Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Kingship and Love in Scottish Poetry, 1424-1540

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Kingship and Love in Scottish Poetry, 1424-1540

Article excerpt

Joanna Martin, Kingship and Love in Scottish Poetry, 1424- IJ40 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008). xii + 200 pp. ISBN 978-0-7546-6273-0. £50.00.

The prospect of generations of clerkly poets expatiating on princely waywardness has its own capacity to amuse and instruct. Still, the discourse on love and governance has staying power in late medieval Scotland with its recurrent royal minorities. Attending to the modulations in this discourse, Joanna Martin perceives a thematic coherence in a diverse array of Scottish poems from The Kingis Qu air to Sir David Lyndsay's Testament of the Papyngo. The narrative of love pertains especially to Scottish concerns about the 'political difficulties which result from royal minority and the transition from tutelage to personal rule' (p. 11). What emerges persuasively is the Scots poets' increasingly wry depiction of their situation relative to the royal misbehaviour in the foreground. Their disillusionment can already be detected in the reception of The Kingis Quair, which initiated the Scots theme of love and rule in its princely poet's attainment of 'largesse' (1. 1276). The Scots poems accompanying The Kingis Quair offer a 'pessimistic gloss on the amatory optimism of James's poem' (p. 30); after a sequence of reigns begun in childhood and cut off untimely, a vision of kingship sustained by love might seem incomplete, to say the least. Reason appears to be beyond the capacity of the greatest rulers to uphold. The high point in Martin's unfolding theme of the king enmeshed in his passions comes in her fine discussion of Henryson's Orpheus and Eurydice as a mordant counterpoise to the initiatory Kingis Quair. here again is the poet-king, but now he ends in exile and mourning, and his reader must proceed through a 'dismayingly exacting' moralization (p. 100). The strenuous work of self-rule must proceed whether or not a wise king is ruling. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.