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So strong, in fact, was his attachment to his royal master, that when the report of his execution on the scaffold reached him, he is said to have been so borne down with affliction that he lifted his head no He expired on the 4th of December, 1649, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, and was buried in his own aisle in the church of Laswade, in the immediate vicinity of Hawthornden. Of several children which he had by his marriage, two sons and a daughter survived him, and of these William, the eldest, was knighted by Charles the Second, and Elizabeth became the wife of a physician of the name of Henderson. It is here also worthy of record, that Dr. Abernethy Drummond, of the ancient family of Abernethy of Saltoun, who married the heiress-general of Hawthornden, and resided there for many years, had the good taste and feeling to in
scribe some lines over Ben Jonson's seat in honour of the poet, and which conclude with an eulogy on solitude that may be said to speak the very soul and sentiment of the bard to whose memory they are dedicated.
O sacred solitude! divine retreat!
Choice of the prudent, envy of the great;
By these pure streams, or in thy waving shade,
I court fair Wisdom, that celestial maid;
There, from the ways of men laid safe ashore,
I smile to hear the distant tempest roar ;
There are few persons who in moral worth and amiability of disposition have surpassed the poet of Hawthornden; nor, as a gentleman and a scholar, was he less distinguished for urbanity of manners and depth of erudition. He was skilled in the accomplishments of his age, a master of the Italian, French, and Spanish languages, and a lover and patron of the fine arts.
Of his poetical talents, the specimens which I have already quoted, and the strictures which have accompanied them, will enable the reader to form a highly favourable, and, in general, a pretty accurate judgment. Not that all his pieces, which are very numerous, exhibit an equal degree of simplicity, pathos, and purity of expression; for there are many, and especially amongst his madrigals, epigrams, and miscellanies, which are not only in themselves of a trifling nature, but discover an unfortunate partiality for the prettinesses and concetti of the Italian school; yet enough has been given to
* The Bee, vol. ix. p. 50.
show, that when the feelings of the poet were interested, he could pour forth the dictates of his heart in language true to nature, and adequate to the utterance of any subject, however weighty and exalted. Indeed, in that portion of his volume which is classed under the title of " Divine Poems," there may be found occasional passages which, for loftiness of thought and splendor of diction, would not be deemed unworthy of the mighty poet of Paradise Lost. Thus, for instance, in the fragment named "The Shadow of the Judgment," where the spirits of the just are represented as praying for the final advent of the Saviour, who but must admire the following lines, of which those in italics need no eulogium either from my pen or any other?
O come, still hoped for, come long wish'd for Lord!—
The earth seems in the sun, the welkin gone;
Millions of angels in the lofty height,
Clad in pure gold, and with electre bright,
It was scarcely to be expected, that amongst poems in general of so serious and plaintive a cast as are those of Drummond, there should be found one whose characteristic is that of the coarsest and often the most indelicate humour. Yet the "Polemo-Middinia," or the Dunghill Fight, a Macaronic poem, in which the Virgilian hexameter is mingled with broad Scotch, has been ascribed to our author by Bishop Gibson, who, when a young man, published this piece, together with "Christ's Kirk on the Green,” at Oxford, in 1691, with some curious and valuable notes*. This ascription secured for it a place in the collection of the poet's works printed in 1711, but, there is some reason to conclude, without sufficient authority; for although
* Polemo-Middinia, Carmen Macronicum. Autore Gulielmo Drummondo, Scoto-Britanno. Accedit Jacobi, id nominis Quinti, Regis Scotorum, Cantilena Rustica, vulgo inscripta "Christ's Kirk on the Green." Recensuit, notisque illustravit E. G. Oxonii e Theatro Sheldoniano. An. Dom 1691, 4to.
Mr. Gilchrist, in a very interesting paper on the bishop's edition, has conjectured that this ludicrous trifle was written when Drummond was on a visit to his brother-in-law at Scotstarvet *; yet it has been acutely observed by Mr. Irving, after remarking on Gibson's failure in specifying his authority, and on the improbability of a production so indelicate proceeding from our poet's pen, that “the following verse seems to exhibit historical evidence of its being composed at a period subsequent to his death:
Barytonam emisit veluti Monsmegga cracasset.
Drummond," he observes, "died in the year 1649, but the huge mortar known by the name of Mons Meg had not then been brought into Scotland." He adds, "I remember to have heard the PolemoMiddinia adjudged in a decisive tone to Walter Dennistone. It ought, however, to have been recollected that this name is merely fictitious, and that the writer who assumed it was the celebrated Dr. Pitcairne.-That Dr. Pitcairne was the author of the Polemo Middinia," he continues, "I will