Imágenes de páginas

(ABOUT 1583–ABOUT 1650.) WILLIAM LITHGOW was born in the parish of Lanark, in the year

1583. He wandered on foot over many parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa; a mode of travel which he never condescended to vary unless when the sea, an estuary, or an unfordable river was to be crossed. In this way, he informs us at the conclusion of the oetavo edition of his travels, that “in his three voyages his painful feet have traced over, besides passages of seas and rivers, thirty-six thousand and odd miles, which draweth near to twice the circumference of the whole earth.” His life was one continued effort after the infinite; and the sonnet quoted below is representative of this upward and expansive tendency in its most noble phase. The time of his death, which took place at his native town of Lanark, is unknown, and the place of his sepulture is unmarked by any memorial. The first account of his travels was published in 1614. The title-page of one of his narratives is racy enough, in its jaunty cosmopolitanism, to be transcribed : “The Pilgrimes Farewell to his Native Countrey of Scotland: wherein is contained in way of Dialogue, the Joyes and Miseries of Peregrination. With his Lamentado in his Second Travels, his Passionado on the Rhyne. Diverse other Insertings, and Farewels to Noble Personages, and the Hermites Welcome to his third Pilgrimage, etc. Worthie to be seene and read of all gal Spirits, and Pompe-expecting eyes. By William Lithgow, the Bonaventure of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Patriam meam transire non possum, omnium una est, extra hanc nemo projici potest. Non patria mihi interdicitur, sed locus. In quamcunque terram venio, in meam venio, nulla exilium est sed altera patria est. Patria est ubicunque bene est. Si enim sapiens est, peregrinatur, si stultus exulat. Imprinted at Edinburg, by Andro Hart. Anno Domini, 1618. At the expences of the Author. qto, 32 leaves."

Apart from the literature of his travels, the most pretentious of Lithgow's works is that called “The Gushing Teares of Godly Sorrow. Containing the causes, conditions, and remedies of Sinne, depending mainly upon contrition and confession. And they seconded with sacred and comfortable passages, under the mourning canopie of Teares and Repentance.” This poem, which was also printed at Edinburgh, “ at the expences of the Authour,” was published in 1640. It was in quarto, of fifty leaves, and 456 six-line stanzas. “ The lynes,” says Lithgow, in his dedication of his “Gushing Teares” to James, Earl of Montrose, "are plaine, yet pithie." Their "pithiness" may be inferred from the following couplet; of their undoubted tediousness we offer no specimen :

“So, rouze my sprite, let grace and goodnesse spell

My anagram, I love Almighty wel.


High stands thy top, but higher mounts mine eye,
High soars thy smoke, but higher my desire :
High are thy rounds, steep, circled as I see,
But higher far this breast whiles I aspire:
High mounts the fury of thy burning fire,
But higher far mine aims transcend above :
High bends thy force through midst of Vulcan’s ire,
But higher flies my sprite with wings of love:

High press thy flames, the crystal air to move,
But higher far the scope of my engine:
High lies the snow on thy proud top I prove,
But higher up



brave design.
Thine height cannot surpass this cloudy frame,
But my poor soul the highest heaven doth claim.


(1585-1649.) As a prose writer, Drummond is known chiefly for his * History of the Five Jameses," and "A Cypress Grove, or Philosophical Reflections against the Fear of Death.” The former, of no great historical reputation, is remarkable for the emphasis with which the author insists on the absolute supremacy of the sovereign, and the duty of passive obedience on the part of the subject. “No author of any note," it has been remarked, "excepting, perhaps, Dryden, has been so lavish of adulation as Drummond.” Sir William, who was born in 1585, was the son of Sir John Drummond, gentleman-usher to King James. After studying law in France, he succeeded, in 1611, to an independent estate, and took up his residence at Hawthornden, in the midst of a beautiful and romantic neighbourhood, dear to the muses, and favourable to the cultivation of poetic genius. It was here he received the memorable visit of Ben Jonson, of whose manners and disposition he has left not the most flattering record. His poems consisted of "Sonnets, Epigrams, Epitaphs, and some large pieces, of wbich many are on moral and sacred subjects.” His sacred poetry is characterized by purity of diction, elevation of sentiment, and a charming sweetness and fancy. His poems first appeared in 1616; but the most perfect edition of his “Flowers of Sion” was published in 1623. The following “ Hymn of True Happiness” combines in a degree greater than usual amongst smaller contemporary poems, a slight plot or external mechanism with moral teaching. Drummond died in 1649.


Amidst the azure clear

Of Jordan's sacred streams-
Jordan, of Lebanon the offspring dear-

When zephyrs flowers unclose,

And sun shines with new beams,
With grave and stately grace a nymph arosc.

Upon her head she ware

Of amaranths a crown,
Her left hand palms, her right a brandon bare,

Unveiled skin's whiteness lay,

Gold hairs in curls hung down,
Eyes sparkled joy, more bright than star of day.

The flood a throne her reared
Of waves, most like that heaven
Where beaming stars in glory turn ensphered :

The air stood calm and clear,

No sigh by winds was given;
Birds left to sing, herds feed, her voice to hear.

“World-wandering, sorry wights,

Whom nothing can content,
Within these varying lists of days and nights

Whose life, ere known amiss,

In glittering griefs is spent,
Come learn,” said she, “what is your choicest bliss.


“From toil and pressing cares

How may ye respite find,
A sanctuary from soul-thralling snares,

A port to harbour sure,
In spite of waves and wind,
Which shall when Time's hour-glass is run, endure ?
“Not happy is that life

Which ye as happy hold;
No; but a sea of fears, a field of strife,

Charged on a throne to sit,

With diadems of gold,
Preserved by force, and still observed by wit.
Huge treasures to enjoy,

Of all her gems spoil Inde,
All Seres' silk in garments to employ,'

Deliciously to feed,

The phenix' plumes to find
To rest upon, or deck your purple bed;
“Frail beauty to abuse,

And, wanton Sybarites,
On past or present touch of sense to muse;

Never to hear of noise

Butówhat the ear delights, Sweet music's charms, or charming flatterer's voice. “Nor can it bliss you bring

Hid nature's depths to know, Why matter changeth, whence each form doth spring:

Nor that your fame should range,

And after-worlds it blow
From Tanäis to Nile, from Nile to Gange.
“ All these have not the power

To free the mind from fears,
Nor hideous horror can allay one hour,

When Death in stealth doth glance,

In sickness lurk, or years,
And wakes the soul from out her mortal trancc.
“No, but blest life is this:

With chaste and pure desire
To turn unto the load-star of all bliss,

On God the mind to rest,

Burnt up with sacred fire,
Processing Him, to be by Him possest.

« AnteriorContinuar »