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But (whilst base sloth each better care controules)
Are dead in ignorance, entomb'd alive : "Twixt beasts and such the difference is but small,
They use not reason, beasts have none at all.
O! heavenly treasure which the best sort loves,
Life of the soule, reformer of the will, Cleare light, which from the mind each
Pure spring of vertue, physicke for each ill,
Of thee the more men get, the more they crave,
And thinke, the more they get, the lesse they have.
But if that knowledge be requir'd of all, What should they doe this treasure to obtaine,
Whom in a throne, time travels to enstall, Where they by it of all things must ordaine: If it make them who by their birth were thrall,
As little kings, whilst o'er themselves they raigne,
Then it must make, when it hath
throughly grac'd them,
Kings more then1 kings, and liked to him who plac'd them.
This is a griefe which all the world bemones,
The bodies straight corrupt in which they lodge:
And those, by whose example many fall,
Are guilty of the murther of them all.
The meanes which best make majestie to stand,
Are laws observ'd, whilst practise doth direct:
The crowne, the head, the scepter decks the hand,
But onely knowledge doth the thoughts erect;
Kings should excell all them whom they command,
In all the parts which do procure respect : And this, a way to what they would,
Not onely as thought good, but as known theirs.
Seek not due reverence onely to procure, With shows of soveraignty, and guards oft lewd,
So Nero did, yet could not so assure
And of their subjects rarely would be view'd ;
So one of them was secretly o're-thrown, And in his place the murtherer raign'd unknown.
No, onely goodnesse doth beget regard, And equity doth greatest glory winne, To plague for vice, and vertue to reward, What they intend, that, bravely to begin; And like to painted tombes, or guilded This is to soveraigntie a powerfull guard,
When those lack judgement who are borne to judge,
And makes a princes praise o're all come in: Whose life (his subjects law) clear'd by
More then Justinians toyls, good order breeds.
What have I done, since she gainst love repin'd? pin'd
Ah, will no soule give eare unto my mone? What did I when I her to life prefer'd er'd
Who answers thus so kindly when I crie? What did mine eyes, whilst she my heart restrain'd? rain'd
What fostred thee that pities my despaire? What did she whilst my muse her praise proclaim'd? claim'd
Thou blabbing guest, what know'st thou And what? and how? this doth me most of my fall? all affright. of right What did I when I first my faire disclos'd? What if I never sue to her againe? los'd
Where was my reason, that it would not doubt? out
And what when all my passions are represt? rest
What cans't thou tell me of my ladie's will? But what thing will best serve t' asswage desire? ire
Wherewith can she acquit my loyall part? And what will serve to mitigate my rage? age
What hath she then with me to disaguise? I see the sunne begins for to descend. aguise
THOUGH there are few if any salient points in the life of William Drummond, and though his writings are anything but familiar, yet his name, as the local genius of the romantic mansion and grounds of Hawthornden, is perhaps more widely known now than when he lived.
He himself, in one of his genealogical excursions, traces the family to a Hungarian of the name of Maurice, who came to Scotland in the train of Edgar Atheling and his sister Margaret, and remained in her service after she became the Queen of Malcolm Ceanmore. Annabella Drummond, the daughter of
Sir John Drummond of Stobhall, the representative of the main branch of the family, was the mother of James I. This alliance with the Stuart sovereigns no doubt had its influence upon the character of a man of such conservative tastes and feelings as the poet was known to be. His father, who was the first Laird of Hawthornden, was the second son of Sir Robert Drummond of Carnock, in Fifeshire. In 1590 he was ap pointed gentleman usher to King James VI., and on James' accession to the English throne he received the honour of knighthood. His mother was Susannah Fowler, sister of William Fowler,
who became private secretary to James's queen, Ann of Denmark. The poet was born at Hawthornden House, on the 13th December 1585, and was educated at the High School of Edinburgh. He also studied at Edinburgh University; and, having taken his degree of M.A., he in 106 went to France, where he studied law for three years, both at Bourges and Paris. He stayed at London for some time on his way, and as his uncle Fowler had removed there with the court, he would likely have stayed with him.
'Content with my books and the use of my eyes, I learnt even from my boyhood to live beneath my fortune; and, dwelling by myself as much as I can, I neither sigh for nor seek aught that is outside me." It must be admitted that an unfavourable construction might be put upon this; but considering the state of Scotland at the time, from a literary, or political, or from almost any point of view, there was much to excuse a young man of sensibility and self-respect for entertaining what seems selfishly exclusive ideas of living. But his muse, as might be expected in the case of a young bachelor laird, introduced another guest, who soon shared his affections with herself.
Although the first fruits of Drum
"beauty's force," the event that first made him known as an author was the death of Prince Henry, in 1612, on which, in 1613, he published an Elegy entitled,
In 1609 he returned to Scotland, and had hardly commenced the practical duties of his profession when the sudden death of his father at once turned the current of his thoughts in a more congenial direction. At the age of twenty-mond's pen were sonnets inspired by four he became Laird of Hawthornden, with ample means to enable him to gratify his literary tastes in the study of the classic authors of ancient and modern times-his ambition, if such it may be called, being to be, rather than to be known—at least in the popular sense-as what we comprehend under the phrase "a gentleman and a scholar." His after reflections upon the aspirations of his youth he records in one of his sonnets:
"Tears on the Death of Moliades." Professor Masson regards it as "the most graceful and intrinsically poetical of all the tributes evoked by the occasion." The publication of the Elegy made him known to Sir William Alexander of Menstrie, who I also wrote an Elegy on the same sub“In my first years, and prime not yet at height,ject, and on the occasion of their first
When sweet conceits my wit did entertain,
His purpose in life he also summarizes in Latin, of which the following translation is given by Professor Masson :-
meeting soon after, they formed a friendship which only death dissolved.
But Drummond's muse was inspired by a much stronger force than that of friendship, the particulars regarding which, so far as preserved, are given in the following extract from the life prefixed to the 1711 edition of his works, edited by Bishop Sage:-"Notwithstanding his
close retirement and serious application to his studies, love stole in upon him and did entirely captivate his heart; for he was on a sudden highly enamoured | of a fine, beautiful young lady, daughter to Cunningham of Barns, an ancient and honourable family. He met with suitable returns of chaste love from her, and fully gained her affections; but when the day for the marriage was appointed, and all things ready for the solemnification of it, she took a fever, and was suddenly snatched away by it, to his great grief and sorrow." How profoundly he was affected by this sad and unexpected event is set forth in his Sonnets, of which his love-suit is the theme. The circumstances were sufficiently impressive to have moved ordinary nature to its depths, but in Drummond's case the depths were not ordinary; and his own account of his loss has few parallels, besides that of the profound grief of Dante for Beatrice. They were published in 1616, in two parts; their theme is the same, the first referring to the time previous to the death of his betrothed, and the second to that after. There are also a few poems in the volume under the heading of "Urania, or Spiritual Poems," which indicate the dawn of that etherealized conception of his mistress, which to some extent superseded his natural sorrow, and which ever after bloomed in his bosom as a fragrant immortel.
The visit of King James to Scotland in 1617 was the first event that recalled him from the contemplation of his bereavement, and his loyalty found vent in a poem, entitled, "Forth's Feasting: A Panegyric to the King's
Most Excellent Majesty." It need only be remarked that it is regarded as the most poetical effusion on an event which called forth many inferior, and few as sincere and disinterested.
Though he received no special recog. nition of his poetic gifts through the King's visit, his fame was considerably extended by the interest which the event excited throughout both kingdoms, and procured him the recognition of the chief English poets then living-Michael Drayton and Ben Jonson. So much is Jonson's visit to Scotland, in the following year, associated with Drummond, that it is a popular belief that to see him was Ben's chief end in undertaking the journey. The meeting of the two poets and their conversations at Hawthornden is almost the only literary memorial of the event. The five years of Drummond's life following Jonson's visit were spent in the quiet pursuit of his literary studies, and the occasional exchange of letters with his friends, Michael Drayton and Sir William Alexander. But in 1623, he published his fourth volume, which consists of "Flowers of Sion," and the "Cypress Grove," this last being a prose essay of religious and philosophical reflections upon life and death, their nature and conditions, written in an easy graceful style, and pervaded by broad, reverent, and deeply suggestive but unstrained views of subjects that ever have, and ever shall occupy the contemplative moods of all serious minds. Professor Masson observes, that "for its pensive beauty, its high moral-mindedness, the mournful music that rolls through it, it surpasses any piece of old English
prose known to me, except, perhaps, a passage of the old English divines at their best." The poetical portion of the volume is a continuation of the class entitled "Urania" in his second publication, some of which reappear in a revised form in this.
It is supposed that in 1625 he revisited the Continent for about a twelvemonth, but in 1627 he appears in an entirely new character, that of the patentee of several mechanical inventions, mostly of a warlike character, the names of which may excite a smile, but the principles of some of them, so far as we can judge from the description, are anticipations of inventions that have since been reduced to practice, as the Wind Measurer, and Ship Fountain, for converting salt water into fresh. An event which brought him more lasting credit, and perhaps cost less, is also referable to this year, namely his presentation of about 500 volumes, and some MSS., to the Edinburgh University Library. This donation he again augmented in 1629 and 1630, and the collection is still carefully preserved in a separate cabinet. After a few years spent from home, he returned in 1632, and in his fortysixth year got married to Elizabeth Logan, in whom he fancied he saw a resemblance to his long lost Miss Cunningham. Some doubt exists as to his wife's family, one account making her the grand-daughter of Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig, near Edinburgh, | and another, the daughter of the Rev. Mr Logan, parish minister of Eddleston.
After his marriage, Drummond relinquished poetry, and wrote a sectional History of Scotland, from 1423 to 1542,
known as the History of The Five Jameses. He is supposed to have been incited to this undertaking by his brother-in-law, Sir John Scott 01 Scotstarvet, who took a patriotic interest in Scottish literature. As a history it is reckoned of little value. After this he became somewhat equivocally involved in the trying political currents that intersected the latter part of Charles' reign; and, without being a zealous partisan, took the royal side of the con
But the collapse of Montrose's brilliant and meteor-like career in Scotland put an end to the hopes of the royalists. Drummond, though a sympathiser in his victories, and in correspondence with the gallant cavalier and fellow poet, was not disturbed by the opposite party, yet he was much affected by the King's death, whom he survived less than a year. He died on the 4th December 1649, in his 65th year, and was buried in the family aisle in the church of Lasswade. He was survived by his wife and three children out of a family of nine. Hawthornden has passed out of the poet's lineage, but is still in possession of a namesake, and shall always retain his memory.
All Drummond's manuscripts, arranged by Dr David Laing, and bound in fifteen volumes, are in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. A standard quarto edition of his Poems was edited by Lord Dundrennan and Dr Irving for the Maitland Club in 1832; but two smaller editions, one in 1833, and the other in 1856, have since been published. An exhaustive Life, by Professor Masson, was published in 1873.