bacchus l to upstanding governmental leaders of this great sphere, and immerses their minds in drinking cups, destroying those she ensnares with insane vertigo. Alas! Flee cruel lands. Flee the greedy shore of Ausonia, m and avert yourself from the magical palace of Circe. She lies in that place, the robber of lands, burning with avenging anger, instructed to throw the heavens, and the land, and the sea into confusion; and to summon the destruction of the Furies, and the passions of war, so that Italian brothels may not come to ruin by unjust fortune. On this side, there are murders and the grievances of princes, and Europe is engaged in innumerable wars; on that side, in the kingdoms of Christ, the Ottoman barbarian, stirred up with rage, advances violently, while in no place was loyalty preserved. The Varna and the Po n remember the land of the Macedonians, and also the Byzantine kingdoms. Behold the infamous destruction of the world! Behold a plague full of evils and the anger of the gods, which was sent forth from Stygian caves! Flee the scarlet-clad whore, James, and do not submit the hearts of the British to an effeminate crowd: trust in God who has power over the land and the sky, and he will give you favourable outcomes in war, even though the whole of the world and the Tartarean deceivers rise up together, and threaten death.
95I do not speak of things unknown: let the Spanish fleet, who were torn apart in a frightful manner, o bear witness to when Tethys frothed with many oarsmen, and to when Spain disturbed the whole of Ireland, and the swell of the British sea expelled the fugitives. At that time, trembling shook the breasts of terrified men, and in no place was there hope of human help, when they prepared to put on menacing chains, and to scatter the English and the Scots in a single battle. Life-giving God dispatched from Olympus armed tempests, roaring storms and cloud-born battle lines. He unleashed the quick armies of Aeolus with force, and hurled a frightful, red, winged thunderbolt through the water with a dreadful crash. Then a flash of lightning flashed through the divided clouds, and the flames everywhere encouraged witnesses that help from God was at hand. [p473]Arms of men, and planking, and treasure amassed over a period of many years floated in the vast waste. The fleet owed their humiliation to the winds, and omens of the Romulean she-wolf were repeatedly witnessed by painted ships. The fleet, led by whores, was struck by the Alban shallows, and was driven onto the dangerous rocks; there it lay, broken in pieces. The fields of Neptune were red with spilt blood, and Nereus, strewn with many corpses, lamented that his polluted waves had been defiled. Thus the illustrious beauty of the warrior and glory obtained without bloodshed reveals those kings trusted by God.
120What empty things enrage you? Pray do, Muse, abandon the empty things of passion. What slaughters, what wars are you recounting? You sing not of young processions from the East who have destroyed homes with the thyrsus; nor of fifty princes and the king, father and ruler of Asia; nor of the lofty walls of Cadmus, protected by the thunderbolt. Speak of peoples united by a treaty. Tell of kingdoms once hostile with contentious hatred assembling together to submit, as one, to James the Sixth (according to the plans of the nurturing goddess, who now shines in the golden sky). That well-worn path is free for all the other poets, those who find delight in the cruel deaths of kings, to remember the empty things of passion.
131Indeed various poets, whose great charm of language led them across the untruthful waters of Helicon to all sorts of theatres, have sung about the wild wars of previous leaders, in which some leader has brought under his sway various peoples through all manner of crimes, through all forms of wickedness, and through whatever was harsh, dreadful, cruel, or threatening. However, it was permitted - what a shame! - in these wars to climb up to the heavens, and across the burning walls of the world; both heaven and the stars, able to be purchased with bloodshed, was the reward for a treaty of robbery. And yet, many men have put their trust in titles of honour, and have taken confidence from their noble lineage; while, relying upon their claim, they seek kingdoms owed to them, and ponder the faithless pledge of friendship according to divine will; and they think sin to be nothing, so long as it is permitted for them to reside in their ancestral land. Let Enyo of the Furies now brandish all of her snakes, and ignite the torches of war. These men increase legality for crime. Alas, one can finally see pitiful men, who have dared to do unspeakable things with violence, and their cause, sunk by a heinous weight, be overwhelmed by an adverse tide. [p474]Neither your title, nor the rank of your fictitious family tree - 'Leader of the Sons of Fergus' p - rise up, but kingdoms which are owed to you through blood unite together in all directions for the common good. Bellona does not brandish her cruel torches of war, nor does Pallas shatter the terrifying Gorgon; nor does bloody Mars flaunt his right hand, armed with a whip, before the bronze cohorts. No war-trumpets, nor clarions must shriek, and no deadly sword, ready to burst forth, must rage through the phalanxes with unspeakable slaughter, in order for you to subdue peoples and cities near to you in war. The savage race of Pellaean Philip q rushed with human slaughter through the treacherous peoples and the quiver-bearing cities of Asia, even as far as that place where multi-coloured India is fortified by the golden Ganges: however, in you, James, God and the indulgence of calm heaven was more merciful.
163The virgin r calls you king - the swan-like virgin who, at this moment now on the cusp of death, calls you beside the delightful Thames. Like a swan, now approaching death, which produces songs through its neck and soothes the banks of the River Cayster: s every river and pool also sings, and lush meadows call back from afar. In this way, your queen calls you, a queen appointed by the British with a sceptre-bearing hand, to whom the huge sea was obedient, be it where the speedy Ganges, or the Nysaean Hydaspes, t plunges into the morning waves; or here where the turbulence of the Northern sea beats distant shores with vast waves of sea-water; or at that place where Amphitrite, stretched across the land by a vast flood, strikes Ethiopia; or where Phoebus, descending in his fleeing chariot, heats and illuminates the waves with the setting sun. How greatly the Stygian lakes, and the ferryman of the Underworld, sitting above the Tarpeian rocks, with the arrogant title of 'Papatus' (which is the highest honour under deepest Acheron), have trembled. The queen calls you to the pinnacle of earthly fortune, which can only be approached by her will: follow such mighty omens, and rule over the Western shores, James. Unite discordant kingdoms and different peoples with a treaty of alliance.
184There is no need for a bull, or a pig, or a slaughtered ram. What is the use of pouring away strong wine mixed with blood to the ground, and to cultured Phoebus? u Or of soaking garments of wool in blood drawn out with a delicate hook, [p475]and licking up purple wine from the broken stem of a vine? And is a union of any kind pleasing to the ferocious German kingdoms or to the wild Scythian kingdoms? A more visible way than these chains of binding souls closely together, of tying together the people of God, is through divine worship. In this way, a treaty firmer than a bronze bond, or pure lead, or strong iron, will reconcile neighbouring peoples in calm peace.
195This is not unlike priestly Numa, v who, from the first origin of nascent Rome, checked souls untamed in savagery, hearts full of arrogance, and the widespread pollution of bandits; how greatly they returned to worship and reverence of the gods. Hence, you will bring together the counsel of the nymph Egeria and the nocturnal rites, w and the wool-topped hats and the shields which fell from heaven, x and whatever divine mysteries are written in Latin scrolls. But may it delight you to unroll the annals of the ancients, and may their work, which first set down the foundations of a kingdom and of a structure which would endure through the ages, rise up out of the chaos for you. He ordered diverse peoples to unite (firstly, religious observance, and then the worship of the gods were concerns to that man) in order that their hearts could be calmed through worship of the divinity. Only reverent worship was able to mollify the rebels.
209But when at last generations of men have been joined together under the governance of the British name, they will elevate themselves beyond high heaven: no longer does the Scot, nor one born from the ancient blood of the Saxon, call to mind Brutus and the harsh ancestral struggles of Troy; inhabitant of icy Ireland, vain superstition, which ignorance of the true Thunderer hands down, is to utter different sounds, to rouse discordant feelings from a former age, and to lean on ancestral principles. Meanwhile, in no place will raging love of immoderate wealth, obscuring the hearts of kings with an infectious disease, drive neighbouring peoples to attack your borders in war, James. Will one of the Hyrcanii of the Tigris y begin to angrily goad the territories of the world? Or will a quaking stag raise its branched horns against the tawny Lion? If, on the contrary, it pleases you to compete in war with a foreign enemy; if you are preparing to assail enemies, both yours and those of Christ, then listen: the fates are calling. The oracles of the ancient soothsayers [p476]are ordering you to go to the high Capitol, and to Roman citadels in famous triumph, and to the Latin brothel on the verge of destruction. Already, James, your curved bugles and roaring war-trumpets deafen ears with a menacing roar, and you frighten the timid eagles with the splendour of your army. Who would refuse to follow your standards? Or who, seeing you James, would ever be afraid to accompany you into the heat of battle? And to accompany the blood-red Rose and the Red Lion into wars?
236And yet, when it pleases you now to enjoy the advantages of calm peace, and to make peaceful people stand in awe of you, like an emperor in another sphere, you will give laws to deeply embayed lands, far from every enemy, and free from every cruel misfortune and the danger of war. Do you see how circumfluent Oceanus surrounds your shores, James? Let him spread over the seas, monstrous and inhospitable to sailors: these defences of your realms are more certain than if the serpent of the Hesperides, or the avenger of Phrixus and the golden fleece was guarding these kingdoms. z A machine of war, equal to the sky and surrounded on all sides by fire-spewing siege engines, stands above, fit to be arrogantly observed from the battlements, and ready to defend the harbours, and the parapets; and also ready is a war-like land, full of men, a land always famous for its innumerable triumphs. May Cyprus be dear to Venus; and may Gaul, destroyed untamedly, be loved by wild Mars, since the scarlet Rhone runs with blood famously, and the Garonne, sovereign of the Vascon water, glides into the sea with monstrous slaughter. May Spain never be peaceful, and may it bear witness to the peoples powerful by the sea; then let Turkey be savage in their plunder of the world, both of the Eastern region and the tracts under the pole, and let the peoples of Italy, and the Mauritanian stream be witnesses; and do not once let the North be touched by unpropitious keels.
260What of that land's vast riches? Am I to mention the mountains stiff with bronze? Or the soil heavy with weighty quantities of iron or gold? Or will I mention the rippling rivers contending here and there with the reddish ground for scarlet jewels?
264From this place, if you trust the truth in story-telling, an island rich in inexhaustible mines is being brought to our shores, which northern Nereus flows around with a lazy tide. [p477]In that place, the exhausted body, and weary limbs of old Saturn lie back, aa and uncultivated grey old age lies under the huge cave; and in retreats of golden pumice, his body is overcome with calm sleep, while marjoram from flowers and from the sweet shade soothes his limbs. Around him, every tribe of bird shakes their nectar-soaked wings, always carrying fresh juices of ambrosia: and both wild monsters and one-hundred armed Briareus, and huge Typhus, ab and other terrible spirits stand around in the shadows.
277What campaign against the soil, and what glades, impressed by the chariot of the Athenian youth, am I to mention? What fleeces am I to mention, which, made through a thousand arts, give birth to different forms of gain? What meadows, rivalling even the Thessalian woods? What pastures, smiling with excess beauty of all kinds? Here the dark colour of the violet shines, and the rose soothes with its beautiful blood-red; then the beauty which witnessed the harsh fate of Ajax grows to maturity. It rivals the Panchaean fields, ac and colours the plains with its pleasing light. It was here in this land where Jason competed with the Argonaut rower, ad and here the vigilant serpent of the Hesperides guarded the twisted branches of the golden tree. What fertile fields am I to mention? And noisy rivers? And so many cities powerful in war, and heavy in riches? That city, ae that proud city, is reputed to be the queen of the British land, to whom Ormus af will yield her goods, and the wealthiest mother of the Venetians her riches. In this place, the Roman fathers wore Romulus' robe of state, and bore Ausonian bundles and proud eagles. She demands that you endure troubles with anxious prayers, and she bears eyes to watch, the honour of a kingly mouth, and a chest imbued with noble love. Feasts of virtue await you, and happy leaping dances, and a procession resounding with applause and a favourable din to accompany you with song to the majestic city. Pure and favourable day! Life-giving day fit to be marked by white chalk! ag [p478]When you come seeking your kingdoms, the Thames will receive you with her river-bed wide open! The Thames, the most beautiful of the English rivers! The Thames, pouring her streams from a golden water-jar. However, neither public processions which sing hymns, nor abundant Wealth which devises playful distractions will make you, James, forgetful of your people. The lot of human fortune, the mockery of the greatest human affairs, and faithless Rhamnusia ah in the highest places have come to be understood by your wise mind. Once Sesostris, ai carrying sceptres through the verdant fields of rich Egypt, harnessed the necks of four kings under his golden chariot in harsh triumph, and to one of the kings looking at the wheel spokes, he said, 'pray tell, why do you look at the revolving wheels with such a fixed gaze?' The king replied, 'I am amazed how quickly the highest part of the wheel becomes the lowest part; how quickly the lowest part occupes the highest region.' The Pelusiac aj tyrant, influenced by this voice, permitted them to cast off their harsh yoke, and after their chains of servitude had been removed, they were allowed to return to their native dwellings.
322Surely you see when, in a high wood, an oak tree, blooming happily in the shade of its ancient mother, grows to maturity from a tender bud, it has no fear of both the winds and rain? And as soon as it rises above everything from its bronze summit of light, it protects proximate places with its vast shade. Then, shivering at the threats of angry Jove and at the frenzy of Aeolus' storm, it sways at its weary summit. In this way, while you seek to extend your reach to the greatest heights of worldly fortune, and to join three kingdoms by an ancestral sceptre, Fortune will pursue you with greater envy, accompanied by the elderly chorus of the Eumenides, and by the terrors of Hades' realm. She takes care never to turn from humble homes and from the hard-working servants of a simple cottage. She thinks upon kings and golden walls, and once weakened, she brings to ruin the exalted heights of temporal affairs.
336Therefore bring worship to God gladly. Overwhelm our powerful Lord with supplicant prayers, and he will give you all things through favourable fortune. He will sever the unfavourable wings of Fortune, and will reign over heaven and the lands left behind.
340Greatly beloved in the sky, whose reward of virtue will increase with titles of honour; to whom, having gazed down upon the earthly lands, future kingdoms and golden temples of heaven are an object of concern. For indeed in this place, there is no death. A land lies beyond the stars, [p479]beyond the paths of the years, and beyond the ways of the Sun, where come the greatest of things worth observing; where, finally, with the cycle of time completed, you rest, calm with a celestial peace, and enjoying the serenity of heaven and the wonders of the golden light.
1: Virgil, Aeneid IV.10
2: Virgil, Aeneid XI.526; cf. Statius, Thebaid V.481. The mountain in question is Mount Parnassus, the traditional dwelling-place of the Muses.
3: Buchanan, Silvae IV.9
4: Buchanan, Silvae IV.8
5: Virgil, Aeneid I.395; II.766
6: Virgil, Aeneid I.253
7: Maffeo Vegio, Aeneid Book XIII, 261
8: Virgil, Aeneid X.212
9: 'subita' in DPS
10: Buchanan, Psalm Paraphrases CXXXV.26
11: Buchanan, Silvae IV.23-4
12: Virgil, Georgics IV.476
13: Virgil, Aeneid XI.55-6
14: Lucan, Bellum Civile VI.797
15: 'gemmatis...pennis' ('bejewelled wings') listed as part of Cupid's equipment in Ovid, Remedia Amoris 39.
16: General image from Ovid, Heroides XVI (Paris to Helen)
17: Juvenal, Satires VIII.148
18: Servius, Commentary on Virgil, VI.63
19: Virgil, Aeneid I.672
20: Virgil, Aeneid XI.572
21: Virgil, Aeneid VIII.36
22: Virgil, Aeneid III.435
23: 'duces' in original text.
24: Virgil, Aeneid VI.102-105; 'nomina rerum': a Lucretian phrase (De Natura Rerum V.72)
25: Virgil, Aeneid IV.207
26: Manilius, Astronomicon V.246
27: Lucan, Bellum Civile X.21
28: Perhaps a play on the popular medieval aphorism 'ditat servata fides'.
29: Manilius, Astronomicon IV.762
30: Claudian, De Consulatu Stilichonis, II.251-2
31: Statius, Thebaid VII.127
32: Claudian, Panegyricus de Tertio Consulatu Honorii Augusti, 97
33: Virgil, Aeneid I.53
34: Virgil, Aeneid V.319
35: Manilius, Astronomicon, I.809; play on Horace, Odes 2.20.2, 'per liquidum aethera'.
36: Virgil, Aeneid I.119
37: Statius, Thebaid XII.416-17
38: Buchanan, Psalm Paraphrases XCVII.29; cf. Lucretius, De Rerum Natura I.73
39: Lucan, Bellum Civile I.2
40: Buchanan, Silvae VII.66
41: Virgil, Aeneid III.502
42: Buchanan, Silvae IV.38-9
43: Virgil, Aeneid IX.21
44: Buchanan, Silvae IV.226
45: 'Phaeboque' in DPS.
46: Lucretius, De Rerum Natura I.931-2
47: Buchanan, Silvae VII.65.
48: Virgil, Aeneid VIII.664.
49: Virgil, Georgics IV.347
50: Ovid, Fasti IV.830, V.111; Amores I.1.27, probably imitating Propertius, Elegies IV.1.67.
51: Virgil, Georgics IV.161
52: Lucan, Bellum Civile VIII.74
53: Virgil, Georgics IV.470
54: Claudian, Panegyricus de Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augusti, 33
55: Prudentius, The Origin of Sin, 376
56: Buchanan, Silvae VII.2
57: Ovid, Epistulae Ex Ponto II.8.19
58: Virgil, Aeneid VI.59
59: Virgil, Aeneid IV.88-9
60: Lucretius, De Rerum Natura VI.632
61: Virgil, Georgics IV.462
62: Buchanan, Silvae I.1
63: Lucan, Bellum Civile IX.440
64: Lucan, Bellum Civile VIII.365
65: Lucan, Bellum Civile V.329
66: Buchanan, Silvae IV.224
67: Virgil, Aeneid X.174
68: Virgil, Aeneid VI.285
69: Virgil, Aeneid VI.287
70: Manilius, Astronomicon II.20
71: Ovid, Metamorphoses V.661.
72: Manilius, Astronomicon IV.128-9
73: Ovid, Metamorphoses X.478
74: Horace, Odes IV.3.2
75: Buchanan, Silvae IV.209
76: Claudian, De Consulatu Stilichonis, II.174
77: Persius, Satires II.74
78: 'cressa...nota': The ancients used to mark their lucky days with white, usually chalk, and, as the soil of Crete was remarkably chalky, 'cressa nota' signified the mark of a fortunate day. Cf. Horace, Odes I.36.10.
79: Lucan, Bellum Civile X.276-77. For a visual depiction of this popular tale, see Pieter Lastman's The Triumph of Sesostris (1631).
80: Virgil, Aeneid III.362
81: Claudian, Panegyricus de Tertio Consulatu Honorii Augusti, 96
82: Virgil, Aeneid I.249
a: Mount Parnassus, the traditional dwelling-palce of the Muses.
b: At Delphi, the priestess delivered oracles from a sacrificial tripod used for sacrifices, which was covered over with a slab so she could sit upon it.
c: Pimplea was a mountain in Macedon, near which was a fountain sacred to the Muses.
g: Another spring sacred to the Muses.
h: The goddess of reason, but also Elizabeth I in this context
i: As goddess of divine retribution, Nemesis was often portrayed blind. Achelois was variously a moon goddess and one of the seven muses, and often associated with healing.
k: The Whore of Babylon being identified here with the Papacy.
n: Varna: a tributary of the Timiş River in Romania; Po: river in northern Italy, which extends into the Adriatic.
o: The Spanish Armada of 1588, which was destroyed off the English coast.
p: Since all Scottish rulers were supposedly descended from Fergus I, the mythical first king of Scotland, who began ruling in 330BC.
q: King Philip II of Spain (r.1556-1598)
r: Elizabeth I.
s: The River Cayster flows through Turkey into the Aegean, and flowed near to Ephesus.
t: The Hydaspes, or Jhelum River in the Punjab near Bhera, was the site in 326BC of the battle which decisively annexed the Punjab under Alexander the Great.
u: As a form of sacrifice.
v: Numa Pompilius, legendary successor of Romulus as second king of Rome, supposedly from 715-673 BC. His reign was regarded as a golden age and he was believed to have personally founded many of the religious institutions of Rome, including the temple of Janus.
w: Egeria was a water nymph and the supposed consort and advisor of Numa Pompilius.
x: The flamines, or priests, of ancient Rome wore a woolen cloak (laena) and a leather skull-cap (apex) which was topped with a spindle of olive wood and a piece of wool.
y: Hyrcania was a region sited in present-day Iran and Turkmenistan on the south of the Caspian Sea; the Tigris flows into Iraq from south-west Turkey.
z: Helle and Phrixus were the twins who fled the kingdom of Boeotia and their wicked stepmother Ino on a flying golden ram, which they rode to the kingdom of Colchis. Helle fell into the sea on route, which was named the Hellespont after her. Phrixus survived, and gave the ram and its fleece to King Aeëtes.
aa: Saturn, or Cronus, the leader of the Titans who was overthrown and imprisoned by Zeus in Tartarus.
ab: Briareus was one of the three 'hundred armed' giants who fought with Zeus against the Titans and who was placed as guard over them in their defeat. Typhus was a hideous monster who fought against Zeus, and was imprisoned beneath Mount Etna.
ac: Panchaea was a mythical utopian island located in the Indian Ocean.
ad: The Argonauts stop at Cios after one of their oars is broken in a rowing contest between Jason and Hercules.
af: The kindgom of Ormus (also Ormuz, Hormuz) was located in the Persian Gulf, and was a Portuguese client state during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
ag: See note to Latin text.
ah: Another name for Nemesis, whose sanctuary was at Rhamnous.
ai: Sesostris, mentioned by Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Strabo, was a legendary Egyptian king to whom were ascribed great conquests in Africa and Asia.
aj: Pelusium was an Egyptian city at the eastern mouth of the Nile.