1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Drummond

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 37.



From an original Picture in the possession of Captain Drummond.

This is an extraordinary countenance of DRUMMOND, of Hawthornden. Yet it is open and intelligent, and there is a pyramid of forehead for the phrenologists. His dress is, in itself, an exquisite picture; indeed the eye rests upon it with at least as much pleasure as upon his face. There is great beauty in Drummond's sonnets and poems, mixed, it must be confessed, with a sufficient quantity of conceits. But he was the first Scottish poet who ever used our English language with effect, and a few faults may he forgiven him. His sonnet, beginning, "Dear wood, and you sweet solitary place," has a fine air of sylvan repose about it; and his forty-fifth sonnet, commencing—

Nymphs, sister Nymphs, which haunt this chrystal brook,
And happy in these floating bowers abide,
Where trembling roofs of trees from sun you hide,
Which make Idean woods in every crook;
Whether ye garlands for your locks provide,
Or pearly letters seek in sandy book,
Or count your loves when Thetis was a bride,
Lift up your golden heads and on me look!

and others, possess great beauty and poetic feeling, with, invariably, a little alloy of conceit, as we have before stated.