Saturday, June 19, 2010

James VI of Scotland/I of England

...The reign of James I. of England possessed this advantage in a peculiar degree. Some beams of chivalry, although its planet had been for some time set, continued to animate and gild the horizon, and although probably no one acted precisely on its Quixotic dictates, men and women still talked the chivalrous language of Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia; and the ceremonial of the tilt-yard was yet exhibited, though it now only flourished as a Place de Carrousel. Here and there a high-spirited Knight of the Bath, witness the too scrupulous Lord Herbert of Cherbury, was found devoted enough to the vows he had taken, to imagine himself obliged to compel, by the sword's-point, a fellow-knight or squire to restore the top-knot of ribbon which he had stolen from a fair damsel;[Footnote: See Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Memoirs.] but yet, while men were taking each other's lives on such punctilios of honour, the hour was already arrived when Bacon was about to teach the world that they were no longer to reason from authority to fact, but to establish truth by advancing from fact to fact, till they fixed an indisputable authority, not from hypothesis, but from experiment...

Walter Scott's "The Fortunes of Nigel" covers James I's reign.  The passage above is from that novel.  James was born on June 19, 1566 to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.  Both his parents were descended from Henry VII of England.  He became king on July 24, 1567, as part of Mary's agreement to abdicate the throne, following her defeat with Earl Bothwell at Carberry Hill.

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