Слике страница

against him, serve to evince that a very high opinion had been formed of his personal character, Whether he had actually presented himself as a candidate for those vacant offices, is not sufficiently evident; but it is at least certain that his enemies dreaded the result of an application from such a competitor.

Their ungenerous expedients were however superfluous. In 1522, when he was probably in the forty-eighth year of his agek, he was seized with the plague, and soon fell a victim to its dreadful contagion'. He died in London, and was interred in the Savoy Church on the left side of Thomas Halsay, Bishop of Leighlin in Ireland; whose monument also contained a short inscription of Douglas's name and addition". The character which he left behind him was that of " a man learned, wise, and given to all virtue and goodness”.”

To the splendour of his birth and the comeliness of his person, Douglas united every virtue and every accomplishment which could adorn the

k According to Hume's calculation, he had reached the forty-sixth year of his age in 1520. (Hist. of the House of. Douglas, p. 246.) Several writers have placed his death in 1521: but this disagreement may have arisen from their different modes of computation. At that time, the year commenced on the twenty-fifth day of March. Others have inad. vertently referred his death to the year 1520. (Ştillingfleet's Antiquities of the British Cburches, p. lv.) 1 Polydori Virgilii Anglica Historia, p. 53.

Hume's Hist. of the House of Douglas, p. 220. m Weever's Ancient Funeral Monuments, p. 446.

Spotswood's Hist. of the Church of Scotland, p. 101.


citizen or the minister of religion. In an age of turbulence and discord, his conduct was uniformly directed by the rules of Christian moderation. He was connected, by the ties of interest as well as of affection, with a powerful and factious family which had often shaken the unstable throne of the Stewarts: yet instead of coöperating in their unwarrantable designs, he invariably de. ported himself with that meekness which ought always to distinguish the character of the man who devotes himself to the service of the altar. Lesley has inconsiderately charged him with mingling in the tumults of those unhappy tintes. The only commotion in which he is recorded to have been personally engaged, was that which attended his instalment in the bishopric of Dun

but it is evident that on his part the contest was unpremeditated, and arose from the powerful principle of self-defence. Buchanan, with equal incorrectness, affirms that he was restrained by the languor of old age from interfering in the bloody encounter which took place between the Earls of Arran and Angus. At that time he had only reached the forty-sixth year of his age; a period of life by no means unfavourable to the exertion of military prowess. With the fortitude incident to a great mind, he submitted to the numerous disappointments and mortifications which thwarted him in the career of preferment. And when he at length obtained


an accession of power, he never sought to avenge the wrongs to which he had formerly been exposed. His character as a politician appears to have commanded the reverence of his countrymen: and in the discharge of his duty as a Christian pastor, he exhibited a model of primæval purity.

By his exemplary piety and learning, by his public and private acts of charity and munificence, he reflected distinguished honour on the illustrious family from which he descended, and on the sacred profession to which he had devoted his honourable life.

Of the brightest character however, some stain will always be found to tarnish the lustre. In an evil hour he had infringed the laws of chastity":

• Hume informs us that he “had a base daughter, of whom the house of Foulewood Semple) is descended." (Histe of the House of Douglas, p. 220.)

The eulogies which Lesley and Buchanao have pronounced on Douglas are of too much importance to be overlooked by his biographer. “Hic vir," says the learned Bishop of Ross, “ si se his tumultibus non immiscuisset, dignus profectò fuisset propter ingenii acumen acerrimum, ac eruditionem singularem, qui omnium literis ac memoriâ consecraretur. Nos. tram linguam multis eruditionis suæ monumentis illustravit; in quibus illud fuerat ingenii sui signum longe præclarissimum, quòd Virgilii Æneidos nostro idiomate donavit eâ dexteritate, ut singulis Latinis versibus singuli Scotici respondeant; eo sententiarum pondere, ut nostræ linguæ si intele ligas vim occultam mireris; eâ denique felicitate, ut nullam ego antiquorum poetarum lauream cum ejus in hoc genere laude facile comparem : quippe quò videtur nostra lingua asperior, ac ab ea copia quæ Latinam commendat, alięnior, eò fuit Douglasii laus reliquis Latinis poetis illustrior, quòd in Virgilio vertendo versuum suavitatem, sententiarum pondera, verborum significationes, ac singulorum pene apicum vim nostra linguâ plene enucleateque expresserit.” (Leslæus De Rebus Gestis Scotorum, p. 378.)

but it is to be supposed that he was not then invested with the priestly habit. At the same time let it be remembered that, according to the sentiments of the age, transgressions of this kind were entitled to unbounded indulgence, whether they appeared among the clergy or the laity. Patrick Hepburn, Bishop of Murray, had two sons legitimated in one day, and five daughters in another.

Of the works of Douglas no impression is known to have been undertaken during his own life. His Palice of Honour was printed at London in 1553 by William Copland; and at Edinburgh in 1579 by John Ross for Henry Charters. Both these editions are in quarto. It is probable that there are others which have not hitherto been discovered: for the Edinburgh publisher

Buchanan's testimony in favour of a Popish prelate cannot be suspected of partiality. “ Is, proximo anno, dum Romam proficiscitur, Londini peste correptus obiit, magno suæ virtutis apud bonos desiderio relicto. Præter enim natalium splendorem et corporis dignitatem, erant in eo multæ, ut illis temporibus, literæ, summa temperantia, et singularis animi moderatio, atque, in rebus turbulentis, inter adversas fa.tiones, perpetua fides et auctoritas. Reliquit et ingenii et doctrinæ non vulgaria monumenta sermone patrio conscripta.” (Buchanan. Rerum Scoticarum Historia, p. 262.)

P In an assembly of the clergy in the year 1558, we find Bishop Hepburn pleading the cause of impurity. It was moved, says Lindsay, “ that no kirk-man should commit whoredom; or, if he did, for the first fault he should pay great sums of money; for the second he should lose his benefice. To this act opponed the Bishop of Murray, a great fornicator and adulterer, alleging, that it was as lawful to him to keep his whore as to the Bishop of St Andrews.” (History of Scothand, p. 315.)

affirms “ the divers impressiones befoir imprinted of this notabill werk to have bene altogidder faultie and corupt, not only that quhilk has bene imprentid at London, but also the copyis set furth of auld amangis our selfis.” This work has lately been reprinted in the first volume of Mr Pinkerton's Scotish Poems; and among the Select Works of Gawin Douglass, published at Perth in the year 1787. To this selection the Rev.Mr Scott has prefixed a life of the author. A quarto impression of Douglas's translation of The Thretene Bukes of Eneados appeared at London in 1553. In the folio edition published at Edinburgh in 1710, the numerous errors of the former are carefully corrected from a MS. belonging to the public library of the university. To this edition, undertaken at the expence of Freebairn and Symson, an excellent glossary was contributed by Mr Ruddiman, and an elaborate life of the translator by the Rev. John Sage', a man not destitute of ingenuity or of literature. Among the principal favourers of the design, the editor enumerates Bishop Nicolson, Sir Robert Sibbald, Dr Pitcairne, and Mr Urry. Douglas's King Hart was printed for the first time among Mr Pinkerton's Ancient Scotish Poems".


q Chalmers, Life of Ruddiman, p. 45.

I Douglas is one of the interlocutors in a dialogue prefixed to Mair's Commentarii in Primum et Secundum Sententiarum. Paris. 1519, fol. Its title is as follows: “Dialogus de Materia Theologo Tractanda. Dialogus

[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »