« PreviousContinue »
THE SHAKESPEARE SOCIETY.
Few documents connected with literary history have recently occasioned greater, and, at the same time, more useless and unprofitable controversy, than Drummond of Hawthornden's Notes of Conversations with Ben Jonson. In submitting to the Members of the Shakespeare Society, for the first time in a substantive form, what is presumed to be a full and genuine copy of Drummond's manuscript, it may be necessary to prefix a few remarks on two points. The first is, in regard to the purpose of Jonson's Visit to Scotland; the second, as to the imputations that have been liberally bestowed on the Poet of Hawthornden, in connection with these Notes of Conversations, by inquiring whether they are well founded, and to what extent.
It is, perhaps, vain to inquire what motives induced the great English dramatist to undertake, as it was then viewed, a long and toilsome journey. The editor of Drummond's Works, in 1711, asserts, indeed, that Jonson “came down to Scotland on foot, in the year 1619, on purpose to visit him [Drummond], and stayed some three or four weeks with him at Hawthornden.” This statement has been currently repeated for more than a