David Hume on Edwards I and II

_Item_ Edward I’s firm line on multiculturalism:

bq. The king, sensible that nothing kept alive the ideas of military valour and of ancient glory so much as the traditional poetry of the people, which, assisted by the power of music and the jollity of festivals, made deep impression on the minds of the youth, gathered together all the Welsh bards, and, from a barbarous though not absurd policy, ordered them to be put to death.

_Item_ He honoured his father, if not his mother:

bq. Prince Edward had reached Sicily in his return from the Holy Land, when he received intelligence of the death of his father; and he discovered a deep concern on the occasion. At the same time he learned the death of an infant son, John, whom his princess, Eleanor of Castile, had born him at Acre in Palestine; and as he appeared much less affected with that misfortune, the king of Sicily expressed a surprise at this difference of sentiment: but was told by Edward, that the death of a son was a loss which he might hope to repair; the death of a father was a loss irreparable.

_Item_ Edward’s son, Edward II of course, came to a sad end — not for being gay, but for being a wimp. Isn’t this just the character of (no, I’ve promised not to be nasty to him) .. But, anyway, it’s a lovely epitaph:

bq. Of all men, nature seemed least to have fitted him for being a tyrant … greater abilities with his good dispositions, would have prevented him from falling into his faults; or, with worse dispositions, would have enabled him to maintain and defend them.

This entry was posted in Literature. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to David Hume on Edwards I and II

  1. Danny O'Brien says:

    So wonderful. I blame the beauty of Hume for my prose style, which should have a similiar epitaph.

Comments are closed.