1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Drummond

David Macbeth Moir, "Hawthornden — A Sketch" Blackwood's Magazine 13 (March 1823) 343.



Stranger! the spot is wild, the banks are steep,
With eglantine and hawthorn blossom'd o'er,
Lychnis, and daffodils, and hare-bells blue:
From lofty granite crags precipitous,
The oak, with scanty footing, topples o'er,
Tossing his limbs to heaven; and, from the cleft,
Fringing the dark-brown natural battlements,
The hazel throws his silvery branches down:
There, starting into view, a castled cliff,
Whose roof is lichen'd o'er, purple and green,
O'erhangs thy wandering stream, romantic Esk,
And rears its head among the ancient trees.

Beneath there frowns a cavern, whose wide mouth
Slants towards the river bed. 'Twas to this spot
So sad, so lovely in its solitude,
That Drummond, the historian and the bard,
Withdrew to Wisdom, and the holy lore
Which Nature teaches, for his heart was soft,
And lived but in another, whom Death took,
Blighting his warm affections in their spring.

He sojourn'd in this loved and lonely seat,
Making this earth a type of Paradise,
And listening, from afar, the murmurous din
Of Life's loud bustle; as an Eremite,
When all is still, the voice o' the distant sea:
And, in that cave, he strung and struck his lyre,
Waking such passionate tones to love and heaven,
That, from her orient haunts, the Muse took wing,
And fix'd her dwelling-place on Celtic shores.