IN LUSUS POETICOS Nicolaus Bourbon the Younger [1574 - 1644] was a French Protestant clergyman, professor, and (like his father) a Neo-Latin poet.
ALIUD George Buchanan [1506 - 1582], the great Scottish Humanist and poet. The title of his collected poetry proudly announced it was the work of poetarum sui seculi facile princeps (echoed by Bourbon in line 3 of the first of his epigrams addressed to the poet’s father).
AD NOBILISSIMUM VIRUM Sometimes Hume identified himself as Wedderburnensis, or was identified as such by others, not to stake any kind of claim to his father’s title, but simply to distinguish his branch of the Home/Hume family from others.
The second of these two epigrams may contain an allusion to Hume’s participation in the 1585 Protestant siege of Stirling Castle.
Dedicatory epistle Lady Arabella Stuart [1575 - 1615], daughter of the Earl of Lennox and first cousin to James, under whom she was fourth in line to the throne. Like most contemporary royal women, she was the recipient of an excellent education.
Stuartorum, Duglasiorum ingentia nomina Her grandmother was Margaret Douglas, dowager Countess of Lennox. Given Hume’s profound attachment to that noble family, this connection may be the reason he selected her as the dedicatee of his volume.
OTIOSO ET CURIOSO LECTORI asinus ad lyram A proverbial expression for an awkward fellow (see Erasmus, Adagiorum Chiliades I.iv.35).
si res non personas expenderis Evidently a kind of Latin proverb (hence italicized in the book): cf., for example. Isaac Casaubon’s 1608 letter to Jacobus Lectius (ep. 605), Sed magnae superis gratiae, quod tandem ἀνέβλεψα, et res nøn personas didici aestimare.
ultra crepidam Sutor, ne ultra crepidam is a Latin expression meaning literally “Shoemaker, not above the sandal,” used to warn people to avoid passing judgment beyond their expertise (Adagiorum Chiliades I.vi.16).
AD ANDREAM SYMONIDEM For Andrew Simson (represented in Latin as Simon + the Greek patronymic ending -ides), see the Introduction.
The first elegy was reprinted on pp. 378 - 382 of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (ed. Arthur Johnstone, Amsterdam, 1637).
1.20 Aonian = Boeotian (Boeotia was home to Helicon and Mt. Parnassus).
1.20 Oebalian = Spartan. The reference is evidently to the gleam of Spartan armor.
1.38 Since the Muses are mentioned so often in this elegy, both for variety’s sake and to gain metrical flexibility they are designated by various other terms. Here they are called the Aonides (“the girls of Boeotia”). Hume also calls them the Camaenae, the Pierides (“the girls of the Pierian spring”), the Castalia turba (“the Castalian crew,” the Aganippaeae sorores (“the sisters of Aganippe,” Aganippe being a spring on Mt. Helicon), and the Thespiades (“the girs of Thespiae,”referring to a town in Boeotia).
1.56 In the Odyssey the island of Aeaea was the home of Circe.
1.57f. Another Greek example of witchcraft. When Jason had arrived at Colchis, Aeetes promised to give him the Golden Fleece, but only if he could perform certain tasks. First, he had to plow a field with fire-breathing oxen which he had to yoke himself, but Medea gave him an unguent with which to anoint himself and his weapons, to protect him from the bulls’ fiery breath. Finally, Aeetes made Jason fight and kill the sleepless dragon that guarded the fleece, but Medea put the beast to sleep with her narcotic herbs.
1.61f. Because he had seen her bathing naked, Diana transformed Actaeon into a stag so he could be torn apart by a pack of dogs (Ovid, Metamorphoses III.138ff.).
1.63f. As a reward for their piety, Jupiter transformed Philemon and Baucus into a pair of trees (Ovid, Metamorphoses VIII.611ff.).
1.68 In antiquity, Riphaeus was a fabulous mountain range imagined to exist in the far north.
1.71 See the note on 1.38 (this also applies to Pieridas in line 73).
1.76 The “Clarian god” is Apollo.
1.82 See the note on 1.38.
1.107 See the note on 1.38.
1.112 At this point Hume begins to address Andrew Simson. In the next passage he nostalgically looks back at his schoolboy days, when he had evidently been something of a prodigy at Latin versification.
1.133 Here, for diplomacy’s sake, Hume merely refers to Simson as aliquis (“somebody”), although the discipulo tuo in line 146 removes any doubt about who he has in mind. Evidently even in his boyhood Simson had predicted great things for him.
1.138 The only way I can understand this line is to assume there was some Scottish folk superstition that it was unlucky to meet someone walking backwards. But, considerably more likely, this is Hume’s Latinization of “walking widdershins.” In either case, aversis seems to be a necessary emendation of adversis in the printed texts.
1.138 Rhodope was a mountain chain extending from Bulgaria down into northern Greece.
1.147f. For Buchanan see the note on Nicolaus Bourbon’s liminary epigram ALIUD. In the next line Hume acknowledges that in later life Buchanan had become a highly controversial figure because of his outspoken Presbyterianism, anti-monarchist political writings, and participation in the government of the Earl of Moray after the deposition of Mary Queen of Scots.
In his Life of Andrew Melville (Edingburgh - London, 1824) II.442, Thomas M’Crie misread this passage and wrote “he refers to the presages which Buchanan formed from his early effusions.” Simson predicted he would grow up to be a second Buchanan, but, as far as I know, Buchanan himself (who presumably knew him from his years at St. Andrews, at a time when the great man was rector of that university) issued no recorded opinion about the boy’s talent.
1.141 When Zeus took an amorous interest in Io, a jealous Hera transformed her into a cow.
1.154 See the note on 1.38.
1.163f. The loud, harsh sound of a waterfall is contrasted with the plashing of a gentle stream.
1.171 Pindus is a craggy mountain range in the north of Greece. By rights, the adjective applied to it should be piniferi (“pine-bearing”) rather than pinniferi (“feather-bearing”) but the reading stands uncorrected in the 1639 edition. I have not corrected it here, because it is possibly a deliberate mistake Hume made as a comical illustration of his alleged poetic incompetence.
2 This poem was reprinted on pp. 382 - 384 of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.
2.22 The Paeoniae is another way of designating the Muses (Paeon was a cult-name of Apollo). In the following line Delia (“the goddess of Delos”) is used for Diana, just as Delius is used for Apollo in line 38.
2.64 See the note on 1.68.
3 This poem was reprinted on pp. 382 - 384 of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.
3.1ff. See the discussion of this setting and its significance in the Introduction.
3.14 In mythology Nisus, king of Megara and father of Scylla, was transformed into a sea-eagle (Ovid Metamorphoses VIII.6ff.). Here, Hume is out hawking in the countryside with the help of Nisus, named after tha Ovidian bird, and his pack of dogs (I extend my thanks to Prof. Karl Maurer for helping me understand these lines).
3.17ff. The names of at least some of the hounds in Hume’s pack. Save for Beruicus (which is transparent), I shall not venture guesses at what if any English names these Latinized forms may conceal.
3.19f. The idea is that the dog, having a impaired sense of smell, had to keep close to the ground in order to track the scent. And yet she was the only successful one in locating the quarry.
3.28 The grouse that escapes in flight is actually Cupid.
3.32 Had Hume not persisted in his hunting, Cupid would not have needed to maintain his disguise (this would be a little clearer if Hume had written ille).
3.33 Another one of Hume’s dogs.
3.52 This "roses and lilies" imagery is a very common poetic representative of female beauty in contemporary literature, at least partially because popular women's cosmetics consisted of white lead and vermillion rouge.
3.65 Either Hume is describing the way the moon can be covered by clouds, or a lunar eclipse.
3.71 Paphus on Cyprus was sacred to Venus.
3.82 See the note on 1.20.
3.83 See the note on 1.38.
3.103 The Muses again (Lebethria was a town at the foot of Mt. Parnassus).
3.115 If you devote yourself to tending your farm.
3.137 This abrupt shift into the third person is a little jarring and the use of the perfect tense seems unnecessary. It would have been better had Hume written das, but both editions have dedit, so the reading is retained here.
3.139 Tisiphone (like Megaera, mentioned below) was one of the Furies.
3.156f. The Eumenides (“The Kindly Ones”) was a euphemism for the Furies. In the next line the Aloides are the Giants Otus and Ephialities, sons of Neptune but so called because they were brought up by Aloeus, who were punished for their rebellion against Jupiter.
3.178 A mountain in Thessaly.
3.200 Since (as we have been reminded above) Cupid was the son of the very different divinities Mars and Venus, it is only to be expected that he had a changeable nature.
4 This poem was reprinted on pp. 390 - 393 of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.
4.7 Biblis fell in love with her twin brother. Abandoned by him, she went mad and pursued him through Greece and Asia minor, constantly weeping. When she died of exhaustion, she was transformed into a spring (Ovid, Metamorphoses IX.446ff.).
4.25ff. This passage is discussed in the Introduction.
4.36f. Cytherea was a cult name of Venus. In the next line the Parcae are the Fates.
4.69f. Hymenaeus was the Roman god of marriage. Torches were displayed at Roman weddings.
4.78 Here, of course, the yoke is not being used as a symbol of oppression, as elsewhere in these elegies, rather it is the yoke of marriage that joins husband and wife as a team.
4.97f. Suggested by Aeneid VI.625ff.:
Non, mihi si linguae centum sint oraque centum,
Ferrea vox, omnis scelerum comprendere formas,
Omnia poenarum percurrere nomina possim.
4.125ff. The Hermus and the Pactolus were two gold-bearing rivers in antiquity. The Pactolus flowed through Midas’ kingdom of Lydia, and Hume adopts the conceit that the king’s body was turned into gold, which the river eventually erodes in nuggets.
4.132 Artemisia, the sister-wife of King Mausolus of Caria, survived her husband by two years, during which time she is supposed to have mixed his ashes with her daily drink.
4.134 The story of Thisbe (who stabbed herself after discovering the body of her dead lover Pyramus) is told by Ovid, Metamorphoses IV.55ff.
4.135 After unwittingly killing him by giving him a poisoned shirt, Hercules’ wife Deianira hanged herself. It is striking that out of the five examples Hume cites to illustrate his point that the Muses are capable of immortalizing women for their love, one is a woman whose actions were bizarre and morbid and three were suicides. What, if anything, he was getting at by this choice of examples is unclear.
5 This poem was reprinted (in its original long form) on pp. 393 - 402 of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.
5.8 See the note on 3.71.
5.9 Doves were sacred to Venus. Chaeonia was a village in Epirus, the site of the Oracle of Dodona, where the priestesses were called Peleiades ("doves") because doves were instrumental in the foundation of the oracle, as recounted by Herodotus, II.liv - lvii. Hume need not have known this, he may simply have picked up the phrase Chaeoniae columbae from Proptertius I.ix.5.
5.19 Bacchus. The Lenaea was an Attic festival sacred to Dionysus. Plays were annually performed in connection with this festival as well as at the Great Dionysia, hence the reference to the buskins worn by tragic actors in the following line.
5.24 Unequal because elegiac couplets contain lines of unequal length. Cf. Ovid, Tristia II.i.219f.:
Scilicet, imperii princeps, statione relicta
Imparibus legeres carmina facta modis?
5.31 She wore some kind of Arabian perfume or unguent in her hair (for the erotic power of a woman’s unguent-enhanced scent see Catullus 13, and a modern attempt to revive this device and put it on a commercial basis is described Ed Sander’s amazing 1980 novel Fame and Love in New York).
5.61 The allusion is to the myth of Leda and the swan. I do not understand the force of iussus here.
5.62 Jupiter seduced Callisto while disguised as Diana (Ovid, Metamorphoses II.405ff.).
5.143 Gradivus was a Roman cult-name for Mars.
5.147ff. Ferus Atrides is either Menelaus, who went to Troy to fetch back Helen, or Agamemnon, who confiscated Briseis from Achilles. The fathers of Ascanius and Telemachus were of course Aeneas and Odysseus respectively (Aeneis is described as Mercurio gratum because of Mercury’s appearance in Book IV of the Aeneid, and Minerva is Odysseus’ patroness throughout the Odyssey).
5.165 Nemesis is Tibullus’ darling in Book II of his elegies, Lycoris was the love-object of the elegiac poet Gaius Cornelius Gallus (whose works are lost), and Cynthia is Propertius’ beloved.
5.170 “The son of Maeon” is Homer.
5.172 Helen, daughter of Tyndaris, stolen from King Menelaus of Sparta.
5.176 The Dardanians are Aeneas and his Trojans.
5.177 Hume alludes to the second half of the Aeneid, in which Aeneas’ marriage to Lavinia provokes war with Turnus.
5.179 Grynaeus was a cult-title given Apollo because of his oracle at Gryna in Aeolia. It is used by Vergil at IV.345).
5.184 Pimpla is a syncopated form of Pimpleia, a town near Mt. Olympus sacred to the Muses.
5.185 Apollo was called “Pythian” because the oracle at Delphi was located at the place he had killed the serpent Pytho (the priestess of the oracle was called the Pythia, and the Pythian Games were celebrated at Delphi).
5.186 See the note on 1.38.
5.197 For the story of Prometheus and the satyr, see Plutarch, De capienda ex inimicis utilitate 2 (this is Ben Edward Perry’s Aesopica nr. 467).
5.211ff. For George Buchanan see the note on 1.147f. In his youth he wrote erotic poetry addressed to his mistresses Leonora and Neaera. Later in life he wrote a compendious history of Scotland, the 1582 Rerum Scotarum Historia.
5.217ff. Theodore Beza [Théodore de Bèze, 1519 - 1605] wrote erotic poetry in his youth, published in his 1548 Juvenilia. He subsequently fell under the spell of Jean Calvin, and eventually settled in Geneva, where he served both as served as a Professor of Greek and a preacher, and wrote a number of theological treatises. Beza was Calvin’s successor as the “Pope” of world Calvinism, and the Catholics made much ammunition out of his early erotica.
5.242 Various kinds of plant material can be incorporated in cosmetics by infusion or decoction. Hume’s coctis...aquis designates one or both of these processes.
5.286 By saying the skin “palpitates,” evidently Hume means that it hangs loose and therefore quivers.
5.311 I. e., before his conversion to Protestantism.
5.303 See 5.89f. above.
AD LECTOREM An potui tui...plenem movere? The spleen was thought to be the seat of laughter. See, for example, Edward Forsett’s Cambridge comedy Pedantius (1581) 776ff.:
Intuere obsecro cum commiseratione quadam evisceratum hoc et ex-
angue corpus Pedantii tui, cuius cor tot patitur dolores, quot sunt in campo
flores. Splen (quod ridere facit) iam lamentabile sonat; iecur pusillum cor-
radit et corrodit aquila Promethei, seu Amor; intestina cupitatibus (quasi
Furiarum taedis ardentibus) incenduntur; ventriculus (sive superiorem sive
inferiorem spectes) “aestuat ut clausis rabidus fornacibus ignis.”
[“I beg you to regard with compassion the eviscerated, lifeless corpse of your Pedantius, whose heart suffers as many sorrows as there are flowers in a meadow. His spleen, which usually makes him laugh, now cries out to you piteously. His poor liver is being gnawed at and chewed upon by the eagle of Prometheus, which is to say, by love. His intestines are being burned by desires, as if by blazing torches. His stomach (whether you inspect its upper portion or its lower) ‘burns like a raging fire pent up in a furnace.’”]
Non sic aversus equos An imperfect recollection of Aeneid I.568, nec tam auersus equos Tyria sol iungit ab urbe.
arcana imperii A proverbial phrase originating in Tacitus, Annales II.xxxvi 6 and Historiae I.iv.ix.
non ut vulpes The allusion is of course to Aesop’s fable about the fox and the grapes: Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the he said, “Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I don't need any sour grapes.”
8.58 An author’s note observes that this line was sometimes interpreted so as to mean “and they have hidden their faces.”
9.81 I assume faute de mieux that Naerea = Neaeria = Neireis, i. e., one of the Neireids.
AD ANDREAM MELVINUM Andrew Melville [1545 - 1622] was a learned Presbyterian leader. As Rector of the University of St. Andrews, an incandescent preacher, and author of bitingly satirical Latin epigrams, he devoted his life to defending the autonomy of the Kirk against royal encroachment. In the first paragraph Hume alludes to the story of his long and complicated wooing of his eventual wife Barbara (told briefly in the Introduction and at greater length by his son here), and of the part played by Melville in that story. He writes with an excitement and enthusiasm that suggests that his marriage to her (in 1595) has recently occurred.
AETYMOLOGIA This brief introduction explains the etymology of the name Hume gave to his son, Aselcane. Dr. W. J. van Bekkum of Rijksuniversiteit Groningen suggests to me that the name is derived from the Hebrew (ya-)’aseh el chanan (“He will do it, the merciful God.)”
לא תענה ברעך עד שקר Exodus 20:16.
literarium dictatorem Melville’s contemporary reputation for absolute mastery in Latin is attested by the grammarian and pastor James Carmichael, a Presbyterian fellow-exile with Melville and David Hume in England in 1584: Carmichael includes lines to Melville amongst the limininary poems he wrote to preface his 1587 Grammaticae Latinae, de Etymologia, Liber Secundus (the first of the liminary verses addresses the eighth Earl of Angus, Amoris, et officii ergo). Carmichael’s poem to Melville begins,
Mitto perexiguum, Musis dilecte, libellum,
Iudicium metuens, Archipoeta, tuum
[“I send you, the darling of the Muses, this very meanest of pamphlets, fearing your judgment on it, Archpoet.”]
quod infinitum opus ingressus The meaning of this sentence is not entirely clear: perhaps Hume had started an over-ambitious work on God’s creations (from which some of the material towards the beginning of the present poem was taken?), but Melville had dissuaded him.
Sic et choriambum A choriamb is a long-short-short-long metrical unit, such as can be created by the substitution of a trochee for an iamb in an iambic line.
אך עשה גם יעשה אל חנן ורחום“But [what] He did, He will also do, the merciful and compassionate God” (a somewhat clumsy Hebrew rendering of the following Latin; see Jonah 4:2 and elsewhere. חנן is a defective spelling.
ביהוה תתהלל נפשי ישמחו ענו[ינם] ישמע Based on Psalm 34:2, My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall be glad and hear. The Hebrew noun for “the humble” is misspelled.
11 This poem was reprinted on pp. 402 - 417 of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.
11.9 “Ephyrean” = Corinthian. After the conquest of Corinth in 165 B. C. Rome was flooded with looted bronze artworks which became prized collectors’ items.
11.12 Crysolith is a rare and highly atractive crystal. Pyropus was a gold-silver alloy highly esteemed by the Romans, but the context suggests that Hume was thinking of pyrope, a garnet deep red in color.
11.16 The Sabaeans were a people of southwest Arabia (traditionally identified with the Sheba of the Old Testament) who exported a high-grade incense, mentioned by Vergil, Aeneid I.416, Georgics I.57 and II.177.
11.24 What sounds merely silly in English makes better sense in Latin, where coma means both “hair” and “foliage.”
11.29 Tyre in Phoenicia was the source of purple dye in antiquity. More generally, it was a center for dying and weaving.
11.32 “Water” is a local borderland term for a river, and the present passage continues Hume’s description of his beloved native landscape. The river in question is no doubt the Tweed, and the otherwise rather baffling references to the contrasting flows of the Po, Rhone and Tiber are points of comparison with the varied behaviour of this Scottish river.
11.58 For eating, for the making of leather, and so forth.
11.65 The eagle.
11.72 Fervere opus is an idiom used to describe bustling activity, as at Vergil, Georgics IV.169.
11.115 Iris was the ancient goddess of the rainbow (the one in question is that of Genesis 9:17, with which God seals the Covenant).
11.125 The judge of the dead in the Underworld. Ancient jurors cast their votes by dropping stones into voting-urns.
11.144 Thus replicating the hubristic sin of the Giants, who would have piled Pelion atop Ossus and stormed heaven.
11.157 The sidenote cites Psalm 31:19, Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee.
11.171f. The Egyptian (Pharos is the island upon which Alexandria was built). To balance the Euphrates, surely the Sacorus is meant to designate some Egyptian river, but I cannot determine more exactly what Hume had in mind, unless he was thinking of the Nile as it exists at Sakkara (Saqqara), a section of the great necropolis of Memphis, containing the Step Pyramid.
11.173 The Sydonia...unda is the coast of Phoenicia.
11.175 Ophir is a wealthy port or region (of indeterminate location) whence Solomon is supposed to have received tribute (1 Kings 9:28; 10:11; 22:48; 1 Chronicles 29:4; 2 Chronicles 8:18; Job 22:24 and 28:16; Psalm 45:9; Isaiah 13:12).
11.222 The sidenote cites Psalm 31:30, Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
11.224 Parthia was a kingdom in north-eastern Iran during the Roman period. The Parthians’ ability to shoot arrows while riding horseback caused Roman armies considerable difficulties.
11.241 Cf. auri sacra fames at Aeneid III.57.
11.289 Cf. the character Moeris, also called Celiovidus (at least once spelled Celiovidus in all editions of the poem) who appears in the third Eclogue of Hume’s Daphn-Amaryllis (first published at Edinburgh in 1604). Hume explains the etymology of his name in the Argument to that Eclogue, Celiovedus, minimus et ignotus quisque, ut et ipse auctor...illa voce inutilitatem innuente (ex Celi et Oved Hebraea compositione, quasi vas perditum aut fractum dicas) [“Celiovedus represents every humble, unknown man, such as the author himself...with that word, compounded from the Hebrew celi and oved, such as you would call a destroyed and broken pot), indicating his uselessness.” The image of a broken pot is Biblical (Isaiah 30:14 is clearly the source of Hume’s broken vessel’s uselessness for carrying fire, but see also, inter alia, Ps. 31:12 — the only biblical passage to use the words כלי אובד, — and Jeremiah 19.11). Here (as we have just seen) Hume thought this image applicable to himself, which is presumably why James Melville used it of him in the sonnet quoted directly below. This image describes Hume’s condition before he met and finally married Barbara Johnstone and before the birth of Aselcane.
It is likely that Hume’s image of himself as a broken pot inspired the following profoundly anti-episcopal sonnet, bursting with Scriptural allusion and headed כלי אובד, which was written to Hume c. 1610 by the imprisoned Andrew Melville’s exiled nephew James [1556 - 1614] (National Library of Scotland, MS. 19.2.7 fol. 10v, drawn to my attention by Dr. Jamie Reid Baxter). Its last line puns on the Scots pronunciation of “croft” to make the name “Godscroft” mean “craft and skill in matters divine”:
[Ane] cracked pitcher set up in a neuck (nook, corner
[ G]irthed with grace, keips well gude wyne and aill;
When gilted goblets statly places tuke
Propyning prophets poisone in their kaill (offering | cabbage broth
Weak earthen veschels heavinly treasours hurds; (hoard
When Babels golden image kendles fyre,
These ritches great to simple sauls affurds
When michtie Monarchs faill of their desyre:
Elias prayer potently prevailled (Elijah
Elisha's bones did raise again the dead
Golias proudly on Gods people raild
But Godly David bure away his head
Be law, by law worke on, they’se haue the war (the worse
Gods-craft can mend mair nor the devill can mar. (more than
11.290f. Echoing Isaiah 30:14, in the breaking thereof is not found a sheard to take fire out of the hearth.
11.300ff. See Genesis 28:11 et seqq.
11.307ff. The story of Jacob’s complicated wooing of Rachael is told in Genesis 29. The resemblance of this story to Hume’s own situation with Barbara Johnstone is obvious. In this passage Hume is being quite elliptical (at least for a modern reader unaware that Joseph was one of Jacob’s sons by Rachael: his poem jumps rather awkwardly straight from the progeny business to a dream that Joseph had many years later (Genesis 37:5 et seqq.)
11.345 See line 557 below with the commentary note ad loc.
11.347 Two mountains in Palestine.
11.353ff. Hume begins a passage about his Godscroft farm, and sets the stage by mentioning some local rivers. As with the sidenote at the beginning of poem 3, he attaches unfamiliar Latin names to two of them. Surely one of these, presumably the Pallynucus, is the Monynut, the closest stream to the farmstead. Since “mony” is the Scots for “many,” naybe the 1605 reading Pollynucus is right, and Polly- is Hume’s fanciful interpretation of πολὺ, as if the name meant “Many a Nut” (there was a stretch of the river that used to be called “Humes hole.”) Hume acquired the farmstead of Gowkscroft, which he re-named Godscroft (“God’s farm” — although I am informed the locals persist in calling it “Gowkie”), two miles to the north of the village of Abbey St. Bathans in the Lammermuir Hills, Berwickshire. The farm is still in existence under the same name, and operates a holiday guest cottage, described here. (On the strength of what I have just written, the 1605 reading Pollynucus is given preference here).
11.380 Cf. Vergil, Eclogue vii.26, invidia rumpantur ut ilia Codro.
11.394ff. Hill fires are not uncommon in the Scottish borderland, often started by farmers as a means of clearing and fertilizing the land (here hedera is pressed into service to = “heather,” and scarcely means “ivy”).
11.396 I. e., opening up the channels and veins of the soil for grass, and for the “lively juice“ (i. e. both rain and the juiciness rain gives to fresh grass).
11.399 Not ancient Mercia, but rather the Merse (roughly equivalent to Berwickshire). It is noteworthy, however, that in the Argument to the third Eclogue of Daphn-Amaryllis Hume writes Marcia, not Mercia, presumably to avoid confusion.
11.400 Dr. Jamie Reid Baxter suggests to me that pepheris means peppercorns: the inhabitants trade surplus fireword to gain this luxury food, and that there is a pun in nec desipit: a.) the district is not lacking in good business sense and b.) its food is not insipid.
11.421 Charybdis was a sea monster, later rationalized as a whirlpool in the Strait of Messina.
11.483 One would expect Ierna to mean Ireland, but in Daphn-Amaryllis Hume repeatedly uses this word to designate Strathearn, so perhaps he means the Scottish Highlands.
11.453 The multitude as opposed to the Elect.
11.470 The allusion is to the dragon of Revelation 12:9.
11.475 The yoke of Matthew 11:29 - 30, of course.
11.492 The metaphor is taken from the taming of horses.
11.528 This is a direct allusion to Christ, the very Word of God, as portrayed in Revelation 1:16, “Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword” (cf. also Hebrews 4:12 and also Psalm 149:6 et seq.)Perhaps the Word of God is called a two-edged sword because there are two Testaments.
11.557 It will be noted that, although Hume allows that his son may enter into many walks of life, he takes it for granted that he will do so as an ordained minister.
12 Archibald Douglas, eighth Earl of Angus and fifth Earl of Morton [1555 - 1588] was one of the leading Presbyterian magnates. A strong supporter of his uncle James Douglas, fourth Earl of Morton, Protestant Regent of Scotland, who was driven out of office by the Catholic Esmé Stewart, Sieur d’Aubigny and his collaborator James Stuart, Earl of Arran, and executed in 1581, he tried to intervene to save Morton and was consequently banished, first to Elgin in Moray, and subsequently to England, where he received a warm welcome from Elizabeth. In 1584 he joined the abortive rebellion of Mar and Glamis, and was forced to return to England. In 1585 the Protestants besieged Stirling Castle, ejected Arran, and secured the king’s person, thus facilitating the return of their exiled coreligionists. Restored to his authority and estates, Angus did much to procure peace in the border region until his death in 1588. Prior to his exile, Hume (a kinsman) had served as his companion and secretary, and then joined him in exile.
This poem, with an accompanying English translation presumably by Hume himself, or possibly by his talented daughter Anna, was included on pp. 437ff. of Hume’s History of the House and Race of Douglas and Angus, printed posthumously at Edinburgh in 1644. The title given to it there makes it clear that it was written at the time of his banishment to Elgin in 1581.
12.32 A sidenote to the 1639 edition shows Hume meant the Venetians. Venice was allegedly founded by the Trojan refugee Antenor, another Trojan refugee. Since he is being grouped with Ulysses and Aeneas, the 1605 reading Cui seems preferable to the 1639 reading Queis, and the 1644 reading Troia is superior to the Roma of the other texts.
12.35ff. Hume was always a faithful supporter and panegyricist of the Douglas family, being of Douglas stock himself (he was a grandson of Alison Douglas, herself a granddaughter of Archibald (“Bell the Cat”) Douglas, fifth Earl of Angus). We have just seen that he wrote a history of the Douglas family.
12.51 Cf. Aeneid I.203, Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.
13 The juxtaposition of poems addressed to the Earl of Angus and Elizabeth is readily understandable, since Elizabeth was a friend and sponsor of the Presbyterian movement. Despite her personal loathing of Puritans, the fiercely anti-Catholic Presbyterian party in Scotland was an ideal tool for keeping Scottish pro-French and Spanish sympathies in check,
This and the following poems were reprinted on pp. 431f. of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.
13.10 See the note on 3.71.
13.31 A cult-name of Juno.
13.30 This comparison of Elizabeth with the three competing goddesses is not uncommon in contemporary poetry. This literary topos may well have something to do with the painting Queen Elizabeth and the Three Goddesses attributed to Joris Hoefnagel (discussed by Roy Strong, Gloriana: the Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, London, 2003, pp. 65 - 59).
15 The idea of this poem is that if you take away the L, the crown which was laurea (made of laurel) will become aurea (made of gold).
This poem was reprinted on p. 431 of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.
15.1 This line is quoted at the beginning of James Hume’s Pantaleonis Vaticinia Satyra (1633).
16 This poem, written while James was still in his youth, is probably the the earliest in this collection. Hume appears to refer to it at lines 7ff. of the epigram Tarda Impressio appended to his 1617 Regi suo Scotiae Gratulatio:
Idem inter primos tantae natalia famae,
Et cecini vitae limina prima tuae:
(Ipse licet primis tunc vixdum egressus ab annis).
[“Likewise I was among the first who sang of the of the birth of your great fame, and of the first beginnings of your life (though myself scarce emerged from my first years)”].
This poem is quoted in near entirety in the various editions of Hume’s Daphn-Amaryllis, immediately following the third Eclogue with a brief introduction likewise identifying it as early work. In those volumes, lines 1 - 64 are given in their entirety (without any textual variations). Lines 69 - 73 are printed in the following abbreviated form:
Nonne vides ut nunc brumali frigore Nessus
Pertinax, duram glaciem recuset,
Eius ad exemplum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Spaea, Dovernus, Dea, mox et Esca
It was also reprinted on pp. 436f. of Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum. Meter: couplets of 1 dactylic hexameter + 1 hendecasyllable.
16.3 Falernian wine was highly prized by the Romans.
16.5f. See the note on 4.125ff. The Tagus was a similar gold-bearing river in the Iberian peninsula.
16.9 Moesia was a Roman province in the Balkans, situated on the south bank of the Danube.
16.11 Mt. Hybla in Sicily was famous in antiquity for the quality of its honey. Methymna was a city on the isle of Lesbos. It produced a distinctive-tasting wine mentioned by Propertius IV.viii.38 and Silius Italicus, Punica VII.209ff.
16.12 See the note on 11.16.
16.13 See the note on 11.29.
16.17ff. Hume means Pompey. He was murdered while disembarking from a skiff at Pelusium in the Nile Delta. This was evidently done by command of Ptolemy XIII, but in the popular mind was attributed to Pompey’s son-in-law Julius Caesar.
16.43 The river Teith rises in Perthshire, and passes near the Stewart royal castle of Doune on its way to joining the (at this point much smaller) Forth above Stirling, the town where James lived secure in Stirling Castle, until the age of thirteen.
16.51 Another reference to Phoenician purple dye.
16.57 Gargara was a city of the Troad.
16.59 For Lenaeus pater see the note on 5.19. Maenalus was a Greek mountain range, and Mt. Tmolus was a mountain in Lydia, represented as a favorite haunt of the god by Euripides in his Bacchae.
16.63 The Crawford Muir in the Lanarkshire Gills really did contain gold, exploited in the reigns of James IV and James V; under James VI, the search for gold was vigorously prosecuted, and the Englishman Sir Beves Bulmer obtained a grant to work goldmines in Scotland in 1578-92: see here, and see also Stephen Atkinson [fl. 1586-1617], “The Discoverie and Historie of Gold Mynes in Scotland” (Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1825).
16.69f. Cf. George Buchanan’s 1583 Rerum Scoticarum Historia I.26., Nessus a lacu Nesso longo viginti quatuor millia effluit. Aqua semper fere tepida, nec unquam ita frigida ut congelet. Quin et asperrima hieme fragimina glaciei in eum invecta tepore aquarum brevi solvuntur.
16.71 For Lutea as the Latin name for the Lochtie see Buchanan ib,, Oritur autem Spaea a dorso Badenachae, cuius memiminus, nec longe ab eius fronte lacus est, unde erumpit Lutea ac se in occiduum mare devolvit.
16.78ff. This is said because the course of the Tweed marks the Anglo-Scottish eastern border, endlessly crossed by invading troops in both directions; at the river’s mouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed was for centuries a bone of contention between England and Scotland.
16.82 In this poem Hume is primarily concerned with the effect of the unification of Great Britain on his own part of Scotland. Here medium = “middle“ (after 1603, King James called the Borders counties “the Middle Shires.”)
17 Angus died in 1588. The Latin text is printed at History of the House and Race of Douglas and Angus, p. 432, and an English translation on the following page. Meter: couplets of 1 dactylic hexameter + 1 iambic dimeter.
18 Text and translation printed ib., pp. 433 - 436. Meter: Alcaic stanzas.
18.7 Lepidus and Cethegus were two of Cataline’s chief lieutenants in his conspiracy to overthrow the Roman Republic, detected and denounced by Cicero.
18.11 See the note on 11.241.
18.24 (English) By a misprint, the printed text has “fanciesatch.”
18.37 Cf. Horace, Odes I.i.1, Maecenas atavis edite regibus.
19 After the Angus Douglases fell from power when James V attained his majority and the banishment of their leading members (see further the note on poem 59), Janet Douglas was burned alive because she allegedly had attempted to poison the king. Her husband and son were remanded into custody. The story is told by Buchanan, Rerum Scotarum Historia XIV.44. In one respect the information provided by this note is incorrect: Janet Douglas was excuted in July 1537.
20 Mariota Johnstone [d. 1564] was the daughter of Andrew Johnstone of Elphinston. I have not succeeded in determining their exact relationship, but obviously Andrew was a kinsman of Sir James Johnstone, the father of Hume’s wife Barbara. Note that during this period a married Scotswoman retained her maiden surname.
This poem was quoted by Hume in his manuscript De Familia Humia Wedderburnensi Liber (first published at Edinburgh in 1830, available here) p. 57. There are no textual variants.
20f. In after inserting this poem in De Familia Humia, Hume makes it clear that the wealth of which he writes was metaphoric: Nec frustra hoc dictum; et dotem hanc dedit, et dos illis fuit materna probitas, plus quam dos ulla ad matrimonium profuit...
21 The poet’s oldest sister Isobel married John Haldane, ninth Laird of Gleneagles. On her death, Haldane took as his second wife Barbara Johnstone of Elphinstone, the poet’s future wife.
This poem was quoted by Hume in De Familia Humia, p. 58. In the manuscript, evidently, 12 nata was omitted, and the editor, realizing a word was missing, conjecturally supplied vere within square brackets.
On pp. 57f. Hume gives a brief sketch of the two sisters (continuing the sentence partially quoted above):
...et, propter matrem, spes de ipsis, praesertim maxima et minima Issobella et Johanna. Illa Johanni Handano Gleneglisio (sive Vallaguilio interpretemur) in Jernia provincia, ista Gulielmo Cockburno Langtonio in Mercia nupsit, utraque forma insignes, moribus meliores, aequales tamen quam similes. Illa statura procera, vulta severa, moribus gravis, maiestatem quandam prae se ferebat, quam reverebantur qui spectabant; ista comis, mansueta, mitis, accessu facilis, ac iucunda, ad hilaritatem a natura composita, ut amans, ita amabilis erat; utraque modesta, pia, proba, prudens, omnibus tum maritorum amicis, tum suis ultra modum grata, et vulgo hominum acceptissima.
(One suspects that the 1839 editor misread the ms., and that the correct reading is Vallaquilio.)
22 and 23 Hume’s youngest sister Janet married Sir William Cockburn, father of the first Baronet Langton. He was a descendent of Alexander de Cockburn, Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, and Heritable Usher of the White Rod in the Parliament of 1473. For the family, which had strong Protestant associations, see Thomas H. Cockburn-Hood, The House of Cockburn of that Ilk and the Cadets Thereof (Edinburgh, 1888, available here). She and Cockburn died simultaneously in 1600, not without suspicion of foul play. In De Familia Humia (p. 59) Hume wrote:
Ita sane erat, et genio similis, et admonita ut de matre interrogaret, et, quid quisque laudaret, animadverteret, idque imitaretur, fecit, et ad imitationem se composuit...haec eodem cum marito et morbo decubuit, et morte occubuit, quamvis illa Langtoni, maritus Edini; una elati, una seuplti, non absque veneficii in vulgus suspicione.
Poems 22 and 23 are also repeated at De Familia Humia, pp. 58f., without any variants.
24 John Haldane, ninth Baron of Gleneagles [d. 1591]. Having gained the permission of James Douglas Earl of Morton at a time when he was still Regent in all but name (i. e. prior to September 1579), he married Hume’s eldest sister Isobel. Their wedding was the occasion for a memorable feast (Hume tells the story at De Familia Humia, p. 68). After Isobel’s death at some unknown date he married Hume’s future wife Barbara Johnstone. He and his brothers participated in the 1585 siege of Stirling Castle that followed the return of the Earl of Angus and other noble Protestant exiles. The digna propago mentioned at the end of this epigram is his son James [d. 1624], who succeeded to his title.
26 James Johnstone of Elphinstone. According to this site,
...in 1550 he married Margaret, daughter of William, second Lord Ruthven...Under an Act of Parliament of 1585 it is recounted that he loaned great sums of money to the Ruthvens, which he and his heirs could not recover because of the forfeitures of the Ruthvens, later Earls of Gowrie. By this marriage he had a daughter Barbara, who married John Haldane of Gleneagles and then David Home of Godscroft, the historian. He also had a daughter Margaret, probably also by his first wife, who married Alexander Crichton of Drylaw, about 1580, when they had a conjoint confirmation of the barony of Naughton. He married secondly in 1564...Jonet daughter of Sir John Melville of Raith. She died in September 1603...By her he had James and Robert, John and Martha. He made a disposition to his younger son Robert in 1570 of Leuchy, doubtless the Leuchin bought in 1544, and was dead by 1575, when his sons were under curators and it was registered.
This last statement is clearly wrong, since he survived to give his blessing to his daughter’s marriage to Hume in 1595. This is also suggested by Hume’s evidence that he died at age 72.
26.13 Momus was the ancient god of captious criticism. He appears in a couple of Lucian's satrical dialogues, and in countless Renaissance liminary verses and epigrams.
27 A number of prominent Protestant divines chanced to die in 1602 - 3. These included Franciscus Junius [1545 - 1602], professor of theology at Heidelberg, and then at Leiden. Lucas Telcat or Tralcat [1542 - 1602], professor of theology at Leiden. For David Black see the initial note to the following epigram. William Perkins [1558 - 1602], author of such works as Armilla aurea, id est, Miranda series causarum et salutis & damnationis iuxta verbum Dei. Eius synopsin continet annexa tabula (Cambridge, 1590, cf. A golden chaine, or the description of theologie containing the order of the causes of saluation and damnation, according to Gods woord. A view of the order wherof, is to be seene in the table annexed. Written in Latine by William Perkins, and translated by an other. Hereunto is adioyned the order which M. Theodore Beza vsed in comforting troubled consciences, London, 1591) and A case of conscience the greatest taht [sic] euer was, how a man may know, whether he be the son of God or no (London, 1592). Tigurini (“The Zurichers”) is Hume’s blanket term for Calvinists, and refers to such theologians as the Waloon Jean Taffin [1529 - 1602 — an English translation of his Des Marques des enfans de Dieu by Mrs. Anne Lock was published under the title Of the Markes of the Children of God, at London in 1590] and the French Daniel Tossanus [1541 - 1602], and possibly others as well.
28 The outspoken and militant St. Andrews minister David Black [d. 1603] delivered the speech The Declinatour of the King and Counsel’s Judacatour in Maters Spirituall, namelie, in Preaching of the Word; given in to the same at Halyrudous by Mr. David Blacke, minister at St. Andrews, in his owne name, and name of his whole brethrein of the ministrie, the 18th day of November, 1596 (cf. Calderwoood’s History of the Kirk V.456 - 459, and also the unfriendly account of the pro-government historian Robert Johnston in his continuation of Buchanan’s history of Scotland]. His persecution by the Court was seen by Protestants as such a serious act of governmental tyranny that it was one of the main causes of the December 1596 attempted Presbyterian coup d’ état. His friend and colleague Andrew Melville called him “a man mighty in doctrine, and of singular fidelity and diligence in the ministry” (James Melville, Diary, p. 293). See also Melville’s substantial and deeply felt elegy for Black printed at Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum II.81 - 84. He was the author of An exposition vppon the thirty two psalme describing the true manner of humbling and raising vppe of Gods children (Edinburgh, 1600), which opens with a substantial and savage denunciation of the reading and writing of secular poetry, not dissimilar to the original concluding section of Hume’s fifth elegy.
28.9 See the note on 26.13.
30 Hume was a peaceable man, although he was well aware, and obviously proud, of his descent from a line of belligerent ancestors, as he will inform us in a subsequent mini-cycle of epigrams about the Barons of Wedderburn (poems 65 - 69 and see the first words of poem 63, Humia bellatrix gens et Mavortia vere / Pectora ). This poem, however, commemorates the single time he took up arms on behalf of the Protestant cause, when he participated in the Presbyterian siege of Stirling Castle in 1585.
34.1 See the note on 11.380.
36.2 Cato the Censor was likewise taciturn, but he was severe to the point of harshness.
38 It was customary to exchange New Year’s gifts (strena) on January 1.
39f. These epigrams are reprinted in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, p. 432.
41 This epigram was written in 1600, when Scotland adopted the Gregorian calendar, or shortly thereafter, and Hume’s mock hostility towards Janus is caused by the fact that the Gregorian calendar was a Catholic invention: Janus was a two-faced god who presided over a turning, and Catholics were two-faced and given to twisting the meanings of words. His faces are fresh and newly scrubbed (sanata) because the year has just changed.
42 Rising as high as a subject might go, the achievement of John Maitland, first Lord Maitland of Thirlestane and, beginning in 1586, Lord Chancellor of Scotland [1537 - 1595], was to give Scotland sound and stable government after the constant political, military and ecclesiastical upheavals that had marked and marred the first two decades of the reign of James VI. James was crowned at the age of two in July 1567 after the forced abdication of the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, and his reign had begun with a civil war in which two of Scotland's regents were killed. The issue of what kind of a reformed polity the Scottish Kirk was to have clouded the regency of the pro-English Earl of Morton, whose fall at the end of 1579 was followed by serious attempts to detach the kingdom from its new alliance with Protestant England and restore the Catholic alliance with France. In all of this, the young king was little more than a pawn and, after September 1579, completely under the sway of his pro-French favourites Esmé Stuart, Duke of Lennox and the latter’s creature James Stewart, Earl of Arran. Once Arran had been overthrown in 1586, the able Maitland successfully put Scotland's governance on a firm footing, not least by demonstrating a consistent commitment not merely to the English alliance and Protestantism, but also to the quasi-autonomous Kirk's own preference for a Presbyterian rather than an episcopal polity. He was also an accomplished poet himself, and his surviving work is included in The Philological Museum here.
44 Maitland was married to Jean, daughter of James, the fourth Lord Fleming [1554 - 1609]. As noted above, at this period Scottish wives retained their maiden surnames.
45 Maitland and Jean Fleming had two children, a son and a daughter. The son, John Maitland, first Earl of Sunderdale [d. 1645], married Lady Isabel Seton [d. 1638], daughter of Robert Seton, first Earl of Winton. The immediate juxtaposition of this and the preceding epigram strongly suggest that the “Isabel” of the present epigram is Lady Isabel Seton.
46 Angus’ third wife was Jean, daughter of John Lyons, eighth Baron Glamis [died before March 1610]. He married her in 1587, the year before his death.
This poem was reprinted in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, pp. 432f.
46.6 Appelles was the most famous painter of antiquity.
46.9 The Gaetuli were a people occupying the region of north Africa now occupied by the Berbers.
47.2 She was mother to one of Angus’ two daughters and stepmother to the other.
49 After Angus’ death Jean Lyons married Alexander Lindsay, Baron of Spynie [d. 1607]. In this epigram Hume does not bother to disguise his doubts about Lindsay’s moral fibre. See also the note on poem 98 below.
50f. For Maitland, see the note on poem 42. Interestingly, we have another picture of Maitland writing (or more likely swapping with a companion) extemporaneous epigrams in a convivial setting. Tycho Brahe, no mean Latin poet himself, describes playing host to Maitland at Uraniborg during his 1590 visit to Denmark (anent the circumstances under which Maitland’s poems 9 - 11 were written) three years after the fact, in a letter to James’ former tutor and currently an influential member of the court Peter Young (dated 20 March 1593 new style — Denmark retained the Julian calendar until 1700 — preserved by Bodleian ms. Smith 77, and printed by I. L. E. Dreyer (ed.), Tychonis Brahe Dani Opera Omnia, Copenhagen, 1913, VII.330ff.):
Idem petii a magnifico d. cancellario Iohanne Metellano, cuius in poesi argutum ingenium vel paucula illa carmina ostendunt, quae ianuae conclavis vestri regis, cum hic una addesset, utut inter circumbibendum et colloquendum, obiter quidem, sed non sine nervoso acumine, discedensque mnemosyni loco scripsit, quae etiamnum illic spectantur.
[I made the same request of the magificent Lord Chancellor John Maitland, whose keen talent for writing poetry is shown even by the short verses he affixed to the door of your king’s bedroom when he accompanied him here. He wrote these amidst our drinking and conversation, in passing, to be sure, but not without vigorous talent, and on his departure affixed them to the door by way of a memento, which can be seen there to this very day.”]
52 Little appears to be known about this George Douglas and his translation of Boethius: see David Irving, The History of Scottish Poetry (Edinburgh, 1861) p. 136, and the Rev. Walter W. Skeat, The Kingis Quair: Together with a Ballad of Good Counsel, by King James I of Scotland (Edinburgh - London, 1884) p. 59. Given the admiration voiced here by the Douglas-adherent Hume, the addressee is probabably the George Douglas who presented King James with a 56-line poem Duglassiorum Officium Regiae Maiestati on August1 1617 at the ancient Douglas stronghold of Drumlanrig. The poem is printed on p. 279 of The Muses Welcome (Edinburgh, 1618). A George Douglas is recorded as a master at Edinburgh’s Canongate school in 1620.
52.3 Mercury, god of eloquence, was born at Mt. Cyllene in Arcadia.
52.4 Livor edax comes from Ovid, Amores I.xv.1.
53.8 See the note on 4.36.
54 Sir Francis Walsingham [1532- 1590], Elizabeth’s principal secretary and a vigorous promoter of the Protestant cause. As such, he was a strong supporter of alliance with Scotland.
54.5 At least in the present case, this was a true observation: Walsingham was just about the only one of the leading men around Elizabeth who failed to use his position for self-enrichment, and died in a state of near-poverty.
54.11 See the note on 1.38.
56 Although a considerable number of new epigrams are added in the 1639 edition, only two that had appeared in the 1605 one were removed, the present one and poem 61 below, addressed to King James and his consort Anne of Denmark. For some reason, James Hume transferred them to the Jacobaea portion of his volume, where they appear on p. 67.
The first line is explained by the fact that Anne was a daughter of Frederick II of Denmark and sister of his successor, Christian IV.
58 Publius Ovidius Naso (Naso means “Nose”) and Publius Vergilius Maro.
59 The dramatic time of this epigram is 1532, and the speaker is Archibald Douglas, sixth Earl of Angus. Three years earlier he had been attainted and banished to England for having refused to demit his position as guardian of the young James V after his term of office had expired. At Book XIV.35f. of Rerum Scotarum Historia George Buchanan tells the story:
Nam cum in Scotia nullae pene sint leges praeter conventuum decreta, eaque plaeraque non in perpetuum sed in tempus facta, iudices quod in se est lationem legum impediant, omnium civium bona quindecim hominum arbitrio sunt commisa, quibus et perpetua est potestas et imperium plane tyrannicum, quippe quorum arbitria sola sunt pro legibus. In gratiam Romani pontificis quaestio saevere in Lutheranos exercita. Pontifex contra, ut regi tam bene de se merito gratificaretur, sacerdotiorum decimas ei in proximum triennium dedit.
Hoc anno cum Angli statum rei Scotiicae tranquilliorem indies fieri cernerent, sed externis auxiliis existimarent nudatos quod ipsi se cum Gallo adversus Carolum imperatorem conunxissent, undique causas belli quaerebant. Mense enim Aprile e Beruico expeditione facta Coldingamiam et Dunglassum multosque pagos vicinos abacta praeda ferro flammaque foedarunt, nullis apparentibus causis irritati, nec inimicitia denunciata. Quam enim cupide id bellum susceperit Anglus ipsius edictum non multo post vulgatum demonstrat. Ait enim praesidiarios Beruici licentia verborum apud Scotos iactorum irritatos fuisse. Verum ipsa verba in edicto inserta nullam contumeliam habent. Haec causa cum ne ipsis quidem satis iusta videretur, Canaben, viculum ignobilem cum paupere coenobio ad limite situm, de quo nulla unquam controversia fuerit, tanquam sui iuris repetunt et Duglassios exules restitui petunt.
[“For seeing in Scotland there are almost no laws, but decrees of the Estates, and many of them too made not for perpetuity, but temporarily, and the judges hinder the enacting of laws when they can, the estates of all the subjects were committed to the pleasure of fifteen men who were to have a perpetual power and even a tyrannical government, for their wills were the laws. In favour of the Pope, they were very severe against the Lutherans, And the Pope, on the contrary, to gratify a King so well deserving at his hands, gave him the tithes of all parsonages for the next three years following.
This year, the English perceived that the state of affairs in Scotland grew every day more quiet than other, but yet that they were destitute of foreign aid because they themselves had joined with the French against Charles the Emperor. Hereupon they sought out an occasion for a war. In April they made an expedition out of Berwick and spoiled Coldingham, Douglas, and many other neighbouring towns, and drove away great booty. They had no apparent provocation, neither did they denounce war before-hand. How eager they were upon war appears by that King’s proclamation soon after publish’d, wherein ’twas said that the garison of Berwick was provoked by some licentious and contumelious words which the Scots had let fall. But the words mentioned in the proclamation carry no contumely in them at all. But, this cause not seeming just enough for a war, they demanded Canabie, a small village in the Borders with a poor monastery in it, as if it belonged to them, which they never pretended to before and likewise that the Douglasses might be restor’d.”]
This epigram is reprinted at Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum p. 433.
60 The addressee may be the crypto-Catholic Adam King, author of the 1601 Ad Iacobum Sextum Scotorum Regem a Nefaria Fratrum Ruvenorum Coniuratione divinitus servatum SOTERIA.
This epigram is reprinted at ib. loc. cit.
61 See the note on poem 56.
62 Hume’s praise of a man for reading a book by a Roman secular historian, during both sermon and prayers in church, can only be ironic, as indicated by the closing words about this gentleman receiving his due reward.
63 The motivation underlying this poem is obscure. In view of its title, it may refer, not to any bloodless battle involving the Humes, but to an ecclesiastical confrontation involving members of the Hume clan. Two such events are worth considering. The first is the attempted Presbyterian coup d’etat of 17 and 18 December 1596, the catalyst for which was the crown’s dispute with Hume’s friend David Black (see the note to poem 28). The contemporary presbyterian historians David Calderwood and William Scot both claim that Sir George Home, the future Earl of Dunbar (for whom see John Dunbar’s epigram IV.84 with the commentory note ad loc.), was a moving force in bringing to the boil the alarm felt by the presbyterians, who included noblemen and barons as well as clergymen; Home, for reasons of his own, pretended to be on their side against the king’s “Octavian” and allegedly Catholic councillors. The resultant uproar on 17 December led the king to withdraw to Linlithgow. A few days after the failure of the coup, the Presbyterian leaders fled the capital without a fight, issuing A Declaratioun of the just causses quhilk moved the ministers of Edinbruche to withdraw tham selves from thair flokes, for a seasone.
The commitedly Presbyterian poet-pastor Alexander Hume - not a minister of Edinburgh - had attended the Edinburgh gathering of December 1596. He was probably not the only Hume in attendance; the opening lines of poem 74 make it clear that Godscroft’s elder brother George, Baron Hume of Wedderburn, was a presbyterian stalwart. Unfortunately, no complete record of the ministers, lords, barons and merchants present in the presbyterian ranks in December 1596 seem to survive. Some thirteen years later, Alexander Hume acknowledged (and criticised) the subversive nature of the attempted coup in his anti-episcopal Afold Admonition to the ministerie of Scotland of 1609. But there were unquestionably Humes on the other side too, as James Melville makes clear in his Autobiography and Diary 1556 - 1610 (printed 1842), p. 383: “At the beginning of Januar, the King, with grait forces of the Homes, Cares and Southland gentell men, cam to Edinbruch, quhilk pat the town in grait feir.” Hence, perhaps, the reference to utraque turma in line 10. The failure of the coup marked the beginning of the king’s permanent ascendancy over the presbyterian party in the Kirk, and within a few years, James was appointing bishops and restoring episcopacy, to which the presbyterian Godscroft was deeply opposed.
The other conflict to which the poem may refer is the 10 January 1606 trial at Linlithgow of the six irreducible clerical defenders of the legitimacy of the abortive General Assembly held in Aberdeen in July 1605, against King James’s last-minute command that it be postponed. Although the thirty-odd ministers gathered in Aberdeen had merely constituted themselves an Assembly and then immediately dissolved that Assembly, the king accused them of treason and lèse-majesté and had them all arrested. Most of those involved acknowledged their fault over the next few weeks, and were released from gaol, but a hard core refused to admit any wrongdoing and abjure their defence of the Kirk’s freedom to call its own Assemblies. In January 1606, the six faced a packed jury put together by the newly-created Earl of Dunbar, Sir George Home/Hume, second son of Home of Manderston. (See the contemporary account in William Scot, Apologetical Narration of the State of the Kirk, Edinburgh, 1846, pp. 152f.). The nine jurymen who “fyled”’ [convicted] the accused ministers included Sir John Home of North Berwick, Sir George Home of Broxmouth, George Home of the Deanes, Alexander Home of Rentoun and Sir Patrick Hume of Polwart (brother of the Presbyterian minister Alexander Hume mentioned earlier). “Some of them had suites at Court. Some of them were mean men and might be easily induced, or terrifyed...they perceived how matters wer contrived” (Scot, p. 153).
Rather amazingly, one of the six who “clenged” [acquitted] the defendants was Gavin Home of Johnscleugh: the Earl of Dunbar’s threats and blandishments clearly failed to move him. It is also possible that the Presbyterian pastor Mr Alexander Hume was among the forty ministers, led by Andrew and James Melville, who attended the trial in support of their accused colleagues ; no complete list of all forty names is extant. As with the events of 17 - 18 December 1596, 10 January 1606 presents two possible “armies” of Humes. However, if either of these events is what inspired Godscroft’s poem, it is curious to see (judging from lines 10 - 12) that this fervent defender of the Kirk’s autonomy thought that neither party was behaving admirably in the confrontation.
65 Sir George Home, second Baron of Wedderburn [1432 - 1497]. Henry Drummond, A History of Noble British Families (London, 1844) VI.19, summarizes Hume’s lengthy account of the fighting at Millerston (or Milleston) Hill given at De Familia Humia, pp. 11 - 14 (Hume claims that this battle was fought in 1496, but there seems to be no independent corroboration of this):
Percy, Earl of Northumberland, having collected a great band of five thousand men, boasted that he would, in spite of, and as a disgrace to the Homes, carry off their whole cattle, and ravage their country. Having made his entry into [Berwickshire], plundering everything before him, he proceeded as far as Auldcambus. The people in the neighbourhood were alarmed by the noise, and acquainted those at a distance of the arrival of the English by lighting the fires on the beacons. The Homes gathered together in a hurried manner, but not being in sufficient number to face the enemy, they waited their return on the banks of the river Ay at Milleston Hill, where the ford is narrow, and a steep hill on the opposite side, from whence they could occupy the whole heights as far as the sea, and which the English must pass on their way to Berwick. The Scots were not above eight hundred strong, and chose George Home for their leader. He ordered them to dismount, and remove their horses out of sight, and await the coming of the enemy on foot. On Percy perceiving them, he consulted with some of his chiefs what was to be done. Selby was first asked his opinion and whether from any secret grudge against Percy or through friendship to Wedderburn, who was a relation, or through wisdom, he advised Percy to retreat to Berwick with his plunder without fighting. Percy thought this most honourable, and the battle ended in favor of the Scots, who, amongst others, took Selby prisoner, and retook all the plunder.
This occurred in 1496. The identification of Wallace in the 1639 introductory note was presumably added for the benefit of French readers. On p. 14 Hume reproduces the present poem, with no textual variants.
65.4f. In De Familia Humia, p. 12, Hume says that the battle was hominum sermonibus et vernaculo carmine in hunc usque diem celebrata. I am not learned enough in Scottish folk music to know if any such ballad survives.
For “Mercia” see the note on poem 11.399.
66 In the following year George Home was killed by the English after having been taken prisoner. He was succeeded by his son David Home, third Baron Wedderburn [1457 - 1513]. Again, Drummond (pp. 19f.) summarizes Hume’s account at De Familia Humia pp. 14 - 17:
A month after his father’s murder [in 1497], the English made another inroad under a leader whose name is unknown, but his banner had on it a dun cow (probably therefore a Neville), referring to which, he said he would make it low over the town of Dunse. The army consisted of three thousand men. They marched insultingly past the castle of Wedderburn, which enraged the servants of the deceased George, who were further stimulated by the promise of a reward of 10 [pounds] by the widow, for every Englishman whom they should kill: they accordingly sallied forth, and killed four. The English, however, arrived at their destined hill, and there insultingly fixed their standard, burning the town of Dunse, and wasting the country. It happened that Patrick [Home], having heard of his brother’s murder, arrived on that very day from Edinburgh, where he generally resided, as he was attached to the court. He joined himself, therefore, to his nephew David, who was already in arms, to whose standard about five hundred friends and vassals flocked, and repaired to the conflux of the waters of Blackadder and Wedderburn, through which the enemy must return; here they were joined by Cockburn of Langton. They contrived, by lying in ambush, and drawing forth the English by a feint, to gain a complete victory, which was not used with clemency, for they killed every one in revenge of George’s death...David became so formidable, that not a man of the same name as he who caused his father’s death dared appear within fifty miles of the border.
On p. 17 Hume reproduces the present poem, with no textual variants.
67 This same third Baron Wedderburn was killed in 1513, during the battle of Flodden Field. According to Drummond, loc. cit., “He is said to have used all his endeavours to persuade his chief, Lord Home, and Lord Huntly to go to the assistance of the royal army...when it was being worsted, but on their refusing to do so, he went with his own company, and he and his eldest son were both killed.” Hume tells the story at greater length at De Familia Humia, pp. 17f., and inserts this poem, with via mistakenly printed for vix in the last line.
The 1639 note refers to Buchanan’s sketchy account of the battle at Rerum Scotarum Historia XIII.27, and inexplicably dates it to 1515.
68 David Hume, fourth Baron Wedderburn [1489 - 1523]. Antoine d’Arces, known as “De la Bastie” and called Darcy by Scottish writers, was an agent of the the Franco-Scot John Stewart, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, after the defeat at Flodden, whom he served as Deputy Governor, Warden of the Scottish Marches, and keeper of Dunbar Castle. In 1517 he went to investigate the murder of a Frenchman who had been killed by the Homes in revenge for Albany’s execution of Alexander Home, third Lord Home. As George Buchanan tells the story (Rerum Scotarum Historia XIV.10):
Primum in eius provincia motum fecit qui ad bellum spectaret Gulielmus Cocburnus comarchi Lanctonii patruus, qui, curatoribus pupilli exclusis, arcem Lanctoniam tenebat, fretus maxime potentia Davidis Humii Vederburnii, cuius sororem Cocburnus in matrimonio habebat. Eo cum Gallus satis firmo comitatu venisset arcemque qui intus erant dedere recusarent, cum raris equitibus expeditis adeqitans David Humius Alexandri sui propinqui caedem nefariam exprobrarat. Gallus partim suis diffisus, partim equo pernicissimo cui insidebat confisus, se Dumbarum versus in fuga coniectit. Ibi lapsu equi impeditum inimici assecuti eum trucidarunt, caputque abscissum supra Humium arcem loco conspicuo affixerunt.
[“The first tumult in his province which tended to any thing of a war was made by William Cockburn, uncle to the Lord of Langton. He had driven away the guardians of the young ward and had seized upon the Castle of Langton, relying principally on the power of David Hume of Wederburn, whose sister Cockburn had married. Thither Darcy marched with a sufficient guard, by they within refused to surrender the Castle; and moreover, David Hume with some few nimble horse riding up to him, upbraided him with the cruel death of his kinsman Alexander. The French-man, partly distrusting his men and partly confiding in the swiftness of the horse he rode upon, fled towards Dunbar, but, his horse falling under him, his enemy overtook and slew him, and set up his head in an eminent place on Hume-Castle.”]
Hume tells the story of the Baron’s involvement in this feuding at length in De Familia Humia, pp. 29 - 38. On pp. 37f. he reproduces the present poem; variants are noted on the Textual Commentary page. The reader may be interested in the detailed analysis of this incident at Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland (Edinburgh - London - Dublin, 1849) II.264 - 270.
69 “The battle near Musselburgh” is better remembered as the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, fought on the banks of the River Esk near Musselburgh on September 10, 1547. It was a catastrophic defeat for the Scots, in which the Scottish van was commanded by Archibald Douglas, sixth Earl of Angus [d. 1557]. George Hume, fifth Baron Wedderburn, the son of the fourth Baron and Angus’ sister Allison Douglas, was killed in the battle. Since he died without issue, he was succeeded as sixth Baron by his brother David, the poet’s father. Hume writes of his life and death at De Familia Humia, pp. 40 - 42, and quotes the present poem on p. 42., without any textual variants.
69.7f This couplet is a little difficult to understand: evidently George is addressing the shade of his dead father, and inviting him to appreciate that “the father and the husband,” i. e., his successor, David Hume the sixth Baron, the father of the poet, is not inferior to either of them. (Alternatively, parens could = mother, and one could translate “Spare your tears, mother, consider that father who is your husband: the man whom you bore was not unworthy, he was not a disgrace.” Perhaps Hume is sayin
70 David Hume, sixth Baron Wedderburn [1520 - 1574]. Drummond, VI.21f., summarizes Hume’s account of his life given at De Familia Humia, pp. 42 - 59:
David was prevailed on by [his uncle] George to keep out of the battle [of Pinkie Cleugh], that both might not fall. After the defeat, he fled to the castle of Dalkeith, which was surrendered to the English next day by James Douglas Earl of Morton, and afterwards Regent of Scotland, and he was carried captive to England, where he remained two years till his ransom was paid. He was a good Latin scholar, and had studied the laws; he also sang, and played on the harp. He was a very upright man, and though he might have enriched himself with forfeited estates as others did, he steadfastly refused to receive what he believed to be the property of others. When it was represented to him that if he did not get a share of his enemies’ estates, his own party would not trust him, he still peremptorily refused. He remained steadfast to the Queen until she abdicated. After that, he sided with her at Carberry, though his chief, Lord Home, and his cousin Earl Morton, were on the other side. Bothwell prevailed on the Queen to ask him and his uncle Blackadder whether she could depend upon them, to which he replied, that he had joined her standard for that end, and he hoped she would not disgrace him by suspicions of his fidelity. His uncle Blackadder said the same, and enraged at Bothwell, said to him, “We will stay as long, and perhaps longer with our Royal Mistress than you will,” and they did remain with her after Bothwell had fled. Wedderburn supported his vassals entirely at his own expense. When a Warden was to be chosen for the Eastern Marches, he was named as the fittest person, and the Regents, Marr and Morton, offered it to him. He desired one day to consider, as he did not anything rashly, and this delay was represented to the Regent as caused by his desire to consult his chief, Lord Home, which so enraged the Regent, that he appointed Home of Cowdenknows. At this, Wedderburn was angry, and never would pay any deference to Cowdenknows as Warden. The Regent attempted to draw Wedderburn into a snare, by ordering all the gentlemen of the Merse and Teviotdale to sign an oath on behalf of the King, but David, suspecting some fraud, refused to do so. Morton, fearing the influence of his example upon others, set him in an inner room by himself, until the others had signed it. When Morton went to dinner, he remembered David, and sent for him, who jocosely said, “As I was lawfully committed, I stayed till I was lawfully released.”
Lord Home was angry on account of a dispute respecting Colburnspeth. David mounted his horse, and ordered all his servants to attend him, and hunted in his turn up to the walls of Manderston, even into the garden. Next a confederacy called the Black Band was formed against him, headed by Hume of Manderston, which he overcame. Manderston next attempted to carry off the teinds of Kello, with the assistance of the Abbot of Coldinghame, which had always belonged to the Lairds of Wedderburn, but Wedderburn with five hundred horse dispersed the faction, and put them all to flight. A French gentleman, D’Oysel, in the neighbourhood, made an irruption into England without giving him notice, and on returning, was hard pressed, and would have been destroyed, had not Wedderburn, who saw his distress from a neighbouring hill, gone to his assistance, and saved him.
Wedderburn was a very swift runner, fond of racing, hunting, fencing, throwing the javelin. His chief, Lord Hume, was persuaded by Manderston that Wedderburn wanted his ruin, but on the contrary, he refused to take any of his estates when they were confiscated, comforted him when in prison, and became his surety, and Lord Home then became sensible of his true merit. Died 1574, and is said to be the first of his family who died a natural death, all having been killed in defense of their country.
Hume quotes this poem on p. 57 of De Familia Humia, with nostri for seri in the third line.
70.5 According to various passages of ancient literature, Astraea, the Roman goddess of Justice, quit the earth in disgust at human wickedness. Cf., for example, Ovid, Metamorphoses I.149f.:
Victa iacet pietas, et virgo caede madentis
Ultima caelestum terras Astraea reliquit.
71 Hume reproduces this poem on p. 51 of De Familia Humia (with insultare for exsultare in the third line) and introduces it (pp. 50f.) with the following remarks:
Nescio qua ira inter eum et Osellium Gallum orta; eo praeterito, Gallus irruptionem in Angliam fecerat, cum in reditu premeretur, et turbatis ordinibus nonnulli [fugerent,] omnes fugam circumspectarent; David ex fumo Scotos in hostico esse intelligens, suos, quos poterit, raptim armat, et ad eos quam potest propere, occurrit. Ac commodum in ipsa trepidatione, cum iam Angli impressionem quam maximam facturi essent, superveniens, diectis et occisis qui primum ocurrerant, promptisssimum quemque invadens ad suos reiecit, omnes flectit, et impetum repressit, ac suorum animos restituit; adeo ut in ordines reducti sensim se et tuto receperint. Gratum id Osellio, nec quicquam deinceps, eo inonsulto, in ea provincia tentavit...Certe ante eius adventum adeo trepidi fugerant ut periisse omnia dicerent, et Wedderburniam arcem praetervecti nonnulli, negarent illam satis firmum adversus hostium ingruentium vim munimentum.
[“Some quarrel arose between him and the Frenchman D’Oysel. Ignoring that, the Frenchmen made a foray into England, and when he was attacked during his return and some in his train were thrown into disarray, they all looked around for a means of escape. David, learning from the smoke that the Scots were in enemy territory, immediately armed those of his followers he could, and rode to them posthaste. This was helpful amidst the panic, since the English were on the verge of launching as great an assault as they could. Coming on the scene, he unhorsed and killed those who were the first to meet him, and by attacking the particularly bold ones he drove them back to their own men, made them all retreat, frustrated their attack, and restored the courage of his fellow countrymen, to the extent that they were gradually restored to order and retired to safety. This was welcome to d’Oysel, who henceforth attempted nothing in that territory without having consulted Hume...Although before his arrival they were fleeing in such a panic that they were saying all was lost, and some of them kept riding on past Wedderburn Castle, saying it was an inadequate defense against the might of their attacking enemies.”]
71.1 Swinton in the Harrogate region of North Yorkshire must have been the raid’s target.
71.9 In ancient Rome the civic crown was an award given for the saving of a citizen’s life.
71.11 I. e., I have proven I am a fighting man and am worthy of death in battle (as have my forebears).
72 For Janet note on poems 22 - 23.
73 In 1577 the poet’s older brother George, seventh Baron of Wedderburn [d. 1616] married Jean, “daughter of Haldane of Gleneagle.” John Haldane, ninth Laird of Gleneagles, presumably her brother, was first married to the poet’s oldest sister Isobel.
74.1 The sidenotes maks it clear that “Zion” is the Kirk of Scotland. The imagery in these lines is taken from epithets applied to Zion (Jerusalem) in Lamentations: 2:15, “ the citie that men call the perfection of beauty, the ioy of the whole earth”; 1:1 “she was that was great among the nations, and princesse among the provinces, is made tributarie”; 1:8 “she is in derision; all that honoured her despise her, because they haue seene her filthines”; 5:8 “Servants haue ruled ouer us” [Geneva Bible].”
74.2 He had fathered six daughters, Isobel, Jean, Elizabeth, Margaret, Mary, and Beatrice.
74.8 There is no allusion here to the traditional papal self-description as servus servorum: the sidenote explains that the famuli in question are the bishops of the Kirk, who are represented as being servants (or more accurately stooges) of the king: “The bishops, by whom liberty seemed to him to be oppressed, although wrongly.” The final two words represent the editorial opinion of Hume’s son James, who did not find bishops as objectionable had his father and his father’s friend Andrew Melville: see his note on poem 119.
74.9ff. In a Parliament convened at Perth in 1606, it was voted to restore bishops to the Kirk of Scotland (notice the implication in line 10 that those who voted in the majority on this occasion were not good men). Evidently Home voted against, and perhaps spoke against, this measure.
74.12 John Graham, third Earl of Montrose [1548 - 1608] was Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland, and as such presided over this senssion. After James left Scotland in 1603, Scotland was governed by the Privy Council, it did not have a Lord Lieutenant or Lord Deputy, who in Latin could be called a prorex, so the implication appears to be that now Scotland was reduced to the same provincial status as Ireland.
74.16 Here “you” is the Kirk.
74.22 He wishes he could have performed military service for his nation, but the Fates forestalled this by creating a permanent peace (an idea repeated at line 56).
74.23ff. In 1578 he was appointed Warden of the East Marches. In the following lines (as is made clear by the sidenote) he attests his good relations with Tobie Mathew [1546 - 1628], the superstar preacher who was created Dean of Durham in 1583 (an event vividly described here), Bishop of Durham in 1595, and Archbishop of York in 1606. The County Palatine of Durham, governed by a Prince-Bishop with considerable secular powers, had an important role to play in defending the English side of the borderland. Berwick and Carlisle, the main English towns and seats of justice in the Borders, are located at the eastern and western ends of the frontier respectively
74.34ff. At this point Hume begins to write of his brother’s unfortunate experience as comptroller of the king’s household, a position to which he was appointed at the very beginning of 1598, under a commission issued on 29 December 1597 to the king’s financier, Thomas Foulis. The Crown already owed a huge sum to Foulis, which it could not repay. On 17 January, Foulis’s empire crashed, after a crucial £30 000 which George Hume as comptroller was due to pay Foulis on 6 January had been arrested in Hume’s hands by John Lindsay of Balcarres, who claimed that he was owed some of this money. This device to leave Foulis (and his partner Robert Jowsie) short of £30,000 at this particular moment was a key element of a plot devised by Lindsay in collusion with his royal master to enable the Crown to evade its obligation to repay Foulis by bankrupting the financier. The words David Hume puts into George’s mouth in line 36 (‘any industry I chanced to display was performed entirely for your needs’) may be evidence that George Hume was actually part of the plot, as historians suspect. Hume was certainly under political pressure later in 1598, and in a position where he was obliged to pay off part of the king’s debts out of his own pocket, at great cost to his own financesSee this entry from the Parliamentary Register for 13 June, 1598:
The which day Sir George Home of Wedderburn, knight, comptroller, promised and took upon him to furnish their majesties' houses and the whole ordinary burdens of his office honourably upon the rents of the offices which he has presently, and that before any payment of any debts owing by his majesty to any person for any cause whatsoever preceding, and that the king's majesty should not be mistaken in the premises; concerning which, he shall be answerable to the king's majesty and estates and accountable in his highness's exchequer according to custom. And over and above the premises, the said comptroller shall make sufficient assignation of £10,000 for maintenance of the prince's and princess's houses, and likewise shall make sufficient assignation yearly of £25,000 to be paid to Thomas Foulis and Robert Jowsie, their cautioners and creditors, and this act to have effect and begin 1 November next to come. It is thus subscribed, George Home.
As Julian Goodare showed in ‘The Debts of James VI of Scotland’ (Economic History Review 62:4, 2009, pp. 926 – 952), Hume actually “absconded” in April 1599. By then he was already over £26,000 superexpended. After James’s accession to the English throne, the Crown eventually repaid him between 1609 and 1613, though none of the £9,000 of accrued interest was ever forthcoming. All of the chronically underfunded James VI’s financial officers ended up out of pocket, so if Godscroft was being critical of his brother in this poem, it was surely criticism of his folly in accepting the post, rather than of any incompetence. Dr Goodare, in a personal communication, has drawn attention to what the privy council said on 17 April 1599: Hume as comptroller has
...very undeutifullie and negligentlie behavit himselff in the discharge of that office, be omitting and ouerseing of all thingis, alsweill necesser for the weill of his Majesteis service as for the honnourable provisioun and furnissing of thair Majesteis houssis and equirie, geving frequent and just occasionis of complaint of want and inlaik to the officiaris of thair Majesteis houssis, aganis the tennour of his awne bandis maid and gevin in to his Heynes for the honnourable furnissing of thair Majesteis houssis, without excuis of inlaik and want; quhairthrow, be his cairlesnes and negligence, thair Majesteis ar lyke to be frustrat of the provisioun of thair houssis this present yeir. (Records of the Privy Council, v.550.).
Dr Goodare went on to say that “without excuis of inlaik and want” was unfair to Hume, “who on 9 February had given in a quite plausible list of reasons why he was unable to fulfil the contract that had been made between him and the king on 30 October 1598 — some of the reasons being that the king had deprived him of various revenues, in breach of his side of the bargain (RPC v,.525-6.),” and adds that he has the impression that “James was not an expert financial manager, not personally knowing the details of his finances nor (as a result) really understanding why he had financial problems. But he had councillors who did understand, including the Octavians and (in his different way) Thomas Foulis. And, quite possibly, Home of Wedderburn.”
For details of Hume’s involvement in the Foulis crash and its aftermath, see “The Debts of James VI of Scotland,” 933f. and 941, and also Julian Goodare, “Thomas Foulis and the Scottish Fiscal Crisis of the 1590’s,” in W. M.Ormrod, R. Bonney and M. Bonney (edd.) Crises, Revolutions and self-sustained Growth: Essays in Fiscal History 1130 - 1830 (Stamford, 1999), especially pp. 188 - 93 and 195. My thanks to Dr Goodare for his communication.
See further George Powell M’Neill (ed.), The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1908) XXII.xliiif.
74.39 For “Mercia” see the note on poem 11.399.
74.56 A second line that comes close to expressing regret that he had not lived during a time of war, when he could have demonstrated his martial prowess.
75 Margaret Home, daughter of John Home of Cowdenknowes, was married to David Hume, eighth Baron of Wedderburn [d. 1650]. For the purposes of this epigram socer appears to mean “grandfather-in-law.”
76.4 Hume is evidently thinking of Proverbs 31:10 - 11, Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
76.29 Dorcas was a disciple dwelling in Joppa mentioned at Acts 9:36 - 42, who was mourned by all the widows shen she died. St. Peter rewarded her for her piety by raising her from the dead.
77 The subject of this poem was the son of John Haldane by his first wife, the poet’s sister Isobel Hume.
78 Barbara Johnstone was buried in the nearby Berwickshire town of Duns.
78.16f. The son in question is presumably Aselcane, who, judging by Hume’s silence on the subject here, must have died later in the same year (see poem 84). Hume’s interest in word-plays brings him almost to incoherence here: evidently what he means is that they had prayed Aselcane would marry a pious woman as God’s reward for his own piety.
78.44 Because his farm is called Godscroft.
78.49 Compare the imagery at Aselcanus 286ff.
79 This poem is only intelligible in light of his son’s prose account of the history of Hume’s relationship with his Barbara.
81 Hume drive home is point by quoting lines 5f. from poem 20 in 7f.: good qualities he had ascribed to his mother there are now ascribed to his wife.
83 It is often impossible to determine whether the explanatory notes added to the 1639 were the work of the poet or of his son who edited the volume. In this case, the note was clearly the work of his son. I have no idea of the basis for his observation that over time Hume’s style evolved from a Vergilian or Ovidian one into a Horatian one. Nor do I understand why son James regarded the latter as inferior to the former In any event, his note goes to show that this poem was written to mark the tenth anniversary of Johnstone’s death.
83.24 Sine se effectively means “without you” (i. e., with the half of me now missing).
83.25 Pignora amoris refers to their children.
CASTISSIMI HOC After this mini-cycle of epigrams on the death of his mother, James Hume inserts an account of the torturous course of her relations with his father. Reading between the lines, we might imagine that Barbara’s father had scruples about the the fact that the couple were first cousins, and even the intervention of some of Hume’s friends failed to convince her father to the contrary. Alternatively the O. D. N. B. article on Hume, written by Paul J. McGinnis and Arthur H. Williamson, third paragraph says “The financial insecurity that resulted [from their father’s remarriage to Margaret Ker], he tells us, prevented both him and his brother [James] from marrying the women of their choice.” This is based on Hume’s account at De Familia Humia pp. 63f. But the fact that the friends Hume wheeled up in support of his suit were clergymen suggests that the father’s scruples were at least partially religious.
Non tulit haec aetas The second half of an elegiac couplet: if it is a quotation rather than a line from an original composition, I cannot trace the source.
Videatur Buchananus, lib. 15. The reference should be to Buchanan’s Rerum Scotarum Historia XVII.43.
Huius Patricii nepotes The reference is to the exceedingly murky attempt of these two members of an ultra-Protestant noble family to kidnap or even assassinate King James in 1600, known to history as the Gowrie Conspiracy (discussed here). They were killed by member of James’ retinue in the ensuing fracas.
84 For Aselcane Hume, see NOTE 4 in the Introduction.
84.1 etc. By using the term alumnus, foster child, Hume is saying that Aselcane was in reality not his son, but God’s, and merely fostered out to David Hume; the depth of Hume’s grief over Aselcane’s death can be measured by this notion, since it verges on blasphemy, portraying the dead Aselcane as a Christ figure, Barbara as Mary, and Hume as a mere Joseph.
86 I cannot identify this Anna Hume: she was not a daughter of our poet’s elder brother, the seventh Baron of Wedderburn, so her father must have been one of his two younger brothers, James Home of Hilton, or John. Since John “who also applied himself to literature, ... died young from the effects of overstudy,” James seems more likely. For John Sterling Baron of Keir [b. 1561], who left Keir and migrated to Hertfordshire, changing his name to Stirling because “he was an Englishman, and desired his name to be the same as the purest silver of his country, namely, Stirling Silver.” See Edward Boker Sterling, The Sterling Genealogy (New York, 1909) pp. 5f. and the document called “Copy of the Register of the Stirlings of Keir, on file in the National Library at Glasgow, Scotland; also on file in the Public Library at Boston, Mass., and the Astor Library, New York.”
87 Hume’s daughter Anna appears to have been an early specimen of the kind of woman a later age would call a “bluestocking.” Like her mother, she was an educated woman, and she had a literary bent, publishing her verse translation of Petrarch’s The Triumphs of Love, Chastitie, Death, also in 1644. According to the O. D. N. B. article on her (by S. M. Dunnigan), “evidence suggesst that she was associated with the literary, social, and political circles around the writer William Drummond of Hawthornden.” For a letter from Drummond to her, see David Masson, Drummond of Hawthornden (New York, 1973) p. 317.
In 1644 she was also responsible for the first publication of her father’s A Generall History of Scotland Together with a Particular History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus, published at Edinburgh. It may not be entirely outside the bounds of possibility that she was responsible for the 1632 Paris edition of Lusus Poetici discussed in the Introduction.
88 Idaea, sive De Iacobi Magnae Britanniae, Galliae et Hyberniae, praestantissimi et augustissimi Regis, virtutibus & ornamentis, dilucida enarratio eiusque cum laudatissimis veterum regibus, monarchis, et imperatoribus, comparatio exacta & enucleata. Authore Thoma Rosa Scoto-britanno was issued at London in 1608 by John Norton, serenissimae Regiae Maiestati in Latinis, Graecis, et Hebraicis typographus (a second edition was printed at London in 1626). The present poem was not used as a liminal epigram in either edition of that book.
89 Towards the beginning of the seventeenth century there was a vogue, in the British Isles and elsewhere, for writing a new kind of Neo-Latin flattery, whereby the poet contrives a motto which is an anagram (or at least, as in the present instances, a near-anagram) of the subject’s name, and then writes a poem about that motto. Within the scope of texts in The Philological Museum, other specimens are William Alabaster’s poems XXIVf. and the complete contents of Francis Davison’s 1603 Anagrammata in Nomina Illustrissimorum Heroum.
The subject of this and the next epigram is Johann Adolf, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp [1575- 1616], the brother-in-law of Queen Anne (he was married to her sister Augusta), no doubt commended to Hume’s attention by his Protestantism and his function as a Lutheran administrator of such previously Catholic districts as Lübeck and Bremen (portraits show him to have been brawny — although the less charitable observer may prefer the adjective “pudgy” — so the comparison with Hercules is not groundless).
This epigram was written for the edification of William Fowler [1560-1612], uncle of William Drummond of Hawthornden, and secretary to Queen Anne (hence the link with the queen’s brother-in-law) and himself a notable translator and vernacular poet, whose once-extensive and impressive poetic activity was latterly dedicated almost entirely to making endless anagrams (vernacular anagrams made from names were just as popular as neo-Latin ones).
91 The Scotsman James Hay [d. 1636] a royal favorite who came to England with James in 1603 (for whom cf. John Dunbar’s epigram I.89 with the commentary note ad loc.). This epigram would seem to have been written after 1610, when he was made a Knight of the Order of the Bath. Indeed, it appears to have been written 1615, when he was created Lord Hay of Sawley (thus heros, often used to mean “lord,” in the first line). An accomplished courtier — the “sweetness” dwelt upon in this epigram was no doubt one of the tools of his trade — he performed useful services as a diplomat, but is chiefly remembered for the lavish style of his living and the huge debts he consequently ran up. It is notable that Hume’s conclusion appears to be that Hay’s soul is not twice-sweet.
The “G. Val.” seems unidentifiable. One naturally thinks of “William Wallace“ as a possible way of unpacking the abbreviation, bu (apart from the Stirling headmaster and neo-Latin poet William Wallace — for whom see here — who may well have known Hume but for whom it is impossible to imagine any connection to Hay) the only contemporary Scotsman of that name who comes to mind is the master mason [d. 1631] who designed the King’s Lodgings at Edingburgh Castle and the north range of Linlithgow Palace, who does not appear to be a likely addressee of a Latin epigram.
92 The Scottish jurist Sir John Skene of Curriehill [d. 1617] published Regiam Majestatem Scotiae veteres leges et constitutiones ex archivis publicis, et antiquis libris manuscriptis collectae, recognitae, et notis juris civilis, canonici, Nortmannici auctoritate confirmatis at Edinburgh in 1609. In 1613 a translation was published, also at Edinburgh, under the title Regiam Majestatem The auld lavves and constitutions of Scotland, faithfullie collected furth of the Register, and other auld authentick bukes, fra the dayes of King Malcolme the second, vntill the time of King James the first, of gude memorie. Again, the present poems were not used as liminary epigrams, although both the Latin and the vernacular editions of the book contain several by other hands.
92.9f. A sidenote makes it clear that Hume is referring to King James, who had made Skene his archivist.
94.10 Fergus I was the legendary founder of the Scottish nation: see Hector Boece, Scotorum Historia I.19 et seqq. and George Buchanan, Rerum Scotarum Historia IV.1 et seqq.
95 George Hamilton, sixth Baron of Preston [b. ca. 1542]. As such, he was proprietor of Prestonpans [lit., “the salt-pans of Preston”] and its fourteenth-century castle, Preston Tower.
96 For Jean Fleming see the note on poem 44. Originally married to Chancellor John Maitland, after his death in 1595 she married John Kennedy, fifth Earl of Cassillis [1575 - 1615] in November 1597.
96.9 Jean Fleming, a formidable lady, was more than twice the age of her bridegroom, and her second marriage raised many eyebrows, not least those of the outraged Earl of Glencairn, to whose daughter Cassilis had been betrothed. . Hence the tone of Hume’s epitaph. Jean was a very wealthy widow; when Cassilis became the Treasurer in April 1599, James VI was heard to remark gleefully that the appointment would force Jean to open her purse (Cassilis, who had taken on responsibility for some of the previous treasurer's debts, resigned the treasurship well nigh immediately, to avoid the fate of so many of James's financial staff). See Keith M.Brown, “A House Divided: Family and Feud in Carrick under John Kennedy, Fifth Earl of Cassilis,” Scottish Historical Review LXXV (1996), 168 - 196, especially 179 - 182. See also p.1 91 of the article by Julian Goodare cited in the note to poem 77.44ff.
96.7 He is describing the way a trumpeter’s cheeks bulge out when he plays.
96.12 See the note on poem 26.13.
97 William Alexander, first Earl of Stirling [d. 1640], who fostered Scottish settlements in the New World. Alexander was a fervent supporter of all the policies of King James and his son, and rose high in the royal administration, becoming Secretary of State for Scotland in 1626. A close friend of Drummond of Hawthornden, the Earl revised and completed James VI’s verse paraphrase of the Psalms at the behest of King Charles. This was issued in 1636, and Charles’s attempt to impose it on the public worship of the Kirk lit one of the several fuses that set off the Prayerbook riot in Edinburgh on 23 July 1637, leading to the National Covenant of 1638 and the subsequent Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Alexander’s early works were designed (successfully) to attract the attention of the literary-minded James VI, and included four neo-Senecan closet dramas of considerable bulk and sententiousness, published collectively in 1607 as Monarchicke Tragedies, since each deals with the unhappy fate of a glorious king (Darius, Croesus, Alexander, and Caesar respectively). James, and much more so his son Charles, ignored the warnings contained in these works, and ironically, Alexander’s own glorious career ended in disaster and colossal debt, with him being loathed and mocked in his native land. Hume’s epigram shows his awareness of Alexander’s highminded intentions in the Tragedies, and one imagines that he was also aware of their failure to achieve their end.
97.7f. This couplet adds nothing new, and looks like it was written as an alternative to the preceding one.
98 Robert Rollock [d. 1599], for whom see John Dunbar’s epigram VI.44 and the note ad loc., was a shooting star in the Scottish theological firmament. In 1583 he moved from his youthful regentship at St. Andrews to become the first Principal of (and lecturer in theology) at Edinburgh’s “‘Tounis College” (renamed in 1617 Academia Iacobi Sexti, and later renamed the University of Edinburgh). He was also a hard-working parish minister in the Scottish capital. Beloved of students, parishioners and fellow-clergy alike, and admired by Theodore Beza, Rollock’s life was cut short by overwork. Most of his numerous published works were posthumously issued. His death caused a massive outpouring of public grief, and Hume’s three commemorative epigrams all first appeared (unchanged) in the extensive collection of epicedia that occupies the second half of the 1599 Edinburgh publication Vitae & Mortis D. Roberti Rolloci Scoti Narratio, where they are immediately preceded by four elegiac couplets by “G. Duglassius,” presumably the poet mentioned in the note on poem 52.
101 Robert Cecil [d. 1612], son of William Cecil, first Baron Burghley, served Elizabeth as Secretary of State after the death of Sir Francis Walsingham, a position he retained under James. He was created Earl of Salisbury in 1605. His mother, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, was a talented student of Greek and Latin (it is no surprise that Hume should express admiration for an educated woman, since he was married to one himself and had another for a daughter).
102 For an example of what Hume means, see L. Hulse, “The Musical Patronage of Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 116 (1991) pp. 24 - 40. This epigram might appear to indicate that Hume was angling for some kind of support for himself, but (save for his relationship with the eighth Earl of Angus, appears to have been based on kinship, friendship, and shared Calvinism, rather than any financial need) there is no evidence that he was ever dependent on patronage. The fact that he was able to purchase Godscroft, and occasionally speaks of having servants, suggests otherwise.
103 The Cecils claimed descent from a Welsh family which could trace its descent to the time of Kings Harold and William Rufus. Hence in the following lines Britannia acquires genuine significance.
104 Thomas Egerton, first Viscount Brackley and Baron Ellesmere [1540 - 1617], created Lord Chancellor upon James I’s accession.
104.9f. For want of an alternative, we must conclude that the subject of this sentence is mens. But alma seems a peculiar adjective to apply to mens. The least improbable interpretation would appear to be that, being a companion of God, Egerton’s mind becomes a source of nourishment to its owner.
105 In this epigram Hume makes a serious mistake. Charles Blount, eigth Baron Montjoy and first Earl of Devon [1563 - 1606], served as Lord Deputy of Ireland (and latterly as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) from 1600 to 1604. But here he is confused with the courtier William Cavendish, first Earl of Devonshire [1552 - 1626]. In view of this error, one cannot be absolutely sure whether the title’s DEVONIAE ought to be translated as “Devon” or “Devonshire.”
105.7 While fighting Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, in December 1601 Montjoy defeated a Spanish expeditionary force in the Siege of Kinsale, and ejected them from Ireland.
105.9 Upon his return from Ireland, Montjoy was rewarded for putting an end to the Nine Years’ War by being created Earl of Devon and given a place on James’ Privy Council.
106 Sir Alexander Home [d. 1619], sixth Lord Home, was created first Earl of Home in 1605, chief of Clan Home.
106.8ff. To the Romans a lustra was a period of five years. This statement would appear to confirm the general supposition that Home was born in 1566. In the following lines Home provides a brief sketch of his career: when he was a boy (hence inconsultior, indicating he had barely reached the age of reason), his father forfeited his property and title for rebellious activity in support of the deposed Mary Queen of Scots. But he was restored to his father’s estates and title by Act of Parliament in 1578. In 1603 he was created Earl of Home.
106.21ff. Home was first married to Christian, daughter of William Douglas of Lochleven, Earl of Morton. After her death he married Mary Sutton, daughter of the ninth Lord Dudley.
106.26f. The reader will naturally find Hume’s arithmetic confusing. He first tells us that Home fathered three boys and three girls by Mary Sutton, two of whom were either stillborn or died in infancy, leaving four surviving. But now he addresses his elder son and heir James as if he were his sole surviving son.
107.1 It is unclear whom Hume means (and the speaker could well be unsure himself): some maintain the clan founder was William, son of John de Home (12 c.), and others that he was Patrick, son of Gospatric II Earl of Lothian (13 c.). But the confirmed ancestry of the Homes only begins with Sir John Home of Home (14 c.).
107.6 For “Mercia” see the note on poem 11.399.
107.8 See the note on poem 26.13.
108 An epitaph for the young grandson of Sir William Cockburn and his wife Janet Hume, the poet’s younger sister: see the note on poems 22 and 23. His father, William Cockburn [d. 1628] was the first Baronet Cockburn.
109 Robert Douglas, first Viscount Belhaven [1573 - 1639], Master of the Horse to Prince Henry, Gentleman of the Bedchamber to James I and Charles I, and Master of the Houshold to Charles. He was created Viscount of Belhaven in 1633 (the title of this poem in its present form must therefore have been written by James Hume). His wife was Nicola Moray, daughter of Robert Moray of Abercairney, who died in childbirth in 1612.
109.5 Like Orpheus.
111 Sir David Moray or Murray of Gorthy [1567 - 1629] was Keeper of the Privy Purse to Prince Henry. Cf. T. Kinnear (ed.), Poems by Sir David Murray of Gorthy (Bannantyne Club, 1823).
111.3 Cinis seems to make little sense here, but the meter excludes quivis and civis as possible improvements.
112 Elizabeth Scott, daughter of Sir William Scott of Elie, later of Ardross (Stirnet genealogical website). She was married to Thomas Dischington, who sold Ardross to his father-in-law.
112.3 The key word in what would otherwise seem a problematic self-contradiction is nunc: it alludes to the Christian idea that death is improving.
113 For Andrew Melville see the note on AD ANDRAEAM MELVINUM. The poem involves a series of puns and word-plays which cannot be reproduced in translation: mel means “honey,” and fel “bile,” vinum means “wine” and “venenum means “venom,”, and vappa means “wine gone sour.”
113.3 I would imagine that here melimela does not mean “a particularly sweet-tasting variety of apple,” as the lexicons would have it, but rather a candied apple such as children like, but adults find disgustingly sweet.
114 Melville infuriated James by a sarcastic epigram on the ritual observed at the chapel of Hampton Court and of the arrangement of the Royal Altar there (see below), and also by a couple of speeches in favor of a free Kirk Assembly.
In his introductory note, James Hume (evidently misled by malicious gossip) considerably exaggerates Melville’s plight at Sedan, as anyone who has read Chapter X of M’Crie’s Life of Andrew Melville will know. It deserves to be pointed out that James Hume was wrong in his introductory note: Melville was under house arrest, at best, until April 1607.
When it comes to interpreting and translating this damaged epigram, certainty is obviously impossible. My admittedly tentative understanding is a.) Curnam in line 3 (a word not found in the classical Latin lexicon) is an error for Cur non; and b.) An Scotus...an Philippus refers to King James. Is he a true King of Scots (there was a Scottish tradition of speaking unpleasant truths in the king’s presence) or an arbitrary tyrant such as Philip of Macedon?
114.1f. The beginning of this poem echoes Melville’s offending epigram:
Cur stant clausi Anglis libri duo regia in ara,
Lumina caeca duo, pollubra sicca duo?
Num sensum cultumque Dei tenet Anglia clausum,
Lumina caeca suo, sorde sepulta sua?
Romano an ritu dum regalem instruit aram,
Purpuream pingit relligiosa lupam?
For the Hampton Court incident that provoked this epigram, see Thomas M’Crie, The Life of Andrew Melville (Edinburgh, 1824) II.156 - 158.
117 The Scotsman John Barclay [1582 - 1621] is best remembered for the prose romance Argenis (a modern edition and translation has been published by Mark Riley and Dorothy Pritchard Huber, Assen, 2004), as well as the Euphorionis Lusinini Satyricon (first part 1605, second part 1610), but he was also a religious polemicist. Although in 1609 he edited and published an anti-papist treatise by his father William Barclay entitled De Potestate Papae, and an anti-Jesuit satire entitled Apologia in 1611, he subsequently went over to the Catholic side and moved to Rome in 1616, where he published an anti-Protestant Paraenesis ad Sectarios in the following year. M’Crie (II.157 n.) writes:
In [the 1620 Viri clarissimi A. Melvini] p. 24 there are, besides [the Hampton Court epigram], a poem by John Gordon, and two by John Barclay, author of Argenis, in defense of the Royal Altar; and five by Melville in reply. It may admit of a doubt whether the poems which bear the names of Gordon and Barclay were really written by them, or whether the whole were composed by Melville in the form of a poetical just or mock encounter.
If the two Barclay poems in question were written by Melville himself, Hume was obviously not privy to the joke. The epithet Melvino-mastix is formed after the example of Homeromastix (“The Scourge of Homer”), given to the Greek rhetorician and philosopher Zoilus of Amphipolis for his excessive criticism of Homer.
119.2 What precisely Hume means by timor is far from self-evident. One suspects it would be easier to understand if his son had chosen to print the epigram Ineptus timor.
119.5 Supra astra suggests that this epigram was written after Melville’s death in 1622.
119.6 A note on this line makes it clear that Melville is Scotland’s “second glory” (as a poet) after Buchanan, thus endorsing the reputation that Melville had enjoyed (at least on the part of his admirers, not least David Hume) since Buchanan’s death in 1583, as we saw in the note above on Hume’s description of Melville as “our literary dictator” at the end of the preface to Aselcanus.
120 Chancellor John Maitland’s daughter Anne [1589 - 1609] married Robert Seton, second Earl of Winton [d. 1634], a devout Catholic, who went mad on his wedding night in 1603, and emptied a chamber pot down his bride’s cleavage. Hence he was shut away on his estate for the rest of his life, and was eventually convinced to resign his title in favor of his younger brother George. Anne obtained for a divorce on the grounds of her husband’s impotence.
120.7 See the note on poem 4.69. Translated into Christian terms, this was an unblessed marriage.
121 Since Hume addresses his son in the singular, this poem must have been written after the death of his elder son Aselcane in 1619. His surviving children were James and Anna.
121.11 The idea of this line is expressed more clearly in poem 31.