Sidor som bilder

Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
But antiquated and deserted lie,

As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all; thy Art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion; and that he1
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil, turn the same,

And himself with it, that he thinks to frame;
Or for the laurel he may gain to scorn;
For a good poet's made, as well as born.

And such wert thou! Look, how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race

Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well turnèd and true filèd lines,

In each of which he seems to shake a lance,

As brandished at the eyes of ignorance.

Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were

To see thee in our waters yet appear,

And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza and our James!
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there!

Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage

Or influence chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,

And despairs day but for thy volume's light.

1 That he that man.



[From Underwoods.]

Underneath this sable hearse
Lies the subject of all verse,

SIDNEY'S sister, PEMBROKE's mother;
Death! ere thou hast slain another,
Learn'd and fair, and good as she,
Time shall throw a dart at thee.

[From Underwoods.]

Reader, stay;

And if I had no more to say
But Here doth lie, till the last day,
All that is left of PHILIP GRAY,
It might thy patience richly pay:

For if such men as he could die,
What surety o' life have thou and I?


[From The Forest.]

Not to know vice at all, and keep true state,
Is virtue and not Fate;

Next to that virtue, is to know vice well,
And her black spite expel.

Which to effect (since no breast is so sure

Or safe, but she'll procure

Some way of entrance) we must plant a guard
Of thoughts to watch and ward

1 Mary, sister of Sir Philip Sidney (who wrote his Arcadia for her), and mother of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. She died in 1621, and is buried in Salisbury Cathedral.

2 The following is only the earlier (general) part of this fine Epode, 'sung to deep ears.'

At the eye and ear, the ports unto the mind,
That no strange or unkind

Object arrive there, but the heart, our spy
Give knowledge instantly

To wakeful reason, our affections' king:
Who, in th' examining,

Will quickly taste the treason, and commit
Close the close cause of it.

'Tis the securest policy we have

To make our sense our slave.

But this true course is not embraced by manyBy many? scarce by any.

For either our affections do rebel,

Or else the sentinel,

That should ring larum to the heart, doth sleep;
Or some great thought doth keep

Back the intelligence, and falsely swears
They are base and idle fears
Whereof the loyal conscience so complains.
Thus, by these subtle trains

Do several passions invade the mind,
And strike our reason blind.


[From The Forest.]

Good and great God! can I not think of Thee,
But it must straight my melancholy be?
Is it interpreted in me disease,

That, laden with my sins, I seek for ease?
O be Thou witness, that the reins dost know
And hearts of all, if I be sad for show w;
And judge me after, if I dare pretend
To aught but grace, or aim at other end.
As Thou art all, so be Thou all to me,
First, midst, and last, converted One and Three !
My faith, my hope, my love; and, in this state,
My judge, my witness, and my advocate!

Where have I been this while exiled from Thee, And whither rapt, now Thou but stoop'st to me? Dwell, dwell here still! O, being everywhere, How can I doubt to find Thee ever here?

I know my state, both full of shame and scorn, Conceived in sin, and unto labour born, Standing with fear, and must with horror fall, And destined unto judgment, after all.

I feel my griefs too, and there scarce is ground Upon my flesh t' inflict another wound ;

Yet dare I not complain or wish for death,
With holy Paul, lest it be thought the breath
Of discontent; or that these prayers be
For weariness of life, not love of Thee.



[WILLIAM DRUMMOND was born at the manor-house of Hawthornden near Edinburgh on December 13, 1585, and died there December 4, 1649. His chief poetical works are Teares on the Death of Mæliades (Prince Henry), 1613; Poems, 1616; Forth Feasting, a panegyricke to the King's most excellent Majestie, 1617; Flowers of Sion, 1623; The Entertainment of the high and mighty monarch Charles, 1633; The Exequies of the Honourable Sir Anthony Alexander, Knight, 1638. Besides these he wrote innumerable political pamphlets, &c., and a considerable historical work. More important are his well-known Conversations with Ben Jonson, of which an authentic copy was discovered by Mr. David Laing and printed by him in 1832. A unique copy of the Poems, printed on one side of the paper only, and containing Drummond's autograph corrections, is in the Bodleian Library. It varies most curiously from the later editions.]

The interest of Drummond lies chiefly, for a modern reader, in the circumstances of his life. He is one of the earliest instances in our literature of the man of letters pure and simple; of the man who writes neither for his bread, like the great dramatists his contemporaries, nor to adorn the leisure moments of an active life, like Chaucer and Sir Philip Sidney, but who, when his fortune allows him to choose his career, elects to write for the sake of writing. It is true he travelled, both as a very young man and later; he corresponded regularly with his Scottish friends at the courts of James and Charles, especially with Sir William Alexander Earl of Stirling, the poet and statesman; he took part in such royal festivities as a rare chance might bring to Edinburgh; he keenly felt and sharply criticised the course of public affairs; but for all this his centre and his home was the beautiful house on the bank of the Esk, into the solitudes of which even the din of Bishops' Wars could scarcely penetrate. Other poets are known by their names alone; we talk of Jonson and Herrick, of Dryden and Addison; but Drummond is for all time Drummond of Hawthornden.

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