Page images

of any note, excepting, perhaps, Dryden, has been so Drummond was peculiarly blessed with means of lavish of adulation as Drummond. Having studied inspiration. In all Scotland, there is no spot more civil law for four years in France, the poet succeeded, finely varied—more rich, graceful, or luxuriant, in 1611, to an independent estate, and took up his than the cliffs, caves, and wooded banks of the river residence at Hawthornden. If beautiful and romantic Esk, and the classic shades of Hawthornden. In the scenery could create or nurse the genius of a poet, immediate neighbourhood is Roslin Castle, one of


Hawthornden, the seat of Drummond. the most interesting of Gothic ruins; and the whole timent, and grace of expression. Drummond wrote course of the stream and the narrow glen is like a number of madrigals, epigrams, and other short the ground-work of some fairy dream. The first pieces, some of which are coarse and licentious. The publication of Drummond was a volume of occasional general purity of his language, the harmony of his poems; to which succeeded a moral treatise in verse, and the play of fancy, in all his principal proprose, entitled, the Cypress Grove, and another poeti-ductions, are his distinguishing characteristics. With cal work termed, the Flowers of Zion. The death of a more energy and force of mind, he would have been lady, to whom he was betrothed, affected him deeply, a greater favourite with Ben Jonson—and with posand he sought relief in change of scene and the ex- terity. citement of foreign travel. On his return, after an absence of some years, he happened to meet a young

The River of Porth Fcasting. lady named Logan, who bore so strong a resemblance to the former object of his affections, that he solicited What blustering noise now interrupts my sleeps ! and obtained her hand in marriage. Drummond's What echoing shouts thus cleave my crystal deeps ? feelings were so intense on the side of the royalists, And seem to call me from my watery court ! that the execution of Charles is said to have hastened What melody,

what sounds of joy and sport, his death, which took place at the close of the same Are convey'd hither from each night-born spring! year, December 1649. Drummond was intimate with With what loud murmurs do the mountains ring, Ben Jonson and Drayton ; and his acquaintance which in unusual pomp on tiptoes stand, with the former has been rendered memorable by a And, full of wonder, overlook the land ! visit paid to him at Hawthornden, by Jonson, in the Whence come these glittering throngs, these meteon spring of 1619. The Scottish poet kept notes of the

bright, opinions expressed by the great dramatist, and chro- This golden people glancing in my sight! nicled some of his personal failings. For this his Whence doth this praise, applause, and love arise ; memory has been keenly attacked and traduced. It What load-star draweth us all eyes ! should be remembered that his notes were private Am I awake, or have some dreams conspir'd memoranda, never published by himself; and, while to mock my sense with what I most desir'd ! their truth has been partly confirmed from other View I that living face, see I those looks, sources, there seems no malignity or meanness in which with delight were wont t'amaze my brooks ! recording faithfully his impressions of one of his most Do I behold that worth, that man divine, distinguished contemporaries. The poetry of Drum- This age's glory, by these banks of mine i mond has singular sweetness and harmony of versi- Then find I true what I long wish'd in vain ; fication. He was of the school of Spenser, but less My much-beloved prince is come again. ethereal in thought and imagination. His Tears on So unto them whose zenith is the pole, the Death of Moeliades (Prince Henry, son of James I.) When six black months are past, the sun does roll : was written in 1612; his Wandering Muses, or the So after tempest to sea-tossed wights, River Forth Feasting (a congratulatory poem to King Fair Helen's brothers show their clearing lights : James, on his revisiting Scotland), appeared in 1617, So comes Arabia's wonder from her woods, and placed him among the greatest poets of his age. And far, far off is seen by Memphis' floods ; His sonnets are of a still higher cast, have fewer The feather'd sylvans, cloud-like, by her fly, conceits, and more natural feeling, elevation of sen- | And with triumphing plaudits beat the sky;

Nile marvels, Serap's priests entranced rave,

And birds their ramagel did on thee bestow. And in Mygdonian stone her shape engrave;

Since that dear voice which did thy sounds approve, In lasting cedars they do mark the time

Which wont in such harmonious strains to flow, In which Apollo's bird came to their clime.

Is reft from earth to tune the spheres above,
Let mother earth now deck'd with flowers be seen, What art thou but a harbinger of woe?
And sweet-breath'd zephyrs curl the meadows green : Thy pleasing notes be pleasing notes no more,
Let heaven weep rubies in a crimson shower,

But orphan wailings to the fainting ear,
Such as on India's shores they use to pour :

Each stroke a sigh, each sound draws forth a tear ; Or with that golden storin the fields adorn

For which be silent as in woods before :
Which Jove rain'd when his blue-eyed maid was born. Or if that any hand to touch thee deign,
May never hours the web of day outweave;

Like widow'd turtle still her loss complain.
May never night rise from her sable cave!
Swell proud my billows, faint not to declare
Your joys as ample as their causes are :

[The Praise of a Solitary Life.]
For murmurs hoarse sound like Arion's harp,
Now delicately flat, now sweetly sharp ;

Thrice happy he who by some shady grove, And you, my nymphs, rise from your moist repair,

Far from the clamorous world, doth live his own. Strew all your springs and grots with lilies fair.

Thou solitary, who is not alone, Some swiftest footed, get them hence, and pray

But doth converse with that eternal love. Our floods and lakes may keep this holiday ;

O how more sweet is bird's harmonious moan, Whate'er beneath Albania's hills do run,

Or the hoarse sobbings of the widow'd dove, Which see the rising or the setting sun,

Than those smooth whisperings near a prince's Which drink stern Grampus' mists, or Ochil's snows :

throne, Stone-rolling Tay, Tyne, tortoise-like, that flows;

Which good make doubtful, do the evil approre ! The pearly Don, the Dees, the fertile Spey,

O how more sweet is Zephyr's wholesome breath, Wild Severn, which doth see our longest day;

And sighs embalm'd which new-born flowers unfold, Ness, smoking sulphur, Leve, with mountains crown’d, How sweet are streams to poison drank in gold !

Than that applause vain honour doth bequeath! Strange Lomond for his floating isles renown'd; The Irish Rian, Ken, the silver Ayr,

The world is full of horror, troubles, slights : The snaky Doon, the Orr with rushy hair,

Woods' harmless shades have only true delights.
The crystal-streaming Nith, loud-bellowing Clyde,
Tweed which no more our kingdoms shall divide ;

[To a Nightingale.)
Rank-swelling Annan, Lid with curl'd streams,
The Esks, the Solway, where they lose their names ; Sweet bird ! that sing'st away the early houm
To every one proclaim our joys and feasts,

Of winters past, or coming, void of care.
Our triumphs; bid all come and be our guests ; Well pleased with delights which present are,
And as they meet in Neptune's azure hall,

Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers : Bid them bid sea-gods keep this festival;

To rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers, This day shall by our currents be renown'd;

Thou thy Creator's goodness dost declare, Our hills about shall still this day resound :

And what dear gifts on thee he did not spare, Nay, that our love more to this day appear,

A stain to human sense in sin that low'rs. Let us with it henceforth begin our year.

What soul can be so sick which by thy songs To virgins flowers, to sun-burnt earth the rain, (Attir'd in sweetness) sweetly is not driven To mariners fair winds amidst the main ;

Quite to forget earth’s turmoils, spites, and wrongs, Cool shades to pilgrims, which hot glances burn, And lift a reverend eye and thought to heaven? Are not so pleasing as thy blest return,

Sweet artless songster! thou my mind dost raise That day. dear Prince.

To airs of spheres-yes, and to angels' lays

[Epitaph on Prince Henry. ]
Stay, passenger, see where enclosed lies
The paragon of Princes, fairest frame
Time, nature, place, could show to mortal eyes,
In worth, wit, virtue, miracle of fame :
At least that part the earth of him could claim
This marble holds (hard like the Destinies) :
For as to his brave spirit, and glorious name,
The one the world, the other fills the skies.
Th’immortal amaranthus, princely rose;
Sad violet, and that sweet flower that bears
In sanguine spots the tenor of our woes, *
Spread on this stone, and wash it with your tears ;
Then go and tell from Gades unto Ind
You saw where Earth's perfections were confin'd.

In Mind's pure glass when I myself behold,
And lively see how my best days are spent,
What clouds of care above my head are rollid,
What coming ill, which I cannot prevent:
My course begun, I, wearied, do repent,
And would embrace what reason oft hath told;
But scarce thus think I, when love hath controllid
All the best reasons reason could invent.
Though sure I know my labour's end is grief,
The more I strive that I the more shall pine,
That only death shall be my last relief :
Yet when I think upon that face divine,
Like one with arrow shot, in laughter's place,
Maugre my heart, I joy in my disgrace.

To his Lute.

My lute, be as thou wert when thou didst grow
With thy green mother in some shady grove,
When immelodious winds but made thee move,

I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is brought
In Time's great periods, shall return to nought;
The fairest states have fatal nights and days.
I know that all the Muse's heavenly lays
With toil of sprite which are so dearly bought,
As idle sounds, of few or none are sought,
That there is nothing lighter than vain praise.

* Milton has copied this image in his Lycidas

Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge
Like to that sanguine flower, inscribed with woe.

1 Warbling: from ramage, French.

[ocr errors][merged small]

I know frail beauty like the purple flower,

The morning rose, that untouch'd stands,
To which one morn oft birth and death affords,

Arm'd with her briers, how sweetly smells !
That love a jarring is of mind's accords,

But pluck'd and strain'd through ruder hands,
Where sense and will bring under Reason's power : Her sweets no longer with her dwells;
Know what I list, all this cannot me move,

But scent and beauty both are gone,
But that, alas ! I both must write and love.

And leaves fall from her, one by one.
Such fate, ere long, will thee betide,

When thou hast handled been awhile,

Like sere flowers to be thrown aside;
SIR ROBERT AYTON, a Scottish courtier and poet

And I will sigh, while some will smile,
(1570-1638), enjoyed, like Drummond, the advan-

To see thy love for more than one
tages of foreign travel and acquaintance with Eng-

Hath brought thee to be loved by none.*
lish poets. The few pieces of his composition are
in pure English, and evince a smoothness and deli-

cacy of fancy that have rarely been surpassed. The
poet was a native of Fifeshire, son of Ayton of

Two Scottish authors of this period distinguished Kinaldie. James L. appointed him one of the gentle themselves by their critical excellence and poetical men of the bed-chamber, and private secretary to fancy in the Latin language. By early and intense his queen, besides conferring upon him the honour study, they acquir all the freedom and fluency of of knighthood. Ben Jonson seemed proud of his natives in this learned tongue, and have become friendship, for he told Drummond that Sir Robert known to posterity as the Scottish Virgil and the loved him (Jonson) dearly.

Scottish Ovid. We allude to the celebrated GEORGE

[On Woman's Inconstancy.]
I lor'd thee once, I'll love no more,

Thine be the grief as is the blame ;
Thou art not what thou wast before,
What reason I should be the same !

He that can love unlov'd again,

Hath better store of love than brain :
God send me love my debts to pay,

While unthrifts fool their love away.
Nothing could have my love o'erthrown,

If thou hadst still continued mine;
Yea, if thou hadst remain’d thy own,
I might perchance have yet been thine.

But thou thy freedom did recall,

That if thou might elsewhere inthral;
And then how could I but disdain

A captive's captive to remain ?
When new desires had conquer'd thee,

And chang'd the object of thy will,
It had been lethargy in me,
Not constancy to love thee still.

Yea, it had been a sin to go

And prostitute affection so,
Since we are taught no prayers to say

To such as must to others pray.
Yet do thou glory in thy choice,

Thy choice of his good fortune boast;
I'll neither grieve nor yet rejoice,

To see him gain what I have lost;

The height of my disdain shall be,
To laugh at him, to blush for thee;

mer is noticed among our prose authors. His great To love thee still, but go no more

work is his paraphrase of the Psalms, part of which A begging to a beggar's door.

was composed in a monastery in Portugal, to which

he had been confined by the Inquisition about the [I do Confess Thou'rt Smooth and Fair.)

year 1550. He afterwards pursued the sacred strain in

and his task was finished in Scotland when I do confess thou’rt smooth and fair,

Mary had assumed the duties of sovereignty. BuchAnd I might have gone near to love thee ;

* It is doubtful whether this beautiful song (which Burns Had I not found the slightest prayer

destroyed by rendering into Scotch) was actually the compoThat lips could speak had power to move thee:

sition of Ayton. It is printed anonymously in Lawes's Ayres and But I can let thee now alone,

Dialogues, 1659. It is a suspicious circumstance, that in WalAs worthy to be loved by none.

son's Collection of Scottish Poems (1706-11), where several poems

by Sir Robert are printed, with his name, in a cluster, this is I do confess thou’rt sweet, yet find

inserted at a different part of the work, without his name. Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets,

But the internal evidence is strongly in favour of Sir Robert Thy favours are but like the wind,

Ayton being the author, as, in purity of language, elegance, and That kisses every thing it meets.

tenderness, it resembles his undoubted lyrics. Aubrey, in And since thou can with more than one,

praising Ayton, says, • Mr John Dryden has seen verses of his, Thou’rt worthy to be kiss'd by none.

some of the best of that age, printed with some other verses.'


G Buchanan

[ocr errors]





[ocr errors]

anan superintended the studies of that unfortunate Quale canebamus, steterat dum celsa Sionis
princess, and dedicated to her one of the most finished Regia, finitimis invidiosa locis.
and beautiful of his productions, the Epithalamium, Siccine divinos Babylon irrideat hymnos ?
composed on her first nuptials. The character and Audiat et sanctos terra profana modos ?
works of Buchanan, who was equally distinguished O Solymæ, ô adyta, & sacri penetralia templi,
as a jurist, a poet, and a historian, exhibit a rare Ullane vos animo deleat hora meo !
union of philosophical dignity and research with the Comprecor, antè meæ capiant me oblivia dextræ,
finer sensibilities and imagination of the poet. Nec meinor argutæ sit mea dextra lyræ :
Arthur Johnston was born at Caskieben, near Aber- Os mihi destituat vox, arescente palato,
deen, in 1587. He studied medicine at Padua, and Hæreat ad fauces aspera lingua ineas :
resided for about twenty years in France. On his

Prima mihi vestræ nisi sint præconia laudis ; return to Britain, he obtained the patronage of Arch

Hinc nisi lætitiæ surgat origo mcæ. bishop Laud, and was appointed physician to Charles At tu (quæ nostræ insultavit læta rapina) 1. He died at Oxford in 1641, Johnston wrote a

Gentis Idumææ tu memor esto, pater. number of Latin elegies and epigrams, a paraphrase Diripite, ex imis evertite fundamentis, of the Song of Solomon, a collection of short poems Æquaque (clamabant) reddite tecta solo. (published in 1637), entitled, Musæ Aulicæ, and (his Tu quoque crudeles Babylon dabis impia pon&s : greatest work, as it was that of Buchanan) a com- Et rerum instabiles experiere vices. plete version of the Psalms. He also edited and Felix qui nostris accedet cladibus ultor, contributed largely to the Deliciæ Poetarum Scotorum,

Reddet ad exemplum qui tibi damna tuum. a collection of congratulatory poems by various Felix qui tenero consperget saxa cerebro, authors, which reflected great honour on the taste Eripiens gremio pignora cara tuo. and scholarship of the Scottish nation. Critics have been divided as to the relative merits of Buchanan

The First of May. and Johnston. We subjoin the opinions of a Scottish and an English scholar :-*If we look into Buch- [Translated, as is the subsequent piece, from the Latin anan,' says Dr Beattie, 'what can we say, but that Buchanan, by the late Mr Robert Hogg] the learned author, with great command of Latin

All hail to thee, thou First of May, expression, has no true relish for the emphatic con

Sacred to wonted sport and play, ciseness and unadorned simplicity of the inspired

To wine, and jest, and dance, and song, poets ? Arthur Johnston is not so verbose, and has,

And mirth that lasts the whole day long! of course, more vigour ; but his choice of a couplet,

Hail ! of the seasons honour bright, which keeps the reader always in mind of the puerile

Annual return of sweet delight; epistles of Ovid, was singularly injudicious. As

Flower of reviving summier's reign, psalms may, in prose as easily as in verse, be adapted That bastes to time's old age again! to music, why should we seek to force those divine

When Spring's mild air at Nature's birth strains into the measures of Roman or of modern

First breath'd upon the new-form'd earth ; song? He who transformed Livy into iambics, and

Or when the fabled age of gold, Virgil into monkish rhyme, did not, in my opinion,

Without fix'd law, spontaneous rollid ; act more absurdly. In fact, sentiments of devotion

Such zephyrs, in continual gales, are rather depressed than elevated by the arts of the

Pass'd temperate along the vales, European versifier.'* The following is the testi

And softend and refresh'd the soil, mony of Mr Hallam :- The Scots certainly wrote

Not broken yet by human toil ; Latin with a good ear and considerable elegance of

Such fruitful warmths perpetual rest phrase. A sort of critical controversy was carried On the fair islands of the blest on in the last century as to the versions of the

Those plains where fell disease's moan Psalms by Buchanan and Johnston. Though the

And frail old age are both unknown. national honour may seem equally secure by the Such winds with gentle whispers spread superiority of either, it has, I believe, been usual in

Among the dwellings of the dead, Scotland to maintain the older poet against all the And shake the cypresses that grow world. I am, nevertheless, inclined to think that

Where Lethe murmurs soft and slow. Johnston's Psalms, all of which are in elegiac metre, Perhaps when God at last in ire do not fall short of those of Buchanan, either in ele

Shall purify the world with fire,
gance of style or correctness of Latinity. In the And to mankind restore again
137th, with which Buchanan has taken much pains, Times happy, void of sin and pain,
he may be allowed the preference, but not at a great The beings of this earth beneath,
interval, and he has attained this superiority by too Such pure ethereal air shall breathe.
much diffuscness.'

Hail ! glory of the fleeting year !
Hail ! day the fairest, happiest here !

Memorial of the time gone by,
(The 137th Psalm, by Buchanan.)

And emblem of futurity!
Dum procul à patria mosti Babylonis in oris,
Fluminis ad liquidas fortè sedemus aquas ;

On Neara.
Illa animum subiit species miseranda Sionis,
Et nunquam patrii tecta videnda soli.

My wreck of mind, and all my woes,
Flevimus, et gemitus luctantia verba repressit ; And all my ills, that day arose,
Inque sinus liquidæ decidit imber aquæ.

When on the fair Neæra's eyes, Mutu super virides pendebant nablia ramos,

Like stars that shine, Et salices tacitas sustinuere lyras.

At first, with hapless fond surprise,
Ecce ferox dominus, Solymæ populator opimæ,

I gazed with mine.
Exigit in mediis carmina læta malis :
Qui patriain exilio nobis mutavit acerbo,

When my glance met her searching glance,

A shivering o'er my body burst, Nos jubet ad patrios verba referre modos,

As light leaves in the green woods dance * Beattie 8 Dissertations, Moral and Critical

When western breezes stir them first ;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

My heart forth from my breast to go,

most sacred persons, not excluding the Deity, were And mix with her's already wanting,

introduced into them. Now beat, now trembled to and fro,

About the reign of Henry VI., persons representWith eager fondness leaping, panting. ing sentiments and abstruct ideas, such as Mercy, Just as a boy, whose nourice woos him,

Justice, Truth, began to be introduced into the Folding his young limbs in her bosom,

miracle plays, and led to the composition of an imHeeds not caresses from another,

proved kind of drama, entirely or chiefly composed But turns his eyes still to his mother,

of such characters, and termed Moral Plays. These When she may once regard him watches,

were certainly a great advance upon the miracles, And forth his little fond arms stretches.

in as far as they endeavoured to convey sound moral Just as a bird within the nest

lessons, and at the same time gave occasion to some That cannot fly, yet constant trying,

poetical and dramatic ingenuity, in imaging furth Its weak wings on its tender breast

the characters, and assigning appropriate speeches Beats with the vain desire of flying.

to each. The only scriptural character retained

in them was the devil, who, being represented in Thou, wary mind, thyself preparing

grotesque habiliments, and perpetually beaten bv To live at peace, from all ensnaring,

an attendant character, called the Vice, served to That thou might'st never mischief catch,

enliven what must have been at the best a sober, Plac'd'st you, unhappy eyes, to watch

though well-meant entertainment. The Cradle of With vigilance that knew no rest,

Security, Hit the Nail on the Head, Impatient Poverty, Beside the gateways of the breast.

and the Marriage of Wisdom and Wit, are the names But you, induc'd by dalliance deep,

of moral plays which enjoyed popularity in the reign Or guile, or overcome by sleep;

of Henry VIII. It was about that time that acting Or else have of your own accord

first became a distinct profession; both miracles Consented to betray your lord ;

and moral plays had previously been represented Both heart and soul then fled and left

by clergymen, schoolboys, or the members of tradMe spiritless, of mind bereft.

ing incorporations, and were only brought forward

occasionally, as part of some public or private fesThen cease to weep; use is there none

tivity. To think by weeping to atone ;

As the introduction of allegorical characters had Since heart and spirit from me fled,

been an improvement upon those plays which conYou move not by the tears you shed ;

sisted of scriptural persons only, so was the introBut go to her, intreat, obtain ;

duction of historical and actual characters an imIf you do not intreat, and gain, Then will I ever make you gaze

provement upon those which employed only a set of Upon her, till in dark amaze

impersonated ideas. It was soon found that a real

human being, with a human name, was better calYou sightless in your sockets roll,

culated to awaken the sympathies, and keep alive Extinguish'd by her eyes' bright blaze,

the attention of an audience, and not less so to imAs I have been deprir'd of heart and soul.

press them with moral truths, than a being who only represented a notion of the mind. The substi

tution of these for the symbolical characters, graDRAMATISTS.

dually took place during the earlier part of the sixNotwithstanding the greatness of the name of teenth century; and thus, with some aid from Greek Spenser, it is not in general versification that the dramatic literature, which now began to be studied, poetical strength of the age is found to be chiefly and from the improved theatres of Italy and Spain, manifested. Towards the latter part of the reign of the genuine English drama took its rise. Elizabeth, the dramatic form of composition and re- As specimens of something between the moral presentation, coinciding with that love of splendour, plays and the modern drama, the Interludes of Joun chivalrous feeling, and romantic adventures, which Heywood may be mentioned. Heywood was supanimated the court, rose with sudden and wonderful ported at the court of Henry VIII. partly as a brilliancy, and attracted nearly all the poetical genius musician, partly as a professed wit, and partly as a of England.

writer of plays. His dramatic compositions, part It would appear that, at the dawn of modern civi- of which were produced before 1521, generally relisation, most countries of Christian Europe pos- presented some ludicrous familiar incident, in a sessed a rude kind of theatrical entertainment, con- style of the broadest and coarsest farce, but yet sisting, not in those exhibitions of natural character with no small skill and talent. One, called the and incident which constituted the plays of ancient Four P.'s, turns upon a dispute between a Palmer, Greece and Rome, but in representations of the prin- a Pardoner, a Poticary, and a Pedlar (who are the cipal supernatural events of the Old and New Testa- only characters), as to which shall tell the grossest ments, and of the history of the saints, whence they falsehood: an accidental assertion of the Palmer, were denominated Miracles, or Miracle Plays. Ori- that he never saw a woman out of patience in his ginally, they appear to have been acted by, and under life, takes the rest off their guard, all of whom dethe immediate management of, the clergy, who are clare it to be the greatest lie they ever heard, and understood to have deemed them favourable to the the settlement of the question is thus brought about diffusion of religious feeling ; though, from the traces amidst much drollery. One of Heywood's chief of them which remain, they seem to have been pro- objects seems to have been to satirise the manners fane and indecorous in the highest degree. A of the clergy, and aid in the cause of the Reformers. miracle play, upon the story of St Katherine, and There were some less distinguished writers of inin the French language, was acted at Dunstable in terludes, and Sir David Lyndsay's Satire of the 1119, and how long such entertainments may have Three Estates, acted in Scotland' in 1539, was a previously existed in England is not known. From play of this kind. the year 1268 to 1577, they were performed almost The regular drama, from its very commencement, every year in Chester ; and there were few large was divided into comedy and tragedy, the elements cities which were not then regaled in a similar man- of both being found quite distinct in the rude enterner ; even in Scotland they were not unknown. The tainments above described, not to speak of the pre

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »