22 October 2004

The Auld Alliance

Another gem from Mackie's "A History of Scotland" (and largely for Paul's benefit):

"Scots literature was slow in beginning and followed much the tradition of Chaucer; but towards the end of the century, French influences revealed themselves markedly in the work of writers who made much use of French forms and French vocabulary, and whose 'approach' resembled that of Villon."

***

Between reading this history book and reading "Henry V," I've developed a strong need for a comparison table of long-dead Monarchs, so I've started one. So far I've got the rulers of England, Scotland, and France (the Irish will be added later). To keep it even slightly useful to me, I did it in Excel, making Column A years in 25-year intervals and Columns B through D the appropriate Alpha Individual. So now when I go to see "HV," I'll know that the "French King" in question is Charles VI, the Well-Beloved, who died around the same time as Chatty Hal. And exactly with whom the Scots were trying to negotiate at any given point. And it all interweaves because English Kings having French adventures were usually leaving the Scots to their own devices, much to the relief of said Scots. And, of course, there is a certain amount of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" in the Auld Alliance. I think either France or Scotland would have been happy to partner with anyone willing to be a thorn in the paw of the English lion.

I wouldn't call this chronology exactly a thing of beauty and a joy for ever, but 'twill serve.

1 comment:

P said...

Excel, eh?

Um, can I have a copy of that?