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Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As they were not of Nature's family.
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame;
And such wert thou! Look, how the father's face
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
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,
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage
Or influence chide or cheer the drooping stage,
And despairs day but for thy volume's light.
1 That he that man.
EPITAPH ON THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE1.
Underneath this sable hearse
SIDNEY'S sister, PEMBROKE's mother;
AN EPITAPH ON MASTER PHILIP GRAY.
And if I had no more to say
For if such men as he could die,
[From The Forest.]
Not to know vice at all, and keep true state,
Next to that virtue, is to know vice well,
Which to effect (since no breast is so sure
Or safe, but she'll procure
Some way of entrance) we must plant a guard
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,
Object arrive there, but the heart, our spy
To wakeful reason, our affections' king:
Will quickly taste the treason, and commit
'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;
Back the intelligence, and falsely swears
Do several passions invade the mind,
[From The Forest.]
Good and great God! can I not think of Thee,
That, laden with my sins, I seek for ease?
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,
[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.