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uniform respect religion and its ministers; and in an age, too, when it was found necessary to add regulation to regulation, to stop the growth of impiety on the stage.” Sir Walter Scott, in his “Miscellaneous Prose Works,” makes the following observations:-“Massinger appears to have studied the works both of Shakspeare and Jonson with the intention of uniting their excellences. He knew the strength of plot; and although his plays are altogether irregular, yet he well understood the advantages of a strong and defined intent; and in unravelling the intricacies of his intrigues, he often displays the management of a master.” Chambers is equally favourable in his opinion of Massinger's genius as a dramatic poet:-“The Virgin Martyr,' the ‘Bondman,'the Fatal Dowry,' the 'City Madam,' and the 'New Way to Pay Old Debts,' are his best-known productions. The last mentioned has kept possession of the stage, chiefly on account of the effective and original character of Sir Giles Overreach. Massinger's comedy resembles Ben Jonson's in its eccentric strength and wayward exhibitions of human nature. The greediness of avarice, the tyranny of unjust laws, and the miseries of poverty, are drawn with a powerful hand. The luxuries and vices of a city life, also, afford Massinger scope for his indignant and forcible invective. Genuine humour or sprightliness he had none. His dialogue is often coarse and indelicate, and his characters in low life too depraved. The tragedies of Massinger have a calm and dignified seriousness, a lofty pride, that impresses the imagination very strongly. His genius was more eloquent and descriptive than impassioned or inventive; yet his pictures of suffering virtue, its struggles and its trials, are calculated to touch the heart, as well as gratify the taste."
In estimating the literary character of Massinger, and the rank which he ought to occupy among the other eminent dramatic writers of his age, Hallam ex. hibits his usual judgment and ability. “Next to the grace and dignity of sentiment in Massinger,” he observes, “we must praise those qualities in his style. Every modern critic has been struck by the peculiar
beauty of his language. In bis harmonious swell of numbers, in his pure and genuine idiom, which a text far less corrupt than that of Fletcher enables us to enjoy, we find one unceasing charm. The poetical talents of Massinger were very considerable; his taste superior to that of his contemporaries; the colouring of his imagery is rarely overcharged ; a certain redundancy, as some may account it, gives fulness to his style, and if it might not always conduce to effect on the stage, is, on the whole, suitable to the character of his composition. As a tragic writer, Massinger appears to me second only to Shakspeare. In the higher comedy I can hardly think him inferior to Jonson. In wit and sprightly dialogue, as well as in knowledge of theatrical effect, he falls very much below Fletcher. These, however, are the great names of the English stage.” For further information the reader should consult “ The Biographia Dramatica," Gifford's “ Introduction to Massinger," Lamb's “ Specimens of the English Dramatic Poets," and the criticisms of Hazlitt, Leigh Hunt, and Schlegel.
BORN, 1585; DIED, 1649.
Edward Phillips, nephew of Milton. WILLIAM DRUMMOND is celebrated as one of the sweetest of the Scottish poets. He was born at Hawthornden, the romantic seat of his father, in Mid-Lothian, on the 13th December, 1585. He was the son of Sir John Drummond, a descendant of one of the most illustrious families in Scotland. William was the eldest of four sons; and there were three daughters by the same marriage. Early in life he became a pupil at the High School of Edinburgh, and afterwards took his degree in the Uni
versity of that city. His collegiate studies were not confined to the branches usually taught, but embraced a wide range of science and ancient literature. In 1606 he went to Bourges in France, where he studied civil law with great assiduity for four years; after which he returned to his native country in 1610, and lived in his beautiful residence on the banks of the Esk, in the enjoyment of literary ease. Though eminently qualified by his learning and talents to shed a lustre on the legal profession, yet there were many considerations which induced him to prefer the study of elegant literature to that of law. Perhaps, the strongest of those inducements was the possession of a liberal fortune, which his father bequeathed to him about the period of his return from the Continent. The romantic beauty of th scenery, in the immediate vicinity of the poet's residence, has often been described. A writer of poetic taste and imagination could scarcely have found a lovelier spot for bis residence. In this charming place of retirement, he enjoyed the luxury of books, and the society of congenial friends. Amongst these were many individuals distinguished by their rank and literary reputation. Ben Jonson, the dramatic poet, travelled from London to Scotland on foot to pay him a visit, and remained for three weeks at Hawthornden.
Referring to the influence of scenery over the mind and heart of Drummond, the late C. Burke, in his attractive work on the “Beauties, Harmonies, and Sublimities of Nature,” remarks that, “after the death of the accomplished Miss Cunningham, it constituted one of the principal charms of his life. His retiring to Hawthornden was the beginning of his happiness. For wildness and beauty Hawthornden is surpassed by few scenes in Scotland. There, in the middle period of his life, Drummond tasted those hours of enjoyment which were denied to his youth. Thither Ben Jonson travelled to enjoy the pleasure of his conversation; and there he perused with attention the best Greek, Roman, and Italian authors; charmed away the hours in playing favourite Italian
and Scottish airs upon his lute, and devoted many a peaceful hour to the fascinating game, or rather science, of chess."
Drummond had to encounter a severe trial during his retirement at his paternal estate. When but a very young man, he formed an ardent attachment to a lady remarkable for her beauty, accomplishments, and a tasto congenial with his own. Her name was Cunningham, and she died soon after the wedding day was fixed. Many of his most pathetic verses are dedicated to her memory. In fact, from the period when this visitation of Providence took place, his principal poetical effusions were tinged with the gloom of an interesting melancholy. Overwhelmed by the shock, he fell into a state of despondency, and sought for relief in travelling on the continent of Europe, where he remained for eight years, moving among the most refined circles in society, and improving his mind by reading and con, versation. While travelling in France, Germany, and Italy, he made a large and rare collection of books and manuscripts in various languages, which he afterwards presented to the University of Edinburgh. On his return to Scotland, he became acquainted with Elizabeth Logan, whom he afterwards married, conceiving that she bore a striking resemblance to the first object of his attachment. During the remainder of his life ho continued to reside at Hawthornden. He took an active part in the political affairs of the day, and was the author of some political publications, which have been condemned as supporting slavish principles. This charge was made in consequence of his extravagant advocacy of the doctrines of non-resistance and
passive obedience. He has some claim to the character of an historian, having written a history of Scotland during the reigns of the first five Jameses. He was a stanch Royalist; and he is said to have suffered much in mind from the death of Charles I. If we are to rely upon the authority of Bishop Sage, the biographer of Drummond, he was so much affected by hearing of the execution of his Sovereign, that he expired on the 4th December, 1649. This statement, however, is disproved by the fact, that the
King was executed on the 30th January of the same year-an interval of more than ten months before Drummond's decease, at the age of sixty-four. By his marriage with Elizabeth Logan, who was an amiable and excellent wife, he left five sons and four daughters to lament his loss. He was buried in the church of Lasswade, in the immediate neighbourhood of Hawthornden. His private character is represented to have been in all respects exemplary. He was moral in his conduct; and many of his writings show that his mind was deeply impressed with feelings of sincere piety.
That Drummond was a man of considerable erudition and various accomplishments, the accounts given of him by his biographers and critics fully prove. His knowledge of the ancient languages was considerable. He read and spoke, with fluency, Italian, French, and Spanish. Of music he was passionately fond, and sang and played on the lute with no ordinary skill. He was a lover and patron of the fine arts. He is said also to have possessed an accurate knowledge of mathematics in its highest branches, of mechanics, and other departments of science. The works of this eminent writer are varied. Of his prose compositions, those best known are, the "Cypress Grove," some political tracts which derive their interest from the political events of the times, and his history of the five Jameses—a work which embraces the history of Scotland from 1423 to 1542. Drummond's reputation, however, rests mainly upon his poetical effusions. These consist principally of sonnets, madrigals, epigrams, epitaphs, some minor pieces, and a religious poem entitled the “Flowers of Zion”—a production which is not so generally known as its merits deserve. The Rev. R. Cattermole has included, in his “Selections of Sacred Poetry of the Seventeenth Century,” several of a moral and devotional character from Drummond's various works, which exhibit many examples of lofty thought and vigorous diction.
The sonnets of Drummond form a large portion of his compositions; they have been praised by Headley, Ellis, Pinkerton, and several other critics, as equal in