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Drummond of Hawthornden, January 1619," but which left it very doubtful what might be the precise extent and nature of the original. Unfortunately, also, this paper was occasionally employed to asperse Jonson's character, and some scurrilous additions were interpolated by the anonymous editor of Cibber's Lives of the Poets, the better to serve such a purpose.

That Drummond committed to writing such recollections of his conversations with a person of so much eminence as the English Dramatist, can excite no surprise : it is what hundreds of persons before his time and since have done with impunity in similar circumstances. That he was actuated by any unworthy motive, is neither confirmed by internal evidence, nor by any proper use that can be made of such notes. It is strange, however, to find a person of so much natural acuteness and sagacity as the editor of Massinger and Jonson, speaking of Drummond as “ decoying Jonson under his roof,” as

í betraying the confidence of his guest," as "publishing his remarks and censures, without shame," and such like assertions. But it is necessary to hear the critic's own words :

It is not known (says Gifford) at what period, or in what manner, Jonson's acquaintance with Drummond began ; but the ardour with which he cherished his friendship is almost unexampled; he seems, upon every occasion, to labour for language to express his grateful sense of it; and very depraved must have been the mind, that could witness such effusions of tenderness with a determination to watch the softest moment, and betray the confidence of his guest. For this perfidious purpose no one ever afforded greater facilities than Jonson. He wore his heart upon his sleeve, for daws to peck at it : a bird of prey, therefore, like Drummond, had a noble quarry before him; and he could strike at it without stooping.

“It is much to be lamented that our author did not fall into kindly hands. His learning, his judgment, his love of anecdote, his extensive acquaintance with the poets, statesmen, and eminent characters of the age, of whom he talked without reserve, would have rendered his conversations, had they been recorded with such a decent respect for the characters of the living as courtesy demanded, the most valuable body of contemporary criticism that had ever appeared. Such was not Drummond's object. He only sought to injure the man whom he had decoyed under his roof; and he, therefore, gave his remarks in rude and naked deformity. Even thus, however, without one qualifying word, without one introductory or explanatory line, there is little in them that can be disputed; while the vigour, perspicuity, and integrity of judgment which they uniformly display, are, certainly, worthy of commendation.

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“Such are the remarks of Jonson on his contemporaries; set down in malice, abridged without judgment, and published without shame, what is there yet in them to justify the obloquy with which they are constantly assailed, or to support the malicious conclusions drawn from them by Drummond? Or who, that leaned with such confidence on the bosom of a beloved friend, who treacherously encouraged the credulous affection, would have passed the ordeal with more honour than Jonson.

“ As Ben Jonson (say the collectors of Drummond's works) has been very liberal of his censures (opinions) on all his contemporaries, so our author does not spare him.

“ But Jonson's censures are merely critical, or, if the reader pleases, hypercritical ; and, with the exception of Raleigh, who is simply charged with taking credit to himself for the labours of others, he belies no man's reputation, blasts no man's moral character, the apology for the slander of his host, therefore,

who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife himself,

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“ The words put into Drummond's mouth, do not, indeed, belong to him; of this, however, the critics, who trusted merely to Shiels, and quote a work which they never saw, were ignorant. No matter: there is still enough to justify the rhapsody on the 'sweets of friendship!' It must not be concealed, however, that there have been persons free enough to question the purity of Drummond's conduct, and that even the wretched scribbler who interpolated the passage, cannot avoid saying: - - We have inserted Ben's conversations, though, perhaps, it was not altogether fair of Mr. Drummond to commit to writing things that passed over a bottle, and which, perhaps, were heedlessly advanced. As few people are so wise as not to speak imprudently sometimes, it is not the part of a man who invites another to his table to expose what may drop inadvertently.' (Cibber's Lives, vol. i., p. 310.) This gentle reproof from Lauder the second, is extremely pleasant !- perhaps it was a compunctious visiting. Mr. A. Chalmers, too, has an awkward obseryation. Drummond's return, (he says) to the unreserved conduct of Jonson, ‘has been thought not very liberal.' Is it possible! Fie, fie ! Not very liberal !' To do Mr. Chalmers justice, he has no doubts of this kind himself; iņ tenderness, however, to those who have, he suggests, that this suspicion of illiberality is considerably lessened, when we reflect that Drummond appears not to have intended to publish his remarks,' &c. Mr. Chalmers never heard, perhaps, of a legacy of half-a-crown left to a hungry Scotsman, to fire off a pistol, which the ruffian who loaded and levelled it, had not the courage to discharge. At any rate, he seems to think that there is nothing unusual or improper in framing a libellous attack on the character and reputation of a friend, keeping it carefully in store for thirty years, and finally bequeathing it, fairly engrossed, to the caprice or cupidity of an executor,"-(Jonson's Works, by Gifford, vol. i., pp. 116, 124, 126, 129.)

It is strange, I repeat, to find a man like Gifford making use of such language. From all this, and similar remarks obtruded in, and occurring in other parts of the work, one might suppose that no calumny would ever have assailed Jonson's memory, unless for these unfortunate notes, committed to writing by Drummond, in January 1619. The only publication of them, in 1711, he terms “ The costive and splenetic abridgement of his Conversations,” (p. xxiii.) but, as Drummond obviously could not be charged with the abridgment, he elsewhere says, (p. cxxiv.) “ It is observable that every addition by Drummond is tinctured with spleen,” and exclaims, “ What a tissue of malevolence must the original record of those Conversations have been !Now, supposing all this to have been so, it may be asked, what reasonable motive can be assigned to have made Drummond feel any desire “ to blazon Jonson's vices, and bequeath them to posterity?" If this question could be answered in any satisfactory manner, we might then inquire, what were the steps he took to accomplish this object? But no credible motive has, or can be, assigned: and Gifford knew well that during Jonson's life his intercourse with Drummond could not in the smallest degree have influenced his fate, or injured his reputation. He admits (vol. vi., p. 50) that this “gentleman, whose prudence was almost equal to his malignity, kept this libel to himself, at least while the poet lived." But he likewise knew that if Drummond was deterred, during a period of eighteen years, in the life-time of the English poet by the dread of retaliation, he, nevertheless, allowed the other twelve years that he survived Jonson to pass away without employing his notes, or “libel,” for any such purpose. This was, undoubtedly, a very unusual mode for any person to take who is alleged to have harboured such malice.

As to what Mr. Gifford chooses to insinuate of Drummond

having bequeathed his papers “fairly engrossed,” and of the half-crown legacy, such insinuations betray a mean and vindictive spirit, to which silent contempt is the most fitting reply.

Whether the estimate which Drummond was led to form of Jonson's private character be harsh and unfounded, is quite a different matter. This remains for a dispassionate biographer to investigate. Here it may be sufficient to show that “the original record,” as now published, is genuine, although the autograph copy is not known to exist. Sir William Drummond of Hawthornden, the poet's son, died in 1713, (two years after the publication of his father's works,) in the seventyseventh year of his age. None of his immediate successors seem to have inherited a literary disposition; and little or no care was, probably, taken of the poet's books and papers, and many of them, there is reason to believe, were destroyed through sheer neglect. At length, in November 1782, the Reverend Dr. Abernethy Drummond (who had assumed the name on his marriage, in 1760, with the heiress of Hawthornden, Sir William Drummond's grand daughter) presented a large mass of papers, chiefly in the hand-writing of the poet, to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. This we learn from the following announcement, made by the Earl of Buchan, at the Anniversary Meeting of the Society on the 14th of November, 1782 : “ From the Rev. Dr. Abernethy Drummond we have lately received the whole manuscripts of the celebrated historian and poet, William Drummond of Hawthornden, consisting of thirteen volumes ; which donation, so generously bestowed, will,

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