James I of Scotland

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The bird, the beste, the fisch eke in the see,
They lyve in fredome, everich in his kind,
And I a man, and lakkith libertee.

James I (December 10 1394February 21 1437) was King of Scots from 1406 until his death. As a makar he is credited with the earliest known poem in the Scottish Chaucerian tradition, The Kingis Quair, which describes his eighteen-year detention as a hostage in England and his courtship there of Lady Joan Beaufort.



The Kingis Quair

  • The bird, the best, the fisch eke in the see,
    They live in fredome, everich in his kynd.
    And I a man, and lakkith libertee.
    • Line 183
  • Now was there maid fast by the touris wall
    A gardyn fair, and in the corneris set
    Ane herber grene with wandis long and small
    Railit about; and so with treis set
    Was all the place, and hawthorn hegis knet.
    • Line 211
  • Worschippe, ye that loveris bene this May,
    For of your blisse the kalendis are begonne,
    And sing with us, “away, winter, away!
    Cum, somer, cum, the suete sesoun and sonne!”
    • Line 232
  • And therewith kest I doun myn eye ageyne,
    Quhare as I sawe, walking under the tour,
    Full secretly new cummyn hir to pleyne,
    The fairest or the freschest yonge floure
    That ever I sawe, me thoght, before that houre,
    For quhich sodayn abate anon astert
    The blude of all my body to my hert.
    • Line 274
  • So ferr I fallyng into lufis dance,
    That sodeynly my wit, my contenance,
    My hert, my will, my nature and my mynd,
    Was changit clene ryght in anothir kynd.
    • Line 312
  • Beautee eneuch to mak a world to dote.
    • Line 329
  • The cristall water ran so clere and cold,
    That in myn ere maid contynualy
    A maner soun, mellit with armony,
    That full of lytill fischis by the brym
    Now here now there with bakkis blewe as lede
    Lap and playit, and in a rout can swym
    So prattily, and dressit tham to sprede
    Thair curall fynnis as the ruby rede,
    That in the sonne on thair scalis bryght
    As gesserant ay glitterit in my sight.
    • Line 1060