She might have been very happy with ronsards latest

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Unformatted text preview: , of what Pepys felt when he kissed a dead Queen-- Katherine of Valois. Like Roland Graeme, the Queen may have 42 ANGLING SKETCHES been "wearied to death of this Castle of Loch Leven," where, in spring, all seems so beautiful, the trees budding freshly above the yellow celandine and among the grey prison walls. It was a kindlier prison house than Fotheringay, and minds peaceful and contented would gladly have taken "this for a hermitage." The Roman Emperors used to banish too powerful subjects to the lovely isles that lie like lilies on the AEgean. Plutarch tried to console these exiles, by showing them how fortunate they were, far from the bustle of the Forum, the vices, the tortures, the noise and smoke of Rome, happy, if they chose, in their gardens, with the blue waters breaking on the rocks, and, as he is careful to add, WITH PLENTY OF FISHING. Mr. Mahaffy calls this "rhetorical consolation," and the exiles may have been of his mind. But the exiles would have been wise to listen to Plutarch, and, had I enjoyed the luck of Mary Stuart, when Loch Leven was not overfished, when the trout were uneducated, never would I have plunged into politics again. She might have been very happy, with Ronsard's latest poems, with Italian romances, with a boat on the loch, and some Rizzio to sing to her on the still summer days. From her Castle she would hear how the politicians were squabbling, lying, raising a man to divinity and stoning him next day, cutting each other's heads off, swearing and forswearing themselves, conspiring and caballing. Suave mari, and the peace of Loch Leven and the island hermitage would have been the sweeter for the din outside. A woman, a Queen, a Stuart, could not attain, and perhaps ought not to have attained, this epicureanism. Mary Stuart had her chance, and missed it; perhaps, after all, her shrewish female gaoler made the passionless life impossible. These, at Loch Leven, are natural reflections. The place has a charm of its own, especially if you make up...
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