Home  »  Volume IV: English PROSE AND POETRY SIR THOMAS NORTH TO MICHAEL DRAYTON  »  § 11. Drummond’s books, Edinburgh

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

XIX. The Foundation of Libraries

§ 11. Drummond’s books, Edinburgh

In the same year that Holdsworth died, William Drummond, laird of Hawthornden, also passed away. He had already presented, in 1627, a collection of 500 volumes to the university of Edinburgh, which is still carefully preserved in the university library. Among them are early editions of some of the following writers: Bacon, Chapman, Churchyard, Daniel, Dekker, Donne, Drayton, Heywood, Ben Jonson, Marston, May, the countess of Pembroke, Quarles, Selden, Shakespeare (Love’s Labour’s Lost, 1598, Romeo and Juliet, 1599), Sidney, Spenser, Sylvester and George Wither. The Latin preface which Drummond himself wrote and prefixed to the catalogue is worthy of note as embodying a kind of philosophy of bibliography conceived in the spirit of an educated layman of the time.

  • “As good husbandmen,” wrote the Scotch laird, “plant trees in their times, of which the after-age may reap the fruit, so should we; and what antiquity hath done for us, that should we do for Posterity, so that letters and learning may not decay, but ever flourish to the honour of God, the public utility, and the conservation of human society.”