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his dominions: as the chief author, the
“ And wisdom's self greatest thinker and teacher of his Oft seeks to meet retired solitude, fellows. In truth, the great man is Where with her best nurse, Contempla“King o' men for a' that."
tion, no crown, has none of the insignia of She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her royalty, none of the silly appendages of
That in the various bustle of resort, a court; but he has vast power over the minds of men, moulds their Were all too ruffled and sometimes im
COMUS thoughts and passions to his will, is loved and idolized as the apple of their eye; his eye begets affectionate Composition is an art requiring more admiration wherever it turns, and the of pains and thought, than are likely words of his pen, or the manly elo- to be bestowed on it in the intervals of quence of his tongue, “stir the very leisure of an existence passed in public stones to mutiny." This is a king- pageants or the dull ceremonial of dom worth striving for. The ablest courtly etiquette. And then, the art of monarchs have, with the exception of thinking-a greater art than that of Frederick II. of Prussia, who was composition-demands the whole man. much greater in government and war We find generally the rule of a literary than in literature, though he affected sovereign prejudicial even to literature, the honors of authorship, confined which he appears to favor. For he themselves to their appropriate sphere may set bad fashions, to which the of legislation, executive enforcement greatest must bend; he may pervert of law, and military command. Such iruih, embroil his country in strife, were the labors, for such is their great to gratify a childish love of controversy. fame due, to. Alexander and Constan- With partial views of right, he may tine, Charlemagne, the ablest of the commit a great wrong. His learning Popes, Charles V., Henry IV. of France, may make him, as it generally has Louis XIV., William III. of England, done, a bigot and a pedant. He is Czar Peter, and his cruel but vigorous then a worse author for being a king successor, “the Clytemnestra of the (being above criticism), and a worse North,”—Catharine II., and the great king for being an author (being above Frederick. Such were (though not all all appeal). If by the rarest chance of them kings) the glorious Romans, he happen to succeed both as king and Fabius and Caio and Trajan ; the noble writer, he is in danger of being misunPrince of Orange, the renowned Gus. derstood by those who can appreciate tavus Adolphus, Prince Eugene, and a but one kind of excellence in a single compeer of that illustrious company, individual. But this is very rarely the Washington himself. As we advance, case. There are books a wise and we meet here and there a deviation experienced king may write; but a from our rule; among the Romans, very few of their class, only, are needed. there is that preëminently accom- Memoirs of his times, a political testaplished and universal genius, Julius ment to his heirs and children, wise Cæsar, who was the ancient counter- counsels, just maxims; he may illuspart of the modern Saxon king. trate and expound sound views of gov.
The quiet, contemplative life of let- ernment and policy. He may compile ters seems to be incompatible with the statistics, arrange plans for internal and poisy grandeur of a court life. In the external legislation, point out defects midst of pomps and shows a man can. in portions of the social system, and not think calmly of the inner secrets of urge the claims of duty, of patriotism, his being. It was no unwise proceed- and of religion. The greatest art for ing, for the rival of Francis to retire to him to learn and practise—the art of a convent, and after a life of stirring government-should occupy the largest and generous activity, to prepare for portion of his thoughts. “Princely the hour that comes to all, in the pri- counsel" should shine in his face and vacy of a hermit's cell. Retirement is be illustrated in his life. But dabbling especially necessary for great actors on in philosophy, inking his fingers with the stage of the world. In solitude scribbling vers de société, plodding in the soul becomes invigorated and theology, or constructing stupid epics freshened, as Milton has beautifully (such only in name), these are not the expressed it:
suitable occupations for the great king,
either in his hours that should be illustrated than in the persons of Jootherwise devoted to public business, seph II. of Austria, and Catharine II. or in the moments of leisure and recre- of Russia. The first, a pedantic philoation. A king who attends to his sopher of the French school, the second duties can employ himself sufficiently a sovereign hardly less remarkable for with public business, and the exercise her vices than for her energy of characof private virtues, without calling in ier. any additional requisites pour passer le Among English sovereigns addicted temps. In arbitrations and giving to literature, Walpole enumerates seveassent to laws, there is abundance of ral in his list, who have never before room for nice discrimination and specu- found their way into any literary catalative reasoning He has occasions logue. Bishop Tanner, of whom this for oratorical display. The study of fleering wit speaks scoutingly, as so practical politics, the history of con- loyal (or rather servile) a critic, as to temporary politics, should be his chief include even one of the early Edwards pursuit
. That such is not the case is in his catalogue of royal authors, (who to be lamented, but it is no less true on is not known as the author of any prothat account. As if to confirm our ductions save precepts to his sheriffs, suggestions we cannot-beyond the and other ordinary formularies), has very few illustrious names already swelled out his list to a much greater mentioned—remember a single mon extent. But though a few sovereigns, arch renowned in letters, science or as Alfred and Henry Beauclerc, and philosophy. Of the great men alluded the sixth Edward and Elizabeth, could to, they were remarkable rather for make no small pretensions to scholarvigor of intellect and rich acquired ship, and though we may reckon resources, than for original genius. A among accomplished knights, the Black native genius we look for in vain among Prince and Henry V.; and one Justinian, kings. To go no farther than the Edward I.; one wit, Charles II. : yet commencement of modern history, for only two writers worthy of consideraour instances; there is not a great poet tion as such; perhaps, a single one. among the sitters upon thrones. Kings James was a true author-king, though have succeeded best in the character of by no means a king-author. The fame patrons: as, Elizabeth of England, of Charles I. is more doubtful. The Rene of Provence, Francis I. of France, authenticity of EIKAN BASIAIKH is Louis XIV., Christina of Sweden, and still an undecided question. The later latest the royal friend of Goethe. English sovereigns had no pretensions
The only writer of epics we can re to literature. William is said to have collect among kings, was Lucien, the had so slight a conception of the na. brother of Napoleon Bonaparte: and ture of literary rewards, as to have ofwe have heard of but one reader of his fered a captaincy of horse to Swift, poems. Frederick II. wrote reams of who had made himself agreeable to dull verses, and Charles II. threw off him. Anne is reported never to have an epigram in his talk, as he would do read the polished verses of Pope, the the most indifferent action. The truest popular poet of her reign. The Georges royal poet is he of whom Irving has were dull Dutchmen, with the excepwritten an elaborate paper in the tion of the last of that name, who reSketch Book; James V. of Scotland. vived to a certain extent the companHe is the author of a mixed satirical ionable qualities of Charles the Second. and pastoral poem, “Christis Kirk of All literary history teaches us that the Green;" and a lively ballad passes there is no royal road to successful auunder his name, rather free-spoken thorship; that the scholar's toils and but spirited, the “Gaberlunzie Man." delights are of a similar character, Queen Elizabeth wrote some clever whether the learner and teacher wear lines.
a crown or a wig, live in a palace or Mere learned sovereigns have not garret. To composition, as to science, been so rare, and the early English the path lies through thorns as well as queens, in particular, were distinguished amid walks begirt by roses. The rose for scholarship. But the contrast be- of letters is not without its thorns. tween an energetic governor of his It is somewhat singular that most state, and a merely theoretical politi- royal scholars and writers have taken cian, is in no way more strikingly up the dullest parts of learning, on
which to exercise their wits-church character of the studies, and the nacontroversy, biblical and philological ture of the writings of this author. learning, language,and similar pursuits. sovereign, (an epithet of Lord Shaftes
James, who is commonly styled the bury's), we must look to their popu"pedant king," was more versatile; helariiy in his age, and in their importe wrote on government, on theology, on ance as affecting the affairs of the demonology, and on tobacco. It ap- time. In an age just preceding the pears to us, that the true character of great civil war, and not so far removed this sovereign is not yet brought to from the effects of the Reformation light. He has had abundance of cen as to leave no impressions of its spirit; surers, and but one zealous defender, in an age of vigorous inquiry boih in that we know of, among modern his questions of religion and government, torians of his reign; even Hume ad- it is by no means singular, that a wrimits weaknesses which D’Israeli, the ter composing works with the least great admirer of James, wholly repu- possible bearing on contemporary diates. Walpole is as scornful as events, should, amid circumstances the bitterest of his enemies. Scott like these, discover a tendency towards has by no means exaggerated his investigating the stirring questions of positive merits ; but though a lover of his time. Much less strange must it kings himself, by nature, he has done be allowed, that an author ardently liule to elevate the character of James occupied in those very discussions, in the eye of the world. D’Israeli is a should be, in part, tainted with a few hearty admirer of this British Solomon, of the extravagances into which his a Janus-faced title, of either irony or brethren were so apt 10 fall. James eulogium. By way of novelty, raiber wrote a treatise on demoniacs and than to attempt an historical adjudica- witches, in which a greater man far tion of merit, we shall follow his than he, Bacon himself, is said to have views. The venerable antiquary intro- believed; and into which belief even duces his work by stating it io have the incomparable Chief Justice Hale arisen, as a maiter of conscience, out was, some time after, miraculously deof a conviction of the injustice done to luded. Newton, some great man has James. He has made diligent research asserted, wrote nonsense on the Reveinto the literary as well as the political lations; James I., therefore, may be character of that monarch, and comes excused for not surpassing the fato the settled conclusion, that he was a mous philosopher. Smoking found do man of real learning, and no pedant; favor at the hands of James; but peran author of sense, acuteness, and no haps as an economist, if not little vigor; the master of an efficient writer, the king deserved praise for English style; the possessor of a vein of writing odium on a practice, to instately eloquence on proper occasions, dulge ihemselves in which, many sold and of wit and humor in his familiar house and land, as the Dutch extalk; with high but just notions of pre- changed every species of property for rogative and kingly power and the bulbs, during the tulip mania. office of a sovereign, a boon companion,
“ Basilicon Doron, or His Majesty's a zealous sportsman, and a man of true Instruction to his Dearest Son, Prince domestic affections and sympathizing Henry, ” (a ripe youth, early lost), is in all the delightful charities of life. a species of political texi-book, on the
James is the favorite of our critic, in duties of a king. We extract a few every light; and he hesitates not to re- paragraphs: mark, that “ more wit and wisdom have been recorded of James the First, “ Be not moved with importunities; for than of any one of our sovereigns.” the which cause, as also for augmenting Even his polemics, and the share he four majesty, be not so facile of access. took in the famous Hampton Court con
gaining, at all times, as I hare been. ference, find their excuses in the apolo- Chuse you your own servants for your own gist, and valid excuses 100, as
use, and not for the use of others; and
since ye must be communis parens to all must confess, who reads D'Israeli's account of the discussion, which includes quarters; not respecting other men's ap
your people, chuse indifferently out of all several witty bon-mots of the mon- petites, but their own qualities. For as arch, with a good deal of earnestness you must command all, so reason would and sound understanding. For the ye should be some of all. Consider that
virtue followeth oftest noble blood; the admirer of greatness, and if fond of more frequently that your court can be flattery, (as better men have been), was garnished with them, as peers and fathers ready and willing to pay liberally for of your land, think it the more your honor. it. It was said, “the king was wont A king is set as one on a stage, whose smallest actions and gestures all the peor part, to keep one act of liberality warm
to give like a king, and, for the most ple gazingly do behold; and, however just with another.” The personal manner in the discharge of his office, yet if his of James, his carelessness of dress, his behavior be light or dissolute, in indifferent actions, the people, who see but the slovenly habits, have caused his liteoutward part, conceive pre-occupied con- rary and political character to be un. ceits of the king's inward intention, which, dervalued. No soldier, he deserved a although with time, the trier of all truth, higher character than that of conwill vanish by the residence of the con queror; he merited, for he perfected trary effect, yet, interim patitur justus, and the fame of a humane pacificator. prejudged conceits will, in the meantime, But he was essentially a student in all breed contempt, the mother of rebellion his habits and modes of thinking. Inand disorder."
ducted into letters by a man of genius,
for the elegant and classic Buchanan Of style in writing, he advises; was his tutor, he never lost his sincere “Let it be plain, natural, comely, clean, relish for literary occupations; nothing short, and sententious." Again, he bui field sports and familiar talk did urges, “ And remember (I say, again), he love so much. He “dedicated to be plain and sensible in your lan- rainy weather to his standish, and fair guage; for besides, it is the tongue's to his hounds.” “ His table was a trial office to be the messenger of the mind; of wits.” At the Bodleian, he ex.. it may be thought a point of imbecility claimed, “ Were I not a king, I would of spirit in a king to speak obscurely, be an university man ; and if it were so, much more untrewly, as if he stood in that I must be a prisoner, I would have awe of any in uttering his thoughts." no other prison than this library, and Without being aware of the fact, we be chained together with all these goodfind we have happened upon the same ly authors.” Indeed, with James, idea with regard to royal authorship, study was one of the chief concerns of which occurs in the following passage life. The facility of his composition of James: “Should your engine, was extreme; in one week, he is said (genius), spur you to write any workes, to have written an address of one huneither in prose or verse, I cannot but dred folio pages. Perhaps one reason allow you to practise it; but take no of his being undervalued as a king, longsome works in hand for distracting was his readiness as an author. A you from your calling."
gentleman loses caste often, by turning As a monarch, we pretend noi to set- author. Probably, through envy, the tle the contending debates relative to kings of Europe united to decry their the character of James; but we in- intelleciual superior. The eloquence cline to regard him as a mild pacifica- of James is misunderstood, by many tor, rather than a timid despot; as a who confound it with the designed obreal lover of his people, raiher than scurity of Cromwell's polite discourse; the mere dupe of court favorites. His yet it has obtained high praise from facility of temper appears to have been Hume, whose sentence can easily be the cardinal defect of this sovereign; referred to. Wit and humor, James springing from the very kindest aflec- had in possession in his conversations, and only not firm enough in the tion, not only puns, scholastic quibbles, dark hour of trial. James was acquaint- and pedantic conceits, but smart, ed with the resources of his kingdom, shrewd hits on life and character, and the character of his people; but strong practical satire, acute detection of as he was more bent on making con. popular fallacies and fashionable prequests of the vast terra incognita of iensions. His political sagacity was learning, rather than tracts of disputed considerable, and much above the orterritory, he is commonly represented dinary standard. D'Isracli has collectas irresolute and cowardly; of war he ed not a few eminent instances, both wrote wisely, “No man gains by war, of his wit and wisdom. But we have but he that hath not wherewith to much fuller extracts to give of the live in peace.” He was a generous work of Charles I., and musi conclude
our slight sketch of James, with no- the eulogy of the clerical order, and of ricing what fruits he produced from the Episcopal form and policy, is frehis labors. His son, Prince Henry, quent and sincere, sustained with much was an admirable character, who died force, and almost eloquence. It is young, and of whom the world was not known that the king had not only servile worthy. Charles, with all his faults, courtiers, but really excellent writers, was a man of cultivated taste and re- among his clergy. His court chaplains finement of manners, a scholar, and were strongly attached to his person. not unequal to his sad reverses. The youthful Taylor, then chaplain of
The age of James was the age of Laud, (if we are not mistaken), could England's literary glory. The greatest have written thus, and with a magnifipoets, from Shakspeare to Drummond; cence of rhetoric to which the pure the fathers of pulpit eloquence and style of the Eikon makes no pretension. controversial theology, great philoso- And Hammond, or Bishop Fell, might phers, from Bacon to Hobbes; and a either of them have lent a helping hand, host of clever writers in the minor at least, towards smoothing roughnessforms of writing. Herbert, the first es of style, and making obscure matters autobiographer, and Howell, the first plain. The idea of the authorship of letter-writer in English, the simple ihe book not resting on the king, is, Walton, and the witty Fuller. “To with a shadow of probability, 10 be in. speak of it in a word,” says Sir Richard ferred from the title, “ The Portraiture Baker, in his Chronicle, “the Trojan of his Sacred Majesty in his Solitude horse was not fuller of heroic Gre and Sufferings ;” reading as the compicians, than King James' reign was full lation of another hand. We think of men, excellent in all kinds of learn- Walpole, (we have not his volumes at ing.” Not a little of the encourage- hand), discredits the notion of the royal ment of this fruitful growth of genius authorship; but the authority of ihe is to be attributed to the king himself, satirist of Sidney and the Duchess of whose praises were sung by the great- Newcastle, and the caviller at the fame est poets from gratitude, as well as of James I., is not to be taken without from decorous reverence. The ablest allowance. Yet Charles was a warm divines were advanced by him to the churchman, and naturally advocated highest stations in the church. Scho- the cause of the clergy, as nearly allied lars were his intimate acquaintances; to his own, and hence he ever regarded as he might have called them, sodales, them as the strongest bulwark of the table companions.
throne, and of the doctrine of the divine Charles I., with more prudence, more right of kings. The divine origin of delicacy, a greater reserve, inherited episcopacy and royalty were, with him, much of the literary taste of his father, descended from a common source, and especially for theological discussion. environed by the same proofs. A part He was the strong friend of the clergy, from this opinion, he entertained perby whom he was supported with ardor sonal feelings of esteem for his bishops and zeal. He loved pictures, and ele- and chaplains, and the superior clergy. gant amusements, and, if he did write And farther, it was natural for him, in Eikon Basilike, he was a pure writer his situation, to present the strongest of vigorous English, though we cannot desence of himself he could, and which go so far as a critic whose name we was, in all probability, sincere. On have forgotten, who declares it the best turning to Hume, we find this frank specimen of English in the age when statement, that it is almost impossiit appeared, for such a judgment would ble to ascertain the authorship of the he most unjust to the early admirable work, beyond dispute. He admits that writers, the great old masters of our the proofs and arguments on either side tongue. It has been surmised, with no are sufficient to convince any one who little show of probability, to have been reads the arguments of only that side. written by proxy, by the pen of a court Whoever compares both, must remain chaplain; and that, for two strong rea- undecided. Yet, for his own part, he sons, as they appear to us. In the first leans towards the belief that the king place, in as much as possible, the char. was the author, from the internal eviacter of the king himself is placed in dence of style and sentiment, and from the fairest light, and his errors are de- the fact of the incompetency of the plored as misfortunes; and secondly, writer, (Dr. Gordon), who has somea