(N. B.: a Finnish translation of this page, by Fljavan Brenk, is available, and a Russian one, by Daniyar Nurgaliev, here , and a Czech one by Barbora Ledbedova here)
1. The Romans satirists, Horace, Juvenal, Persius and their colleagues, wrote in verse. Modern satirists, Mencken, Heller, Lewis, and their numberless kin, write in prose. The Renaissance developed a hybrid vehicle, the prosimetric satire, containing both prose and verse and called “Menippean” after the Greek third century B. C. Greek philosopher and writer Menippus of Gadara, who allegedly developed the form. NOTE 1 None of his writings survive. We edit here an early modern satire of this specific type, James Hume’s Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra. This genre can be defined by its form and its ethos.
2. Form — A Menippean satire follows one of two Roman models and includes both prose and verse. The first is Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis (“Gourdification,” written shortly after Claudius's death in 54 A. D.), which recounts the Emperor Claudius’s reception into the underworld and which inspired the later “dream" satires. The second is Petronius’s Satyricon (written during Nero’s reign, about 60 A. D.), a novel of low-life adventures around the Bay of Naples. It contains long passages in verse, which only encouraged the prosimetric character of later satire, and a long diatribe about the follies of Roman education, which encouraged later writers to address in fiction contemporary problems. Lucian’s Greek essays, written in the second century A. D. and first translated into Latin during the early fifteenth century, also influenced the development of the Renaissance Menippean satire. Lucian added certain recurrent motifs: the council of the gods, the paradoxical encomium, the fantastic voyage (Marsh 1998). Moreover Lucian preserved the fame of Menippus, who is a character in several of his essays. Our term “Menippean” comes from Lucian; Renaissance Latin writers usually called this type of satire “Varronian,” from the Roman Marcus Terentius Varro (first century B. C.), whose satires are now lost (De Smet 1996 51f.).
3. Seneca's Apocolocyntosis directly prompted the first Renaissance Menippean satire, Justus Lipsius's Somnium (1581), which describes the reaction of the Roman Senate, now meeting in the underworld, to the philological meddling of contemporary (i. e. sixteenth century) scholars, who were busy editing and emending ancient texts. Cicero, Ovid, and Sallust address the Senate and propose various dire punishments. A compromise is reached. To add a touch of verisimilitude, Lipsius casts the entire story as a dream. Later satirists continued the dream motif, including Nicholas Rigault, L. Biberii Curculionis parasiti mortualia (“The Funeral of the Parasite Lucius Bibulous Weevilius,” 1596), attacking the spongers at the French court, and Petrus Cunaeus, Sardi Venales (“Sardinians For Sale,” 1612), attacking religious disputants. Also derived from Seneca is the tendency towards paradoxical encomium, the praise of unworthy people or objects, in his case the ironical praise of the Emperor Claudius. Rigault’s satire, which praises the sponger, is an example of this motif used in a dream. The most famous work of this type is of course Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly (1511), which, however, is not a Menippean satire in the sense used here. Satire inspired by Seneca has little or no plot, but is the report of an event, a senate meeting or a funeral, or an oration on the follies of life. An example of the latter is Misoponeri Satyricon (“Hate-Evil's Satire,” 1617), whose theme seems to be “virtue raises her standards on mountain peaks, so let’s follow her” (Casaubon 1617 13).
4. Petronius’s Satyricon inspired the narrative satires with a plot, like Hume’s Pantaleon, Barclay’s Euphormionis Satyricon, and the utopian novels. (Thomas More's Utopia (1516), which gives the name to the genre, antedates our period and is not a Menippean satire.) Two features of Petronius's Satyricon were especially important: the inclusion of long passages of verse and of dialogs, really diatribes, on contemporary matters. (Such dialogs are of course essential to the Senecan type of satire as well, but in those satires, the dialog is the entire work, not just a part of the plot.) The best — and the best known — of these narrative satires is John Barclay’s Euphormionis Satyricon (1607), a novel far longer than any of the other works mentioned here. Rather than aiming at one target, Barclay satirized everyone in a position of authority: doctors, nobles, lawyers, priests (especially Jesuits), indeed all aspects of contemporary life. In contrast, most satirists confined themselves to one target, often one specific person. Whether long or short, the narrative satires have disjointed plots with short chapters interspersed with verse commentary. The protagonist simply stumbles from one calamity to another, avoiding disaster only by flight, pursued by a former master (Callion in Barclay), an enemy (Lichas in Petronius), a curse (Priapus in Petronius and Barclay), or a noxious stench (Pantaleon). There is no well-plotted connection between one episode and another. (This characteristic was only encouraged by the condition of Petronius’s text, which exists as a series of longer or shorter fragments, not a continuous narrative from beginning to end. The Cena Trimalchionis, the longest continuous piece of the novel, was printed in 1664, after the floruit of the Latin Menippean satire.) The satires come to no conclusion; the narrator simply wakes up (Somnium, Sardi Venales), escapes to live another day (Euphormionis Satyricon, Petronius), or the text just ends (Pantaleon). The protagonist/narrator is part of the action and is himself a flawed character, either because of ignorance (Barclay’s Euphormio is a naïve stranger newly arrived in Europe) or because of his own flaws (the inept lover of Amator Ineptus [De Smet 1989] cannot understand women and finally marries the ugliest one around). So much for the form of the Menippean satire.
5. Ethos — A Menippean satire is an attack by intellectuals on other intellectuals who may be professionals, religious enthusiasts, cranks, hypocrites, and fanatics of all kinds. In fact the satirist can attack all established dogma. These satires occupy an ambiguous ground between novel and autobiography. They are all first person, like most ancient verse satire but unlike heroic verse or prose. In the Petronian type of satire, the narrator is a participant in the action, part of the plot. Even in the Senecan type, the narrator is on scene as an observer and takes part in the dialogue. In general the satire’s first-person narrator was taken to be the author exposing his true opinions, and characters of the satire were identified with the real people who were the target of the satire. This urge to such identification also comes from Petronius, at least from the usual Renaissance interpretation of Petronius’s novel as a picture of the vices of Nero’s court. If it is such a picture, then the characters in the novel must correspond to real people at the court. Keys to Petronius were published during the seventeenth century (Grafton 245), just as they were for contemporary satires. As a result the authors often wrote anonymously or under pseudonyms, since the satirized powers-that-be might take revenge. Hume complains of this very danger in his introductory address Ad Lectorem. Since these satires are in-jokes written in and for a specific intellectual milieu, the targets and indeed the authors of the satires are often difficult to identify today. The satires could be obscure even to contemporaries and like the romans à clef, were often supplied with keys to identify the settings and targets. Contemporary French “libertine" novels by Cyrano de Bergerac and others show this same combination of fiction and apparent autobiography, and critics have long sought to identify the “real” people described in these novels (DeJean 1981 33ff.).
6. To heighten the reader’s belief in the “reality” of the narrative, the satirists often refer to actual contemporary events. Hume attaches his satire to the real world of France by reporting the conversation at Chrysophilus’s banquet, a review of recent (pre-1632) developments in the Thirty Years War [§35]. As usual, the real subjects under discussion are (barely) concealed by anagrams (Nergamia for Germania) or under meaningful names (Sophobulus, the “Wise Counselor,” is Richelieu, the “Macedonians” are the Swedes). As mentioned, keys to the text were published for many satires and related novels. Barclay’s Euphormionis Satyricon (1607) and his Argenis (1621) both received keys shortly after publication. Claude Morisot saved everyone much trouble by printing his own five-page key at the beginning of his long roman à clef Peruviana, in which the politics of Louis XIII’s court are hidden under a Peruvian disguise. Hume’s short satire never achieved a second printing, much less a published key, but the identifications are fairly obvious. They are given in the footnotes to the English translation.
7. Identifiable or not, Menippean satire depicts a panorama of odd characters. The persons attacked, and indeed the attacker/narrator, are not portrayed realistically, but as types with attitudes. In general the portrayal is full of malice and (not rarely) obscenity. The Menippean satirist does not stand above the fray and look back to an older ideal, like Horace remembering his father’s example of good old-fashioned morality (Satires I.vi.65 - 92). The satirist may indeed have superior knowledge, but his protagonist, his mouthpiece in the satire, is often as morally dubious as his targets. The protagonist’s superior knowledge is often displayed in erudite Latin vocabulary (Apuleianism is common — see below) and in detailed and encyclopedic displays of knowledge in literature, language, medicine, and other appropriate fields. Some of the satires are practically unreadable today because of their recherché vocabulary and obscure references. The example best known to us is Misoponeri Satyricon (“Hate-Evil's Satire”), perhaps by the great scholar Isaac Casaubon. When first published, its editor supplied translations of the Greek passages and explanatory notes for the first 20 chapters, citing the obscurity of his text. The reader is on his own for the last 20 chapters. Our satire, Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra, while not as obscure, still uses some uncommon Latin words, especially from medicine.
8. These short satires were popular in the seventeenth century and continued to be written during the eighteenth (preliminary list in Ijsewijn 1976 51 - 55). The genre began to morph into the comic novel with Barclay’s Euphormio and had completed the metamorphosis by 1741, the date of Holberg’s Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum, a Latin satire very much in the style of Gulliver’s Travels. Holberg’s novel includes many short verse passages. Sterne’s Tristram Shandy is a vernacular descendant of the same Menippean impulse, which, as mentioned above, continues until today.
9. Hume’s Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra embodies in a small compass the traits of a Menippean satire of the Petronian type. Pantaleon, the anti-heroic narrator, a lecherous young stranger who does not speak the local language, is mocked by peasants but welcomed by the nobleman Chrysophilus into his mansion, from which Pantaleon eventually must flee to avoid the revolting stench produced by that very nobleman [§36]. In the satire’s last scene, Pantaleon makes love to a noblewoman while her husband is playing cards in the next room [§53]. Supposedly an astrologer and seer, Pantaleon is pictured as a devotee of Priapus by one of his partners [§49]. He gets an erection while talking to Chrysophilus’s niece [§31]; he is fondled while riding double to Nequasia [§37]; he makes love to a noblewoman outside on the ground during a cold night [§48]. In short, lust is his most obvious trait. His name, Pantaleon, ties him and the satire both to the Italian commedia dell’arte, in which Pantalone is a stock figure, a nasty, miserly old man, more in fact like Chrysophilus than our Pantaleon, and to Rabelais, whose characters Pantagruel and Panurge show the same mixture of lust and scatological humor. One hundred and fifty years later Voltaire makes his Pangloss a more developed foolish sage than our Pantaleon.
10. Another developed character is the nobleman Chrysophilus (“Gold-lover”), who is afflicted with gout, has just married a young woman, and finds himself lacking in vigor. He enthusiastically welcomes Pantaleon, whose reputation has preceded him and who can perhaps cure Chrysophilus’s impotence [§8]. Most of the plot occurs in Chrysophilus’s chateau. Hume satirizes the courtly manners of the host and guests, especially the hyper-polite Alphonse and Gaston routine (“After you, Alphonse.” “No, you first, my dear Gaston!”) as the guests enter the house [§37]. This politeness contrasts with the crude vulgarity of Chrysophilus on the toilet [§36]. Hume also portrays the deceit of love affairs, into which Pantaleon himself nearly falls. These deceits are illustrated by two stories, one about a man who lures his friend out of town in order to enjoy the friend’s beloved [§22], the other about a lusty matron who hides her two lovers separately in the attic and the cellar, and the results of this deception [§25]. The dangers of love affairs are described to Pantaleon by another character, Sophronius (“Wise one”), who befriends the protagonist but is not characterized in any particular way.
11. The only other developed character is the physician Coloeus (“Jackdaw,” Latin graculus, a bird similar to an American crow), who bores everyone with a detailed physiological explanation of Chrysophilus’s gout [§12]. He can also devour the contents of an entire bookstore and regurgitate it for the king the next day [§10]. Coloeus, a meaningful name, refers to the proverb Tunc canent cygni cum tacebunt graculi (“Swans will sing when the jackdaws are silent,”) i. e. the learned will speak when the chatterers stop speaking (Erasmus, Adagiorum Chiliades III.iii.97). The paradox is that proverbial swans do not sing and jackdaws never stop cawing or squawking. Likewise Coloeus never shuts up, but is moved off-scene.
12. In keeping with its ethos, the language of the Menippean satire is peculiar, often obscure. Since the genre is by and for intellectuals, the authors must display their knowledge and ingenuity, and as a result the satires are full of rare Latin and Greek words, obscure mythological references, and technical vocabulary drawn from medicine (as here), law and politics (Lipsius’s Somnium), or elsewhere. This obscurantist tendency in neo-Latin literature in general was criticized within Menippean satire itself. In the Somnium Ovid complains of the neo-Latin poets’ love for an elaborate style and for archaic words drawn from Ennius and Pacuvius (Lipsius 1581 56). Most of the satirists themselves can be criticized on the same grounds.
13. The satire’s style reflects an on-going debate within neo-Latin — which was not, it must be remembered, anyone’s native language — concerning which Roman authors should be used as models. The choice was either Cicero or someone else. Most historians, orators, and other mainstream writers opted for the moderate Ciceronian style, which was still being inculcated by twentieth century handbooks of Latin. Menippean satirists, as usual, took another path. Some looked to Petronius and adopted his locutions (Barclay 1973 xxiv). More looked to Apuleius, and the resulting style is called Apuleianism (D’Amico 1984 351 - 392). The style is characterized by a preference for rare words taken from the old poets and from Plautus, neologisms, obscurity in syntax, and alliteration, assonance, homoioptoton (a sequence of words with the same case ending) and similar poetic figures.
14. As evidence for Hume’s Apuleian style we list here some examples of his use of alliteration, neologism, and unusual word formation.
a. Alliteration in -d- and -l- and unusual meaning: Et in principum dormitoriis, dum se vestiunt, longo disertae orationis filo cunctorum ora in se destituit; atque multiplici omnium librorum lectione isti soli eruditionis palma addicitur [§10]. This example also shows an Apuleian fondness for neologism or words in unusual senses. Here destitutit, which usually means “cease, abandon” is taken as “fix, focus”: “he focuses everyone’s gaze on himself.”
b. Alliteration in -s- and learned reference: Sed saniori sententiae suffragatur ipse Pergamensis [§14]. Here the reader is supposed to know that “The Pergamene” is Galen.
c. Alliteration in -m-: modestia mea male celabat collimatos obtutus [§31]. Hume has borrowed a late Latin word collimatus “straight, direct" from conlimatis oculis in Apuleius, Meta. IX.42. Another example: magnarii mercatoris uxor [§21]. Magnarii (“dealing wholesale”) is borrowed from Apuleius, Meta. I.5 for the sake of the alliteration.
d. A particularly striking alliteration in -c- combined with recherché vocabulary perfectly exemplifies the Apuleian style. Referring to the hairdo of two maids, the author says: utriusque in binos orbes versi capilli Lambdoidaeam levissime onerabant, et calamistro crispati cincinnuli inter utraque tempora porrecti, dimidiam frontem discriminatim tegendo ornabant [§46]. The phrase calamistro crispati cincinnuli (“artificially crimped locks of hair,” calamistrum is a curling iron) is borrowed from Petronius 102 or Plautus Truculentus 287; Lambdoidaeam, technically a suture in the skull, an uncommon Renaissance medical term, is used for the simpler caput; discriminatim (“differently”) is a very rare adverb displaying the derivative suffix -atim (“manner, way.”)
e. Apuleius’s, and hence Hume's, fondness for long nouns can be seen in si forte iuvenis ille lemuribus aut terriculamentis nocturnis animi eiectus est [§2], where terriculamentis is a high-flown way of saying terroribus. The phrase is borrowed from omnia noctium occursacula, omnia bustorum formidamina, omnia sepulchrorum terriculamenta in Apuleius Apol. 64, which has three such weighty nouns.
15. Like most satirists, Hume liked technical terms, in his case particularly drawn from medicine. I cited lambdoidaea [§13, §46] above. Others are sinciput [§1] and occipitium [§14, §29, §34] (referring to parts of the skull) in place of the simple caput. At the end of this satire the word pyramidalibus [104, translated here as “groins"] refers to certain abdominal muscles. The physician Coloeus describes the descent of the humors from the head to the joints [§13f.], thus causing gout. Medical vocabulary in this passage includes serosus humor, adiposa declivia, commissuras ossium, fluxiones articulares, symptomatice, and others. This indulgence in medical vocabulary may have prompted Hume’s self-identification on the title page as Medicinae Doctor. Although, as far as we know, Hume was never a physician of any kind, the title would add verisimilitude to the narrative (Who would know medical vocabulary better than a physician?), and, more importantly, would identify the “I” of the narrator with the writer. As mentioned above, most Menippean satires either claim to be or were taken to be autobiographical. Lipsius claims to have had the dream reported in the Somnium; Petrus Cunaeus and Erycius Puteanus personally dreamt the discussions and actions reported in Sardi Venales and Comus. Barclay’s Euphormionis Satyricon was universally taken to be autobiographical, and he was widely criticized for malice and ingratitude. Hume’s introductory comments about Barclay’s ingratitude  are representative of contemporary opinion. Perhaps Hume was trying to make his satire appear somewhat autobiographical and thus following the conventions of the genre, despite his protests sub mea persona fingens quae numquam gesta novi [Ad Lectorem]. Such protests are a commonplace in introductions to satires but do not seem to have convinced contemporary audiences.
16. Hume borrowed some phrases from Petronius (discoloria veste [§3], induendis §38), but his language is generally Apuleian. He did adopt the structure of Petronius's novel: the wanderings, the escapes, the love affairs. It could be that the fragmentary state of Hume’s satire beginning at §44 is also an imitation of Petronius. As mentioned, the Satyricon is a collection of fragments, the longest of which was not discovered and printed (Padua 1664) until after Hume’s time. Perhaps disconnection was considered an essential part of the genre.
17. An unrelated twelve-page addendum concerning military actions on the Baltic coast from the years 1630 - 1633 is bound with all copies of Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra known to us. This addendum is not edited here, but is discussed below in the list of James Hume’s writings.
LIFE AND WORKS OF JAMES HUME
18. Our author, James Hume [1590’s? - 1640?], a man of wide-ranging interests who published a Hebrew textbook, several treatises of mathematics, and a satire on French life, remains a mysterious figure. We have treatises by him which include dedications to several prominent men in Scotland, France, and Germany. We have a volume of his poems, many of which are controversial and reveal his opinions of his friends and enemies. But we have only passing references from others to what must have been an eventful career. Indeed we are ignorant of his birth and death dates. Since the references about James Hume in the D. N. B., the O. D. N. B., and elsewhere are inadequate, we have outlined his life using whatever detail that can be derived from his own writings. Notes on the books listed here and photocopies of pages relevant to Hume’s biography were supplied by Prof. Arthur Williamson, without whose assistance this outline could not have been written.
19. James Hume was the son of David Hume of Godscroft [1558 - 1630?] whose career is well known. This David Hume (the name is common) was a noted Latin poet, praised by George Buchanan, whose poems received several editions in Paris (1632, 1639), the second under the care of his son James, who added poems of his own. David Hume also wrote a history of the Douglas family (History of the House and Race of Douglas and Angus, Edinburgh 1644), and a treatise on the union of Scotland and England (De Unione Insulae Britanniae, London 1605; modern edition in Hume et al. 2002). Relations had always been close between Scotland and France: in 1538 James V married a French noblewoman, Mary of Guise. Their child was Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1558 she married the French Dauphin, Francis, who died shortly after ascending the throne of France. The child of Mary and Francis was James VI of Scotland, James I of England. (For a detailed history of Franco-Scottish relations see Michel 1862.) Because of these close ties, which intensified the effect of the traditional Scottish-French “auld alliance,” many Scots spoke French as well as Latin, and made their careers on the Continent. Among military men, these include George Sinclair, who in 1612 raised a body of troops for Swedish service, James Hepburn, colonel under Gustavus Adolphus, and Alexander Leslie, Field Marshal for Gustavus Adolphus and later the Earl of Leven in Scotland. Leslie was appointed governor of the city of Stralsund in 1628 and served there during the famous siege of that year, which is the subject of James Hume's first foray into history, the twelve-page addendum bound with Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra. One might speculate that Hume came to Germany with Leslie, but we have found no evidence other than Hume’s residence in Hamburg and his continuing interest in German affairs.
20. Among Scots civilians who lived in France, the career of William Davidson M. D., a doctor and alchemist, is remarkably parallel to James Hume’s, although he was far more successful. Born in 1593, Davidson settled in Paris in 1620, a few years before Hume. He requested and received a testimonial from King Charles I to his noble descent, and thereafter titled himself Nobilis Scotus. He was Professor of Chemistry at the royal Jardin des Plantes, Director of the Jardin, and Physician to the King of France. His first book was Philosophia Pyrotechnica (first edition, Paris 1635), a part of which was dedicated to Gibert Gomin, Councillor of the King of France, to whom Hume dedicated a historical work (#6 below). Davidson left France for Poland after 1641, where he published several other volumes on medicine. He died there about 1669. His son Charles served in the Scottish Guards in France (Small 1873 26 5- 280).
21. Our first piece of information about Hume’s biography comes from a mathematical work which he published in 1637 (La Theorie des Planettes ). In his dedication to Charles Faye (for more about this dedication, see below), James mentions that Postquam duris militae rudimentis defunctus inter tumultus Mansfeldianos…in Galliam appuli [“After I learned the harsh rudiments of war in the upheavals caused by Mansfeld, I moved to France.”] Ernst Graf von Mansfeld [ca. 1580 - 1626] was a mercenary general in command (at times) of Protestant forces during the Thirty Years’ War. In 1622 he entered the service of the United Provinces and in the next few years visited London and Paris to raise men and money. He sailed with his new army from Dover to the Netherlands in 1625. Defeated by Wallenstein in April 1626, he recovered, raised another army, and invaded Hungary. He died in November 1626. Since James Hume was in Hamburg dedicating a book to the Senators of Hamburg in 1624, he could not have been part of the army that sailed from Dover in 1625. Indeed his statement quoted above could mean that he simply had observed the harshness of war as a spectator living in Hamburg. Nevertheless he must have had some connection with military action in northern Germany, since several of his later historical works show him to have been well informed about battles there and about Gustavus Adolphus’s intervention in 1630. In addition, several of his treatises concern the mathematics necessary to construct effective fortifications. Perhaps his conversion from Hebrew to mathematics came during military service.
22. Hume first appears on the scene in 1624, when he published his (1.) ΡΑΔΙΟΜΑΘΕΙΑ (Rhadiomatheia) Linguae Hebraeae [“Easy Method for the Hebrew Language”] in Hamburg. (A copy of this book is held by the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, whose staff supplied a microfilm copy.) This short textbook, which claims that the student who diligently memorizes each day can learn all the rules of Hebrew grammar in 12 weeks, or at most 20 or 24 weeks, is dedicated to two Senators of the Hamburg Republic (Hartzeig and Brandt) and to several high-ranking (primarii) officials (Wordenhoff, Niebuhr, Wetkind, Wichmann, and Christ). The book also contains a fulsome introduction by Heinrich Rumpius, a well-known Hamburg pastor and scholar. In Hume’s dedication to the Hamburg officials he urges them ut… favore vestro consueto complecti memores sitis meque et studia mea more pristino promovere [“to continue to encourage my studies with their customary favor.”] This certainly implies a residence of some time in Hamburg. Where Hume learned Hebrew is unknown. He continued to teach the language after moving to Paris and was criticized for doing so by his enemy Morin (Morin 1636 7 — more on this individual below), because, among intellectuals, this sort of language teacher or grammaticus was considered the lowest of the low.
23. Despite Hume's request for continued support in Hamburg, he must have moved to France in 1624, since we have a letter of May 1624 from his father David, asking his correspondent to write letters of recommendation to one of the Protestant ministers in Paris for his two sons, George and James Hume, now resident in that city. David states that his sons think such letters “would be of importance to them while they remain or seek a condition in that country” (Wodrow 1845 194). Indeed James Hume’s next publication, les premiers fruicts des mes estudes Mathematiques, was printed in Paris: (2.) Jacques Hume, Écossois, Professeur en Mathematiques, Arithmetique Nouvelle, contenant une briefve methode pour toutes operations tant astronomiques, et geometriques (Paris 1625). The book is dedicated to Henri-Auguste de Loménie, Sieur de la Ville-aux-Clercs. Loménie [1594 - 1666], Compte de Brienne, an aristocrat from an originally Protestant family (an ancestor, Martial de Loménie, was massacred on St. Bartholomew's Day in 1572), had been ambassador to England, and later French Minister of Foreign Affairs, from 1643 to 1663. In his dedication Hume traces the alliance between France and Scotland back to Charlemagne 850 years earlier, detailing the many benefits and mutual obligations through the centuries, including Loménie’s services to the British king (i. e. James I). Because of these ties, Hume feels able to dedicate his first fruits to Loménie. How his work was received is unknown, but the dedication is the first example of Hume’s repeated attempts to ingratiate himself with French high officials having some connection to Britain.
24. Hume’s next production was the satire edited here: (3.) Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra (Rouen 1633). This short Menippean satire was printed in Rouen and its plot was set in that city. Why — or indeed whether — Hume resided in Rouen is unknown. The satire is dedicated to Sir Robert Kerr of Ancram [1578 - 1654], a prominent Scot and a high official under King Charles I. The D. N. B. calls Kerr “a man of cultivated tastes,” amd he was a poet who knew John Donne and Drummond of Hawthornden. Hume’s dedication asks that Kerr promote Hume’s fame in his native place, Scotland. Perhaps Hume envisioned a return? On the satire’s title page, Hume yields to the conventions of Menippean satire and calls himself a doctor of medicine, a title not claimed in any of his other works. A puzzling part of the printed text of Pantaleon is the addendum, 12 unnumbered pages which contain an untitled first draft of his Gustavus Magnus, sive historia rerum gestarum in Germania a Rege Suediae, describing the siege of Stralsund by Wallenstein in summer 1628, which occasioned the first intervention by the Swedes into the Thirty Years’ War. These pages seem to be Hume’s first foray into history, a genre which he pursued in the next few years. His revised and enlarged Gustavus Adolphus was reprinted in 1639 (see below).
25. Hume recognized his satire's failure in the dedication to his next work, (4.) Praelium ad Lipsiam commissum, sexto idus septembris anno domini 1631 (Paris, 1633/4), a description of the Battle of Leipzig (today called the Battle of Breitenfeld) in September 1631, the first major Protestant victory of the Thirty Years’ War. By this victory Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, established himself as the Protestant champion. Hume’s Latin treatise was dedicated in January 1634 to Gilbert Gomin, Consiliario a Supplicibus Libellis (Maitre des Requestes, Master of Requests). Hume flatters Gomin shamelessly: Nature has granted Gomin what she did not grant Cicero, to be both a great orator and a great poet, so rare are these talents. Gomin understands all of Aristotle and Plato; he has even investigated the mysteries of the Arabs, Persians, and Armenians. Hume asks only the privilege of dedicating this work to Gomin. Along with such flatteries, Hume says that, since even harmless satire displeases the world, he is rejecting such nonsense and devoting himself totally to history. Cum plerisque Satyras, Vir Nobilissime Clarissimeque, utcumque innoxias, minus placere vidissem, abieci nugas, totusque ad historias scribendas animum applicui…
26. Hume's further historical works include: (5.) Gustavus Magnus, sive historia rerum gestarum in Germania a Rege Suediae, on Gustavus Adolphus. A first draft was included in the printed text of Pantaleon; (6.) De redditu ducis Aureliensis ex Flandria [“On the return of the Duc d’Orleans from Flanders”] 1634; (7.) Palladium Franciae Seu Richelias (“The Shield of France, or The Richeliad”), a 145-line hexameter encomium of Cardinal Richelieu (1634). These works were reprinted, with notes, in James Hume's 1639 edition of his father's poems (no. 16 below). The following work was not reprinted, presumably because it was not in Latin: (8.) Récit veritable de tout ce qui est arrivé en Allemagne depuis la venue de duc de Feria. (1633), an account of Gomez Suarez de Figueroa y Córdoba, third Duke of Feria [1587 - 1634], a general on the Hapsburg side during the Thirty Years’ War, who died in Munich while on campaign.
27. Pantaleon and his histories were all composed before 1635. Thereafter Hume devoted himself to mathematics, building on his earlier Arithmetique Nouvelle of 1625. These mathematical works, all in French, include treatises on algebra, astronomy, and fortification, i. e. military mathematics involving geometry and trigonometry: (9.) Les fortifications françoises d'une méthode si facile, qu'on les pourra apprendre sans maistre. Avec un petit discours à la fin pour trouver les longitudes…(Paris, 1634). Also including some planetary tables, this work was dedicated to Guillaume Bautru, conseiller du Roy. In his address to the reader Hume claims no particular originality, rather an easy-to-learn presentation of methods in daily use in France. Bautru [1588 - 1665), also the dedicatee of no. 15 below and a protégé of Richelieu, was conseiller d’état under Louis XIII and XIV, ambassador to several states, including Britain, and was a founding member of the Académie française, to which he was elected in 1634. He wrote satires and verse. Pierre Bayle calls him un des beaux Esprits du XVII siécle (Bayle 1740 1.484).
28. (10.) Traicté de l'algebre d'une methode nouvelle et facile: avec toutes les demonstrations geometriques requises (Paris, 1635). This work was dedicated to Charles Leclerc du Tremblay, first governor of the Bastille and (more important) brother of Françoise Leclerc du Tremblay, otherwise known as Père Joseph, the éminence gris of Cardinal Richelieu. In his dedication to Charles Leclerc, Hume mentions the fratris tui (i.e. Père Joseph’s) pietatem toti Christiano orbi notam. He also praises Père Joseph’s master: quanta prudentia, sagacitate, et praevalentis ingenii acumine res sibi commissas administravit Magnus Richelius. Hume had written the Palladium Franciae seu Richelias shortly before and mentioned the Cardinal in his other works. He was recommending himself to high circles. How he was received is unknown.
29. (11.) Traité de la trigonométrie pour résoudre tous triangles rectilignes et sphériques: Avec les demonstrations des deux celebres propositions du Baron de Merchiston, non encore demonstrees (Paris, 1636) (Baron Merchiston is John Napier [1550 - 1617], inventor of the logarithm.) Like Pantaleon this treatise was dedicated to Robert Kerr of Ancram, Gentleman of the Bedchamber to King Charles I. In his Latin dedication, Hume offers these mathematical lucubrations to Kerr in return for recent kindnesses. Hume then declares his disgust at the writing of history, indeed of any scholarship: virtus laudatur et alget, “merit is praised, but languishes.” But things are looking up: the great Richelieu promotes no one save by merit, neminem nisi merentem evehit, and Richelieu’s success against Spain has brought joy to the nation. Hume knows of Kerr’s embassy to Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia and daughter of King James I, to console her for the death of her son. Henry Frederick died January 1629 near the Hague, where Elizabeth and her husband, Frederick, Elector Palatine, were living, having been driven out of the kingdom of Bohemia during the first stages of the Thirty Years’ War. (Frederick is often called the “Winter King” because of the shortness of his reign.)
30. In the French Au lecteur Hume first mentions le sieur Morin, Professeur du Roy en Mathématiques, who had blatantly plagiarized from Napier. Hume’s quarrel with Morin continues in his next work, from the same year. (12.) Algebre de Viete, d'une methode nouvelle, claire, et facile… (Paris, 1636). This is dedicated to Claude Bouthilleur [1581 - 1652], Conseiller du Roy en ses Conseils, Commandeur et Grand Trésorier des Ordres de sa Majesté, et Sur-Intendant des Finances de France. Bouthilleur had personal connections with Cardinal Richelieu and with Père Joseph. Superintendent of Finance from 1632 to 1643, and he negotiated an alliance with Gustavus Adolphus and introduced Mazarin to Richelieu after Père Joseph’s death in 1638. The Algebre continues Hume’s dispute with Morin. Jean-Baptiste Morin [1583 - 1656], a polymath somewhat like Hume himself, was first a physician and astrologer, then professor of mathematics at the Collège Royal. He opposed Galileo, attacked Descartes, and made himself generally obnoxious to the scientific community, including Pascal (D. S. B. 527f.; long article in Bayle 1740 3.424 - 433). He published his trigonometry in 1633. In 1636, Morin published Defense de la Verité contre la Fausseté et l'Imposture…, dedicated to Richelieu, in which he attacks Hume by name as a teacher of mathematics and Hebrew, an insult (Morin 1636 7). He seems to identify our James Hume with a Scot who worked with Tycho Brahe, but the dates (Tycho lived 1546 - 1601) make this impossible. In his Algebre Hume responds point by point to Morin’s attacks: Hume is not low-born (a usual charge in classical invective), but the grandson of “David Hume, Baron of Wedderburne,” who left most of his property to the eldest son, but a sufficiency to James’s father (the second son), if he had been a competent manager, si mon père eust esté bon mesnager. Hume goes on to attack Morin for incompetence and dishonesty.
31. Hume continued his attack on Morin in his next work: (13.) Spheres de Copernic et Ptolomée: avec l’usage et construction des tables spheriques de Regiomontanus (Paris, 1637). This is dedicated to Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester and British ambassador to Louis XIII. In this work, Hume in a Martial-like epigram states that Morin calls him ignorant, while he calls Morin talented, but,
Nemo mihi credit, Morine, nemo tibi.
[“No one believes me, Morin, and no one believes you.”]
Hume proceeds with further refutation of Morin. Both men were appealing to the highest levels of the French state, Morin dedicating his Defense de la verité to Richelieu and Hume writing his Palladium Franciae, a short epic about Richelieu.
32. Hume mentions Morin by name in the title of his next book: (14.) La theorie des planettes. Contenant l'usage & construction de toutes sortes de tables astronomiques: le tout demonstré geometriquement. Avec la response aux premieres invectives du sieur Morin… (Paris 1637). This is dedicated to Charles Faye, Chevalier, Seigneur d’Espeisses, Baron de Trizac, Conseiller Ordinaire du Roy. In the Latin dedication Hume mentions the service with Mansfeld mentioned above. In the French Au lecteur he lists his mathematical works and where they can be purchased. Titles listed here vary slightly from the actual title pages:
I. L’Arithmetique - presumably no. 2 above
II. L’Algebre commune - no. 9
III. L'Algebre de Viette - no. 11
IV. Traitté de la Sphere de Ptolomée & de Copernic. - no. 12
V. Traitté des Horologes - no. 14
VI. Traitté des Fortifications Françoises - no. 8
VII. Traitté de la Trigonometrie - no. 10
VIII. Traitté des Fortifications Hollandoises - not extant.
33. His last mathematical work was (15.) Methode universelle, et tres-facile pour faire, et descrire toutes sortes de quadrans & d’horologes, equinoctiaux, horizontaux, meridionaux, verticaux, & polaires (Paris, 1640). This 500-page detailed description of the methods of laying out meridians, zeniths, polar coordinates, and other astronomical charts has no dedication. Perhaps Hume died before writing one? On pages 184 to 202 Hume makes his last (as far as we know) attack on Morin, without mentioning him by name. Morin commits larceny, has stolen Hume’s charts and tables, and as a final indignity, had tried, using all sorts of lies, to recruit the Conseil du Roy and Monseigneur le Chancellier to silence Hume by force majeur: Mais Monseigneur le Chancellier ayant donné commission à Monsieur de la Femas, Conseiller du Roy, & Maistre des Requestes, de s'informer de nostre different, estant un homme sçavant, et docte, et accoustumé de iuger des affaires les plus importantes du Royaume, remonstra à cet homme… M. de la Femas decided that Hume had been attacked first and was only defending himself. Hume ends with Proverbs 26:5: Il faut responder à un fol selon sa folie, afin qu'il ne semble pas sage à luy-mesme, [“Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes”].
34. In the previous year, 1639, Hume had edited his father’s poems in the volume (16.) Davidis Humii Wedderburnensis Poemata Omnia (Paris, 1639), NOTE 2 dedicated to Guillaume Bautru, Sacri Consistorii Comitem (mentioned in no. 8 above), whom Hume compares in wisdom, intelligence, care, and planning to Richelieu, the great guardian of France. In his dedication Hume defends the poetic talents of the Scots: even their soldiers write poetry worth reading. He mentions two Hepburns, Halkerstone (James Halkerstone, whose poems survive in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum), and Archibald Douglas (perhaps the Earl of Ormond [1609 - 1655]) as examples. To his father’s poems, James added the historical works listed above (nos. 4 - 6) and his own poems. These include, among others, the procul ite Catones poem from Pantaleon [§27], an encomium of Robert Kerr, the dedicatee of Pantaleon and Traité de la trigonométrie, and an epitaph for Charles Faye, the dedicatee of La theorie des planettes, who had recently died. He also continued his feud with Morin, reprinting several lampoons on his rival. The following sums up Hume's complaint (p. 44):
Non fur sed latro est media si quis tibi vestem
Abstulit, atque suam dixerit esse, die.
Non latro, sed fur te clam tibi prodigus arcam
Hauserit, et nummos dixerit esse suos.
Ut fur sic latro Morine es, qui tua scripta
Asseris, et media surripis illa die.
[“A bandit, not a thief, is one who steals your cloak
At midday, and says it is his.
A thief, not a bandit, is the wastrel who secretly drains
Your strongbox and says the money is his.
You, Morin, are both a thief and a bandit, since you claim
These writings are yours, and steal them at midday.”]
Other poems are less serious (p. 142):
Consiliis magni est magnam promittere barbam!
Consiliis ingens hispidus hircus erit.
[“In councils having a long beard is decisive.
In councils a hairy goat will be great.”]
After the 1640 publication of Methode universelle nothing further is heard of James Hume.
35. The text of Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra given here is edited from the sole edition of 1633. Typographical errors in the original printing are noted, as well as a few other items.
NOTE 1 We are aware that modern criticism has greatly enlarged the definition of Menippean satire. Prompted by Northrop Frye’s discussions (Frye 1954 228 - 235; 1957 pp. 308 - 12) and encouraged by the English translations of Bakhtin’s work on Dostoevsky (Bakhtin 1984), modern critics now seem to consider most fiction to be variations on the Menippean theme. However when we read in one recent study of Chaucer (Payne 1981 xi) that, when thinking about Menippean satire, “Hamlet springs to everyone's mind,” we are forced to conclude that the genre has grown like a cancer and is now devouring all other literature. In contrast our study is confined to a specific type of early modern text that meets the criteria for Menippean satire in both form and ethos. Most of these texts are in Latin, a few in French.
NOTE 2 A large selection of David Hume’s poetry had already appeared in the 1637 Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, beginning on 1.379.