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Appendix ceits, and fopperies of chivalry, which appear ridiculous as soon as they lose the recommendation of the mode. The tediousness of continued allegory, and that too seldom striking or ingenious, has also contributed to render the Fairy Queen peculiarly tiresome; not to mention the too great frequency of its descriptions, and the languor of its stanza. Upon the whole, Spenser maintains his place upon the shelves, among our English classics; but he is seldom seen on the table; and there is scarcely any one, if he dares to be ingenuous, but will confess, that, notwithstanding all the merit of the poet, he affords an entertainment with which the palate is soon satiated. Several writers of late have amused themselves in copying the style of Spenser; and no imitation has been so indifferent as not to bear a great resemblance to the original: his manner is so peculiar, that it is almost impossible not to transfer some of it into the copy.
INTRODUCTION.-JAMES'S FIRST TRANSACTIONS.-STATE OF EUROPE.-ROSNI'S NE-
THE crown of England was never transmitted from CHAP. father to son with greater tranquillity than it passed from the family of Tudor to that of Stuart. During the whole reign of Elizabeth, the eyes of men had been employed in search of her successor; and when old age made the prospect of her death more immediate, there appeared none but the King of Scots, who could advance any just claim or pretension to the throne. He was great-grandson of Margaret, elder daughter of Henry VII.; and, on the failure of the male line, his hereditary right remained unquestionable. If the religion of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the other prejudices contracted against her, had formed any considerable obstacle to her succession; these objections, being entirely personal, had no place with regard to her son. Men also considered, that though the title, derived from blood, had been frequently violated since the Norman conquest, such licences had proceeded more from force or intrigue, than from any deliberate maxims of government. The lineal heir had still in the end prevailed; and both his exclusion and restoration had been commonly attended with such convulsions as were sufficient to warn all prudent men not lightly to give way to such irregularities. If the will of Henry VIII., authorized by act of Parliament, had tacitly excluded the Scottish line, the tyranny and caprices of that monarch had been so signal, that a settlement of this nature, unsupported by any just reason, had no authority with the people. Queen Elizabeth, too, with her dying breath, had recognized the undoubted title of her kinsman James; and
CHAP. the whole nation seemed to dispose themselves with joy and pleasure for his reception. Though born and educated amidst a foreign and hostile people, men hoped, from his character of moderation and wisdom, that he would embrace the maxims of an English monarch; and the prudent foresaw greater advantages resulting from a union with Scotland, than disadvantages from submitting to a prince of that nation. The alacrity with which the English looked towards the successor had appeared so evident to Elizabeth, that, concurring with other causes, it affected her with the deepest melancholy; and that wise princess, whose penetration and experience had given her the greatest insight into human affairs, had not yet sufficiently weighed the ingratitude of courtiers and levity of the people.
As victory abroad, and tranquillity at home, had attended this princess, she left the nation in such flourishing circumstances, that her successor possessed every advantage, except that of comparison with her illustrious First trans- name, when he mounted the throne of England. The actions of king's journey from Edinburgh to London immediately afforded to the inquisitive some circumstances of comparison which even the natural partiality in favour of their new sovereign could not interpret to his advantage. As he passed along, all ranks of men flocked about him from every quarter, allured by interest or curiosity. Great were the rejoicings, and loud and hearty the acclamations which resounded from all sides; and every one could remember how the affability and popular manners of their queen displayed themselves amidst such concourse and exultation of her subjects. But James, though sociable and familiar with his friends and courtiers, hated the bustle of a mixed multitude; and though far from disliking flattery, yet was he still fonder of tranquillity and ease. He issued therefore a proclamation, forbidding this resort of people, on pretence of the scarcity of provisions, and other inconveniences, which, he said, would necessarily attend it".
He was not, however, insensible to the great flow of affection which appeared in his new subjects; and being himself of an affectionate temper, he seems to have been
a Kennet, p. 662.
in haste to make them some return of kindness and good offices. To this motive, probably, we are to ascribe that profusion of titles which was observed in the beginning of his reign; when, in six weeks' time after his entrance into the kingdom, he was computed to have bestowed knighthood on no less than two hundred and thirty-seven persons. If Elizabeth's frugality of honours, as well as of money, had formerly been repined at, it began now to be valued and esteemed; and every one was sensible that the king, by his lavish and premature conferring of favours, had failed of obliging the persons on whom he bestowed them. Titles of all kinds became so common, that they were scarcely marks of distinction; and being distributed, without choice or deliberation, to persons unknown to the prince, were regarded more as the proofs of facility and good-nature, than of any determined friendship or esteem.
A pasquinade was affixed to St. Paul's, in which an art was promised to be taught, very necessary to assist frail memories in retaining the names of the new nobility ".
We may presume, that the English would have thrown less blame on the king's facility in bestowing favours, had these been confined entirely to their own nation, and had not been shared out in too unequal proportions to his old subjects. James, who, through his whole reign, was more guided by temper and inclination than by the rules of political prudence, had brought with him great numbers of his Scottish courtiers; whose impatience and importunity were apt, in many particulars, to impose on the easy nature of their master, and extort favours, of which, it is natural to imagine, his English subjects would loudly complain. The Duke of Lenox, the Earl of Marre, Lord Hume, Lord Kinloss, Sir George Hume, Secretary Elphinstone, were immediately added to the English privy-council. Sir George Hume, whom he created Earl of Dunbar, was his declared favourite as long as that nobleman lived, and was one of the wisest and most virtuous, though the least powerful, of all those whom the king ever honoured with that distinction. Hay, some time after, was created Viscount Doncaster, then Earl of Carlisle, and got an immense fortune from c Ibid. p. 662.
b Wilson, in Kennet, p. 665.
CHAP. the crown; all which he spent in a splendid and courtly manner. Ramsay obtained the title of Earl of Holderness; and many others, being raised on a sudden to the highest elevation, increased, by their insolence, that envy which naturally attended them, as strangers and ancient enemies.
It must, however, be owned, in justice to James, that he left almost all the chief offices in the hands of Elizabeth's ministers, and trusted the conduct of political concerns, both foreign and domestic, to his English subjects. Among these, Secretary Cecil, created successively Lord Effindon, Viscount Cranborne, and Earl of Salisbury, was always regarded as his prime minister and chief counsellor. Though the capacity and penetration of this minister were sufficiently known, his favour with the king created surprise, on the accession of that monarch. The secret correspondence into which he had entered with James, and which had sensibly contributed to the easy reception of that prince in England, laid the foundation of Cecil's credit; and while all his former associates, Sir Walter Raleigh, Lord Grey, Lord Cobham, were discountenanced, on account of their animosity against Essex, as well as for other reasons, this minister was continued in employment, and treated with the greatest confidence and regard.
The capacity of James and his ministers, in negotiation, was immediately put to trial, on the appearance of ambassadors from almost all the princes and states of Europe, in order to congratulate him on his accession, and to form with him new treaties and alliances. Besides ministers from Venice, Denmark, the Palatinate, Henry Frederic of Nassau, assisted by Barnevelt, the pensionary of Holland, was ambassador from the states of the United Provinces. Aremberg was sent by Archduke Albert; and Taxis was expected in a little time from Spain. But he who most excited the attention of the public, both on account of his own merit and that of his master, was the Marquis of Rosni, afterwards Duke of Sully, prime minister and favourite of Henry IV. of France.
When the dominions of the house of Austria devolved on Philip II., all Europe was struck with terror, lest the