Love Thee More And More

Marquis1

~ CONFESSION: I GOT a man-crush on a dead guy. That’s him above, age 17, just before he got married.

Binks has written before about James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, one of the greatest Scots Generals ever. Slandered and written out of Scottish history by the deranged Scottish Taliban, a.k.a. Covenanters, Graham was historically rehabilitated 2 centuries after his hanging & dismemberment by lawyer and author Mark Napier, a distant relative of the famous Napiers of Graham’s own time, intermarried and connected with the Great Montrose and his family.

A Man In Full

I’ve been reading a full biography of the man, and admiring him more and more as I go. The young Montrose (13 upwards) turns out to have been kind, prudent, generous, charitable, well-educated, a poet, skilled with bow and musket, a fashionable young noble & cavalier, a true ornament to a famous and powerful family– someone who seems to have understood in his bones that power & wealth are opportunities to do good, gifts enabling one to help others, and live to the full.

From his private accounts-books, we find the young Graham travelling widely, attending the university of St. Andrews, visiting other nobility, friends, and family. Along with bills and payments for his rich taste in clothes, good books, good horses, and the usual accompaniments of a privileged life, what is striking is that on  every possible occasion, he is dispensing charity and little thank-yous to servants, helpers, children, flood-victims or the hungry. He also paid for a small library to be established and maintained– all this when a teenager. These accounts were never meant to be publicized, and represent the man as he was, and not as he may have wished to be known or self-publicized.

What  A Loss

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There is what Montrose actually and nobly did do with his life; and then there is the sacrifice he made of his wealth, wide lands and houses and castles, his family, and his own possibilities as a man and a leader had his times been different and more peaceable. God bless Mark Napier and his friends and colleagues in the 19th century who helped set the record straight; to Nigel Tranter for his historical novel about the man; to the interweb & library nerds who put Napier’s works online for download in 2014, and for the manly, good, kind, and brave example of a life lived for the good of neighbour and unto God and King, by James Graham, one of the Binkses’ personal heroes. ~

Tomb_of_James_Graham,_1st_Marquis_of_Montrose,_St._Giles_High_Kirk_Edinburgh

James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. 1612–1650
334. I’ll never love Thee more
MY dear and only Love, I pray
  That little world of thee
Be govern’d by no other sway
  Than purest monarchy;
For if confusion have a part          5
  (Which virtuous souls abhor),
And hold a synod in thine heart,
  I’ll never love thee more.
Like Alexander I will reign,
  And I will reign alone;   10
My thoughts did evermore disdain
  A rival on my throne.
He either fears his fate too much,
  Or his deserts are small,
That dares not put it to the touch,   15
  To gain or lose it all.
And in the empire of thine heart,
  Where I should solely be,
If others do pretend a part
  Or dare to vie with me,   20
Or if Committees thou erect,
  And go on such a score,
I’ll laugh and sing at thy neglect,
  And never love thee more.
But if thou wilt prove faithful then,   25
  And constant of thy word,
I’ll make thee glorious by my pen
  And famous by my sword;
I’ll serve thee in such noble ways
  Was never heard before;   30
I’ll crown and deck thee all with bays,
  And love thee more and more.
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