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Picture of William Drummond of Hawthornden


The Image of Irelande, by John Derrick

William Drummond of Hawthornden


Poet, pamphleteer, laird of Hawthornden in Midlothian, friend of Michael Drayton and of Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, acquaintance of Ben Jonson and supporter of King Charles I, William Drummond graduated from the Tounis College (now the University of Edinburgh) in 1605 before proceeding to further study at Bourges and Paris in 1607 amd 1608. He published "Flowers of Zion" and "The cypress grove" (1623), wrote a "History of Scotland 1423-1524" (published posthumously in 1655), and "Remoras for the National League between Scotland and England" (1643). His death is supposed to have been caused by grief at the execution of the King in 1649.

Drummond began collecting books soon after he graduated. In 1626 he gifted 363 volumes to the Tounis College, and as many again between 1628 and 1636; these were probably about one-third of his own library. Exactly why he did so is not clear. He was made a burgess of Edinburgh in 1626, and probably wished to be seen and remembered as a benefactor to his alma mater. The library represents a superb example of an educated gentleman's private library of the early 17th-century. It has provided the University Library with some of its greatest treasures, especially in the fields of literature, history, geography, philosophy and theology, science, medicine and law. They include early printings of Shakespeare, Jonson, Spenser, Drayton and Sir Philip Sidney, a complete copy of John Derrick's "Image of Irelande" (1581), and two early pamphlets encouraging the colonisation of Nova Scotia. The books are listed in the University Library's guard-book catalogue, and a printed catalogue of the collection is available in the Special Collections Department, where the collection itself may be consulted.

    The Image of Irelande, by John Derrick (London, 1581) - Plates

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