William Drummond of Hawthornden’s only prose work published during his lifetime was A Midnight’s Trance (1619), a meditation on death. In its revised form, it was appended to Flowres of Sion as A Cypresse Grove. His The History of Scotland from the Year 1423 Until the Year 1542, his longest piece of prose, appeared posthumously in 1655. This volume also included a section of Drummond’s letters, a reprinting of A Cypresse Grove, and “Memorials of State,” a sample of the political pamphlets Drummond had written (but never published) in the two decades preceding his death. The 1711 edition of Drummond’s works remains the most complete collection of the prose; in this edition “Irene: Or, A Remonstrance for Concord, Amity, and Love Amongst His Majesty’s Subjects,” “Skiamachia,” and other political pieces first appeared. Here, too, were first published notes on the famous conversations between Drummond and Ben Jonson.
In 1831, David Laing published Extracts from the Hawthornden Manuscripts, which includes “A Brief Account of the Hawthornden Manuscripts in the Possession of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, with Extracts, Containing Several Unpublished Letters with Poems of William Drummond of Hawthornden” (Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Volume 5). In the second part of that volume, published in 1832, Laing presented the first complete edition of the Notes by William Drummond, of Conversations with Ben Jonson. Subsequent editions of Drummond’s poetry have included manuscript material, but the prose remains uncollected.