1859 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Patrick Gordon

William Anderson, in Scottish Nation (1859-66) 2:332-33.



Patrick GORDON, author of the Famous Historie of the renowned and valiant Robert the Bruce, was, about the beginning of the seventeenth century, according to Dempster, employed as the king's envoy to Poland. Mr. Pinkerton supposes him to have been a man of property, a conclusion which Dr. Irving conjectures seems to have been drawn from Gordon's styling himself gentleman. But, as Waterhouse observes in his Humble Apology for Learning and Learned Men, published in 1653, "all men learnedly bred, and members of universities and houses of law, are by consent of Christendom, as well as our own nation, accounted gentleman, and warranted to write themselves so, be their extract how mean and ignote soever." The memorials preserved of Patrick Gordon are very scanty. He was the author of the following poems, Neptunus Britannicus Corydonis. De Luctuoso Henrici Principis Obitu, London, 1613; The famous Historie of Penardo and Laisso, otherwise called the Warre of Love and Ambition, doone in heroick verse, Dort, 1615; to this poem a panegyrical sonnet by Drummond is prefixed; The famous Historie of the renowned and valiant Prince Robert, surnamed the Bruce, King of Scotland, and of sundrie other valiant knights, both Scots and English, enlarged with an addition of the Scottishe Kings lineallie descended from him, to Charles now Prince. A Historie both pleasant and profitable; set forthe and done in heroik verse by Patrick Gordon, Gentleman, Dort, 1615, 4to; Edinburgh, 1718, 12mo; Glasgow, 1753, 12mo. Both these poems in English are incomplete, consisting only of the first book each. The history of Bruce, which is of considerable length, and written in the octave stanza, contains some striking passages, though not as a whole entitled to be considered a work of much merit, possessing, as Dr. Irving observes, neither the dignity of an epic poem, nor the authenticity of a historical narration.