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SIR DAVID LINDSAY.

1490_1557.

191

SIR DAVID LINDSAY.

1490—1557.

The fine feudal portrait given of him in “Marmion," and the laborious edition of his works presented to the world by Chalmers, have rendered the name of Sir David Lindsay familiar to the general reader, and to the patient antiquary. Inferior in high poetical genius to Dunbar or Douglas, he yet pleases by the truth and natural colouring of his descriptions, his vein of native humour, his strong good sense, and the easy flow of his versification. For the age in which he lived, and considering the court-like occupations in which his time was spent, his learning, was various and respectable; and, were he only known as a man whose writings contributed essentially to the introduction of the Reformation, this circumstance alone were sufficient to make him an object of no common interest.

The exact period of his birth is unknown, but it was in the reign of James IV. His family was ancient, and the paternal estate, the Mount, near Cupar, Fife, is still pointed out as the probable birth-place of Lindsay. Mackenzie asserts, but without giving any authority, that he received his education at the University of St. Andrews, and afterwards travelled into France, Italy, and Germany. It is certain that he mentions the appearance of the Italian ladies, as if he had been an eye-witness; but his remaining travels, and their having been performed in the period of youth, although not improbable, are conjectural. The truth is, that, of the youth of Lindsay, nothing is known. We first meet with him in the manuscript accounts of the Lord Treasurer, when, on the 12th of October 1511, he was presented with a quantity of “blew and yellow taffety to be a play coat for the play performed in the king and queen's presence in the Abbey of Holyrood.” In 1512 he was appointed servitor or gentleman-usher to the prince, afterwards James V.; and, in the succeeding year, he makes his appearance on

a very strange and solemn occasion. He was standing beside the king in the church at Linlithgow, when that extraordinary apparition took place (immediately before the battle of Flodden) which warned the monarch of his approaching danger, and solemnly entreated him to delay his journey. The scene is thus strikingly described by Pitscottie :-"The king,” says this author, “ came to Linlithgow, where he happened to be for the time at the council, very sad and dolorous, making his devotion to God to send him good chance and fortune in his voyage.

In the mean time, there came a man, clad in a blue gown, in at the kirk door, and belted about him with a roll of linen cloth, a pair of bootikins on his feet, to the grit of his legs, with all other hose and clothes conform thereto; but he had nothing on his head, but syde red-yellow hair behind, and on his haffits, which wan down to his shoulders, but his forehead

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