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Hawthornden, the seat of Drummond.
the most interesting of Gothic ruins; and the whole | timent, and grace of expression. Drummond wrote
course of the stream and the narrow glen is like a number of madrigals, epigrams, and other short the ground-work of some fairy dream. The first pieces, some of which are coarse and licentious. The publication of Drummond was a volume of occasional general purity of his language, the harmony of his poems; to which succeeded a moral treatise in verse, and the play of fancy, in all his principal proprose, entitled, the Cypress Grove, and another poeti-ductions, are his distinguishing characteristics. With cal work termed, the Flowers of Zion. The death of a more energy and force of mind, he would have been lady, to whom he was betrothed, affected him deeply, a greater favourite with Ben Jonson-and with posand he sought relief in change of scene and the ex- terity. citement of foreign travel. On his return, after an absence of some years, he happened to meet a young lady named Logan, who bore so strong a resemblance to the former object of his affections, that he solicited and obtained her hand in marriage. Drummond's feelings were so intense on the side of the royalists, that the execution of Charles is said to have hastened his death, which took place at the close of the same year, December 1649. Drummond was intimate with Ben Jonson and Drayton; and his acquaintance with the former has been rendered memorable by a visit paid to him at Hawthornden, by Jonson, in the spring of 1619. The Scottish poet kept notes of the opinions expressed by the great dramatist, and chronicled some of his personal failings. For this his memory has been keenly attacked and traduced. It should be remembered that his notes were private memoranda, never published by himself; and, while their truth has been partly confirmed from other sources, there seems no malignity or meanness in recording faithfully his impressions of one of his most distinguished contemporaries. The poetry of Drummond has singular sweetness and harmony of versification. He was of the school of Spenser, but less ethereal in thought and imagination. His Tears on the Death of Moeliades (Prince Henry, son of James I.) was written in 1612; his Wandering Muses, or the River Forth Feasting (a congratulatory poem to King James, on his revisiting Scotland), appeared in 1617, and placed him among the greatest poets of his age. His sonnets are of a still higher cast, have fewer conceits, and more natural feeling, elevation of sen
The River of Forth Feasting.
What blustering noise now interrupts my sleeps!
This golden people glancing in my sight?
Nile marvels, Serap's priests entranced rave,
Let mother earth now deck'd with flowers be seen,
May never hours the web of day outweave;
To virgins flowers, to sun-burnt earth the rain,
[Epitaph on Prince Henry.]
Stay, passenger, see where enclosed lies
To his Lute.
My lute, be as thou wert when thou didst grow
* Milton has copied this image in his Lycidas-
And birds their ramagel did on thee bestow.
Each stroke a sigh, each sound draws forth a tear;
[To a Nightingale.]
Sweet bird that sing'st away the early hours
In Mind's pure glass when I myself behold,
I know frail beauty like the purple flower,
SIR ROBERT AYTON.
SIR ROBERT AYTON, a Scottish courtier and poet (1570-1638), enjoyed, like Drummond, the advantages of foreign travel and acquaintance with English poets. The few pieces of his composition are in pure English, and evince a smoothness and delicacy of fancy that have rarely been surpassed. The poet was a native of Fifeshire, son of Ayton of Kinaldie. James I. appointed him one of the gentlemen of the bed-chamber, and private secretary to his queen, besides conferring upon him the honour of knighthood. Ben Jonson seemed proud of his friendship, for he told Drummond that Sir Robert loved him (Jonson) dearly.
[On Woman's Inconstancy.]
I lov'd thee once, I'll love no more,
He that can love unlov'd again,
If thou hadst still continued mine;
But thou thy freedom did recall, That if thou might elsewhere inthral; And then how could I but disdain A captive's captive to remain ?
When new desires had conquer'd thee,
Yea, it had been a sin to go
The height of my disdain shall be,
The morning rose, that untouch'd stands,
When thou hast handled been awhile,
And I will sigh, while some will smile,
It is doubtful whether this beautiful song (which Burns destroyed by rendering into Scotch) was actually the composition of Ayton. It is printed anonymously in Lawes's Ayres and Dialogues, 1659. It is a suspicious circumstance, that in Watson's Collection of Scottish Poems (1706-11), where several poems by Sir Robert are printed, with his name, in a cluster, this is inserted at a different part of the work, without his name. But the internal evidence is strongly in favour of Sir Robert Ayton being the author, as, in purity of language, elegance, and tenderness, it resembles his undoubted lyrics. Aubrey, in praising Ayton, says, Mr John Dryden has seen verses of his, some of the best of that age, printed with some other verses.'
anan superintended the studies of that unfortunate princess, and dedicated to her one of the most finished and beautiful of his productions, the Epithalamium, composed on her first nuptials. The character and works of Buchanan, who was equally distinguished as a jurist, a poet, and a historian, exhibit a rare union of philosophical dignity and research with the finer sensibilities and imagination of the poet. Arthur Johnston was born at Caskieben, near Aberdeen, in 1587. He studied medicine at Padua, and resided for about twenty years in France. On his return to Britain, he obtained the patronage of Archbishop Laud, and was appointed physician to Charles 1. He died at Oxford in 1641. Johnston wrote a number of Latin elegies and epigrams, a paraphrase of the Song of Solomon, a collection of short poems (published in 1637), entitled, Musa Aulica, and (his greatest work, as it was that of Buchanan) a complete version of the Psalms. He also edited and contributed largely to the Delicia Poetarum Scotorum, a collection of congratulatory poems by various authors, which reflected great honour on the taste and scholarship of the Scottish nation. Critics have been divided as to the relative merits of Buchanan and Johnston. We subjoin the opinions of a Scottish and an English scholar :- If we look into Buchanan,' says Dr Beattie, what can we say, but that the learned author, with great command of Latin expression, has no true relish for the emphatic conciseness and unadorned simplicity of the inspired poets? Arthur Johnston is not so verbose, and has, of course, more vigour; but his choice of a couplet, which keeps the reader always in mind of the puerile epistles of Ovid, was singularly injudicious. psalms may, in prose as easily as in verse, be adapted to music, why should we seek to force those divine strains into the measures of Roman or of modern song? He who transformed Livy into iambics, and Virgil into monkish rhyme, did not, in my opinion, act more absurdly. In fact, sentiments of devotion are rather depressed than elevated by the arts of the European versifier.'* The following is the testimony of Mr Hallam:-The Scots certainly wrote Latin with a good ear and considerable elegance of phrase. A sort of critical controversy was carried on in the last century as to the versions of the Psalms by Buchanan and Johnston. Though the national honour may seem equally secure by the superiority of either, it has, I believe, been usual in Scotland to maintain the older poet against all the world. I am, nevertheless, inclined to think that Johnston's Psalms, all of which are in elegiac metre, do not fall short of those of Buchanan, either in elegance of style or correctness of Latinity. In the 137th, with which Buchanan has taken much pains, he may be allowed the preference, but not at a great interval, and he has attained this superiority by too much diffuseness.'
[The 137th Psalm, by Buchanan.]
Dum procul à patria moesti Babylonis in oris, Fluminis ad liquidas fortè sedemus aquas ; Illa auimum subiit species miseranda Sionis,
Et nunquam patrii tecta videnda soli. Flevimus, et gemitus luctantia verba repressit ; Inque sinus liquide decidit imber aquæ. Muta super virides pendebant nablia ramos,
Et salices tacitas sustinuere lyras. Ecce ferox dominus, Solymæ populator opimæ, Exigit in mediis carmina læta malis: Qui patriam exilio nobis mutavit acerbo, Nos jubet ad patrios verba referre modos,
* Beattie's Dissertations, Moral and Critical.
Quale canebamus, steterat dum celsa Sionis
Hæreat ad fauces aspera lingua meas:
Aquaque (clamabant) reddite tecta solo. Tu quoque crudeles Babylon dabis impia pœnas: Et rerum instabiles experiere vices. Felix qui nostris accedet cladibus ultor,
Reddet ad exemplum qui tibi damna tuum. Felix qui tenero consperget saxa cerebro, Eripiens gremio pignora cara tuo.
The First of May.
[Translated, as is the subsequent piece, from the Latin Buchanan, by the late Mr Robert Hogg.]
All hail to thee, thou First of May,
Hail glory of the fleeting year! Hail! day the fairest, happiest here! Memorial of the time gone by, And emblem of futurity!
My heart forth from my breast to go,
That cannot fly, yet constant trying,
Beats with the vain desire of flying.
Then cease to weep; use is there none
Notwithstanding the greatness of the name of Spenser, it is not in general versification that the poetical strength of the age is found to be chiefly manifested. Towards the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, the dramatic form of composition and representation, coinciding with that love of splendour, chivalrous feeling, and romantic adventures, which animated the court, rose with sudden and wonderful brilliancy, and attracted nearly all the poetical genius of England.
It would appear that, at the dawn of modern civilisation, most countries of Christian Europe possessed a rude kind of theatrical entertainment, con sisting, not in those exhibitions of natural character and incident which constituted the plays of ancient Greece and Rome, but in representations of the principal supernatural events of the Old and New Testaments, and of the history of the saints, whence they were denominated Miracles, or Miracle Plays. Originally, they appear to have been acted by, and under the immediate management of, the clergy, who are understood to have deemed them favourable to the diffusion of religious feeling; though, from the traces of them which remain, they seem to have been profane and indecorous in the highest degree. A miracle play, upon the story of St Katherine, and in the French language, was acted at Dunstable 1119, and how long such entertainments may have previously existed in England is not known. From the year 1268 to 1577, they were performed almost every year in Chester; and there were few large cities which were not then regaled in a similar manner; even in Scotland they were not unknown. The
most sacred persons, not excluding the Deity, were introduced into them.
About the reign of Henry VI., persons representing sentiments and abstract ideas, such as Mercy, Justice, Truth, began to be introduced into the miracle plays, and led to the composition of an improved kind of drama, entirely or chiefly composed of such characters, and termed Moral Plays. These were certainly a great advance upon the miracles, in as far as they endeavoured to convey sound moral lessons, and at the same time gave occasion to some poetical and dramatic ingenuity, in imaging forth the characters, and assigning appropriate speeches to each. The only scriptural character retained in them was the devil, who, being represented in grotesque habiliments, and perpetually beaten bv an attendant character, called the Vice, served to enliven what must have been at the best a sober, though well-meant entertainment. The Cradle of Security, Hit the Nail on the Head, Impatient Poverty, and the Marriage of Wisdom and Wit, are the names of moral plays which enjoyed popularity in the reign of Henry VIII. It was about that time that acting first became a distinct profession; both miracles and moral plays had previously been represented by clergymen, schoolboys, or the members of trading incorporations, and were only brought forward occasionally, as part of some public or private festivity.
As the introduction of allegorical characters had been an improvement upon those plays which consisted of scriptural persons only, so was the introduction of historical and actual characters an improvement upon those which employed only a set of impersonated ideas. It was soon found that a real human being, with a human name, was better calculated to awaken the sympathies, and keep alive the attention of an audience, and not less so to impress them with moral truths, than a being who only represented a notion of the mind. The substitution of these for the symbolical characters, gradually took place during the earlier part of the sixteenth century; and thus, with some aid from Greek dramatic literature, which now began to be studied, and from the improved theatres of Italy and Spain, the genuine English drama took its rise.
As specimens of something between the moral plays and the modern drama, the Interludes of JOHN HEYWOOD may be mentioned. Heywood was supported at the court of Henry VIII. partly as a musician, partly as a professed wit, and partly as a writer of plays. His dramatic compositions, part of which were produced before 1521, generally represented some ludicrous familiar incident, in a style of the broadest and coarsest farce, but yet with no small skill and talent. One, called the Four P.'s, turns upon a dispute between a Palmer, a Pardoner, a Poticary, and a Pedlar (who are the only characters), as to which shall tell the grossest falsehood: an accidental assertion of the Palmer, that he never saw a woman out of patience in his life, takes the rest off their guard, all of whom declare it to be the greatest lie they ever heard, and the settlement of the question is thus brought about amidst much drollery. One of Heywood's chief objects seems to have been to satirise the manners of the clergy, and aid in the cause of the Reformers. There were some less distinguished writers of ininterludes, and Sir David Lyndsay's Satire of the Three Estates, acted in Scotland in 1539, was a play of this kind.
The regular drama, from its very commencement, was divided into comedy and tragedy, the elements of both being found quite distinct in the rude entertainments above described, not to speak of the pre