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We do not suffer here alone,
Though we are beggar'd, so's the king; "Tis sin t' have wealth, when he has none; Tush! poverty's a royal thing! When we are larded well with drink,
Our heads shall turn as round as theirs, Our feet shall rise, our bodies sink
Clean down the wind, like cavaliers. Fill this unnatural quart with sack,
Nature all vacuums doth decline, Ourselves will be a zodiac,
And every month shall be a sign. Methinks the travels of the glass
Are circular like Plato's year, Where everything is as it was;
Let's tipple round; and so 'tis here.
LADY ELIZABETH CAREW.
LADY ELIZABETH CAREW is believed to be the author of the tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry, 1613. Though wanting in dramatic interest and spirit, there is a vein of fine sentiment and feeling in this forgotten drama. The following chorus, in Act the Fourth, possesses a generous and noble simplicity:
[Revenge of Injuries.]
The fairest action of our human life
Is scorning to revenge an injury; For who forgives without a further strife, His adversary's heart to him doth tie. And 'tis a firmer conquest truly said, To win the heart, than overthrow the head.
If we a worthy enemy do find,
To yield to worth it must be nobly done; But if of baser metal be his mind,
In base revenge there is no honour won. Who would a worthy courage overthrow, And who would wrestle with a worthless foc ?
We say our hearts are great, and cannot yield;
Because they cannot yield, it proves them poor: Great hearts are task'd beyond their power, but seld The weakest lion will the loudest roar. Truth's school for certain doth this same allow, High-heartedness doth sometimes teach to bow.
While Sidney, Spenser, Marlow, and other poets, were illustrating the reign of Elizabeth, the muses were not wholly neglected in Scotland. There was, however, so little intercourse between the two nations, that the works of the English bards seem to have been comparatively unknown in the north, and to have had no Scottish imitators. The country was then in a rude and barbarous state, tyrannised over by the nobles, and torn by feuds and dissensions. In England, the Reformation had proceeded from the throne, and was accomplished with little violence or disorder. In Scotland, it uprooted the whole form of society, and was marked by fierce contentions and lawless turbulence. The absorbing influence of this ecclesiastical struggle was unfavourable to the cultivation of poetry. It shed a gloomy spirit over the nation, and almost proscribed the study of romantic literature. The drama, which in England was the nurse of so many fine thoughts, so much stirring passion, and beautiful imagery, was shunned as a leprosy, fatal to religion and morality. The very songs in Scotland partook of this religious chathat ALEXANDER SCOT, in his New Year Gift to the racter; and so widely was the polemical spirit diffused, Queen, in 1562, says—
That limmer lads and little lasses, lo,
Will argue baith with bishop, priest, and friar. Scot wrote several short satires, and some miscellaneous poems, the prevailing amatory character of which has caused him to be called the Scottish Anacreon, though there are many points wanting to complete his resemblance to the Teian bard. As specimens of his talents, the two following pieces are presented :
Rondel of Love.
Lo what it is to luve,
Learn ye that list to pruve,
By me, I say, that no ways may,
But still decay, both nicht and day;
Luve is ane fervent fire, Kendillit without desire, Short plesour, lang displesour; Repentance is the hire;
Ane pure tressour, without messour; Luve is ane fervent fire.
and, previous to turning clergyman, had studied the law, and frequented the court; but in his latter years he was a stern and even gloomy Puritan. The most finished of his productions is a description of a summer's day, which he calls the Day Estival. The various objects of external nature, characteristic of a Scottish landscape, are painted with truth and clearness, and a calm devotional feeling is spread over the poem. It opens as follows:
The summer day of the poet is one of unclouded splendour.
The rivers fresh, the caller streams
The condition of the Scottish labourer would seem to have been then more comfortable than at present, and the climate of the country warmer, for Hume describes those working in the fields as stopping at mid-day, 'noon meat and sleep to take,' and refreshing themselves with 'caller wine' in a cave, and 'sallads steep'd in oil.' As the poet lived four years in France previous to his settling in Scotland, in mature life, we suspect he must have been drawing on his continental recollections for some of the features in this picture. At length 'the gloaming comes, the day is spent,' and the poet concludes in a strain of pious gratitude and delight:
Who by his rising in the azure skyes,
Did dewlie helse all thame on earth do dwell.
How for to drive the tyme that did them irk,
So willingly the precious tyme to tine:
To fushe of tyme, which of itself is fyne. Fra tyme be past to call it back wart syne Is bot in vaine: therefore men sould be warr, To sleuth the tyme that flees fra them so farr. For what hath man bot tyme into this lyfe, Which gives him dayis his God aright to know! Wherefore then sould we be at sic a stryfe,
So spedelie our selfis for to withdraw
Evin from the tyme, which is on nowayes slaw To flie from us, suppose we fled it noght? More wyse we were, if we the tyme had soght. But sen that tyme is sic a precious thing,
I wald we sould bestow it into that Which were most pleasour to our heavenly King. Flee ydilteth, which is the greatest lat; Bot, sen that death to all is destinat,
Let us employ that tyme that God hath send us, In doing weill, that good men may commend us.
EARL OF ANCRUM-EARL OF STIRLING.
Two Scottish noblemen of the court of James were devoted to letters, namely, the EARL OF ANCRUM (1578-1654) and the EARL OF STIRLING (1580-1640). The first was a younger son of Sir Andrew Ker of Ferniehurst, and he enjoyed the favour of both James and Charles I. The following sonnet by the earl was addressed to Drummond the poet in 1624. It shows how much the union of the crowns under James had led to the cultivation of the English style and language:
Sonnet in Praise of a Solitary Life. Sweet solitary life! lovely, dumb joy,
That need'st no warnings how to grow more wise By other men's mishaps, nor the annoy Which from sore wrongs done to one's self doth rise.
The morning's second mansion, truth's first friend,
And our dear time no fierce ambition spoils,
The court's great earthquake, the griev'd truth of
Nor none of falsehood's savoury lies dost hear; Nor knows hope's sweet disease that charms our sense, Nor its sad cure-dear-bought experience!
The Earl of Stirling (William Alexander of Menstrie, created a peer by Charles I.) was a more prolific poet. In 1637, he published a complete edition of his works, in one volume folio, with the title of Recreations with the Muses, consisting of tragedies, a heroic poem, a poem addressed to Prince Henry (the favourite son of King James), another heroic poem entitled Jonathan, and a sacred poem, in twelve parts, on the Day of Judgment. One of the Earl of Stirling's tragedies is on the subject of Julius Cæsar. It was first published in 1606, and contains several passages resembling parts of Shakspeare's tragedy of the same name, but it has not been ascertained which was first published. The genius of Shakspeare did not disdain to gather hints and expressions from obscure authors-the lesser lights of the age-and a famous passage in the Tempest is supposed (though somewhat hypercritically) to be also derived from the Earl of Stirling. In the play of Darius, there occurs the following reflection
Let Greatness of her glassy sceptres vaunt,
The lines of Shakspeare will instantly be recalled-
None of the productions of the Earl of Stirling touch the heart or entrance the imagination. He has not the humble but genuine inspiration of Alexander Hume. Yet we must allow him to have been a calm and elegant poet, with considerable fancy, and an ear for metrical harmony. The following is one of his best sonnets:
I swear, Aurora, by thy starry eyes,
And by those golden locks, whose lock none slips,
And by the naked snows which beauty dyes;
The lady whom the poet celebrated under the name of Aurora, did not accept his hand, but he was married to a daughter of Sir William Erskine. The earl concocted an enlightened scheme for colonising Nova Scotia, which was patronised by the king, yet was abandoned from the difficulties attending its accomplishment. Stirling held the office of secretary of state for Scotland for fifteen years, from 1626 to 1641-a period of great difficulty and delicacy, when Charles attempted to establish episcopacy in the
north. He realised an amount of wealth unusual for a poet, and employed part of it in building a hand
A greater poet flourished in Scotland at the same time with Stirling, namely, WILLIAM DRUMMOND of Hawthornden (1585-1649). Familiar with classic
Drummond of Hawthornden.
and English poetry, and imbued with true literary taste and feeling, Drummond soared above a mere local or provincial fame, and was associated in friendship and genius with his great English contemporaries. His father, Sir John Drummond, was gentleman usher to king James; and the poet seems to have inherited his reverence for royalty. No author