1. One of more prominent writers and livelier intellects of early seventeenth century Scotland was David Hume of Godscroft [1558 - ca. 1630], second son of David Hume, seventh Baron of Wedderburn in Berwickshire. Having studied at Dunbar grammar school under Andrew Simson, he attended the University of St. Andrews, and then pursued further studies in France and Geneva. A determined Calvinist, he and his brother George, the future eighth Baron, participated in the Protestant coup of 1582 known as the Ruthven Raid, and he was one of many Protestants (including Andrew Melville, who became his friend then or later) who were obliged to take refuge in England. Subsequently he purchased a farm in Berwickshire, which he named Godscroft, and there he remained for the rest of his life, indulging in his literary pursuits. NOTE 1
2. On his title pages, incidentally, Hume sometimes identified himself as Theagrius. Various theories have been advanced about the meaning of this epithet, but surely it is a classicizing version of the name of his farm, Godscroft, made up of Θεοῦ and ager: this is shown by the title of poem 78, BARBARA IOHNSTONA UXOR OBIIT ANNO 1619, MENSE IUN. 24 THEAGRI, SEPULTA IN OPPIDO, where it is unambiguously clear that Theager is a place-name. Even more explicitly, in the Argument to the third eclogue of his Daphn-Amaryllis (p. 17 of the 1605 London edition), Hume writes Lamyrii montes sunt in provincia Marciae, ubi villula scribentis Theager, vulgo Gods-croft. Hence Hume adoped the epithet Theagrius, derived from a place-name in something of the same spirit that Sir Francis Bacon, Lord St. Albans, sometimes signed himself in his Latin publications as Verulamus (Verulam being the old Roman name of the town of St. Albans).
3. While in England, he became a writer. As the O. D. N. B. biography describes it:
While in exile Hume began assembling documents that were initially intended to form an apologia for the exiles and, apparently, for the Presbyterian cause. This collecting of documents continued throughout much of his life and eventually issued in his well-known, posthumously published history of the house of Douglas. One of the more notable features of this vernacular writing is an inserted dialogue with Angus. Written shortly after their return to Scotland [in 1585], the dialogue touches lightly on the justification of political resistance, but the main thrust of the conversation is the ideal of citizenship and the obligation of civic responsibility. Hume imagined Scotland, effectively, as an aristocratic republic where selfless nobles discussed, determined, and actively pursued the public good.
Commencing in 1603, he began to publish volumes both of prose and verse, some of which have begun to attract scholarly attention in recent years, while others which would no doubt reward study. Works printed in the seventeenth century are:
Daphn-Amaryllis (Edinburgh, 1603, Edinburgh, 1604 (one extant, one lost), two editions differing only in their title pages, London, 1605, Amsterdam, 1637, Paris, 1639)
Lusus poetici in tres partes distincti (London, 1605, Paris, 1632, Paris, 1639)
De unione insulae Britannicae tractatus I (London, 1605, Paris, 1639)
Patricio Symsono, Pseudo-episcopatus malam hanc herbam merito ex ecclesia eiectam (1640?, signed 1609, place of publication unspecified)
Illustrissimi principis Henrici iusta...; ubi et sponsorum epithalamium et consolatio (Edinburgh, 1613, Paris, )
Regi Suo post Bis Septennium in Patriam ex Anglia redeunti, Scotiae Gratulatio (Edinburgh, 1617, Edinburgh, 1618, Paris, 1639)
Apologia basilica seu Machiavelli ingenium examinatum (Paris, 1626)
A Generall History of Scotland Together with a Particular History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus (Edinburgh, 1644)
To these publications should be added the editio princeps of De Familia Humia, published at Edinburgh in 1839. In addition, the second tract of De unione insulae Britannicae had only existed in manuscript until its modern edition in 2002 (see the bibliography at the end of this Introduction).
3. Of these works, the one that is the most self-revealing and therefore provides the best introduction to Hume as a personality, albeit not as a political thinker, is doubtless the collection of Latin poetry entitled Lusus Poetici (which could be translated “Poetic Games,” but as a description of this particular book is more accurately rendered “Poetic Pastimes.”). In a liminary epigram Nicolaus Bourbon twits him because few of the items in this volume are actually playful. But in this title, and his introductions to the three sections, Hume makes it clear that, in giving the work this title, he was thinking of the diversion provided by these poems both for himself in their writing and for the reader in their consumption, with no implication that their contents are necessarily designed to amuse. The printing history of this work is as follows. It was first issued as Davidis Humii Theagrii Lusus Poetici, in Tres Partes Distincti, at London, by Richard Field, in 1605. Then a new edition, evidently entitled Poemata, was printed at Paris in 1632. The volume is extremely rare, and I have not been able to locate a copy, but on the basis of what is known about it we may safely conclude that it is nothing more than a reprinting of the 1605 edition. NOTE 2 In 1639 Hume’s son Dr. James Hume, a mathematician who was himself a Latin poet, published (also at Paris) a volume entitled Davidis Humi Wedderburnensis Poemata Omnia. Accesere ad finem Unio Britannica et Praelium ad Lipsiam soluta oratione, NOTE 3 containing almost all the 1605 Lusus Poetici material together with forty new epigrams. This volume also contains the contents of Hume’s two Daphn-Amayllis volumes, now lumped together with his poems on the death of Prince Henry and the 1617 royal visit to Scotland, all prefaced with the single title page Jacobaea, as well as some material written by James Hume himself.
4. In this volume, some of the 1605 texts are reworked, and forty new epigrams are added. It would appear that, upon his father’s death in 1629, James inherited his papers, including a text of Lusus Poetici revised and expanded for a projected new edition which failed to eventuate, and this is what he published. This surmise seems substantiated by the large number of new items added in 1639, beginning with poem 72. NOTE 4 Also speaking in favor of this theory is that the text contains a number of word-substitutions, of the sort not uncommon in Neo-Latin poetry, representing the author’s subsequent improvements on, or at least tinkering with, what he had originally written. Some of the poetry from the 1605 edition was reprinted by Sir John Scot, Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum Huius Aevi Illustrium (Amsterdam, 1637) pp. 378ff. A few epigrams in the collection are also included in other publications by Hume, as indicated in appropriate commentary notes.Both the 1605 and 1639 editions are divided into three sections, each with its own preface to the reader. In the former one we have the elegies, the epigrams, and the psalm paraphrases together with the lengthy Aselcanus. For some reason, the order of the second and third parts was reversed in the 1639 volume, the scheme employed here. These parts may be discussed seriatim.
5. In the 1639 edition, the second paragraph of the initial address Otioso et Curioso Lectori is omitted. Far more seriously, in the 1639 edition the fifth elegy ends at line 236, and this has the effect of radically altering the meaning of the poem. In its original form, Venus appears to the poet in a dream and urges upon him the importance and attractions of erotic love, but then Religion appears and convinces him otherwise, with plenty of moralizing. The shortened poem contains the Venus portion only, and the speaker’s final words are:
Iam vaga furta, vagosque animo meditabar amores,
Nec nisi domina cura erit ulla mea.
[“In my mind I was now thinking of roving amours and love-affairs, unconcerned about anything other than a mistress.”]
6. The primary interest of the elegies is the autobiographical material they contain. The elegies are dedicated to Hume’s former teacher the Rev. Andrew Simson [1520 - ca. 1590], the schoolmaster of the Dunbar grammar school. Simpson was a well-known figure, largely because he was the author of one of the most successful Scottish grammar books written for school use, the so-called “Dunbar Rudiments,” and earned the sobriquet “the Thundering Preacher.” His numerous distinguished children included the Neo-Latin poet Archibald Simson of Dalkeith and Patrick, minister of Stirling, the recipient of Hume’s 1609 letter Pseudo-episcopatus. NOTE 5 Beginning at 1.111 Hume includes a passage in which he nostalgically looks back at his schoolboy days, when he had evidently been something of a prodigy at Latin versification (on pp. 24f. of the 16o5 London edition of Daphn-Amaryllis he provides a of specimes of his early work, reworke here as poem 16).
7. The third elegy describes a hunting expedition in the countryside. The scene of this adventure is set in the poem’s opening lines, and two sidenotes inserted in the 1639 edition — it is usually impossible to tell whether the rather copious 1639 annotations are the work of Hume himself or of his son — tell us that Hume was describing Whiteadder Water, a river of East Lothian, which rises on the low hillside of Clints Dod in the Lammermuir Hills. At Ellemford it its joined by another river, the Dye Water. Augmented by the river Monynut at Abbey St. Bathans, the nearest town to Hume’s Godscroft, it then merges with Blackadder Water, and the conjoined rivers flow into the Tweed near Berwick. Absent any such thing as a comprehensive Latin gazetteer of the British Isles, it is just a guess that the sidenote’s Aloentem fluvium designates Blackadder Water. In any event, Hunt sets the scene for this episode as a hunting expedition to the East Lothian countryside. The story-line of this elegy is that one of the grouse Hume is hunting is actually Cupid in disguise: when he gives chase, the bird leads him to the house of his destined beloved.What the sidenotes fail to reveal is the real significance of this locale. Hume’s wife was Barbara Johnstone of Elphinston, an East Lothian town in the same vicinity: the unnamed girl in this elegy (obviously the beneficiary of a good education, even having an enthusiasm for astronomy) is an idealized version of her.
8. But Hume’s real-life courtship of Barbara Johnstone was not initially successful. In a prose essay on pp. 94f. of the 1639 edition, Hume’s son James tells the story. Briefly, the young couple were in love with each other. But, despite the urgings of well-wishers (including Hume’s friend, the Presbyterian minister Andrew Melville), Barbara’s father, James Johnstone Baron of Elphinston, could not be persuaded to sanction a marriage. Rather, she was married to John Haldane, the ninth Baron of Gleneagles, who had previously been married to our poet’s sister Isobel. Only four years after Haldane’s death in 1591 could Barbara’s father be convinced to allow her to marry Hume. It may therefore be presumed that what Hume writes about the torments of his frustrated lover in the remainder of this elegy and in the following one are not merely literary clichés of the Roman or Petrarchan variety, but rather a heartfelt expression of his feelings when he found his aspirations to marry Barbara were frustrated.
9. This brings us to a lengthy passage in the fourth elegy (4.25ff.) in which Hume writes of the mismatch of an educated and cultivated woman with a man characterized as an unlettered and boorish blasphemer. Given that the equation of the object of the narrator’s love with Barbara Johnstone has already been established in the third elegy, there is an obvious temptation to read this passage as a description of John Haldane, with the strong implication that his marriage to Barbara Johnstone was not a happy one. But there are plenty of reasons for doubting the truth of this interpretation. In the first place, Haldane’s Protestantism and support of Hume’s beau idéal the Earl of Angus (Haldane participated in the 1585 siege of Stirling Castle by Protestants led by Angus and his fellow exiles) surely gained Hume’s approval. Since Haldane had been Hume’s brother-in-law, Hume presumably knew him well, and Lusus Poetici contains a couple of highly favorable epigrams addressed to him (24 and 25). The former is an epitaph presumably written soon after his death in 1591, and the latter was written after he had married Barbara Johnstone. Since these are written in Latin, incidentally, the existence of this latter one implies that Haldane could read that language, which contradicts the elegy’s representation of him as an uneducated man. Then too, in his prose description of the course of his love for Barbara, his son James explicitly states that Hume was agreeable to Barbara’s marriage to Haldane, which would have been a difficult concession to extract had Haldane been genuinely objectionable. If the nameless husband in the fourth elegy is in any way meant to be Haldane, it would seem likelier that Hume was indulging in some private family joke. Or, even more likely, the humor is supposed to lie in the picture of the frantic, frustrated lover letting his imagination (and his wishful thinking) run wild.
10. In its original form Elegy V consumes 344 lines, which is a somewhat ungainly length for a work of this genre, but from an artistic point the suppression of the final part is has some regrettable consequences: in Elegy I Hume constructs the persona of a mature if not downright elderly man complaining about the difficulty of regaining his youthful enthusiasm and ability for writing Latin verse, and the original conclusion Elegy V of does a better job of sustaining this same persona. Then too, the loss of the balancing references to Theodore Beza in the two parts of the original poem is regrettable. But it is doubtful that Hume suppressed these final 108 lines merely in the interest of shortening the poem. Had this been his aim, he could easily have given them a suitable preface and included them as a sixth elegy in the series. A more likely explanation, therefore, is that, after the death his wife, he came to think this rejection of love would be disrespectful to her memory. After all, although on the surface this cycle may seem to have been written by a poet recalling how he sowed wild oats in his younger days, once it is realized that their love-interest is in actuality the woman Hume later married, these poems go to show what an uxorious man he actually was. Since it would be wrong to deny the reader access to the material eliminated from the 1639 version, these lines are restored here.
11. Psalm paraphrases, both in Latin and in the vernacular (one thinks of the set begun by Sir Philip Sidney and completed by his sister Mary Countess of Pembroke) were a popular genre in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In Scotland, particularly, this form of composition was encouraged by George Buchanan’s enormously popular and influential Psalmorum Davidis Paraphrasis Poetica. They were a vehicle by which poets could display their prowess, and no doubt there was sometimes a competitive aspect to such display. More importantly, as I have discussed here, the writing of such paraphrases constituted a spiritual exercise, not unlike a specialized form of prayer or meditation, particularly since the “I”of the Psalmist could fuse together with the “I” of the individual poet. In his elegies Hume has already written (5.93f.):
Esto tibi exemplum Solymae regnator opimae
Inclytus, et cuius tu quoque nomen habes.
[“Let the famous ruler of excellent Jerusalem serve as an example to you, the one whose name you bear.”]
Thus the fact that he and David share the same name has the potential of assuming an almost mystical dimension. At very minimum Hume is probably exploiting this in his paraphrase of Psalm 144 (10.44ff.):
Saevo qui vitam faucibus hosti
Davidis eripias, deplorataque salute 45
Iam trepidum, stricto incolumem subducis ab ense.
Ergo tuum, Deus alme, manu, e torrentibus undis
Eripe porrecta famulum.
[“It is You who must rescue David’s life from the jaws of his enemy: when he is fearful, hope of salvation now abandoned, it is You who keeps him secure from the drawn sword. So stretch forth Your hand, Father God, rescue Your servant from the turbid waters.”]
But it is likely that his personal identification with the Psalmist is much more pervasive.
12. The possibility that these psalm paraphrases had some such special value for Hume is particularly commended by the fact that, in both the 1605 and 1639 editions, they are closely conjoined with the longest poem in the collection, Aselcanus, a poem religious in character and having a highly personal content. This is an extremely lengthy (575 lines) and discursive work, and for a long time it appears to deal in nothing more than generalities and sentiments of piety. It is only at line 350 that Hume reveals he is writing about himself, when he describes his farm at Godscroft, locating it with the same specificity that he employed for the setting of the third elegy. This is followed by a passage addressed to his wife Barbara Johnstone (367ff.), and it is not until 428ff. that he arrives at the true subject of his poem, which (as is indicated by its title) is celebration of the recent birth of his firstborn son Aselcane. NOTE 6 It is therefore only late in the poem that the reader can understand that some of the apparently generalizing material in 349 lines has applicability to Hume’s personal situation: the description of a prosperous homestead at 195ff. anticipates his later passages about Godscroft, in crucial ways the biblical story of Jacob’s long-delayed marriage to Rachael, the subject of 296ff., presents distinct parallels to the course of Hume’s love for his Barbara, and the passage at 339ff. about God blessing a household with children subsequently turns out to have personal meaning. Therefore it can be said that Hume’s overall plan was to begin with generalities and very gradually to zero in on his true subject. Because of this, and also because the poem is so prolix, it places an obvious strain on the reader’s patience, but those who persevere will find the poem ultimately rewarding and see that some, at least, of Hume’s initial general passages turn out in retrospect to have more point than at first appears.
13. Then we have the epigrams, 69 in the 1605 volume and 110 in the 1639 one. As with some of the other epigrammatists whose work is included in The Philological Museum, they collectively constitute a delineation, not only of the poet himself, but of the local society in which he moved (thus, for example, we gain a fair amount of insight into Charles Fitzgeoffrey’s Cornwall in Affaniae and Sir John Stradling’s Glamorganshire in Epigrammatum Libri Quatuor). Hume came from the Wedderburn branch of Clan Home or Hume, one of those great borderer clans of East Lothian and Berwickshire. As such, as he frequently reminds us, he comes from a line of hard-handed fighting men. He was well aware that Douglas blood flowed in his veins, and wrote a highly favorable history of the Douglas family. And, although he does not speak much about this connection because of the disgrace the 1600 Gowrie Plot against King James’ life had brought upon that family, his mother was a Ruthven.
14. As Hume sometimes observes, with something approaching a note of nostalgia, the days when these borderland families had been warriors and a man could win glory on the battlefield were now definitively over, but this does not mean their martial character had completely disappeared. Rather, their militancy had become transmogrified into a new form: they were staunch Presbyterians, unafraid to stand up for the freedom of the Kirk and offer vigorous opposition to King James’ attempts to bring it to heel. As Hume’s epigrams abundantly show, the Douglases, Humes, Ruthvens, and other Protestant families had a strong inclination to intermarry, thus forging bonds of familial relationships and amity which reinforced their doctrinal ones. One can see from his epigrams that Hume was a loving man. One can also see that most of his love was directed to individuals of the same religious persuasion and caught up in this same nexus of kinship ties. The two great things in his life were family pride and family loyalty, and Calvinism, and it is tolerably evident that, for him, the two were inextricably bound together. His epigrams also attest the two great friendships of his life, and both, significantly, were with prominent Protestant leaders. The first was with Archibald Douglas, eighth Earl of Angus, a nephew of the executed Protestant Regent James Douglas, Earl of Morton, who endured disgrace and English exile during the period when first Esmé Stuart, Earl of Lennox, and then James Stewart, Earl of Arran held sway. Angus returned to favor and authority in 1585, after a large band of Protestant lords successfully laid siege to Stirling Castle and ejected the latter of those interlopers, both of whom had been not not only episcopalising advocates of royal absolutism, but also anti-English and pro-French to boot, and hence suspected of being Catholic agents. Besides being Angus’ kinsman and friend, Hume served as his secretary and accompanied him into exile. Angus died in 1588, and his place as Hume’s particular friend was eventually taken by Andrew Melville [1546 - 1622], the scholarly Presbyterian minister who used his position of Rector of University of St. Andrews, firebrand preaching and speechifying, and writing of satirical Latin epigrams NOTE 7 as weapons in defending civil and ecclesiastical liberty against what he regarded as King James’ tyrannical interference.
15. The epigrams tend to be grouped together by subject-matter, and sometimes there are enough on a given subject that one can speak of mini-cycles embedded in the larger collection. The more notable examples of this feature are ones on his more or less immediate family (20 - 26), January 1 (38 - 41), Chancellor John Maitland (42 - 44), the Countess of Angus (46 - 48), former Barons of Wedderburn, members of the immediate family and somewhat more distant kin (65 - 71), epitaphs for kinsfolk (72 - 77), the deaths of his wife Barbara Johnstone and firstborn son Aselcane (78 - 85), the Rev. Robert Rollock (98 - 103), and Andrew Melville (113 - 119).
16. The present edition of the Lusus Poetici is a hybrid one that does not exactly follow either the 1605 or the 1639 versions. All material eliminated from the 1605 version in 1639 is restored. The three parts of the work are presented in the 1639 order, but it seems preferable to give the original epigrams in the 1605 order with the new 1639 ones following. The reason for this decision is that, for some reason, the order of the epigrams in the 1639 edition is considerably rearranged, so that old and new items are occasionally jumbled together. By the method of organization adopted here, all the reader needs to know is that the first seventy-one are original 1605 ones, and he can identify at a glance the ones were added subsequently. In this edition, the textual variants of the 1639 edition are given preference, but their 1605 equivalents are of course recorded on a Textual Notes page. All material in the 1605 version eliminated from the 1639 one included in this edition, but, for ease of identification, is given in italics. In the case of four epigrams, son James excised certain words and phrases, all having to do with doctrinal controversy, which he feared would offend some readers. Fortunately, three of these are also found, in uncensored condition, in MS Osborn b25 of the Yale University Beinecke Collection, and my good friend Dr. Jamie Reid Baxter has shared with me his transcript of that manuscript, which permits the restoration of the excised material. To make these restorations obvious to the reader, here they are reproduced in boldface type in both text and translation. The 1639 volume is prefaced by some prose and poetic material contributed by Andrew Melville, which I have not reproduced because these items properly pertain to Hume’s Daphn-Amaryllis (a text of which is included in the 1639 Poemata) and are better reserved for a modern edition of that work. It is also prefaced by some liminary epigrams by the contemporary French Neo-Latin poet Nicolaus Bourbon the Younger, and, since a couple of them are written expressly about the Lusus Poetici, it seems appropriate to include them here.
In preparing this edition I seem to have run up quite a few debts. These are Dr. Wout van Bekkum, for help with the Hebrew (a language of which I am entirely ignorant); Dr. Julian Goodare for information about Baron George Wedderburn’s turbulent career as comptroller of James VI’s household; the authorities of the Huntington Library for granting me access to their copy of the 1639 edition; Dr. Karl Maurer for showing me some ways in which my translation could be improved; Dr. Steven Reid for advice and bibliographic information; Dr. Mark Riley for suggesting this project in the first place; Mr. Andrew Shell, the current owner of Godscroft Farm, for providing me with information about his property; and Dr. Arthur Williamson, for providing me with a photographic reproduction of the 1639 edition and also for his extremely useful advice. But, as is usual with editions of works by Scottish authors, my greatest indebtedness is to Dr. Jamie Reid Baxter for his unstinting advice and encouragement, for volunteering translations of the poems in the Appendix, and for taking the time and trouble, in the midst of a family crisis, to give me enormous help in correcting and improving this edition.
NOTE 1 The single best and most comprehensive study of Hume, his life and his poetry, is Christopher Upton, Studies in Scottish Latin (diss. St. Andrews, 1986), Chapter IV.
NOTE 2 This 1632 Paris edition is mentioned by Francisque-Michel, Les Écossais en France (London, 1862) II.293, and in the course of James Houston Baxter and Christian James Fordyce, Books Printed Abroad by Scotsmen Before 1700, Records of the Glasgow Bibliographical Society, 11, 1933), 1 - 55, and, most recently, in Roger Green, Philip Burton, and Deborah Ford, Scottish Latin Authors in Print up to 1700 (Louvain, 2012) p. 157. Michel reported that it is in octavo, and that elle comprend 4 feuillets liminaires et trois parties signées A - T, A - K, et A - L. From this we can deduce that the volume does not contain the forty new epigrams: the second and third parts of the 1605 edition are about the same length, and the same is true of this one. I have queried, without success, the online catalogues of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the British Library, the Bodleian and Cambridge University Libraries, the libraries of the Scottish universities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Huntington Library.
NOTE 3 It may seem curious that the title page of this volume identifies his father as David Humius Wedderburnensis, insofar as he was the second son of David Hume, seventh Baron of Wedderburn, and as such did not inherit the family title. At first sight, a reader might think that James was trying pass himself off as the son of a deceased baron and therefore one himself, in order to enhance his status in the eyes of his French hosts. But Arthur Williamson (in a private communication) has suggested a more likely explanation to me: “His point is to identify himself with the kindred, the Humes of Wedderburn (as distinguished from the Humes of Polwarth, of Coldenknowes, or of Home — among many others).”
NOTE 4 At various points in his editions of his father’s poetry James refuses to reproduce strong expressions of anti-Catholic sentiment, and in a note on poem 119 he states that he declined to print two of his father’s epigrams because he thought they were excessively outspoken. This is conceivably because he did not share his father’s doctrinal sentiments and was personally offended by them, but more likely because he was afraid that otherwise this volume would not get by the French censors.
NOTE 5 Both Andrew and Patrick have their own ODNB entries; for a full account of the family, see Rev. W .J. Couper, The Levitical Family of Simson. (Glasgow 1934). Andrew is discussed on pp. 1 - 9 of the book, with his work as a grammarian appearing on pp. 5f,, while Archibald of Dalkeith occupies pp. 82 - 89. Couper's book was first published as a series of four articles in the Records of the Scottish Church History Society, 1932 and 1934.”
NOTE 6 In his dedicatory epistle to Andrew Melville he writes of his 1595 marriage to Barbara Johnstone with such triumphant excitement that it seems reasonable to think Aselcanus was written soon thereafter.
Little appears to be known about Aselcane (Thomas M’Crie, The Life of Andrew Melville, Edinburgh - London, 1824, II.442. cites a record of the Kirk Session of Prestonpans, General Register of Decreets, vol. cclx, for July 3, 1617) and vol. cclxxxvii, for August 11, 1619). From poem 84 we learn that he died in the same year as his mother, i. e., in 1619, and that he was buried at Abbey St. Bathans Church in the Lammermuir Hills.
NOTE 7 It seems likely that in writing satirical epigrams for polemical purposes Melville was imitating the practice of the great Lord Chancellor John Maitland. In introducing my edition of Maitland’s poetry I pointed out that, although there are few such epigrams represented in the one source where most are preserved, Sir John Scot’s Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (Amsterdam, 1637), it is chiefly for epigrams of this type that Maitland’s poetic output is remembered by the historian Robert Johnston in his continuation of Buchanan’s history of Scotland. It therefore looks as if this aspect of Maitland’s poetic output was deliberately toned down in the Delitiae. It also more than likely that Hume was familiar with the biting epigrams on the 1572 St Bartholomew’s Eve massacre that his friend Andrew Melville had published at Basel in 1574 (in his volume entitled Carmen Mosis), and indeed with Melville’s lifelong habit of producing wellnigh extempore epigrams on contemporary issues.
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MODERN SCHOLARSHIP
Gilfillan, Flora Nan, David Hume of Godscroft (diss. Edinburgh, 1994) Note: this lengthy doctoral dissertation, a detailed commentary on De Familia Humia, was written by a talented scholar whose tragic and unexpected death meant she was never able to follow up her work on Hume.
McGinnis, Paul J. and Arthur H. Williamson, “Hume, David, of Godscroft (1558 - 1629),” in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
— The British Union: a critical edition and translation of David Hume of Godscroft’s ‘De unione insulae Britannicae,’ (Aldershot, 2002).
Reid, David, David Hume of Godscroft's The history of the house of Angus (Edinburgh, 1996 and 2005).
— “Hume of Godscroft on Parity,” in Crawford Gribben and David George Mullan (edd.), Literature and the Scottish Reformation (Farnham, Surrey, 2000), ch. 10.
Williamson, Arthur H., “George Buchanan and the Patriot Cause,” in R. A. Mason et al. (edd), George Buchanan (Farnham, 2012) 87 - 107.
— “Radical Britain: David Hume of Godscroft and the Challenge to the Jacobean British Vision,” in Glenn Burgess et al. (edd.), The Accession of James I (London, 2006) pp. 48 - 68.