Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

=

The rivers fresh, the caller streams

weak at arguments, and the rules and cautelis' of O'er rocks can swiftly rin,

the royal author are puerile and ridiculous. His The water clear like crystal beams,

majesty's verses, considering that he was only in And makes a pleasant din.

his eighteenth year, are more creditable to him, and

we shall quote one from the volume alluded to.
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

Ane Schort Poeme of Tyme.
describes those working in the fields as stopping at
mid-day, noon meat and sleep to take,' and re-

(Original Spelling.)
freshing themselves with "caller wine' in a cave, and As I was pansing in a morning aire,
* sallads steep'd in oil. As the poet lived four years
in France previous to his settling in Scotland, in Furth for to walk, the morning was so faire,

And could not sleip nor nawyis take me rest, mature life, we suspect he must have been drawing

Athort the fields, it seemed to me the best.
on his continental recollections for some of the

The East was cleare, whereby belyve I gest
features in this picture. At length the gloaming That fyrie Titan cumming was in sight,
comes, the day is spent,' and the poet concludes in a Obscuring chaste Diana by his light.
strain of pious gratitude and delight:-

Who by his rising in the azure skyes,
What pleasure, then, to walk and see

Did dewlie helse all thame on earth do dwell.
End-lang a river clear,

The balmie dew through birning drouth he dryis, The perfect form of every tree

Which made the soile to savour sweit and smell, Within the deep appear.

By dew that on the night before downe fell,

Which then was soukit up by the Delphienus heit
The salmon out of cruives and creels,
Uphailed into scouts,

Up in the aire: it was so light and weit.
The bells and circles on the weills

Whose hie ascending in his purpour chere
Through leaping of the trouts.

Provokit all from Morpheus to flee :

As beasts to feid, and birds to sing with beir,
O sure it were a seemly thing,

Men to their labour, bissie as the bee :
While all is still and calı,

Yet idle men devysing did I see,
The praise of God to play and sing,

How for to drive the tyme that did them irk,
With trumpet and with shalm.

By sindrie pastymcs, quhile that it grew mirk.
Through all the land great is the gild

Then woundred I to see them seik a wyle,
Of rustic folks that cry ;

So willingly the precious tyme to tine :
Of bleating sheep fra they be killid,

And how they did themselfis so farr begyle,
Of calves and rowting kye.

To fushe of tyme, which of itself is fyne.
All labourers draw hare at even,

Fra tyme be past to call it backwart syne
And can to others say,

Is bot in vaine : therefore men sould be warr,
Thanks to the gracious God of heaver, To sleuth the tyme that flees fra them so farr.
Whilk sent this summer day.

For what hath man bot tyme into this lyfe,

Which gives him dayis his God aright to know ! KING JAMES VI.

Wherefore then sould we be at sic a stryfe,

So spedelie our selfis for to withdraw
In 1584, the Scottish sovereign, KING JAMES VI., Evin from the tyme, which is on nowayes slaw
rentured into the magic circle of poesy hiniself, and 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 cominend us.

[graphic]

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 :

Falkland Palace,
The favourite early residence of King James VL

Sonnet in Praise of a Solitary Life.
published a volume entitled, Essayes of a Prentice in Sweet solitary life ! lovely, dumb joy,
the Divine art of Poesie, with the Řeulis and Cautelis That need'st no warnings how to grow more wise
to be pursued and avoided. Kings are generally, as By other men's mishaps, nor the annoy
Milton has remarked, though strong in legions, but Which from sore wrongs done to one's self doth rise.

[graphic]

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 luxuriant, in 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

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

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

The River of Porth Fcasting. 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 inelody,

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 meteon 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 i 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 gonnets 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 ský: 159

Nile marvels, Serap's priests entranced rave,

And birds their ramagel did on thee bestow. And in Mygdonian stone her shape engrave;

Since that dear voice which did thy sounds approve, In lasting cedars they do mark the time

Which wont in such harmonious strains to flow, In which Apollo's bird came to their clime.

Is reft from earth to tune the spheres above,
Let mother earth now deck'd with flowers be seen, What art thou but a harbinger of woe?
And sweet-breath'd zephyrs curl the meadows green : Thy pleasing notes be pleasing notes no more,
Let heaven weep rubies in a crimson shower,

But orphan wailings to the fainting ear,
Such as on India's shores they use to pour :

Each stroke a sigh, each sound draws forth a tear ; Or with that golden storm the fields adorn

For which be silent as in woods before :
Which Jove rain'd when his blue-eyed maid was born. Or if that any hand to touch thee deign,
May never hours the web of day outweave;

Like widow'd turtle still her loss complain.
May never night rise from her sable cave!
Swell proud my billows, faint not to declare
Your joys as ample as their causes are :

[The Praise of a Solitary Life.]
For murmurs hoarse sound like Arion's harp,
Now delicately flat, now sweetly sharp ;

Thrice happy he who by some shady grove,

Far from the clamorous world, doth live his own, And you, my nymphs, rise from your moist repair, Strew all your springs and grots with lilies fair.

Thou solitary, who is not alone, Some swiftest footed, get them hence, and pray

But doth converse with that eternal love. Our floods and lakes may keep this holiday ;

O how more sweet is bird's harmonious moan, Whate'er beneath Albania's hills do run,

Or the hoarse sobbings of the widow'd dove, Which see the rising or the setting sun,

Than those smooth whisperings near a prince's Which drink stern Grampus' mists, or Ochil's snows: Which good make doubtful, do the evil approve !

throne, Stone-rolling Tay, Tyne, tortoise-like, that flows;

O how more sweet is Zephyr’s wholesome breath, The pearly Don, the Dees, the fertile Spey, Wild Severn, which doth see our longest day ;

And sighs embalm'd which new-born flowers unfold, Ness, smoking sulphur, Leve, with mountains crown'd, How sweet are streams to poison drank in gold !

Than that applause vain honour doth bequeath! Strange Lomond for his floating isles renown'd; The Irish Rian, Ken, the silver Ayr,

The world is full of horror, troubles, slights : The snaky Doon, the Orr with rushy hair,

Woods' harmless shades have only true delights.
The crystal-streaming Nith, loud-bellowing Clyde,
Tweed which no more our kingdoms shall divide ;

[To a Nightingale.]
Rank-swelling Annan, Lid with curl'd streams,
The Esks, the Solway, where they lose their names ; Sweet bird ! that sing'st away the early houm
To every one proclaim our joys and feasts,

Of winters past, or coming, void of care.
Our triumphs; bid all come and be our guests ; Well pleased with delights which present are,
And as they meet in Neptune's azure hall,

Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers : Bid them bid sea-gods keep this festival;

To rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers, This day shall by our currents be renown'd;

Thou thy Creator's goodness dost declare, Our hills about shall still this day resound :

And what dear gifts on thee he did not spare, Nay, that our love more to this day appear,

A stain to human sense in sin that low'rs. Let us with it henceforth begin our year.

What soul can be so sick which by thy songs To virgins flowers, to sun-burnt earth the rain, (Attir'd in sweetness) sweetly is not driven To mariners fair winds amidst the main ;

Quite to forget earth’s turmoils, spites, and wrongs, Cool shades to pilgrims, which hot glances burn, And lift a reverend eye and thought to heaven? Are not so pleasing as thy blest return,

Sweet artless songster! thou my mind dost raise That day. dear Prince.

To airs of spheres-yes, and to angels' laya

[Epitaph on Prince Henry.]
Stay, passenger, see where enclosed lies
The paragon of Princes, fairest frame
Time, nature, place, could show to mortal eyes,
In worth, wit, virtue, miracle of fame :
At least that part the earth of him could claim
This marble holds (hard like the Destinies) :
For as to his brave spirit, and glorious name,
The one the world, the other fills the skies.
Th’immortal amaranthus, princely rose;
Sad violet, and that sweet flower that bears
In sanguine spots the tenor of our woes, *
Spread on this stone, and wash it with your tears ;
Then go and tell from Gades unto Ind
You saw where Earth's perfections were confin'd.

[Sonnets.]
In Mind's pure glass when I myself behold,
And lively see how my best days are spent,
What clouds of care above my head are rollid,
What coming ill, which I cannot prevent:
My course begun, I, wearied, do repent,
And would embrace what reason oft hath told;
But scarce thus think I, when love hath controll'd
All the best reasons reason could invent.
Though sure I know my labour's end is grief,
The more I strive that I the more shall pine,
That only death shall be my last relief:
Yet when I think upon that face divine,
Like one with arrow shot, in laughter's place,
Maugre my heart, I joy in my disgrace.

To his Lute.

My lute, be as thou wert when thou didst grow
With thy green mother in some shady grove,
When immelodious winds but made thee move,

I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is brought
In Time's great periods, shall return to nought ;
The fairest states have fatal nights and days.
I know that all the Muse's heavenly lays
With toil of sprite which are so dearly bought,
As idle sounds, of few or none are sought,
That there is nothing lighter than vain praise.

* Milton has copied this image in his Lycidas

• Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Like to that sanguine flower, inscribed with woe.

"Warbling: from ramage, French.

[ocr errors]

I know frail beauty like the purple flower,

The morning rose, that untouch'd stands,
To which one morn oft birth and death affords,

Arm'd with her briers, how sweetly smells !
That love a jarring is of mind's accords,

But pluck'd and strain'd through ruder hands,
Where sense and will bring under Reason's power : Her sweets no longer with her dwells;
Know what I list, all this cannot me move,

But scent and beauty both are gone,
But that, alas ! I both must write and love.

And leaves fall from her, one by one.

Such fate, ere long, will thee betide,
SIR ROBERT AYTON.

When thou hast handled been awhile,

Like sere flowers to be thrown aside;
SIR ROBERT AYTON, a Scottish courtier and poet

And I will sigh, while some will smile,
(1570-1638), enjoyed, like Drummond, the advan-

To see thy love for more than one
tages of foreign travel and acquaintance with Eng-

Hath brought thee to be loved by none.*
lish poets. The few pieces of his composition are
in pure English, and evince a smoothness and deli-

GEORGE BUCHANAN-DR ARTHUR JOHNSTON.
cacy of fancy that have rarely been surpassed. The
poet was a native of Fifeshire, son of Ayton of Two Scottish authors of this period distinguished
Kinaldie. James I. appointed him one of the gentle themselves by their critical excellence and poetical
men of the bed-chamber, and private secretary to fancy in the Latin language. By early and intense
his queen, besides conferring upon him the honour study, they acquired all the freedom and fluency of
of knighthood. Ben Jonson seemed proud of his natives in this learned tongue, and have become
friendship, for he told Drummond that Sir Robert known to posterity as the Scottish Virgil and the
loved him (Jonson) dearly.

Scottish Ovid. We allude to the celebrated GEORGE

BUCHANAN and DR ARTHUR JOHNSTON. The for-
[On Woman's Inconstancy.]
I lov'd thee once, I'll love no more,

Thine be the grief as is the blame ;
Thou art not what thou wast before,
What reason I should be the same!

He that can love unlov'd again,

Hath better store of love than brain :
God send me love my debts to pay,

While unthrifts fool their love away.
Nothing could have my love o'erthrown,

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 ?
When new desires had conquer'd thee,

And chang'd the object of thy will,
It had been lethargy in me,
Not constancy to love thee still.

Yea, it had been a sin to go

And prostitute affection so,
Since we are taught no prayers to say

To such as must to others pray.
Yet do thou glory in thy choice,
Thy choice of his good fortune boast ;
I'll neither grieve nor yet rejoice,
To see him gain what I have lost ;

The height of my disdain shall be,
To laugh at him, to blush for thee;

mer is noticed among our prose authors. His great To love thee still, but go no more

work is his paraphrase of the Psalms, part of which A begging to a beggar's door.

was composed in a monastery in Portugal, to which

he had been confined by the Inquisition about the [I do Confess Thou’rt Smooth and Fair.)

year 1550. He afterwards pursued the sacred strain in

France; and his task was finished in Scotland when
I do confess thou’rt smooth and fair,

Mary had assumed the duties of sovereignty. Buch-
And I might have gone near to love thee ;
Had I not found the slightest prayer

* It is doubtful whether this beautiful song (which Burns

destroyed by rendering into Scotch) was actually the compoThat lips could speak had power to move thee : sition of Ayton. It is printed anonymously in Lawes's Ayres and But I can let thee now alone,

Dialogues, 1659. It is a suspicious circumstance, that in WalAs worthy to be loved by none.

son's Collection of Scottish Poems (1706-11), where several poems I do confess thou’rt sweet, yet find

by Sir Robert are printed, with his name, in a cluster, this is

inserted at a different part of the work, without his name. Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets,

But the internal evidence is strongly in favour of Sir Robert Thy favours are but like the wind,

Ayton being the author, as, in purity of language, elegance, and 'I'hat kisses every thing it meets.

tenderness, it resembles his undoubted lyrics. Aubrey, in And since thou can with more than one,

praising Ayton, says, ' Mr John Dryden has seen verses of his, Thou’rt worthy to be kiss'd by none.

some of the best of that age, printed with some other vorses.'

[graphic]

G Buchanan

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »