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and the “ Dialogue between Experience and a “ Courtier," commonly called the Book of the Monarchy.
The first of these is a vision, in which an allegorical lady, called Remembrance, transports the poet to the infernal regions, situated in the centre of the earth; she then gives him a view of purgatory; opens to his view all the riches of our planet ; transports him through the three elements of water, air, and fire; visits with him the seven planets ; passes to the crystalline and empyreal heavens, where he contemplates the throne of God; shews him the three quarters of the earth ; and gives him a prospect of Paradise. As a contrast to these scenes of splendour, she next exhibits to him his native country, the misery of which (at that time governed in subservency to the policy of France) the poet very feelingly describes. Remembrance then carries him back to the cavern where he had fallen asleep, and he is awakened by the noise of a ship firing a broadside. The following few lines, extracted from the
prologue, will shew that Sir David Lindsay's talents were by no means ill suited to descriptive poetry.
I met dame Flora in dull weed disguised ;
With stalwart' storms her sweetness was surprised;
But these beauties are merely incidental: the poet's principal object being to instruct the king in the philosophy of that age, and above all, to inspire him with a just sense of his regal duties. This fine poem is preceded by an epistle, in which the author reminds his pupil, of the tenderness with which he had watched over his childhood, and of the amusements with which he had blended his instruction; and the work concludes with an “ exhortation," in ten stanzas, filled with excellent advice, but delivered with a freedom and severity of language, which might possibly render it rather unpalatable. The preceptor, indeed, never quite forgot his authority, as will appear from the following five lines of the Complaint of “ the Papingo,” which may be considered as presenting a summary of all our author's counsels.
Wherefore, since thou hast such capacity
Ride horse, rtin spears, with great audacity,
The poem usually called “the Monarchy," which comprehends more than half the volume, is a sort of abstract of universal history, in question and answer, the interlocutors being Experience and a Courtier. This fanciful mode of narration was convenient for the author's purpose, which was not so much to give an exact chronicle of facts, as to justify, by examples from sacred and profane history, the moral, political and religious tenets, which he meant to inculcate. The work is professedly of the most popular kind
to colliers, carters, and to cooks, To Jack and Tom, my rhyme shall be directed.
For this reason he often varies his metre and his style, being sometimes grave and sententious, sometimes satirical and humorous, but never losing sight of his principal object, which is the overthrow of popery. The most impressive passage in the whole work is that chapter in the fourth book which describes the day of judgment, from whence I have extracted the following lines.
Then, with a roar, the earth shall rive,
The defence of the vulgar tongue in the first book, -the description of the confusion of tongues, the ridicule of idolatry, and the remarks on the effects of pilgrimages, in the second,—and the satire on the Curse.
Crying, screaming. Sax. 3 Without
nuns and friars, in the third,-have a different kind of merit: the following comparison, in the fourth, is such a singular attempt to explain, by human reason, one of the darkest mysteries of our religion, that I could not forbear submitting it to the reader.
Take a crowat,' a pint-stoup, and a quart,
Sir David Lindsay's play (which forms the second volume of Mr. Pinkerton's Scotish Poems, re
· Cruet, a small vessel. The edit. 1566, reads flacket, i.e. flasket, a small flask.
i, e. the cruet, though little in comparison.