Lives of
Scottish Poets
edited by

Center for Applied Technologies
in the Humanities

*    *    *    *    *

Literary Chronicle
New Monthly Magazine
Monthly Review
Notes and Queries
Gibson and Laing
Halkett and Laing
Scottish Notes & Queries

Part I. (Volume I.)
James the First
Thomas the Rhymer
John Barbour
Andrew Wyntoun
Gavin Douglas
Allan Ramsay
William Meston
John Home
James Beattie
Robert Burns

Part II. (Volume I.)
James the Fifth
William Dunbar
Sir James Inglis
Henry the Minstrel
Sir David Lyndsay
Alexander Barclay
Alexander Montgomerie
William Alexander
William Drummond
James Thomson
John Oswald

Part III. (Volume II.)
James the Sixth
Sir Richard Maitland
Arthur Johnston
Hamilton of Bangour
Hamilton of Gilbertfield
Samuel Colvil
Alexander Ross
John Armstrong
John Ogilvie
James Macpherson
Charles Salmon

Part IV. (Volume II.)
Alexander Hume
John Bellenden
Mark Alexander Boyd
Ninian Paterson
William Wilkie
Robert Fergusson
William Julius Mickle
Alexander Geddes
James Grahame

Part V. (Volume III.)
Robert Henryson
Alexander Scott
Walter Kennedy
John Ogilby
Alexander Pennecuik
Alexander Cunningham
David Mallet
William Falconer
Francis Garden
Robert Blair
James Moor
James Graeme
Caleb Whitefoord
James Grainger
Hector Macneill
John Wilson

Part VI. (Volume III.)
Robert Kerr
Richard Lord Maitland
Thomas Hamilton
Charles Hamilton
Michael Bruce
Thomas Blacklock
John Logan
Andrew Macdonald
James Mercer

Appendix. (Volume III.)
James I
Allan Ramsay
John Home
Robert Burns
William Drummond
Robert Fergusson
Alexander Scott
John Wilson



From the Drummonds of Carnock, afterwards Earls and Dukes of Perth, were descended the Drummonds of Hawthornden, a branch rendered as celebrated by one poet, as the other has been by many warriors and statesmen. William Drummond, [note] the poet, was son of Sir John Drummond, usher and knight of the black rod to James VI., and was born on the 13th December, 1585. He was educated at Edinburgh, and being designed by his father far the legal profession, was at the age of twenty-one sent to Bruges in France, to prosecute the study of the civil law. Dry as the science of right and wrong is commonly, though perhaps erroneously, reputed to be, it appears to have been not without its charms to Drummond, who studied it with assiduity, and not only took copious notes of the lectures which he attended, but wrote observations of his own upon them. When these manuscripts were afterwards communicated to President Lockhart, [note] he declared that they presented such proofs of judgement and proficiency, that if Mr. Drummond had followed the practice of the law, “he might have made the best figure of any lawyer of his time.” After a residence abroad of nearly four years, he returned to Scotland in 1610.


Shortly after Drummond's return his father died, and having thus come into possession of an independent inheritance, he abandoned the intention of practising the law, and resolved to seek for happiness in a life of rural quiet and the cultivation of
polite literature. It was a resolution worthy of the owner of Hawthornden, a spot consecrated by nature and the muses. A more romantic combination, within a small space, of all the elements of sublime scenery is no where to be found, than is presented by the banks of the Esk, within an hour's walk of Hawthornden. The murmuring stream, the lonely dell, the cliff towering to the skies, the wildly o'ermantling wood, the desert pile crumbling to dust; such are the objects which, at every step, meet a wanderer's view.

How blest who, led by Solitude, repair
To dells remote, and breathe a purer air!
Who, tir'd in noisy life's perplexing chase,
Rest from its tumult in the vale of peace!
'Tis theirs to feel (what treasures ne'er impart)
Th' ingenuous wish that warms the feeling heart;
Theirs, near some darkening cliff, or haunted stream,
To melt entranc'd in Thought's luxurious dream.*

In this delightful retreat Drummond gave himself up to the study of the poets of Greece and Rome, of modern Italy and France; and to the formation upon them of an English style of his own. The earliest publication of works by Drummond himself, of which there is any trace, is a volume of occasional poems, of the date of 1616, when he was in his thirty-first year. This volume, however, is stated in the title to be the second edition. It is certain, therefore, that there

* Ogilvy.
must have been a previous edition, though no copy of it is known to be extant.


The next work composed by Drummond was produced after his recovery from a dangerous illness, and was entitled “The Cypress Grove.” It was a prose rhapsody on the vanity of human life, and the solemn necessity of preparing for a better. If tradition may be credited, this work was composed in one of the caves in the lofty precipice on which the House of Hawthornden stands, and which is, to this day, called “The Cypress Grove.”

Sublime of thought; he from the airy brow
Ey'd the dim forms that veil'd the fields below.
*    *   *    *    *    *
All these he mark'd; then musing on the tomb,
That house of silence, sought th' invoicing gloom.*

About the same time, and in the same frame of mind, Drummond wrote, what he called, “ Flowers

* The caves, of which there are a number besides that of the “Cypress Grove,” are artificially hewn out of the rock. It is supposed that they were originally intended as places of refuge during the wars that long subsisted between the Scots and Picts. It was in these caverns that the famous Sir Alexander Ramsay, [note] one of the ancestors of the Dalhousie family, and who performed many memorable exploits during the contest for the succession to the crown between Bruce and Baliol, [note] used to conceal himself. Here he was resorted to by the young warriors of his day, who considered it as a necessary piece of mili-
of Zion; or, Spiritual Poems.” Both those works were printed at Edinburgh in 1623.


As yet, Drummond, though a poet and much of an enthusiast, had escaped any visitation of the tender passion; but he was now to join the multitude of and learned who have swelled its triumphs. The lady with whom he fell in love was of a respectable family of the name of Cuningham. He was fortunate in his addresses; he obtained her consent to their union, and a day was fixed for the celebration of their nuptials. The change which this attachment had given to the current of his thoughts is thus elegantly pourtrayed in one of his sonnets.

Ah me! and am I now the man, whose muse,
In happier times, was wont to laugh at love;
In those who suffered that blind boy t' abuse
The noble gifts were giv'n them from above.
What metamorphose strange is this I prove?
Myself, I scarce now find myself to be;
And think no fable Circe's tyrannie,
And all the tales are told of changed Jove.
Virtue hath taught, with her philosophy,
My mind unto a better course to move;
Reason may elude her full, and oft reprove
Affection's pow'r; but what is that to me,
Who ever think, and never think on aught,
But that bright cherubim which thralls my thought?

tary education to have been of his band, and thence he sallied forth, as occasion presented itself, and attacked the English, then in possession of Edinburgh. A. S.

Before the appointed nuptial day, however, arrived, the lady was seized with a fever, which put a period to her life, and to all Drummond's present schemes of happiness. Oppressed with grief on account of her loss, his usual haunts and studies had no longer any charms for him, and to ease his mind he resolved to travel into foreign countries. He wandered through all Germany, France, and Italy; visited the most celebrated universities; courted the acquaintance of the men most eminent for their talents or learning; collected rare books in the different foreign and dead languages: and thus passed away several years with much benefit both to his peace of mind and to his knowledge of polite literature.


On returning to Scotland he made a present of considerable part of the collection of books and MSS., which he had made on his travels, to the University of Edinburgh; and to a catalogue of them, printed in 1627, he prefixed a Latin preface from his pen, on the advantage of public libraries, of which, at that period, there were but few in Scotland, and these few scanty in the extreme. Drummond's long absence from home had probably caused the house of Hawthornden to fall into disrepair; for, either from this or some other less obvious reason, he did not resume his residence there, but went to live with a brother-in-law, Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet. While residing with this gentleman, he wrote a “History of the Five James's,” Kings of Scotland, to whom, indeed, he had, through a remote ancestor, some affinity of kin. Annabella Drummond, the Queen of Robert III., [note] was a sister of a Sir John Drummond of Carnock, and the mother of James I. This relationship ought to have
been of more service to Drummond's reputation than it has. To the partiality of relatives we must always allow some indulgence; and when Drummond has severely censured for writing what was in fact a very partial history, it ought to have been remembered that the blood of the Drummonds had mingled with that of the Stuarts.


The events which were passing around Drummond at the moment he was writing this history, formed the best possible comment on its impartiality. Both Scotland and England were distracted by religious and political disputes; they were on the eve of that civil nor, which formed the closing scene of the dynasty of the Stuarts. The Restoration was but an afterpiece, which softened the transition from a night of horrors, to a day beaming with benignity*


The image of Drummond's first love continued still the idol of his memory, but happening accidentally to fall into company with Elizabeth Logan, grand daughter of Sir Robert Logan of Restelrig, [note] he was so struck with a resemblance which she bore to the departed object of his affection, that he became

* The perusal of the Lives of James I. and V. in this and the preceding part, will probably suggest some exceptions to this view of the “History of the Five James's.” If it be true, on the one hand, that fortunate periods often give to inferior men a great renown, may it not be equally true, on the other, that very superior men have suffered in renown from circumstances which were not faults in them, but of the age in which they lived? A. S.
enamoured of and married her. He was now in his forty-fifth year.


On his marriage, Drummond returned to Hawthornden, which he had a short time before repaired and honored with the following inscription:

“Divino munere Gulielmus Drummondus ab Hawthornden, Joannis Equitis aurati filius, ut honesto otio quiesceret sibi et successsribus instauravit.”

When Charles [note] took the field against his subjects, Drummond, though strongly attached to the royal cause, did not arm in its support, but contented himself with advocating it by his pen in a number of occasional productions. The most memorable of these was a piece on the evils of civil war, entitled Irene. A letter is extant from the celebrated Marquis of Montrose, to whom the MS. of this piece had been submitted, recommending to Drummond to print it, as the best means of quieting the minds of a distracted people. The marquis was probably a better soldier than critic, and Drummond a better poet than controversialist. The revolutionary party do not appear to have conceived any deadly offence against him on account of his writings, contenting themselves with forcing him to furnish the fraction of a man to fight against the cause which they recommended. We learn this from some lines of his own, in which there is, at least, as much bitterness as wit.

Of all these forces raised against the king,
'Tis my strange hap not one whole man to bring;
From divers parishes, yet divers men
But all in halfs and quarters; great king, then,
In halfs and quarters if they come 'gainst thee,
In halfs and quarters send them back to me.

When the death of Charles I. [note] consummated the triumph of the revolutionists, the grief of Drummond is said to have been so great as to shorten his days. He had arrived, however, at an age which deprives the supposition of much of its probability. He died on the 4th of December, 1649, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. His remains were interred is the church of Lasswade, near Hawthornden. He left two sons and a daughter. William, the eldest son, was knighted on the restoration of Charles II.


Of the personal character of Drummond, it is impossible to express too much admiration. Insensible to the allurements of ambition, temperate in his desires, and elegant in his habits, he lived from his youth in the calm enjoyment of the purest pleasures of mind. Even when induced to take a part in the unhappy broils which agitated his country, it was with no view to any personal benefit or aggrandizement; but solely from a virtuous desire to see preserved and extended around him the same tranquility which, in his own small circle, he so dearly prized. He intermeddled not to enflame, but to moderate; not to assist the arm of violence, but to strengthen the arguments for reconciliation and peace. If he erred as a citizen, in his choice between the cause of the king and the cause of the people, it was an error of the head and not of the heart; for, though attached by remote affinity to the Stuarts, his works
bear evidence of too strong a sense of honesty allow us to impute to this connection any thing more than a greater tendency than he ought otherwise have had, to be deceived into a good opinion of those whom he wished to see in the right. It is certain, that no solicitation for himself ever occurred to taint the purity of his motives; and highly fortunate, that no preferment or honour was ever thrust upon him to make them suspected. It is on men of doubtful characters that titles and distinctions fall in times of revolution; they are part of the devices of kings to make busy men either useful or useless; the indubitably honest and sincere alone escape them.


Among the personal friends of Drummond the Earl of Stirling, a poet of more congenial taste than pursuits, appears to have held the chief place. The earl was Secretary of State for Scotland during the greater part of their intimacy; a fact which shows still farther, that it was not from want of opportunity to bask in the sunshine of a court, but from a choice the most independent, that Drummond preferred the philosophical solitude of Hawthornden.


Drummond maintained also a friendly correspondence with the English Poets, Jonson [note] and Drayton, [note] the former of whom, when upwards of fifty years of age, walked all the way from London to Hawthornden, to pay him a visit. It seems, however, that a closer acquaintance had not enhanced the esteem of Drummond for “Rare Ben;” indeed, no two individuals could have been more opposed in every point of character, genius alone excepted. In a sketch of Jonson's character and habits, which Drummond left behind him, and which has been published since
his death, he says, “He was a great lover and praiser of himself, a contemner and scorner of others, given rather to lose a friend than a jest; jealous of every word and action of those about him, especially after drink, which is one of the elements in which he lived; a dissembler of the parts which reign in him; a bragger of some good that he wanted, thinking nothing well done but what either he himself or some of his friends have said or done. He is passionately kind or angry, careless either to gain or keep; vindictive, but if he be well answered at himself, interprets best sayings and deeds often to the worst. He was for any religion, as being versed in both; oppressed with fancy, which hath over-mastered his reason, a general disease in many poets. ” “In short,” concludes Drummond, “he was, in his personal character, the very reverse of Shakspeare; [note] as surly, ill-natured, proud, and disagreeable, as Shakspeare, with ten times his merit, was gentle, good-natured, easy, and amiable.” Drummond has been charged with illiberality in this sketch; and yet there is scarcely a writer, who had any personal knowledge of Jonson, who does not confirm it in every particular. Howel, [note] in one of his letters, has a passage which may suffice to acquit Drummond of any singularity in his opinions. “I was invited yesterday,” he says, “to a solemn supper by B. J. There was good company, excellent cheer, choice wines, and jovial welcome. One thing intervened, which almost spoiled the relish of the rest, that B. began to engross all the discourse, to vapour extremely of himself, and by vilifying others to magnify his own name. T. Ca. buzzed me in the ear, that though
Ben had barreled up a great deal of knowledge, yet it seems he had not read the ethics, which, amongst other precepts of morality, forbid self commendation, declaring it to be an ill-favored solecism in good manners.”


In the sketch of Jonson, left by Drummond, there are a number of particulars of his life and opinions which Jonson had freely communicated to him; some of which, having an immediate reference to Scotland, are worthy of our notice.


“He was accused,” says Drummond, “by Sir James Murray to the king, for writing something against the Scots, in a play called “Eastward Hoe,” and voluntarily imprisoned himself, with Chapman [note] and Marston [note] who had written it, amongst them, and it was reported should have their ears and noses cut. After their delivery, he entertained all his friends; there were present, Camden, [note] Selden, [note] and others. In the middle of the feast, his old mother drank to him, and shewed him the paper which she designed (if the sentence had past) to have mixed among his drink, and it was strong and fusty poison; and to shew that she was no churl, she told him, that she designed first to have drank it herself.”


What is meant by his having “voluntarily imprisoned himself,” it is difficult to understand. The three authors were committed to prison by order of the court, and not released till after a good deal of intercession in their behalf. Selden and Camden are said to have been the chief mediators on this occasion.


Drummond adds of Jonson, that “he had a design to write a fisher or pastoral play, and make the
stage of it in the Lomond Lake; and also to write his foot-pilgrimage thither, and to call it “A Discovery.” In a poem, he calleth Edinburgh

The heart of Scotland,* Britain's other eye.

It is certain, that Jonson, after his return to England, did write a poem on the subject of his poetic pilgrimage to Scotland, probably either the “Fisher play,” or the “Discovery;” but this, with several other productions, was destroyed by a fire, the loss by which Jonson has commemorated in a poem, entitled “An Execration upon Vulcan.”


That Drummond himself was a poet of rare excellence, the respect implied in the visit of “Rare Ben” is of itself almost a sufficient proof. As the one was the reformer of the stage—the father of regular comedy—so the other, though no native of England deserves to be regarded as the reformer of English versification, the father of English lyric poetry. Denham [note] and Waller, [note] whom the English have been accustomed to consider as the great refiners of their versification, did not flourish sooner than 1625 and 1640, but Jonson had, as early as 1616, produced his first volume of poems, some of which may vie in richness of melody with any thing which either of these English masters of verse have produced. Most certainly, there is no English poem of as early

* May we not here trace the reading of the celebrated author [note] of the “Heart of Midlothian,” or county of Edinburgh? A. S.
a date extant, which, in respect of versification can bear a comparison with the
“Tears on the Death of Moeliades,” or Prince Henry, [note] the son of James the Sixth, (Moeliades being an anagrammatic compound of Miles e Deo, the motto chosen by that prince which was produced as early as 1612. The sentiments of this piece are not greatly to be commended; truth, which would have been the best panegyric on the amiable, accomplished, and gallant Prince Henry, is disfigured by fiction and bombast; as when the poet tells us, that

Tagus did court his love, with golden streams,
Rhine with her towns, fair Seine with all she claims:
But ah, poor lovers! death did them betray,
And unsuspected made their hopes his prey.

But the lines, in general, flow with an ease and fullness previously unknown to English poetry; and the rhymes, with a few exceptions, such as that noticed above, display a knowledge of English accentuation, highly creditable to one who was so much a stranger to England as Drummond. How little does the melody of the following lines savour of the age of Donne [note] and Drayton? [note]

The virgins to thy tomb will garlands bear
Of flow'rs, and with each flow'r let fall a tear:
Moeliades, sweet courtly nymphs deplore
From Thule to Hydaspes' pearly shore.

Another instance of Drummond's early skill in versification may be quoted, which happens not to have found its way into any of the editions of his
works. It is a complimentary sonnet prefixed to
“The famous Historie of Penardo and Laissa, otherwise called the Warre of Love and Ambition, done in heroick verse” by Patrick Gordon, and published at Dort in 1615, a work which is extremely and, according to Pinkerton, [note] “deservedly” scarce. Drummond's prophecy was, that it would live whilst the Fairy Queen or Romeo and Juliet lived. Alas, for friendship! But it may have been Drummond's lot, as it must have often been that of the authors of those recommendatory verses, which were so fashionable in the first days of our literature, to praise before he read.

Come forth, Laissa! spred thy lockes of gold,
Show thy cheekes roses in their virgine prime!
And though no gemmes thee decke, which Indies hold,
Yield not unto the fairest of thy tyme.
No ceruse, brought farre, farre, beyond the seas,
No poisone-lyke cinabre paints thy face;
Let them have that, whom native hues displease,
Thou gracest nakednesse; it doeth thee grace.
Thy sire no pick-purse is of others witt,
Those jewellis be his own which thee adorne;
And though thou after greatter ones be borne,
Thou mayst be held ev'n midst the first to sitt.
For whilst fair Juliet, or the Farie Queene,
Doe live, with their's thy beautie shall be seene.
M. William Drummond.

The “Forth Feasting,” a poem, written by Drummond in commemoration of the visit of James I. to
Scotland, in 1617, after his accession to the English throne, furnishes us with a proof of his powers at a more onward period. Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, [note] whose opinion is now justly an authority in criticism, observes of this piece, that it attracted “the envy, as well as the praise, of Ben Jonson, [note] is superior in harmony of numbers to any of the compositions of the contemporary poets of England, and in its subject one of the must elegant panegyrics ever addressed by a poet to a prince.”


In the sonnets composed by Drummond after the death of his first mistress, between 1619 and 1630, we find a considerable improvement in his versification, and more of simple and natural feeling than in any of his preceding productions. Writing from the heart, he wrote to the heart. We have few conceits or extravagances and many touches of genuine pathos, in language at once elegant and energetic. The following may he taken as an example both of the beauties and faults of his manner at this period.

Of mortal glory, O soon dark'ned ray!
O, winged joys of man, more swift than wind!
O, fond desires, which in our fancies stray!
O, traitorous hopes, which do our judgments blind!
Lo! in a flash that light is gone away,
Which dazzle did each eye, delight each mind;
And with that sun, from whence it came, combin'd
Now makes more radiant heav'n's eternal day.
Let Beauty now bedew her cheeks with tears;
Let widow'd Music only roar and groan;
Poor Virtue, get thee wings and mount the spheres,
For dwelling place on earth for thee, is none:
Death hath thy temple razed, Love's empire soil'd,
The world of honour, worth, and sweetness, spoil'd!

The second quatrain of this sonnet contains an image of the highest order of fancy, though the sketching is provokingly spoiled by a lame line which might easily have been mended.

“Which dazzle did each eye, delight each mind.”

The “roar and groan” of “widowed music” are also gratingly inharmonious. But, altogether, the sonnet is a fine specimen of the versification and fancy of Drummond.


Shortly after the date of these sonnets on the loss of his mistress, a national event occurred which leads to a new claim on Drummond's part, not hitherto suggested, as far as I am aware, by any biographer or critic. In the summer of 1633, Charles I. [note] paid a visit to Scotland, and on his entrance into the Scottish capital was welcomed by a “magnificent spectacle and entertainment,” as it was called, of which a full account was published at the time, and is still extant. No authors for this piece have ever been named; except, indeed, the members of the university of Edinburgh at large, who are said to have clubbed their wits together on the occasion. But all that we are certain the members of the university did, was to write a volume of panegyrics, which Apollo, one of the actors in the spectacle, presented to his majesty. The whole of the spectacle itself bears evident marks
of having been the invention of one mind; and that a mind of very superior and cultivated powers. The elegance of the designs, the characteristic propriety of the various costumes, the singular unity observed throughout a great variety of action, and the poetical, polished, and English style of the language employed in the addresses to his majesty, form altogether such a combination of rarity and excellence, as not more than two Scotsmen of that age could have produced; either the Earl of Stirling or William Drummond. So much we may venture to say on the strength of the intrinsic evidence furnished by the piece alone; but there are many external circumstances which heighten the certainty of this conclusion. Stirling was secretary of state for Scotland at this period, and, from his official situation, must have had a leading part in getting up this pageant in honour of his royal master; and Drummond, who in his “Forth Feasting” had before employed his poetical powers in welcoming the return of James I. to Scotland, must have been, of all persons, the most likely to be invited to lend his co-operation in giving a proper welcome to his successor, Charles; [note] considering more especially the intimacy which subsisted between the Secretary and Drummond, and the zealous attachment which they continued, in common, to entertain for the Stuart family. Can any supposition, indeed, be more unlikely, than that the two friends, the only poets of their country who could write a couple of stanzas worthy of an English ear, should have thought of leaving such a task to others, even if there had been others vain enough to attempt it? Between Stirling and Drummond then the authorship
of his piece may be decidedly considered to lie; but to determine to which of them it belongs we must enquire, a little more particularly, into its characterizing features. The following sketch of this “Magnificent Spectacle” is abridged from the complete copy, which was printed at Edinburgh in this same year in which it was represented.


As the king entered Edinburgh from the westward, the genius of the town, represented by a nymph “attired in a sea-greene velvet mantle, her sleeves and under robe of blue tissue, with blue buskins on her feete,” &c. advanced from beneath a splendid triumphal arch, and thus addressed his majesty.


If nature could suffer rockes to move and abandon their natural places, this towne, founded on the strength of rocks, had, with her castle, temples, and houses, moved towards you and besought you to acknowledge her yours, and her indwellers your most affectionate subjects. And here, Sir, she offers by me to the altar of your glorie whole hecatombes of most happy desires: presenting you, Sir, who art the strong key of this little world of Great Britain, with these keyes, which cast up the gates of her affection, and designe you power to open all the springs of the hearts of these her must loyal citizens. The old forget their age, and looke fresh and young at the sight of so gracious a prince; the young bear a part in your welcome, desiring many years of life that they may serve you long. Daigne then, Sir, from the highest of majestic, to looke downe on their lownesse and embrace it; accept the homage of their humble
minds, accept their grateful zeale which they have ever carried to the highest deserts of your ancestors, and shall ever to your owne and your royal race, whilst these rocks shall be ourshadowed with building' inhabited with men, and while men be endued either with counsel or courage, or enjoy any peece of reason, sense or life.”


The keys were then delivered to his majesty in a silver bason; and on his advancing a little farther he came to a second triumphal arch of still greater magnificence than the former, where he was welcomed in the following verses, by a lady representing the Genius of Caledonia:

“The heav'ns have heard our vowes; our just desires
Obtained are; no higher now aspires
Our wishing thoughts, since to his native clime,
The flower of princes, honour of his time,
Is come, and radient to us in his traine,
The golden age and virtues brings againe.

After some hundred lines in the same strain of adulation, the Genius of Caledonia concludes by exhorting the people to

Pray that those crowns his ancestors did weare,
His temples long, (more orient) may beare,
That good he reach, by sweetnesse of his sway,
That ev'n his shadow may the bad affray;
That heav'n on him, what he desires, bestow,
That still the glory of his greatnesse grow;
That your begun felicities may last,
That no Orion do with stormes them blast;
That victory his brave exploits attend,
East, west, or south, do his forces bend;
Till his great deeds, all former deeds surmount,
And quail the Nimbrot of the Hellespont.
That when his well-spent care, all care becalms,
He may in peace sleep in a shade of palmes;
And rearing up fair trophees, that heav'n may
Extend his life to world's extremest day.

Farther on, a third arch appeared, supported by Mars on the one side and Minerva on the other, and in the midst was a representation of Mercury “with his feathered hat and his caduceus, with an hundred and seven Scottish kings, which he had brought from the Elysian Fields;” the eldest of whom, Fergus, addressed Charles in a Latin speech full of good advices.


On reaching the cross or centre of the city, his Majesty found a mount raised in the midst of the street, representing Parnassus with the stream of Helicon rippling from its summit. On this mount sat Apollo and the Nine Muses, surrounded by effigies of such Scotsmen as had rendered themselves eminent in poetry, Douglas, Lindsay, &c. Apollo pronounced a panegyric upon the king, and then presented him with a volume of eulogies composed by members of the university, after which the Muses song a congratulatory song.


At the east end of the city, as the king passed out from it towards the Palace of Holyrood, a fourth arch arose, where persons representing the Seven Planets, were discovered sitting on a throne, “all clad in emblematical dresses, rich in embroidery, elegant and
fanciful.” “At a corner, from out a verdant grove came Endymion. He was apparelled like a shepherd, in a long coat of crimson velvet coming over his knee; he had a wreath of flowers upon his head; his haire was curled and long; in his hand he bare a sheep-hooke; on his legs were buskines of gilt leather.” Addressing his majesty, he thus commenced.

Rous'd from the Latmian cave, where many years
That empress of the lowest of the spheres,
Who cheeres the night, and kept me hid apart
From mortal wights, to ease her love-sick heart,
As young as when she did me first enclose,
As fresh in beauty as the Maying rose,
Endymion: that whilome kept my flocks
Upon Iona's flow'ry hills and rockes;
And warbling sweet lays to my Cynthia's beams,
Outsang the swannets of Meander's streams.

Endymion proceeds to say that he had been despatched by Cynthia to assist in this triumphal scene, where all the planets are assembled

To tell by me, their herald, coming things,
And what each Fate to her sterne distaffe sings:
For what is firm decreed in heaven above,
In vain on earth strive mortals to improve.

The planets then proceed by rotation in the same kind of verse, and at considerable length to augur to his majesty every happiness their benign influence can impart, the burden of their addresses always being

“Thus heav'ns ordaine, so do decree the fates.”

Endymion then, rejoining, directs these lines to the populace;

And, people, let it not be hid from you,
What mountaines noyse, and floods proclaim as true;
Whenever fame abroad his praise shall sing,
All shall observe, and serve this blessed king.

The whole spectacle concluded with an Epilogue, in which the author duly apologizes for the humble efforts of his muse, which

———with the pye, doth Ave, Cæsar! sing,
While graver wits doe greater off'rings bring.

It will be perceived from this sketch of the spectacle, that while, indeed, skilfully designed and highly poetical, it was distinguished by the predominance of pure fancy to the exclusion of every thing like sober reality. Nothing, indeed, but a strong dash of extravagance could have borne such a representation successfully through; it was of the nature of pantomime, where absurdity is only saved from producing disgust by the splendour with which it is dressed, or the ingenuity to which it is subservient. All the Gods and all the Planets could not be brought down for the sake of any mere mortal being; the man had to be raised somewhat nearer the level of his company; Fancy, with her magic wand, had to transform a Charles the First into a patriot king. From these strong features in the character of the piece it may be at once safely pronounced not to have proceeded from the pen of Lord Stirling. It was contrary to the spirit of all he had ever written to flatter and extol the
characters of princes; contrary, besides, to the style of his poetry to indulge in elevated or long continued flights of fancy. His “Monarchic Tragedies,” so fraught with lessons of humility to royalty, forbid us to imagine that he could ever have so violated the consistency of his reputation, as to write a piece the sole merit of which consists in the elegance with which it pictures a prince to be something more than mortal.


But the very same reasons which shew Lord Stirling not to have been the author of the spectacle serve to fix it on Drummond. It was quite after the manner of his good natured and loyal muse to indulge in extravagance of adulation where royalty was the idol; and at all times he was fonder of the region of faëry than of dull reality. In his “Tears” for Prince Henry, and his “Forth Feasting,” for gladness of James the First's return, he had in fact pushed panegyric to such a pitch, as to leave his sincerity no sacrifices to make; by adding the spectacle in honor of Charles I. he only completed his series of complimentary tributes to the House of Stuart.


As a poetical production this spectacle will do no injury to the fame of Drummond. The versification possesses an ease which no Scotsman, indeed, of that period, but himself could have exhibited; for Stirling, though his equal in many things, was inferior to him in this. The flow of some of the passages—as for example, the beginning of Endymion's address, quoted in the preceding abstract, is most skilfully harmonious.


Mr. Jackson, [note] who was for many years manager of the Edinburgh Theatre, and a manager of more than ordinary taste in dramatic representation, thought so highly of this Spectacle, from the printed account of
it which fell under his notice, that he expressed himself “certain, that if re-exhibited it would attract attention and admiration even in this more refined age.” The only other poetical production by Drummond which demands our particular notice, is one of a very unique character, entitled “Polemo Middinia;” or, The Battle of the Dunghill. It is a macaronic poem, and the first of the kind produced by a native of Great Britain. What we have of it, however, appears to be only the fragment of a larger work which the author had written for the amusement of his friends, and was not very desirous to preserve. It presents Drummond in a very new light; the pensive sonneteer transformed into the broad humourist; the improver of one language become the confounder of many tongues. It is a species of composition which Drummond's extensive knowledge of languages probably made easy to him; but in which it is easier to write amusing nonsense than to write what is worth remembering. A copy of this poem was published by the English Bishop Gibson, [note] when a young man, at Oxford, in 1691, with Latin notes; but from the editor's ignorance of the Scotch language, the text is in the Scotch parts of it very incorrect. It has been since printed in a more genuine form by Messrs. Foulis of Glasgow.


The character of Drummond's prose style is described by Lord Woodhouselee [note] in a manner which leaves nothing to he added, and precludes any thing better from being offered. “In prose writing,” says his lordship, “the merits of Drummond are as unequal as they are in poetry. When an imitator he is harsh, turgid, affected, and unnatural; as in his history of
the Five James's, which, though judicious in the arrangement of the matter, and abounding in excellent political and moral sentiments, is barbarous and uncouth in its style, from an affectation of imitating partly the manner of Livy [note] and partly that of Tacitus. [note] Thus there is a perpetual departure from the ordinary construction, and frequently a violation of the English idiom. In others of his prose compositions where he followed his own taste, as in the Irene and Cypress Grove, and particularly the former, there is a remarkable purity and ease of expression, and often a very high tone of eloquence.”

H. D.