Accession to the lairdship of Hawthornden Castle, Midlothian at the age of twenty-four allowed William Drummond to give up his degree in law and devote himself to the collection and study of literature and the writing of poetry. He donated 600 volumes from his substantial library to his alma mater, the University of Edinburgh, between 1626 and 1636.
He lavishly published several books of his own poetry to present within his social circle. This included friendships with literary figures of the day, such as Michael Drayton and Ben Jonson.
Though Hawthornden wrote in numerous modes, he is probably best remembered for his subtle handling of the sonnet form.