Source: James I. Basilikon Doron or His Majesties Instrvctions To His Dearest Sonne, Henry the Prince. [Edinburgh , 7 copies only; Edinburgh, London (2 . Basilikon doron* (), a manual on the practice of kingship, was written by James I and VI for his eldest son, Prince Henry [1]. Though less polemical in tone . Basilikon Doron has 11 ratings and 2 reviews. Benjamin said: Fantastic resource, especially for those who want an alternative to Machiavelli’s The Princ.

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What do you like about baasilikon ISE? What could we do better? Please tell us in this minute survey! The Basilikon Doron is a richly important document for the role it plays in defining the Jacobean court and its use of domestic metaphor for describing regal power and responsibility.

In addition, this treatise is a useful reminder of how James I viewed his relationship with his family and basillikon subjects, both of whom are directed to view James I as their royal father. Written in and intended as an informative and instructive handbook for James’s son, Prince Henry, who was born inBasilikon Doron is a political reinforcement of the dramatic issues that Leontes raises in the The Winter’s Tale: The same sense of political and iconic replication is on display in James’s initial private document to his son.

In addition, James I’s pedantic qualities are prominent in this text as he attempts to shape his son in his own royal image, intending the Jacobean image of kingship to extend generationally to embrace his progeny. The treatise is divided into three sets of guidelines: The excerpts provided below present the opening sonnet and preamble to his son, followed by James’s advice in book two on how to conduct oneself in the office, especially in its fulfillment through his matrimonial state.

Both sections are useful touchstones for The Winter’s Tale in providing the discursive context for issues that Shakespeare dramatizes in Leontes’s immoderate conduct towards his family and his fear of domestic illegitimacy caused by the presumed adultery of Hermione. Observe the statutes of your heavenly king, And from his law, make all your laws to spring. Since his lieutenant here ye should remain, Reward the gasilikon, be steadfast, true, and plain, Repress the proud, maintaining aye the right, Walk always so, as ever in his sight, Who guards the godly, plaguing the profane.

And so ye shall in princely virtues shine, Resembling right your mighty king divine. Whom-to, I say, can it so justly appertain, as unto you my dearest son? Since I the author thereof, as your basiilkon father, must be dooron for your godly and virtuous education, as my eldest son, and the basiliion fruits of God’s blessing towards me in thy posterity; and as a king must bailikon provide for your training up in all the points basillkon a king’s office since ye are my natural and lawful successor therein, that being rightly informed hereby of the weight of your burthen, ye may in time begin doeon consider, that being born to be a king, ye are rather born to onusthan honosnot excelling all your people so far in rank and honor, as in daily care and hazardous painstaking, for the dutiful administration of that great office, that God hath laid upon your shoulders.

Laying so a just symmetry and proportion betwixt the hasilikon of your honorable place and the heavy weight of your great charge, and consequently, in case of failing, which God forbid, of the sadness of your fall, according to the proportion of that height.

Basilikon Doron (Selections) :: Internet Shakespeare Editions

I have therefore for the greater ease to your memory, and that ye may, at the first cast up any part that ye have to do with, divided this treatise in three parts: Receive and welcome this book then as a faithful preceptor and counselor unto you, which, because my affairs will not permit me ever to be present with you, I ordain to be a resident faithful admonisher of you.

And because the hour of death is uncertain to me, as unto basolikon flesh, I leave it as my testament and latter will unto you. Charging you in the presence of GOD, and by the fatherly authority I have over you, that ye keep it ever with you, as carefully, as Alexander did the Iliads of Homer. Ye will find it a just and impartial counselor, neither flattering you in any vice, not importuning you at unmeet basillkon.

It will not come uncalled, neither speak unspeered at; and yet conferring with it when ye are at quiet, ye shall say with Scipio that ye are nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus. To conclude then, I charge you, as ever ye thinks to deserve my fatherly blessing, to follow and put in practice, as far as lyeth in you, the precepts hereafter following. And if ye follow the contrary course, I take the Great GOD to record that this book shall one day be a witness betwixt me and you; and shall procure to be ratified in Heaven, the curse that in that case here I give unto you.


But hoping, yea, even promising unto myself, that GOD, who in his great blessing sent you unto me, shall in the same blessing, as he hath given me a son, so make him a good and a godly son; not repenting him of his mercy showed unto me, I end, with my earnest prayer to GOD, to work basiljkon unto you, the fruits of that blessing, which here from my heart I bestow upon you.

But the principal blessing that ye can get of good company will stand in your marrying of a godly and virtuous wife, for she must be nearer unto you than any other company, being flesh of your flesh, and bone of your bone, as Adam said of Hevah.

And because I know not but God may call me, before ye be ready for marriage, I will shortly basolikon down to you here my advice therein. Since then without the blessing of God, ye cannot basulikon for a happy success in marriage, ye must be careful both in your preparation for it and in the choice and usage of your wife, to procure the same.

By your preparation, I mean, that ye must keep your body clean and unpolluted, till ye give it to your wife, whom-to only it belongeth.

For how can ye justly crave to be joined with a pure virgin, if your body be polluted? Why should the one half be baeilikon, and the other defiled? And although I know fornication is thought but a light and venial sin by the most part of the world, yet remember well what I said to a you in my first book anent conscience, dogon count every sin and breach of God’s law, not according as the vain world esteemeth of it, but as Coron the judge and maker of the law accounteth of the same.

Here God commanding by the mouth of Paul to abstain from fornication, declaring that the fornicator shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven; and by the mouth of John, reckoning our fornication amongst other grievous sins, that debar the committers amongst dogs and swine from entry in that spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem. And consider, if a man shall once take upon him, to count that light which God basliikon heavy, and venial that which God calleth grievous; beginning first to measure any one sin by basilimon rule of his lust and appetites and not of his conscience; what shall let him to do so with the next, that his affections shall stir him to, the like reason serving for all, and so to go forward till he place his whole corrupted affections in God’s room?

And then what shall come of him, but as a man given over to his own filthy affections, shall perish doroj them? And because we are all of that nature, dorkn sibbest examples touch us nearest, consider the difference of success that God granted in the marriages of the king my grandfather, and me your own father: And as for the blessing God hath bestowed on me in granting me both a greater continence and the fruits following there-upon, yourself and sib folks to you are praise be to God sufficient witnesses; which I hope the same God of his infinite mercy shall continue and increase, without repentance to me and my posterity.

Be not ashamed then, to keep clean your body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, notwithstanding all vain allurements to the contrary, discerning truly and wisely of every virtue and vice, according to the true qualities thereof, and basilokon according to the vain conceits of men. Defer not then to marry till your age, for it is ordained for quenching the lust of your youth. Especially a king must tymouslie marry for the weal of his people.

Neither marry ye, for any accessory cause or worldly respects, a woman unable, either through age, nature, or accident, for procreation of children, for in a king that were a double fault, as well against his own weal, as against the weal of his people.

Neither also marry one of known evil conditions or vicious education; for the woman is ordained to be a helper and not a hinderer to man. For beauty increaseth your love to basilikoon wife, contenting you the better with her, without caring for others; and riches and great alliance do both make her the abler to be a helper unto you.

But if over great respect being had to these accessories, the principal causes be overseen which is over oft practiced in the world as of themselves they are a blessing being well used; so the abuse of basililon will turn them in a curse. For what can all these worldly respects avail when a man shall find himself coupled with a devil, to be one flesh with him, and the half marrow in his bed? Then though too late shall he find that beauty without bounty, wealth without wisdom, and great friendship without grace and honesty are but faire shewes and the deceitful masques of infinite miseries.


And therefore I would rathest have you to marry one that were fully of your own religion; her rank and other qualities being agreeable to your estate.

For although that to my great regret, the number of any princes of power and account, professing our religion be but very small; and that therefore this advice seems to be the more strait and difficile; yet ye have deeply to weigh and consider upon these doubts, how ye and your wife can be of one flesh and keep unity betwixt you, being members of two opposite churches. Disagreement in religion bringeth ever with it disagreement in manners; and the dissention betwixt your preachers and hers will breed and foster a dissention among your subjects, taking their example from your family; besides the peril of the evil education of your children.

Basilikon Doron

Neither pride you that ye will be able to frame and make her as ye please; that deceived Solomon the wisest king that ever was, the grace of perseverance not being a flower that groweth in our garden. And lastly, remember to choose your Wife as I advised you to choose your servants: For if a man will be careful basilkion breed horses and dogs of good kinds, how much more careful should he be, for the breed of his own loins?

So shall ye in your marriage have respect to your conscience, honor, and natural weal in your successors. I trust I need not to insist here to dissuade you from the filthy vice of adultery; remember only what solemn promise ye make to God voron your marriage, and since it is only doon the force of that promise that your children succeed to you, which otherwayes they could not do, equitie and reason would, ye should keep your part thereof.

God is ever a severe avenger of all perjuries; and it is no oath made in jest that giveth power to children to succeed to great kingdoms. Have the king my grandfather’s example before your eyes, who by his adultery bred the wrack of his lawful daughter and heir in begetting that bastard Moray, Protestant] who unnaturally rebelled and procured the ruin of his own sovereign and sister. And what good her posterity hath gotten sensyne of some of that unlawful generation, Bothwell his treacherous attempts can bear witness.

Keep precisely then your promise made at marriage, as ye would wish to be partaker of the blessing therein. Treat her as your own flesh, command her as her lord, cherish her as your helper, rule her as your pupil, and please her in all things reasonable; but teach her not to be curious in things that belong her not.

Ye are the head, she is your body. It is your office to command, and hers to obey, but yet with such a sweet harmony as she should be as ready to obey, as ye to command; as willing to follow, as ye to go before; your love being wholly knit unto her, and an her affections lovingly bent to follow your will.

For both when ye are settled, ye are meetest to judge of her errors; and when she is come to herself, she may be best made to apprehend her offence and reverence your rebuke.

About this text Title: Basilikon Doron Selections Editor: James I, Basilikon Doron selections The Basilikon Doron is a richly important document for the role it plays in defining the Jacobean court and its use of domestic metaphor for describing regal power and responsibility.

Your loving Father I. From Book II Of the King’s Duty in His Office But the principal blessing that ye can get of good company will stand in your marrying of a godly and virtuous wife, for she must be nearer unto you than any other company, being flesh of your flesh, and bone of your bone, as Adam said of Hevah.