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power of the Reformers, that even so early as the year 1562 they procured the imprisonment of John Scot, a printer who had undertaken the impression of one of the Catholic treatises of Dr Ninian Winzet. The compositions of Lindsay, if not printed in Scotland before the year 1568, appear at least to have been circulated with little reserve. In 1558 the convocation passed an act " that Sir David Lindsay's book should be abolished and burnt d."
Bale informs us that Lindsay wrote Acta sui Temporis'; and the same work is likewise mentioned by Principal Gray. As however it is highly probable that such a composition never existed, we may spare ourselves the labour of forming conjectures with regard to its nature. Dr Mackenzie asserts that he was the author of a history of Scotland; and, for this statement, quotes the authority of Robert Lindsay of Pitscotties. The only apparent foundation for such a report is a passage in the preface; where he remarks that in collecting his materials, he was “ instructed and learned, and lately informed by
excellent. Sic ane spring he gaue them in the play playit beside Edinburgh in presence of the Quene Regent, and ane greit part of the nobilitie, with ane exceiding greit nowmer of pepill.”
c Leslæus de Rebus Gestis Scotorum, p. 540.
thir authors as after follow; to wit, Patrick Lord Lindsay of the Byres, Sir William Scot of Balwirie, Knight, Sir Andrew Wood of Largo, Knight, Mr John Major, Doctor of Theology, who wrote his chronicle hereupon, and also Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, Knight, alias Lyon King of Arms, with Andrew Wood of Largo, principal and familiar servant to King James V. Andrew Fernie of that ilk, a nobleman of recent memory, Sir William Bruce of Earlshall, Knight, who hath written, very justly, all the deeds since Floddon field.” But it is obvious that of these individuals two only are to be regarded as historians: and the anecdotes for which he was indebted to the rest, must have been communicated by verbal intercourse. Dr John Mair and Sir William Bruce are carefully distinguished as authors of historical productions.
In the Advocates Library are two of Lindsay's MSS. on subjects of heraldry. The one is entitled “ Collectanea Domini Dauidis Lindesay de Mounthe, Militis, Leonis Armorum Regis ;' the other
Injunctiounis set furth be Sir Dauid Lindsay and his brethrene Herralds to be obseruit be the Officiars of Armes within this Realme.” The former, notwithstanding its Latin title, is also written in the Scotish language.
The same library contains a miscellaneous collection of blazonings, apparently executed by Lindsay's own hand. The volume has no title.
page; but the subsequent inscription ascertains its author': “ The Armes of S Dauid Lindesay of the Mont, Knycht, alias Lion King of Armes, autor of this present buke.” The blazonings are interspersed with a few slight notices; and are introduced by the following verses, which may be supposed to have been written by Lindsay :
Si spectare cupis preclara insignia regum,
Illustre heroum semideumque genus,
Et quibus hac vitâ gloria major erat,
Defensa invicto Scotia marte fuit :
Talia pro meritis sunt monimenta data,
Premia quæ exemplis postera turba colat :
Ordine quæque suo versa tabella dabit.
At the bottom of the page appears this inscription in a more recent hand: “ 1630. Jacobus Balfourius, Kynardiæ Miles, Leo Armorum Rex.” A letter from Lindsay to the lord secretary
of Scotland, written at Antwerp in the year 1531, has lately been published h. Two portraits of him, copied from the wooden vignettes prefixed to editions of his works', are to be found in the first volume of Mr Pinkerton's Scotish Poems.
h Pinkerton's Scotish Poems, vol. i. p. xviii. i Paris, 1558, 4to. Edinburgh, 1634, 8vo,
Lindsay's gallery in the old church of Monimail was distinguished by the following inscription, probably written by himself:
Thy hairt prepair, thy God in Chryst ador,
The word Mount may perhaps be supposed to bear a quibbling allusion to Lindsay's family
We are now arrived at an æra of Scotish literature which was adorned by the genius of Buchanan, Wilson, Boyce, and Mair, of Dunbar, Douglas, Lindsay, and Bellenden. In the course of the sixteenth century classical and theological learning had begun to be more generally diffused: many of our countrymen, after having visited the continental universities, had at length returned to disseminate the principles of polite knowledge, as well as the new tenets which characterized this eventful crisis.
Vernacular poetry was most assiduously cultivated in Scotland at a period when it seems to have been in a great measure neglected in England. An English critic has remarked that “the interval between the reigns of Henry V. and Henry VIII. which comprehends near a century, although uncommonly rich in Scotch poets of distinguished excellence, does not furnish us with
a single name among the natives of England deserving of much notice.”
About the period when Lindsay began his poe. tical career, those causes which at length produced a radical change in the national form of worship, were operating with visible efficacy: the secret springs of vigorous action were nearly wound to a sufficient pitch; and a brave people was about to vindicate those religious rights which can never be alienated without a total deprivation of political freedom. Although a bolder spirit of enquiry was thus promoted, yet it cannot be affirmed that poetry derived immediate and obvious advantages from the revolution. The compositions of such of our poets as embraced the reformed religion, are generally inferior to those of their Catholic predecessors. The anostentatious genius of the Presbyterian discipline is less congenial to a poetical imagination than the pomp and parade of the Romish superstition. The one addresses the eternal principle of reason ; the other takes possession of those outer posts of intellection, the senses.
Zeal is often blind and inefficacious. The early poets of the Reformation have exhibited performances which can only obtain the praise due to good intentions.
Of the more splendid beauties of poetry the compositions of Lindsay present but few vestiges.
į Ellis, Hist. Sketch of English Poetry, vol. i. p.