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A Short Biographical Sketch of WILLIAM DRUMMOND (1585 to 1649)

by John W. Cousin

DRUMMOND, WILLIAM (1585-1649). —Poet, was descended from a very ancient family, and through Annabella D., Queen of Robert III., related to the Royal House. Ed. at Edin. Univ., he studied law on the Continent, but succeeding in 1610 to his paternal estate of Hawthornden, he devoted himself to poetry. Tears on the Death of Meliades (Prince Henry) appeared in 1613, and in 1616 Poems, Amorous, Funerall, Divine, etc. His finest poem, Forth Feasting (1617), is addressed to James VI. on his revisiting Scotland. D. was also a prose-writer, and composed a History of the Five Jameses, Kings of Scotland from 1423-1524, and The Cypress Grove, a meditation on death. He was also a mechanical genius, and patented 16 inventions. D., though a Scotsman, wrote in the classical English of the day, and was the friend of his principal literary contemporaries, notably of Ben Jonson, who visited him at Hawthornden, on which occasion D. preserved notes of his conversations, not always flattering. For this he has received much blame, but it must be remembered that he did not pub. them. As a poet he belonged to the school of Spenser. His verse is sweet, flowing, and harmonious. He excelled as a writer of sonnets, one of which, on John the Baptist, has a suggestion of Milton.