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JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND.
tical reasons, carried him for a time to France, and then sent him back to his old prison, where he remained till 1424, when, as we have stated, he was restored to the regal inheritance of Scotland.
By the captive's own account, his confinement was close and strict; but he was allowed competent instructors, books, musical instruments, and materials for painting-an art then in a very early stage. The young Prince turned his prison hours to golden profit. He became learned in history and languages; a poet was he also, and studied and admired the works of Gower and Chaucer. In his own poetry, his love of nature, and the warm feelings of an affectionate heart, were expressed with much simplicity and tenderness. In his poem of The King's Quair, he relates how he rose early in the morning, and beguiled the painful thoughts of his misfortunes by application to his books. Contemporary writers declare that the knowledge James possessed of the Scriptures, of law, and of philosophy, was most extensive ; that he was a perfect master of grammar and rhetoric, and versed in the secrets of natural science.
He studied the principles of architecture, and practised both painting and music, particularly the latter, with no common skill.
He played on several instruments, and excelled on the organ; but when he touched the harp, his favourite instrument, the Abbot of Inchcolm, who was his personal friend, declared it was with such exquisite skill that he seemed to be inspired.' James was also a great composer of sacred and secular music. His compositions were admired in Italy; and many years after his death he was studied as the original inventor of that unmistakeable melody, known to ourselves in the peculiar modulation of Scotch airs. 1
James wrote many poems; but the most interesting is that before mentioned, called The King's Quair, wherein he recounts the story of his love. It was with him a passion pure and romantic, but tinged with melancholy from his imprisonment. The poem opens by his telling how once he listened to the matins bell, and it seemed to say to him, * Recount the story of thy love ;' and straightway he resolved to overcome his hesitation and obey the injunction. He begins by lamenting his loss of liberty, and the imprisonment of his early years. But soon the sad strain is changed for one of affecting tenderness, when he relates how one morning, in the merry month of May,' as he was looking down from the window of his prison chamber into the garden of the Castle of fair Windsor, and listening to the love-songs of the nightingales, and wondering what the passion of love could be, for he had never yet felt it :
• And therewith kest I down myn eye ageyne
See Hawkins and Burney's History of Music, vol. i.
ROMANCE AT WINDSOR.
This lovely creature who so charmed him, he then more particularly describes in verses long and tender. He invites “the nightengales' to warble to her their songs; but she leaves the garden, whilst he watches her steps from his window; and the melancholy into which he was plunged by her retreat, he expresses in these two natural and beautiful lines :
‘To sene her part and folowe I na might,
But she came again the next day, and the next; and so from that prison window and that garden walk at the old Castle of Windsor, commenced the true love of James I., the amiable and accomplished King of Scotland, and the fair Lady Jane Beaufort, who, on his regaining his liberty, became his beloved wife and queen, and the mother of Margaret, the future Dauphiness of Louis.
We hope our readers will pardon this digression; but in the midst of so much hatred, fighting, and cruelty, an episode like this gives a pleasing relief.
Though James was restored to his people and his throne, it does not appear that his return had the desired effect of preventing the Scots rendering assistance to the French King. Already had Earl Douglas reached Rochelle at the head of a large body of his followers. Charles received him joyfully, and at once conferred upon him the Duchy of Touraine for life. The prisoner Stuart of Darnley (having been exchanged for an English nobleman) once more became his ally, and was rewarded with the lordship of Aubigné and Dreux. Everything they desired was given to the Scotch, to an extent that awakened such a spirit of jealousy in the French, that some murmured and asked whether France was to be divided between the English and the Scotch.
The Council of Charles, however, were not content with having a very numerous army of the latter, but sought for other foreign auxiliaries; and the Duke of Milan sent, at their entreaty, a troop of the Condottiéri, with three famous leaders—Valperga, Rusca, and Cacchiese. 1
The Condottiéri were a distinct body of warlike men, differing from all others in the fifteenth century. They were at once noble and mean, faithful and treacherous, independent and mercenary, sought after but feared. By birth they were Italian; and so singular a confederacy of high and low, of those who disdained all rule and those who submitted to it, was not to be found in any other part of Europe. When not employed as mercenary soldiers, they were nothing better than organized banditti, living by plunder. In the mountains they generally found their home, where they fled for security when pursued by the laws they had violated in the towns or the plains.
Many a young nobleman, either from outlawry, excommunication, or a bankrupt fortune, became a captain
of Condottiéri. Some joined the ranks from a love of wild adventure and daring enterprise; others, restless and galled by the restraints of civil society; and many a one whose deeds obliged him to cast a veil over the past, and who wished to remain in obscurity, became famous in exploits that demanded a plotting head as well as a bold hand. Some few, galled by the worm that never dies, and whom no confessional could relieve from a sense of remorse, in utter despair fled to the mountain soldiers, careless about death in others or for themselves.
These men had a distinctive dress of their own. They usually wore a cloak, a black hat and feather, with little armour except the plate on the breast; and whatever might be the arms they bore, every man had a stiletto or dagger at his side : for, as occasion might require, every man would become an assassin, and like all mercenaries, who make war a trade, they were pitiless for the vanquished.
In old paintings,—such as may still be seen in the chateaux of the south and in the illuminated chroniclers, --the Condottiéri are usually depicted of a tall and commanding stature, sallow-faced, with black hair and eyes and an unmistakeable ferocity of expression ; a countenance to create fear, but to show none. Such pictures are characteristic of these men,-brave to the death in the field, and though capable of the most treacherous deeds, faithful to the Prince or the State they served ; yet so proud, that nothing was more difficult than for their captains to
1 See the illuminations of Froissart and Monstrelet.