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60 DRUMMOND OF HAWTHORN DEN .
We clear might read the art and wisdom rare;
To some of my readers the pieasant spot where Drummond passed so many happy and innocent days ray be known. Hawthornden is situated on the North Esk, about half a mile below Roslyn Castle. The house stands upon the summit of a precipice overhanging the sides of the river, and immediately beneath it are several curious caverns. In a small detached cave Drummond is said to have composed many of his poems. The Cypress Grove is also the title of a very eloquent essay, probably written in the same solitude”.
* C.--- 2 --- - - - - - - - - ...: ; it...","...o.o.o.o. ment of an edition of the poems of Drummond, with a biographical
memoir by Mr. Peter Cunningham, the son of the poet. Hi -
It has been the fashion among critics and readers of poetry to regard Wither only as a fanatical rhymer and an intemperate puritan; yet, during the longest and brightest period of his life, he was neither. A puritan, indeed, in its true signification, he never was. It has been well observed, that no man was ever written down except by himself. Wither's political follies had, during his later years, been gradually erasing from the public remembrance the sweetness of his early poetry; and the wit and festivity accompanying the Restoration, tended still more to depress his fame. The accomplished Rochester and his companions held the popular mind in a more silken bondage. From the criticism and taste of this season Wither could not hope either for favour or justice. The virulence of party feelings obscured the judgment even of the antiquary Wood; he saw in Locke a prating fellow, and in Milton a villanous incendiary. That Wood, in another place, rendered homage to the singer of Paradise Lost, only proves that the partisan was lost for a while in the admirer of that immortal composition. In days when Milton was only a blind old man, Wither had no right to complain that his poems “were accounted mere scribbles, and the fancies of a conceited and confident mind." Heylin had long before called him an old puritan satirist; and Butler, in his Hudibras, made him the drunken companion of the voluminous Prynne, and the despicable Vicars. Philips, in the Theatrum Poetarum, added his mite of contumely; and Dryden, Swift, and Pope, did not forget to follow ! his example. Swift, indeed, while sneering at Wither,
62 George With E. R.
manifested his taste and discernment by including Dry
den in the censure.
equally unkind, and equally uninformed, with respect to
the object of their ridicule. Even the amiable and learned
* Quarrels of Authors, vol.2, p.254.
“a felicity of expression, a tenderness of feeling, and an elevation of mind”." A word of kindness from one who has “built up the tombs” of so many of our elder poets in a beautiful criticism, ought to be adequately esteemed. Sir Egerton Brydges and Mr. Park have also exerted themselves in the poet's cause, and to their many and careful labours the writer of the following memoir has already acknowledged his obligations. George Wither was born at Bentworth, near Alton, in Hampshire, and, according to Anthony Wood and Aubrey, on the 11th of June, 1588; but Dalrymple and Park, upon the authority of a copy of Abuses Stript and Whipt, in the possession of Mr. Herbert, have fixed the poet's birth in 1590. The register of baptisms at Bentworth affords no assistance, the earliest entry beginning in 1603. But a conclusive evidence in support of Wood and Aubrey is furnished by Wither himself, in a pamphlet entitled Salt upon Salt, where he says, in August, 1658,When I begun to know the world and men, I made records of what I found it then, Continuing ever since to take good heed How they stood still, went back, or did proceed; Till of my scale of time ascending heaven, The round I stand in maketh ten times seven.
The “ten times seven" will carry his birth back to 1588. George Wither, the poet's father, was descended from the Withers of Manydowme, near Wotton St. Lawrence, in the county of Hants, where one of the family was
• Memoir of Taylor, in Lives of Uneducated Poets.
He had three sons, George, James, and Anthony. The
George received his early education in the neighbour- |
! | than repay, | o In willingness, in thanks, and gentle words, i | o ; : the affectionate interest and care of the tutor. | Wither's father appears to have been in opulent cir- | s cumstances, for many years after the poet spoke of the - s |} .
In lordly chambers, and had where withall,
Hounds, hawks, and horses were at my command. o
The lute, the organ, or deep sounding vial,
Without my cost or labour.
Sir Egerton Brydges, in the first volume of the Restituta, from the visita. : tion book of Hampshire, in 1634. The family, which originally came - | from Lancashire, had been seated in Hampshire many years before the
birth of the In 1810, the representative of another branch of the - | o: Wither Bramstone, Esq., was residing in the adjoining parish o eane. o
* An account of the pedigree of Wither's ancestors has been given by - * *