This poem was first published at Paris in 1603 under the title De foelici, et semper augusto Jacobi VI Scotiae insularumque adiacentium Regis imperio, nunc recens florenissimis [sic] Angliae et Hiberniae sceptris amplificato ... panegyris (only known copy: Edinburgh University Library, De.6.65). It marked Ayton's first foray into print, and also supplies the first concrete reference to his activities and whereabouts since his studies at St Andrews, which ended in 1588/89. The printing of the original text at Paris does lend credence to Thomas Dempster's assertion that Ayton 'spent a long while in the French lands cultivating the fine arts, and left behind him a name and example of his outstanding virtue' ('diu in Galliis bonas artes excoluit, et praeclarum suae virtutis specimen nomenque reliquit'; Thomas Dempster, Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum, ed. David Laing (2 vols, Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1829), vol. 1, p. 62), but beyond this there is no evidence to suggest exactly where he had been. It is clear, though, that with this poem he hoped to secure an entry into political life at the new Jacobean court in England, and that he left behind (perhaps consciously) the poetic work in Scots written in his youth (of which arguably the most famous, Diophantus and Charidora, is mentioned at l.332 below) to focus on poems written in English and Latin. For further details see The English and Latin Poems of Sir Robert Ayton, ed. Charles B. Gullans (Edinburgh and London: Scottish Text Society, 1963), pp. 15-18. Metre: hexameter.
Ad Iacobum VI, Britanniarum regem, Angliam petentem, Roberti Aytoni panegyris (1603)
Ad IACOBUM VI, Britanniarum regem, Angliam petentem, ROBERTI AYTONI panegyris
1Fata per aethereos iam maturata recursus,
implerant justum decreti temporis orbem;
quo vatum firmanda fides, quorum entheus ardor,
auspiciis, IACOBE, tuis, et sospite ductu,
5saecla Caledoniae desponderat aurea genti. 1
Ergo illi, ut soles lucerent purius auro;
ergo illi, ut quercus sudarent roscida mella, 2
sponte sua tellus gravidam demitteret alvum, 3
omnigenis foecunda bonis, et pacis in umbra
10laetius exurgens fronderet termes olivae: 4
ecce vel a primis teneri lallantibus 5 oris,
ad jam sepenti sinuata volumina lustri,
imperiis famulata tuis sunt omnia caeli
numina: nec quisquam nostro faelicius orbe
15sceptra manu tenuit, repetas licet ordine longo,
et quos Ferguso deductos Scotia jactat,
et quos famosis memorat vicinia fastis:
iunge etiam externas alio sub sidere gentes, 6
[p41] quae Rhenum Rhodanumque bibunt, quas alluit Ister,
20quas Tagus exuviis pretiosae ditat arenae 7 ,
denique luciferis lustrat quascunque quadrigis
Phoebus, et Eoa surgens illustrior unda,
et jam defessum tingens devexior axem: 8
non illae laudare queant e stemmate Regum,
25atque coronigerae numerosa stirpe cohortis
unam aliquem, qui te meritis et sorte secunda
aequiparet, tecumque ausit certare regendo.
Sic votis fortuna tuis servire per omnes
edidicit casus, postquam tibi purpura cessit,
30et commissa tuis suprema potentia curis.
Scilicet ut primum Genius te lucis in auras
edidit, 9 occultae virtutis singa dedisti,
quae te per totum vitae est comitata tenorem,
et cui se comitem socia compagine junxit
35prodiga successu semper fortuna secundo.
Dilaniare tuos cives feralis Enyo
coeperat, et diros pallens miscere tumultus
Tisiphone, socias acies cognataque signa
committens: 10 jam bella placent, jam lusus in armis
40quaeritur, ut quam non valuerunt perdere Cimbri,
non Picti, non Saxo ferox, non belliger Anglus,
viribus ipsa suis iret gens Scotica pessum.
Sed tua prosperitas inter cunabula victrix
emicuit, patriaeque vicem miserata gementis
45iam conclamatis potuit succurrere rebus:
auspiciis effecta tuis victoria velox, 11
quaeque tuum coeptis praetendit factio nomen
hostibus edomitis victricia signa reduxit
Ocyus, et subita cinxit sua tempora lauro
50tantae molis opus lactens infantia, mirum!
Duxit ad optatum facili molimine finem.
Prisca quidem Herculeis elisos viribus angues,
fama refert, tener in cunis dum luderet infans,
roboris indicio spem confirmante futuri:
55sed facinus quod tu pappanti crudior aevo
ausus es, exsuperat tanti miracula facti.
Tu solo nutu, semoto robore dextrae,
[p42] monstrum horrendum, ingens, gemino crudelius angue
vicisti, 12 cursu tam praecipitante, putasses
60posse tuum cum velle pari procedere passu.
Qualiter Eois rutilus cum surgit ab undis
Phoebus, et aurato fulget praesignis amictu,
illico disparent nubes, quas humida noctis
temperies patulis coeli suspenderat oris.
65Aut velut in magna cum tempestate laborat
navita, nec quicquam prodest prudentia cani
rectoris 13 contra rabiem coelique, marisque
pinum impellentis quo dirigit ira procellae,
Ledaei geminus si favit sideris ardor,
70continuo ponunt venti, mare sternitur, 14 aether
ridet, et obductam clarat ferrugine frontem:
haud aliter virtute tua disparuit ista
seditiosa lues et tetri bellua belli:
nec contenta tuos fines liquisse, recessit
75in tam longinquas procul hinc trans aequora terras,
ut nunquam revocare gradum te sceptra tenente
ausa sit, imperiive tui turbare quietem.
Mox tibi maturis ut crevit robur ab annis,
tam facili crevit velox prudentia cursu,
80ut populum indigenam placidis in pace teneres
imperiis, gentes alias ad foedera regni
virtutis solo ductos 15 splendore vocares.
Hinc tibi Gallorum vinclo propiore ligata 16
candida corda tenes, et belli nobile fulmen 17
85Henricum socio junguis tibi foederis ictu.
Hinc fastosus Iber, quem nulli parcere regno
regni sacra fames 18 patitur, tibi gestit, et unum
nititur officiis alternis vincere Regem.
Quinetiam infestis discerpta Britannia bellis
90flagrat amore tui, et Scotis debere fatetur
facta truci praesens quod non sit praeda tyranno.
Iam vero antiquis gens nobilitata trophaeis
Cimbrica, virtutis tantae miracula cernens
Riphaeos montes et Balthica littora fama
95transiliisse sua, voluit te foedere certo
devincire sibi, fraternum ut surgeret inde
[p43] nomen amicitiae nullo delebile saeclo.
Faelix illa dies, niveoque notanda lapillo, 19
qua thalamis conjunx, qua sceptris addita consors
100Dana fuit, quae si non esset filia regis,
regia non esset conjunx, non regia mater,
forma tamen dignam faceret, quae regia corda
imperiis premeret, sceptrumque teneret amoris.
Una tibi, ex omni fieres ut parte beatus,
105gloria restabat, Scotos ut jungeret Anglis
non simulata fides, rixasque oblita priores 20
gratia divisas gentes solidaret in unam,
et Tamesin Forthae sodio vinciret amore:
hoc vatum responsa dabant sperare, sed olim
110hoc tantum sperare dabant, cum bina sub uno
principe regna forent, et jus daret unus utrique.
Ergo unum hoc populus votis suspirat uterque,
ergo satis geminis faciant ut sidera votis,
ecce placet Superis Arctoo lumen Olympo, 21
115atque Ariadneae sidus laterale Coronae 22
addere, regali quondam quae sidus in aula
fulserat, Angligenis venerabile nomen Elizam.
O nimium dilecte Deo, cui sidera parent,
et conjuratae veniunt ad vota coronae,
120adspice quam facili nutu tibi serviat aether, 23
dum tibi securo, punctis hominumque Deumque
defertur, quod caede alii, quod sanguine quaerunt.
Angla etenim, cum jam sciret coelestia signa
adventu gestire suo, cum conscius Atlas
125pondere venturo quateret nutantia membra,
distulit illa tamen cupido se reddere coelo,
dum tibi pacatos haeredi traderet Anglos. 24
Sic proceres assata: 'mihi jam fata supremum
indixere diem, nec fas convexa tueri 25
130serius, en abeo gravis annis, atque trophaeis,
non immaturo moriens aut praecoce fato:
nil vitae me cura coquit, nil territat horror
mortis, et adveniens lassis sopor altus ocellis,
praeteritae tam grata animo virtutis imago
135occursat, tam dulce mihi meminisse, tot annos
[p44] alitibus faustis populi diadema potentis
foemineas decorasse comas, ut non nisi laeta
Elisias mediter sedes, 26 ubi justa laborum
praemia, ubi merces non fraudat fortiter acta.
140Unum hoc solicitam suprema vellicat hora,
qua vobis ratione queam regnique saluti
consulere, et tantis custodem adiciscere sceptris.
Ergo animus sese partes dum versat in omnes,
et satagit laudare ducem, cui pareat ultro,
145quem colat, et cujus ductu ditata trophaeis
Anglia captivas suspendat in arbore cristas, 27
Herculeas juxta metas hostilis Iberi,
unam hoc occurrit: melius non posse caveri
rebus et imperii rationibus, Anglica quam si
150sceptra manu teneat, qui Scotica torquet, eadem.
Si pietas, si cana sides, si candida morum
temperies, 28 si virtutum collecta caterva,
si magnos semper volvens mens ardua motus,
lactea lingua fluens Hyblaeo prodiga succo, 29
155denique forma decens, et totos sparsa per artus
gratia, membrorumque modus, blandita priorum
qualem semideis non fingunt carmina vatum, 30
imperium meruisse queant, hic solus ab isto
dignus erit solio vobis qui jura ministret.
160Sed nihil hae valeant, et sint sine pondere dotes,
at leges et jura volunt, et sanguinis ordo
poscit, ut Anglorum regali in sede locetur,
regibus Anglorum qui sacros imputat ortus.
Ecquid erit validum vestram turbare quietem?
165Quae regio in terris vestris non cesserit armis,
quum geminas jungat generosa Britannia vires?
Anglica se quantis attollet gloria rebus; 31
cum Rosa pubescens foliis bicoloribus Anglo,
et quae purpureo splendet Lancastria fuco,
170quaeque Eboracensis niveo velatur amictu,
fulva Caledonii distinguet colla Leonis?
Ergo uni parete omnes, hic flectat habenas
imperii, nutuque suo suprema gubernet:
atque istud monuisse satis, me plura parantem
[p45] 175dicere Lethaeae prohibet vicinia ripae.'
His dictis dedit ore animam, caeloque locata
inter sidereas fulsit fax aurea taedas,
propitio spargens caelum fulgore Britannum.
Nec mora, quos fidos vivens experta probarat,
180invenit obsequiis plenos post funera cives.
Ex omni procerum turba florente leguntur,
qui suprema tibi referant mandata puellae
sceptrigerae, qui te populo sine fine potenti,
atque tibi populum per mutua vincla maritent.
185Quales laetitiae festos ad sydera plausus
congeminasse putes Scotae gratantia gentis
agmina, tam grati cunctis cum nuntia casus
fama Caledonias tepesecit motibus auras?
Non tantum in longos solvit se natio lusus,
190non tantum patera noctes et carmine duxit
mista senum et juvenum 32 confuso turba tumultu;
nec satis accensis saevi flammantis acervis 33
iusta fuit gratae testari gaudia mentis:
quinetiam quae stare solent exsensa, putasses
195fortunae risisse tuae genioque litasse.
Abjiciens tellus hyberni tegmina panni
versicolore tulit distinctam emblemate pallam:
suspirans blandos Zephyrus de nate susurros
aera cinnameis dissectum insecerat alis.
200Ipse etiam Nereus, cujus stat gurgite vasto
insula, pacatis adlambens littora lymphis,
subridente leveis blandum dedit ore cachinnos. 34
Interea quo fata vocant, quo te tua virtus
invitat, 35 moliris iter, Scotisque relictis
205tendis ad assines Anglorum sedulus oras.
Illa dies quae te certum discedere vidit
accinctumque viae, docuit quam charus abires
dilectusque tuis: subito se gaudia motu
in luctus vertere graves, dum pondus amoris
210accendit vigilem trepido sub pectore curam,
ne perdat commune bonum, commune salutis
praesidium, patriae patrem populique parentem.
Eheu solliciti res est quam plena timoris
[p46] magnus amor! Metuit semper qui diligit, et quod
215mente capit, cupit ante oculos ut semper oberret.
Ergo tui nequit avelli conspectibus oris
Scotia, te sequitur gressum quocunque moveres.
Ordo omnis, sequiturque omnis te sexus et aetas,
patriciae, procerum turmae, plebejaque turba,
220longaevi cum plebe senes, cum virgine matres
adglomerant, comitesque tuis se passibus addunt:
tu prohibes, et quemque jubes ad priva reverti,
contentus tali studio ceu pignore amoris.
Turba sequax, quamvis sit letho durius omni
225extremum proferre vale, vultusque serenos
principis, heu nunquam vultus fortasse videndos
linquere, versa tamen retro vestigia flectit,
dum studet exactum gessisse per omnia morem.
Et jam terga dabat, cum rursus flectere vultum
230sollicitavit amor, talesque effundere voces 36
Singultu medias interrumpente querelas: 37
'Tune potes, Rex magne, tuam sic linquere gentem?
Sic tibi sordescit, regna ad vicina vocato,
Scotia, nulla tui super ut sit cura popelli?
235Quod si certa nimis sedet haec sententia menti
inceptum pertexere iter, fixumque tenendas
regis et haeredis titulo stat cernere terras,
i faelix quo fata vocant, perge alite fausta,
dummodo prima tuis reducem te Cynthia sistat:
240sed si perpetuum regno meditaris in Anglo
hospitium, et Scotae jamdudum poenitet orae,
da veniam, justi si vis extrema doloris
imputet, in nostris primum quod sedibus aether
haustus, et infirmis pulsus vagitibus aer,
245quod nondum primaevus adhuc, imbellis, inermis 38
defensus nostris clypeis, hostilia tela
spreveris et regno fueris submotus avito.
Anglia quid? Verum praestat non dicere, nos te
per Genium, patriam, per pignora chara rogamus,
250per si quid tibi dulce magis, ne desere gentem,
quae nunquam obsequio cecidit nec decidet unquam,
rupta licet rerum solvantur foedera, 39 brutum
[p47] inque chaos redeat luxati machina mundi.'
Dictabat graviora dolor, sed jam ungula pernix
255quadrupedante tuas saltu subduxerat aures: 40
tu pergis, populoque tuo post terga relicto,
metiris tractus quos lati fluminis alveo
Tueda rigat, 41 mox succedis laetantibus arvis,
quae vicina suis Northumbria continet ulnis.
260At tunc quos habitus, quantae miracula pompae
cernere erat? Cum tu magna stipante caterva 42
Saxonidum, fallax rumor quos saepius ante
luserat, adveniens omni dum crederis hora,
rura per et medias, solito conspectior, urbes
265spumanti vehereris equo: 43 creberque feriret
aures iste sonus: 'VIVAT, multosque per annos
temperet augusto junctas moderamine gentes,
ordine qui Sextus, primus virtutibus audit.'
Certe ego crediderim, simili lustrasse paratu
270nascentis quae regna vident cunabula Phoebi
Thyrsigeri currus et patris ovantia signa,
cum grex hirsutus Satyrorum, atque ebria Maenas
'Euion' ingeminaret, 44 'Io' clamaret 'Iacche'.
Aut simili pompa stipatam credere fas est
275solis avem, cum jam reparavit morte juventam,
et rediviva suo struxit cunabula busto. 45
Hanc volucrum numerosa cohors, 46 te millia vulgi
mirantur, populus Dominum submissus adorat,
et lassata quidem, sed non satiata videndo
280lumina deponunt in te juvenesque senesque:
praecipue juvenes, qui te ductore perennes
mente agitant lauros, quorum mens nescia claudi
finibus angustis queis insula clauditur, alis
transvolat Oceani reboantia septa, tuumque
285imperium terris, famam metitur Olympo.
'En, (ajunt) olim auspiciis muliebribus usi
e Gaditanis lauros decerpsimus arvis,
Saxonidumque rosas Hispano insevimus orbi,
et quisquam nostris fines praescripserit armis,
290imperiove modum Sexto duce et auspice SEXTO?'
Quid loquar, ut queruli patres, ut garrula mater,
[p48] ut puer, ut virgo, te viso, gaudia vultu
pinxerit, et festos clamores plausibus aptans,
non ingrata tuas in laudes solverit ora?
295Non mihi ferrato streperet si pectore Phoebus,
et centum gemino manarent verba palato;
gratantis turbae varios habitusque modosque
dinumerare queam: satis est voluisse notare
laetitiae monumenta suae, tenuique Minerva 47
300delibasse tibi quos consecravit honores
iugiter, a primo calcati limite regni
ad medium penetrale: caput qua tollit in auras
urbs antiqua, potens armis, et splendida luxu, 48
quaeque alias tanto supereminet intervallo,
305quantum humiles superat pinus procera myricas, 49
LONDINUM indigenae vocitant. Hic ultima pompae
pars fuit, hoc centro ceu consummatus obhaesit
laetitiae tractus: quid enim fors addere votis
ulterius potuit? Post pulvinaria divum
310tot precibus lassata venis, ut numen amicum
ut Tutelaris sacrans pomoeria Divus.
Ergo tibi hic summum quod restat solvitur, omnis
unanimi populus regem te voce salutat,
sceptra manu sistit, cingit diademate crinem,
315membra superfuso trabeae miratur in auro, 50
se tibi submittit, sua devovet, in tua verba
conceptis properat verbis jurare, tuisque
mancipat imperiis summam vitaeque necisque: 51
felices, queis sors melior dedit ista tueri
320comminus! Ac oculo propius lustrare fideli!
Hos justas animare fideis in cuncta monebat
officii pietas totius conscia pompae,
ad nos tam longo tractu caelique solique
distractos, famae tenuis vix labitur aura. 52
325Quid mirum si rauca strepat, si murmure balbo
sibilet aegra chelys, si vix millesima rerum
pars nervis aptata tuos enervet honores?
Culpa quidem ingenii permulatum deterit, at nos
non adeo agresti carmen tenuamus avena,
330ut tibi non olim patrio vernacula versu
[p49] riserit, occultos dum suspiraret amores,
et CHARIDOREO DIOPHANTUS ferveret aestu.
Forsit et haec, quamvis grandi fastosa boatu
non fremat, at tenui tantum spiramine musset,
335oceani transvecta domos et caerula regna,
augustas grata novitate morabitur aures.
Interea, Rex, macte tuis virtutibus, istis
versibus, et tanti parto diademate regni:
crede mihi, quidquid mundi per furta Tonantis
340cepit Agenoreae nomen de nomine natae,
attonitum stupet omne tui miracula fati.
Pluribus invaluit tam vasta potentia sceptris,
quisque sibi ut timeat. Non tu de pulvere tressis
regulus, aut vilis populi sine nomine princeps.
345Quidquid ab Ausoniis est alter creditus orbis,
hoc nutu tremit omne tuo, quae sistere cursum
Romani imperii potuit, tibi Scotia servit:
quae toties Gallos, toties tremefecit Iberos
Anglia, colla tuis ultro submittit habenis.
350Dedignata jugum multos muliebre Decembres,
deposita feritate tibi famulatur Ierne.
Orcades, et maculae plures in fronte Britannae
Doridos, extremae spectantes littora Thules 53
adscribi titulis tanti rectoris anhelant.
355Quodque tibi ingentes animos et mascula corda
excitet, et magnos justa spe nutriat ausus,
non ullos natura tuo praescribere fines
ausa est imperio, nisi quos circumsona Nerei
pertica spumanti metatur cuspidis ictu:
360omine monstrosae sortis, quandoque futurum,
quicquid ut Oceanus refluis complectitur ulnis,
te colat, et toto distantes orbe Britanni 54
subjiciant totum lege et legionibus orbem.
Nec minus aucta novo regni custode, superbum
365exere laeta caput, 55 contemptis Anglia telis
invidiae; non jam rabies livoris iniqui
objiciet muliebre jugum, dum jussa capessis
herois Ferguisiadae, dum Martia corda
rege sub invicto patiens ratione domari.
[p50] 370Respicis Augustum? Tuus est faelicior. Optas
trajanum? Tuus est melior. Iuvat addere Titum?
Et primas Iacobus habet, tam comis, ut unus
deliciae humani generis mereatur haberi.
Scotia testis erit, quae sic amplexa regentem est,
375sic colit, insano nec adhuc non deperit aestu,
ut nisi te sociam junxissent mille catenae,
proximitas caeli atque soli, par cultus ad aras,
par sonitus linguae, species non discolor oris, 56
quaeque animos mollire solent iterata vicissim
380foedera regalis commissa per oscula lecti;
vix raptos impune suos pateretur amores.
Sed tibi rivali tantum liveret honorem.
Nunc vero, laeta atque libens hoc Sole fruisci
te patitur, precibusque suis invitat, ut illi
385obsequiosa geras morem, cultusque rependas,
quos monet officium tanto persolvere Regi.
Dilige ceu patrem, ut Dominum reverere, loquantur
marmora muta, suos statuae fateantur honores:
ficta viri vivant auratis ora figuris: 57
390non incus vacet ulla, pio quae pondere vultus
regalis non pressa gemat, vix tota Corinthus
sit satis, ut calidis fornacibus aera ministret,
effigies ductura suas, quas omnis ubique
angulus, extremo quantumvis devius Anglo
395non minus observet sacro veneramine, prisci
quam Troes delapsa polo simulacra Minervae. 58
Illa dies, illi qua rerum summa potestas,
qua regni commissus apex, qua publica moles
incubuit tantis primum inclinata lacertis:
400murice Gaetulo fastis inscripta notetur: 59
annuaque instauret festa solennia pompa.
Quae decus et famam tam chari principis, atris
unguibus eripiant Libitinae, et Sceptra Stuartae
gentis ab hoc puncto transmittant perpetis aevi,
405ad natos natorum et qui nascentur ab illis.
A panegyric to James VI, king of the British kingdoms, upon his journey to England
1The prophesies, fully developed over time's celestial progress, had brought to fruition the right cycle of the appointed season; when the promise of the prophets, their fevered desire, was to be confirmed, James, under your governance, and it had assured a golden age for the Caledonian people under your blessed guidance!
6Therefore may the summers shine greater than gold for him, may the oak trees shed dewy honey for him, may the earth voluntarily bow down her fertile womb, and may the olive branch, happily rising up in peace's shadow, bear fruit. Behold, from the first wails of your tender mouth, to the lush folds of your seventh lustrum, a every deity in heaven has waited upon your commands: no one on our globe has held the sceptre in their hand more happily, although you receive it from a long line of ancestors, both those whom Scotland has cast forth from Fergus b onwards, and those whom our neighbours recall in their illustrious fasti: now bring together foreign nations who live under a different sky, [p41]the nations who drink from the Rhine and Rhone, the nations whom the Danube nourishes, the nations whom the Tagus c enriches with its spoils of precious sand, and each one whom Phoebus shines upon from his light-bearing chariot, both as he rises so brightly from the eastern waves, and as he dips his worn-out wheels in his descent: they would not be able to praise any one from the stock of kings and the crown-bearing legion's numerous forefathers, who matches you in worth and fortune, and who has dared to vie with you in governance. So fortune has learned to serve your wishes throughout your life: when the purple fell to you, and supreme power was entrusted to your care.
31Clearly when the Divinity sent you forth into the light of day, you betrayed signs of a hidden virtue that has attended you throught the entire course of your life, and great fortune joined herself to you as a companion in a close union, always with a happy outcome.
36The savage Enyo d began to tear apart your citizens, and gloomy Tisiphone began to stir up grim civil discord, making kindred armies and matching standards clash: e then wars were pleasing, then jousting in arms was encouraged, so that the Scottish race, which neither Dane, nor Pict, nor warlike Saxon, nor belligerent Angle could destroy, would not perish because of its prowess. But your victorious good fortune was conspicuous in infancy, and it took pity upon your native land as it lamented its fate, and it was then able to relieve its wretched condition: under your rule victory was swiftly achieved, and at its inception the faction that stood behind your name quickly returned victorious standards to the defeated enemy, and immediately the suckling infant bound his own temples with laurel wreaths - what a wondrous deed of such power! And he brought it to its hoped-for end with little effort.
52Indeed an ancient tale recalls that, while a tender infant was playing in his cot, snakes were strangled by his Herculean powers, f with the evidence confirming the hope of his future strength: yet your feat, which you dared at a younger age, surpasses the wonders of such an act. You, with your nod alone, with little power in your right hand, [p42]overcame a huge and awful monster g that was more savage than the twin serpent, on so headlong a journey, since you had determined that your will was able to proceed on an even footing.
61Just as when golden Phoebus rises from the eastern waves, and he shines out in his golden cloak, at the very moment the clouds vanish, which the humid climate of the night had hung upon the open expanse of the sky; or just like when the boat labours in the great storm, and in no way does the wisdom of the aged helmsman help against the fury of heaven, and the sea strikes the ship, against which the anger of the storm is directed; then the twin heat of Leda's constellation show favour, h the winds immediately fall, the sea is calmed, the sky smiles down, and it clears its countenance, which had been covered in gloom. In this very way has that seditious plague and beast of foul war vanished when confronted by your virtue. Not satisfied by having merely left your borders, it has taken itself far off across the ocean into the lands so far away that it would never again dare retrace its steps while you are in power, or menace the peace of your kingdom.
78As soon as your strength increased with age, your keen wisdom rose on so swift a trajectory that you peacefully held your native people under your gentle direction, and inspired other nations into league with your kingdom, induced to do so by the splendor of your virtue alone. For this reason you hold the honest hearts of the Gauls, which are bound by a closer bond, and you ally Henry, i the illustrious lightning bolt of war, to yourself with the closely resounding handshake of friendship.
86Also for this reason proud Spain, whose zealous hunger for power does not allow it to leave any kingdom in peace, longs for you, and strives to win over one king alone with repeated favours.
89Indeed Britain, which has been torn apart by hostile wars, is abaze with love for you, and it admits that it is due to the Scots that it did not become the possession of a fierce tyrant.
92Now also the Danish race, which had been enobled by its ancient war trophies, upon beholding that your great virtue's wonders had scaled the Riphean mountains j and the Baltic shores in its fame, wished to join you to itself in a fixed treaty, so that henceforth the brotherly [p43]title of friendship would rise up, inextinguishable in any age. That happy day, which must be marked with a white pebble, when a Dane was installed as both partner in the marriage bed, k and sharer of the sceptres. And if she were not a daughter of a king, nor a kingly partner, nor a kingly mother, nevertheless her beauty would make her worthy - a beauty that would bend a king's heart with its power, and hold love's sceptre.
104One glory then remained for you to be blessed in every way: that a genuine trust would bind the Scots to the English, and forgetting former battles their love would unite the divided nations into one, and join the Thames to the Forth in neighbourly love. The predictions of the prophets would allow us to expect it: but they did permit us to forsee this great thing, since the two kingdoms are under one prince, and one justice is granted to both.
112Accordingly both people long for this one thing in their prayers. So the heavens then answer their twin prayers: behold a light in the northern heavens pleases the Gods above, and they have added a star to the side of Ariadne's crown, l the star which once shone at the royal court under the name of Elizabeth, worshipped by the English nation.
118Oh so loved by God are you to whom the stars submit, and united crowns come in answer to our prayers: see with what alacrity the heavens bow to you, as what others seek to achieve through slaughter and blood is bequeathed to you safe and sound with the blessings of Gods and men. Indeed England, although she understood that the celestial constellations exulted at your coming, and although Atlas aware of this steeled his limbs which were then tottering at his coming burden, nevertheless she stopped her return to an expectant heaven until she could give you, her heir, an English people at peace. So she spoke these words to her nobles: 'The fates have marked out my final day, and it is no longer permitted for me to look up at the heavens; indeed I leave weighted down by my years, and by my trophies, not dying before my time or before I've bloomed. The worries of life do not vex me, the horror of death does not frighten me, nor the deep sleep soon coming to my weary eyes, the picture of past virtue so pleasing to my mind flashes before me; it is so pleasant [p44]for me to remember that for so many years the crown of a powerful nation adorned my feminine locks with flighted fortune, so that, unless happy, I may not think upon the Elysian fields, where the fitting reward for my labours, and the prize for my bravery will not evade me. This one thing keeps me engaged in my final hour: through what means can I protect the health of the kingdom, and approve a suitable guardian for my great sceptres? So while my mind swirls in every direction, and it is striving to mark out a leader to whom it would submit before the rest, whom it would respect, and under whose leadership England will be enriched by trophies, and hang the plumed helmets m as booty upon a tree, near the Herculean outposts n of the Spanish foe. This one thing occurs to me: that the government and policy of the state cannot be better taken care of than if he who wields the Scottish sceptres in his hand also holds the English ones with the same hand. If duty, if inveterate honesty, if a gathered band of virtues, if a mind that always muses upon great matters, if a milky tongue that flows profusely with its honeyed liquid, if a noble appearance, and charm dispersed throughout the whole body, and limbs the size of which the alluring songs of the ancient poets did not impart to demigods, if all these can win power for themselves, then this man alone will be worthy to govern you from this throne. Yet count these talents as having no power or substance: on the contrary, law and justice wishes, and our bloodline demands, that he who brings a venerable ancestry to further enoble the kings of the English is placed upon the royal throne of the English. What then will be able to disturb your peace? Which region on earth will not yield to your arms, as noble Britannia unites its twin powers? To what great fortune will English glory rise, when England's rose, blooming with its variegated petals (from both the Lancastrian rose which dazzles with its ruby tint, and the rose of York clothed in its snowy dress) adorns the tawny neck of the Caledonian Lion? Therefore all bow down to this one man; may he turn the reins of our empire, and may he administer my ultimate commands by his will. And this is now enough advice, for the approach of the river Lethe o [p45]prevents my plans to say more.' After saying these words her soul escaped from her body, and her golden light was placed in the heavens and shone out amid the starry fires, showering the British skies with her fortune-promising sparkle.
179And after her death no delay impeded her completely obedient citizens, whom she had deemed trustworthy because she tested them while she was alive. They are chosen from the whole glittering array of the nobles who would bear back to you the ultimate command of the sceptre-bearing girl, and would unite her people to yours in a mutual bond.
185What festive cheers of joy would you imagine that your Scottish nation's rejoicing throngs echoed into the heavens, when swift report of so pleasing an event warmed Caledonia's atmosphere with complete commotion? Not only did the nation give itself over to protracted revelry, not only did the mixed crowd of young and old pass their nights in song and drink in a riotous assembly, nor was it content to exhibit the due celebratory tokens of its appreciation with kindled bails of burning hay, p no: you would have thought that those things that are usually insensate smiled upon your good fortune, and toasted your genius. For, after casting off the covering of her winter cloak, the earth donned a robe decorated with a multicoloured mosaic; and Zephyr, exhaling gentle sounds from his nose, had infused the parted air with the odor of his cinnamon wings. Nereus himself, in whose vast ocean your island stands, when lapping the shore with his stilled waters, gently let out slight rippling sounds from his smiling mouth.
203Meanwhile your virtue draws you to where the fates call; and with the Scots now left behind you eagerly make for the neighbouring lands of the English. That day, which witnessed that you were resolved to leave, and were prepared for your journey, demonstrated how dear and loved by your people you were on your departure. In swift succession their joys have turned themselves to overwhelming grief, as the burden of their love kindles a sleepless worry deep in their anxious hearts that the day would see the loss of the common good, the common assurance of their health, the father of the fatherland and the parent of his people.
213Alas, a great love is an affair so full of troubled fear! [p46]He who loves always fears, and whatever thing he conceives of in his mind, he desires it to stand always before his eyes. So Scotland, unable to be parted from the sight of your face, follows your progress wherever you. Every class, every generation, and each sex follow you: the patrician band of nobles, the plebeian crowd, the long-lived elderly with the pleb, the mothers with the maiden all assemble, and as followers join themselves to your trail. Satisfied by such devotion, a sure token of their love, you prevent them, and you order that each one be returned to their home. The crowd following - although for them it is more bitter than death to offer you the final farewell, and to leave the beautiful visage of their prince, alas a visage perhaps never to be seen again - nevertheless turn their heels and retrace their steps, as they are anxious to obey your order completely. And as they were departing, then their love moved them to turn their face back at you, and to let out these words, though their sobs interrupted them in mid-complaint:
232'Great King, can you leave your people in this way? When no governance remains for your people, will Scotland be left to grow wild by you who have been called to our neighbouring kingdom? But if this determination remains very much fixed in your mind, that is, to finish the journey you have begun, and you are determined to look upon the lands to be governed by right of a king and heir, then go happily to where the fates summon, proceed on your auspicious flight, as long as the new moon prohibits your return to your people. q But if you are considering permanent residency in your English kingdom, and you continue to worry about Scotland, look kindly on it, should the detached force of its understandable grief oblige, since you first looked upon the skies in our land, and our air was first struck by your infant cries, and because, while not yet a youth, unarmed and unwarlike, supported by our shields, you repelled the weapons of our enemies and were secluded in your ancestral kingdom. Why England? It is better not to speak the truth, we implore you through your genius, your fatherland, through your dear children, through whatever is most sweet to you, do not forsake your nation. It never failed in its loyalty, nor will it ever, even should the laws of the universe break and be dissolved and [p47]the structures of a dislocated universe return to malformed chaos.' Their grief was declaring more burdensome things, but then the swift hoof of your galloping horses had withdrawn your ears. Now, with your people left behind, you are on your way, traversing the region which the Tweed moistens with the channel of its wide river; you soon reach the fertile plains which neighbouring Northumbria holds within its boundaries.
260But then what a spectacle and what wonders of your procession was it possible to behold, as you, with a great throng of Saxons gathering round (whom false report fooled, as often happens, so that you were thought to be arriving at every hour), were borne upon your frothing horse through the countryside and the centre of towns, more outstanding than usual! All the while this recurring sound was striking the ears of all: 'May he who is sixth in number, and known as first in virtues, live long and manage our united nations with august governance for many years!'
269Indeed I should believe that in a similar fashion the kingdoms that witness the Sun's ascent beheld the chariot of the Thyrsus-bearing father and his triumphant standards, as the hairy flock of Satyrs, and the drunken Bacchante repeats the Bacchic cry and shouts 'Io Iacche!' r Or rather it is right to believe that the gilded bird of the sun s was in a similar procession, at the time when, in death, he restored his youth, and made a cradle reborn from his own funeral pyre. As the numerous cohort of winged creatures wonder at this bird, the thousand-strong mob wonder at you; the people bow down and worship their lord, and both young and old place their steadfast gaze upon you, and never tire of looking - above all the young, who devise endless victories under your leadership, and whose minds, unused to being contained within the narrow boundaries that surround this island, fly on wings over the resounding sea walls, and survey your power on earth and your fame in the heavens. 'Behold', they say, 'after consulting the auspices t we have seized the victory laurels from the fields of Gades, u and planted the roses of the Saxons in the Spanish world. Will any person put a limit on our arms, or an end to our empire with the sixth as leader and director?'
291Shall I describe how, upon seeing you, the querulous fathers and the garrulous mother [p48]and the boy and the girl displayed their joy on their face, and matching their festive shouts with applause, let loose their grateful words in your praise? If only my Phoebus were not resounding in an iron heart, and a hundred words flowing from my bilingual mouth, v I could enumerate the rejoicing throng's various characteristics and manners, but it is sufficient to have wanted to describe the monuments to your joyful arrival, and to have marked out - with my meagre Minerva - the honours that the crowd continually dedicated to you, from the very edge of your soon-to-be-traversed kingdom, to its inner heart: where an ancient city, potent in arms, and lavish in splendour, raises its head into the upper atmosphere, and which outstrips the other cities by the same extent that the tall pine tree stands above the lowly shrub, and which the locals call London. Here was the location for the final part of the march; the path of the joyful procession ended here, as if hitting dead centre. Indeed what more could fortune add to their prayers? After they have wearied the temples of the Gods with so many prayers you now come as their friendly diety, as the tutelar divinity declaring their city's precincts holy!
312Therefore the highest office that it held here it gave to you; and the people in unanimous proclamation salute you as their king, place the sceptre in your hand, surround your brow with the crown, wonder at your limbs in the effuse bright gold of your robe, submit themselves to you, make their own vows of faith, hurry to make the pledge of allegiance to you, and give over the entirety of their life and death to your commands:
319they are lucky whom good fortune has allowed to see those things at close quarters! And to gaze at it in close proximity with a trustworthy eye! A devotion to duty, present at the whole procession, was directing the people to show their due faith throughout the whole affair; yet scarce a breath of the account fell to us who were removed from it by so great an expanse of heaven and earth. Is it any wonder that our lyre sounds coarse, that our sickly instrument hisses with a novice's squeak, and that, when scarely a thousandth part of the business has been afforded to our strings, it lessens your glory? Indeed a deficiency of natural talent very often inhibits, but we do not so lessen our song with our rustic pipe, that our native tongue mocks with homely verse, [p49]while panting about secret lovers, and Diophantus seethes with passion for Charidora. w Perhaps even this lyre, although not boastfully bellowing with a mighty roar, but just whistling with barely a breath, after having been borne across the ocean's dwellings and the sea-blue kingdoms, x will still arrest your august ears with its pleasing originality.
337Meanwhile, may your virtues, King, by these verses, and the newly-acquired crown of so great a kingdom increase your honour! Trust me, that part of the world that took - through Jupiter's deceits - its name from Agenor's daughter y is now all astonished and marvels at the wonders of your fortune. So extensively has your power increased by so many sceptres, that each region fears for itself. You are not a feeble puppet king, nor a prince of a lowly people without standing. However much the other world has been bought by the Italians, z everything trembles at your command, and Scotland, which was able to put a stop to the march of Rome's empire, aa serves you; and England, which made the Gauls and the Iberians trembles so many times, now voluntarily submits its neck to your reins. Having scorned an unmanly yoke for many years, and with savage Ireland put down, she puts herself at your service. The Orkneys, and the many dots of land on the edge of the British sea, and farthest Thule ab gazing back at the mainland, all yearn to be included in the honours of so great a captain.
355And since she summons mighty spirits and manly hearts to you, and tempers great daring with moderate desire, Nature has not attempted to prescribe any boundaries to your rule, except those which the resounding spear of Nereus marks out with the foaming stroke of its point. Whenever it comes to pass, may whatever the ocean encloses in its tidal embrace protect you through this revelation of strange fate; and may the Britons, who are far removed from the whole world, yoke the whole world under its law and legions.
364Now made greater by the new guardian of your kingdom, and with ill-will's weapons now hateful, in joy lift up your proud head, England! Then hostile malice's fury will not throw forth an unmanly union, as you execute the orders of the scion of Fergus, and sensibly allow your martial hearts to be tamed under an unconquered king. [p50] Do you look for an Augustus? Your man is more blessed! Do you hope for Trajan? Your man is better! Would you like to have a Titus? ac James holds the chief position among them, and is so kind, that he alone deserves to be considered the chief delight of the human race.
374Scotland, who so loved his rule, so worships him, and still longs for him with an unhinged passion, will bear witness that, if a thousand ties (proximity of heaven and earth, similar practice at worship, similar speech patterns, an appearance of face not of a different hue, and the reciprocated union of a royal bed, sealed by kisses, which usually soften the spirits) had not bound you to it, then Scotland would have scarely permitted her love to be taken away without a fight! Rather it would have resented so great an honour for you, its rival.
383Now indeed, happily and freely she allows you to enjoy the use of this sun, and in her own words of entreaty she bids you pay dutiful homage to him, and maintain the veneration which duty demands one give to such a great king. Love him as your father, revere him as your Lord, let the silent marble speak, and the statues proclaim their respects, and may the image of the man live in gilded effigies. Let no anvil be idle, to sigh unburdened by the pious weight of the royal face; may almost all Corinth ad prove sufficient to supply bronze for the hot furnaces, which will produce their statues for every nook in every place, no matter how far out at the English border, to honour with the same holy reverence that the ancient Trojans honoured the statue of Minerva, which fell from from heaven. ae
397That day is here, in which the highest power of government, the peak of the kingdom, has been entrusted to him; in which the public burden settles upon him, deposited in his mighty arms. Let it be entered in the fasti, inscribed in Gaetulian purple. af And let it mark the beginning of an annual festival with a festive procession. And may they snatch away the glory and repute of so dear a prince from the black clutches of Death, and let the sceptres of the Stewart race carry on in continuous procession through the sons of his sons, and those who are born from them!
1: These first four lines are influenced by imagery of the Golden Age from Virgil, Eclogues book IV - lines 4-10 especially.
2: Virgil, Eclogues IV.30
3: Cf. Virgil, Eclogues IV.39-45
4: Virgil, Eclogues IV.30
5: Error in original: 'lallatibus'
6: Cf. Lucan, Bellum Civile II.294: 'deducti alio sub sidere reges.'
7: Cf. Catullus, Carmina XXIX.19; and Ovid, Metamorphoses II.251.
8: This passage is an elaborate expansion of Claudian, Panegyricus Manlio Theodoro Consuli 56-7.
9: Cf. Virgil, Aeneid VII.660.
10: Claudian, De Consulatu Honorii IV.401
11: Claudian, De Consulatu Honorii III.87-8
12: Cf. Virgil, Aeneid IV.181.
13: Juvenal, Satires XII.32-3
14: George Buchanan, Psalm Paraphrases 85.3
15: Read 'ductas' for 'ductos'.
16: Ovid, Metamorphoses IX.549
17: Cf. Lucretius' description of Scipio Africanus: De Rerum Natura III.1034.
18: Virgil, Aeneid III.57
19: A common saying, which refers to the practice of marking fortunate days with white and black pebbles. For the practice see Horace, Odes I.36.10; and Pliny Natural History VII.131. However, this specific poetic form is found at Cristoforo Landino, Ad Bernardum Bembum II.39. Thomas Craig d1_CraT_002 line 57, Henry Anderson d1_AndH_003 line 94, and Henry Danskin d1_DanH_003 line 1 all also use the formula; so the sentiment, and poetic expression of it, were clearly part of the renaissance Latin literary landscape.
20: Virgil, Georgics II.59
21: Manilius, Astronomica I.178
22: Manilius, Astronomica V.253: the constellation Corona Borealis. The constellation 'crowns' the rising constellation of Virgo, and positively identifies Elizabeth with Erigone and Astraea, and thus Justice returning to earth - see Virgil, Eclogues IV.6.
23: This and the previous two lines: Claudian, De Consulatu Honorii III.96-8.
24: This and the previous two lines: Claudian, De Consulatu Honorii III.108-10.
25: Virgil, Aeneid IV.451
26: Lucan, Bellum Civile VI.600
27: Claudian, In Rufinum I.345
28: Ayton extends and elaborates poetry taken from Statius, Silvae II.6.48.
29: Statius, Silvae II.1.48
30: Claudian, De Consulatu Stilichonis I.48-9
31: Virgil, Aeneid IV.49
32: Horace, Odes I.28.19
33: 'saevi' surely a mistake for 'faeni', as it is in Propertius, Elegies IV.4.77.
34: Catullus, Carmina III.108-10.
35: Lucan, Bellum Civile II.287
36: Virgil, Aeneid V.723
37: Ovid, Metamorphoses XI.420: modern editions replace 'medias' with 'que pias'.
38: Ring compositions begun at line 57.
39: Cf. Lucan, Bellum Civile II.1-2.
40: Virgil, Aeneid VIII.596
42: Claudian, De Consulatu Honorii IV.441; also Virgil, Aeneid IV.136. However, the influence of Claudian is more marked throughout this passage.
43: This entire passage is a reworking of Claudian, De Consulatu Honorii IV.565-7
44: Persius, Satires I.102
45: Claudian, Phoenix 41
46: Claudian, Phoenix 76-7
47: See Virgil, Aeneid VIII.409 for usual meaning of this phrase; however, Ayton's slender Minerva follows Horace, Satires II.2.3, while still playfully alluding to the usual meaning.
48: This and the previous line: Virgil, Aeneid IV.176-7; I.531; I.637
49: See Virgil, Eclogues IV.1-3.
50: This and the previous line: Claudian, De Consulatu Honorii VI.560-1.
51: For meaning see: Manilius, Astronomica IV.24; IV.549.
52: Virgil, Aeneid VII.646
53: Proverbial. For poetic origin: Virgil, Georgics I.30.
54: Virgil, Eclogues I.66; and Claudian, Panegyricus de Manlio Theodoro consuli 52.
55: Buchanan, Genethliacon Iacobi Sexti 1-5
56: Persius, Satires V.52
57: Claudian, De Consulatu Stilichonis II.175
58: The Palladium (see note to translation). See Ovid, Fasti VI.442 and Metamorphoses XIII.336; and Virgil Aeneid II.166 and IX.151.
59: See note to translation and: Ovid, Fasti II.319; and Horace Epistles II.2.181.
a: A period of five years, so the age of 35.
b: The mythical Fergus I, founder of Scotland, who supposedly ruled c.330BC.
c: The Rio Tejo or Tajo, the longest river on the Iberian peninsula.
d: Another name for Bellona, goddess of war.
f: The infant Hercules.
g: Presumably the spectre of resurgent Catholicism.
h: Castor and Pollux, the twin sons born to Leda, queen of Sparta, fathered by Tyndareus and Zeus respectively. The twins were transformed into the Gemini constellation by Zeus when the mortal Castor was killed.
i: Henri IV of France (r.1589-1610).
j: Range of mountains mentioned in antiquity by Apollonius of Rhodes and others, but without a specified location. Applied by later Roman writers to ranges in northern Europe and Asia, and it seems to be in the northern European sense that the term is applied here.
l: See note to Latin text.
m: Of war.
n: The Straits of Gibraltar, also known as the Pillars of Hercules.
o: The river in the Greek afterlife that caused the oblivion of memory.
p: ie, bonfires.
q: Ayton cannot seriously mean that James should return to Scotland on a monthly basis, but is perhaps reflecting contemporary anxiety that the Scots would lose access to their king after 1603. This anxiety proved to be well-founded: although James promised to return every three years, his only visit home was the progress of 1617.
r: The Eleusinian mysteries, a religious cult based at the sanctuary in Eleusis near Athens, were practiced by Athenians from before the seventh century BC until the cult was suppressed by Theodosius in 393AD. Celebrated in September-October, the initiates took part in a range of complex rituals (including bathing in the sea for purification, the sacrification of a piglet by each participant, and a procession along Athen's Sacred Way) all of which were punctuated at regular intervals by the shout 'Iakch' o Iakche'. This cry was possibly used to invoke a Greek deity known as Iacchus, an epithet for Bacchus, but several ancient testimonies describe the cry as actually referring to the god Dionysus. The thyrsus was a wand wreathed in ivy and vine-leaves, with a pine-cone at the top, carried by the worshippers of Dionysus.
s: The phoenix.
t: In Roman religion, to divine the will and disposition of the gods from the entrails of the sacrificial victim, and other signs.
u: Modern-day Cádiz, in Andalusia.
v: A reference to the fact that Ayton wrote in Scots/English, and Latin. See Gullans, pp. 15-18.
w: A reference to one of Ayton's earliest English poems, Diophantus and Charidora, likely written before 1603 as part of a group of early works which Wood describes as 'notable for being much more Scottish in orthography and grammar'. See Harriet Harvey Wood, 'Ayton, Sir Robert (1570-1638)', ODNB.
x: A possible reference to Ayton's time between c.1588 and 1603 beyond the British Isles, most likely in France.
y: Agenor was a mythical king of Tyre, and his daughter Europa was kidnapped by Zeus/Jupiter (who visited her in the form of a white bull) and taken to Crete, where she became the first queen of the island.
z: A possible reference to the forcible conversion of South America to Catholicism, though it could simply refer to Papal influence in southern Europe.
aa: Despite several attempts between 71AD and 213AD, Rome was never able to fully extend control over the northern half of the British isles.
ac: Augustus: Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus, first emperor of Rome from 27BC until AD14, though held de facto rule from 31BC; Trajan: Caesar Nerva Traianus Divi Nervae filius Augustus, emperor 98-117AD; Titus: Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, emperor 79-81AD, though arguably most famous in Christian history for his role in the quelling of the revolt in Judaea and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD during the reign of his father, Vespasian.
ad: Corinth was noted in the ancient world for the quality of its bronze production.
ae: The Trojan Palladium was a small wooden statue of armed Athena, which fell from the sky in answer to the prayers of Ilus, the founder of Troy. The city's safety depended on possession of the statue, and its theft by Odysseus and Diomedes enabled the sack of Troy. Aeneas supposedly took the Palladium to Lavinium, from whence it came to Rome, and a statue fitting its description was saved from a fire in 241BC which destroyed the temple in which it was housed.
af: On fasti, see d1_AytR_002, note b. Gaetulian purple was the imperial purple dye developed by Juba II, King of Mauretania (r.25BC-23AD), and used by Roman emperors from the time of Augustus onwards (another major source of imperial purple dye was the shells of the murices of Tyre).