« AnteriorContinuar »
of any note, excepting, perhaps, Dryden, has been so Drummond was peculiarly blessed with means of lavish of adulation as Drummond. Having studied inspiration. In all Scotland, there is no spot more civil law for four years in France, the poet succeeded, finely varied—more rich, graceful, or luxuriantin 1611, to an independent estate, and took up his than the cliffs, caves, and wooded banks of the river residence at Hawthornden. If beautiful and romantic Esk, and the classic shades of Hawthornden. In the scenery could create or nurse the genius of a poet, immediate neighbourhood is Roslin Castle, one of
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
The Rirer of Porth Fcasting. lady named Logan, who bore so strong a resemblance to the former object of his affections, that he solicited What blustering noise now interrupts my sleeps ? and obtained her hand in marriage. Drummond's What echoing shouts thus cleave my crystal deeps ? feelings were so intense on the side of the royalists, And seem to call me from my watery court ? that the execution of Charles is said to have hastened What melody, what sounds of joy and sport, his death, which took place at the close of the same
Are convey'd hither from each night-born spring! year, December 1649. Drummond was intimate with With what loud murmurs do the mountains ring, Ben Jonson and Drayton ; and his acquaintance which in unusual pomp on tiptoes stand, with the former has been rendered memorable by a And, full of wonder, overlook the land ? visit paid to him at Hawthornden, by Jonson, in the Whence come these glittering throngs, these meteors spring of 1619. The Scottish poet kept notes of the
bright, opinions expressed by the great dramatist, and chro- This golden people glancing in my sight! nicled some of his personal failings. For this his Whence doth this praise, applause, and love arise ; memory has been keenly attacked and traduced. It What load-star draweth us all eyes ? should be remembered that his notes were private Am I awake, or have some dreams conspir’d memoranda, never published by himself; and, while to mock my sense with what I most desir'd ! their truth has been partly confirmed from other View I that living face, see I those looks, sources, there seems no malignity or meanness in which with delight were wont t'amaze my brooks ! recording faithfully his impressions of one of his most Do I behold that worth, that man divine, distinguished contemporaries. The poetry of Drum- This age's glory, by these banks of mine ! mond has singular sweetness and harmony of versi- Then find I true what I long wish'd in vain ; fication. He was of the school of Spenser, but less My much-beloved prince is come again. ethereal in thought and imagination. His Tears on So unto them whose zenith is the pole, the Death of Moeliades (Prince Henry, son of James I.) When six black months are past, the sun does roll: was written in 1612; his Wandering Muses, or the So after tempest to sea-tossed wights, River Forth Feasting (a congratulatory poem to King Fair Helen's brothers show their clearing lights : James, on his revisiting Scotland), appeared in 1617, So comes Arabia's wonder from her woods, and placed him among the greatest poets of his age. And far, far off is seen by Memphis' floods ; His eonnets are of a still higher cast, have fewer The feather'd sylvans, cloud-like, by her fly, conceits, and more natural feeling, elevation of sen- | And with triumphing plaudits beat the sky;
Nile marvels, Serap's priests entranced rave,
In which Apollo's bird came to their clime.
Let mother earth now deck'd with flowers be seen,
May never hours the web of day cutweave;
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 LycidasInwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Like to that sanguine flower, inscribed with woe.
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 that all beneath the moon decays,
1 Warbling: from ramage, French.
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; Yea, if thou hadst remain'd thy own, I might perchance have yet been thine.
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 ?
The morning rose, that untouch'd stands,
When thou hast handled been awhile,
And I will sigh, while some will smile,
GEORGE BUCHANAN-DR ARTHUR JOHNSTON.
Two Scottish authors of this period distinguished themselves by their critical excellence and poetical fancy in the Latin language. By early and intense study, they acquired all the freedom and fluency of natives in this learned tongue, and have become known to posterity as the Scottish Virgil and the Scottish Ovid. We allude to the celebrated GEORGE BUCHANAN and DR ARTHUR JOHNSTON. The for
mer is noticed among our prose authors. His great work is his paraphrase of the Psalms, part of which was composed in a monastery in Portugal, to which he had been confined by the Inquisition about the year 1550. He afterwards pursued the sacred strain in France; and his task was finished in Scotland when Mary had assumed the duties of sovereignty. Buch
* 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 Quale canebamus, steterat dum celsa Sionis
Ullane vos animo deleat hora meo ! union of philosophical dignity and research with the Comprecor, antè meæ capiant me oblivia dextræ, finer sensibilities and imagination of the poet. Nec mernor argutæ sit mea dextra lyre : Arthur Johnston was born at Caskieben, near Aber- Os mihi destituat vox, arescente palato, deen, in 1587. He studied medicine at Padua, and Hæreat ad fauces aspera lingua ineas : resided for about twenty years in France. On his Prima mihi vestræ nisi sint præconia laudis ; return to Britain, he obtained the patronage of Arch
Hinc nisi lætitiæ surgat origo mcæ. bishop Laud, and was appointed physician to Charles At tu (qur nostræ insultavit læta rapinæ) 1. He died at Oxford in 1641. Jolinston wrote a
Gentis Idumææ tu memor esto, pater. number of Latin elegies and epigrams, a paraphrase Diripite, ex imis evertite fundamentis, of the Song of Solomon, a collection of short poems
Æ quaque (clamabant) reddite tecta solo. (published in 1637), entitled, Musa Aulicæ, and (his Tu quoque crudeles Babylon dabis impia pænes : greatest work, as it was that of Buchanan) a com- Et rerum instabiles experiere vices. plete version of the Psalms. He also edited and Felix qui nostris accedet cladibus ultor, contributed largely to the Delicia Poetarum Scotorum, Reddet ad exemplum qui tibi damna tuum. a collection of congratulatory poems by various
Felix qui tenero consperget saxa cerebro, authors, which reflected great honour on the taste Eripiens gremio pignora cara tuo. and scholarship of the Scottish nation. Critics have been divided as to the relative merits of Buchanan
The First of May. and Johnston. We subjoin the opinions of a Scottish and an English scholar :—'If we look into Buch- [Translated, as is the subsequent piece, from the Latin anan,' says Dr Beattie, 'what can we say, but that Buchanan, by the late Mr Robert Hogg.] the learned author, with great command of Latin
All hail to thee, thou First of May, expression, has no true relish for the emphatic con
Sacred to wonted sport and play, ciseness and unadorned simplicity of the inspired
To wine, and jest, and dance, and song, poets ? Arthur Johnston is not so verbose, and has,
And mirth that lasts the whole day long! of course, more vigour ; but his choice of a couplet,
Hail ! of the seasons honour bright, which keeps the reader always in mind of the puerile
Annual return of sweet delight; epistles of Ovid, was singularly injudicious. As
Flower of reviving summer's reign, psalms may, in prose as easily as in verse, be adapted
That hastes to time's old age again! to music, why should we seek to force those divine
When Spring's mild air at Nature's birth strains into the measures of Roman or of modern
First breath'd upon the new-form'd earth ; song? Ile who transformed Livy into iambics, and Or when the fabled age of gold, Virgil into monkish rhyme, did not, in my opinion,
Without fix'd law, spontaneous rollid ; act more absurdly. In fact, sentiments of devotion
Such zephyrs, in continual gales, are rather depressed than elevated by the arts of the
Pass'd temperate along the vales, European versifier.'* The following is the testi.
And soften'd and refresh'd the soil, mony of Mr Hallam : -The Scots certainly wrote
Not broken yet by human toil ; Latin with a good ear and considerable elegance of Such fruitful warmths perpetual rest phrase. A sort of critical controversy was carried On the fair islands of the bleston in the last century as to the versions of the
Those plains where fell disease's moan Psalms by Buchanan and Johnston. Though the
And frail old age are both unknown. national honour may seem equally secure by the Such winds with gentle whispers spread superiority of either, it has, I believe, been usual in
Among the dwellings of the dead, Scotland to maintain the older poet against all the And shake the cypresses that grow world. I am, nevertheless, inclined to think that
Where Lethe murmurs soft and slow. Johnston's Psalms, all of which are in elegiac metre, Perhaps when God at last in ire do not fall short of those of Buchanan, either in ele
Shall purify the world with fire,
Hail ! glory of the fleeting year!
Memorial of the time gone by,
And emblem of futurity!
My wreck of mind, and all my woes,
And all my ills, that day arose, Inque sinus liquidæ decidit imber aquæ.
When on the fair Nexra's eyes, Muta super virides pendebant nablia ramos,
Like stars that shine, Et salices tacitas sustinuere lyras.
At first, with hapless fond surprise,
I gazed with mine.
When my glance met her searching glance,
A shivering o'er my body burst, Nos jubet ad patrios verba referre modos,
As light leaves in the green woods dance • Beattie s Dissertations, Moral and Critical
When western breezes stir them first;
My heart forth from my breast to go,
most sacred personis, not excluding the Deity, were And mix with her's already wanting,
introduced into them. Now beat, now trembled to and fro,
About the reign of Henry VI., persons representWith eager fondness leaping, panting.
ing sentiments and abstract ideas, such as Mercy, Just as a boy, whose nourice woos him,
Justice, Truth, began to be introduced into the Folding his young limbs in her bosom,
miracle plays, and led to the composition of an imHeeds not caresses from another,
proved kind of drama, entirely or chiefly composed But turns his eyes still to his mother,
of such characters, and termed Moral Plays. These When she may once regard him watches,
were certainly a great advance upon the miracles, And forth his little fond arms stretches.
in as far as they endeavoured to convey sound moral Just as a bird within the nest
lessons, and at the same time gave occasion to some That cannot fly, yet constant trying,
poetical and dramatic ingenuity, in imaging forth Its weak wings on its tender breast
the characters, and assigning appropriate speeches Beats with the vain desire of flying.
to each. The only scriptural character retained
in them was the devil, who, being represented in Thou, wary mind, thyself preparing
grotesque habiliments, and perpetually beaten bv To live at peace, from all ensnaring,
an attendant character, called the Vice, served to That thou might'st never mischief catch, enliven what must have been at the best a sober, Plac'd'st you, unhappy eyes, to watch
though well-meant entertainment. The Cradle of With vigilance that knew no rest,
Security, Hit the Nail on the Head, Impatient Poverty, Beside the gateways of the breast.
and the Marriage of Wisdom and Wit, are the names But you, induc'd by dalliance deep,
of moral plays which enjoyed popularity in the reign Or guile, or overcome by sleep ;
of Henry VIII. It was about that time that acting Or else have of your own accord
first became a distinct profession; both miracles Consented to betray your lord ;
and moral plays had previously been represented Both heart and soul then fled and left
by clergymen, schoolboys, or the members of tradMe spiritless, of mind bereft.
ing incorporations, and were only brought forward
occasionally, as part of some public or private fesThen cease to weep; use is there none
tivity. To think by weeping to atone;
As the introduction of allegorical characters had Since heart and spirit from me fled,
been an improvement upon those plays which conYou move not by the tears you shed ; But go to her, intreat, obtain ;
sisted of scriptural persons only, so was the intro
duction of historical and actual characters an imIf you do not intreat, and gain, Then will I ever make you gaze
provement upon those which employed only a set of
impersonated ideas. It was soon found that a real Upon her, till in dark amaze
human being, with a human name, was better calYou sightless in your sockets roll,
culated to awaken the sympathies, and keep alive Extinguish'd by her eyes' bright blaze,
the attention of an audience, and not less so to imAs I have been depriv'd of heart and soul.
press them with moral truths, than a being who only represented a notion of the mind. The substi
tution of these for the symbolical characters, graDRAMATISTS.
dually took place during the earlier part of the sixNotwithstanding the greatness of the name of teenth century; and thus, with some aid from Greek Spenser, it is not in general versification that the dramatic literature, which now began to be studied, poetical strength of the age is found to be chiefly and from the improved theatres of Italy and Spain, manifested. Towards the latter part of the reign of the genuine English drama took its rise. Elizabeth, the dramatic form of composition and re- As specimens of something between the moral presentation, coinciding with that love of splendour, plays and the modern drama, the Interludes of John chivalrous feeling, and romantic adventures, which Heywood may be mentioned. Heywood was supanimated the court, rose with sudden and wonderful ported at the court of Henry VIII. partly as a brilliancy, and attracted nearly all the poetical genius musician, partly as a professed wit, and partly as a of England.
writer of plays. His dramatic compositions, part It would appear that, at the dawn of modern civi- of which were produced before 1521, generally relisation, most countries of Christian Europe pos- presented some ludicrous familiar incident, in a sessed a rude kind of theatrical entertainment, con style of the broadest and coarsest farce, but yet sisting, not in those exhibitions of natural character with no small skill and talent. One, called the and incident which constituted the plays of ancient Four P.'s, turns upon a dispute between a Palmer, Greece and Rome, but in representations of the prin- a Pardoner, a Poticary, and a Pedlar (who are the cipal supernatural events of the Old and New Testa- only characters), as to which shall tell the grossest ments, and of the history of the saints, whence they falsehood: an accidental assertion of the Palmer, were denominated Miracles, or Miracle Plays. Ori- that he never saw a woman out of patience in his ginally, they appear to have been acted by, and under life, takes the rest off their guard, all of whom dethe immediate management of, the clergy, who are clare it to be the greatest lie they ever heard, and understood to have deemed them favourable to the the settlement of the question is thus brought about diffusion of religious feeling ; though, from the traces amidst much drollery. One of Heywood's chief of them which remain, they seem to have been pro- objects seems to have been to satirise the manners fane and indecorous in the highest degree. A of the clergy, and aid in the cause of the Reformers. miracle play, upon the story of St Katherine, and There were some less distinguished writers of inin the French language, was acted at Dunstable in terludes, and Sir David Lyndsay's Satire of the 1119, and how long such entertainments may have Three Estates, acted in Scotland in 1339, was a previously existed in England is not known. From play of this kind. the year 1268 to 1577, they were performed almost The regular drama, from its very commencement, every year in Chester; and there were few large was divided into comedy and tragedy, the elements cities which were not then regaled in a similar man- of both being found quite distinct in the rude enterner; even in Scotland they were not unknown. The tainments above described, not to speak of the pre