1. In 1639 James Hume, son of the Scottish poet and political thinker David Hume of Godscroft, published at Paris a volume entitled. Davidis Humi Wedderburnensis Poemata Omnia. Accesere ad finem Unio Britannica et Praelium ad Lipsiam soluta oratione, issued at Paris in 1639. In it, in addition to some material of his own, son James divided his father’s work into two sections, each with its own title page and pagination, the first containing a text of the Lusus Poetici originally published in 1605, and a section with the generic title Jacobaea (“James Stuff”), which included texts of Daphn-Amaryllis (complete version first printed in 1605), Henri Principis Iusta (1613), and Regi Suo Scotiae Gratulatio (1617). But the texts that appeared in the 1639 volume were not always straightforward reprintings of the original publications. Most notably, the 1639 version of Lusus Poetici contains textual alterations, in at least one case a radical shortening that alters a poem’s meaning, and adds forty new epigrams that had not appeared in the first edition. This warrants the conclusion that upon his death, ca. 1630, James had inherited among his father’s papers the revised and expanded text for a projected new edition that for some reason never eventuated.
2. The Jacobaea section of the volume likewise contains some previously unpublished items, to which, no doubt, a similar explanation applies. I take this opportunity to conclude my series of editions of Hume’s poetical works by presenting this material, together with some items printed elsewhere which for some reason escaped James’ notice and were left out of his collection. The items given here are:
Poems 1 - 3 are printed on pp. 46 - 48 of Jacobaea. The source from which they were derived cannot be identified. They are perhaps written in response to the same events that inspired Poems 4 and 5; their juxtaposition with those poems in Jacobaea certainly suggest that James Hume was at least under the impression that they were.
Poems 4 and 5 are found as the final two of four epigrams James Hume added to the six ones previously published as an appendix to Hume’s Daphn-Amaryllis. They also appear on on p. 48 of Jacobaea. The first two of the four thematically harmonize with the body of Daphn-Amaryllis, but these do not, and one cannot help thinking that James was mistaken in placing them where he did. The word pastorum in the title of poem 1 suggests that this poem is addressed to clergy of the Kirk. The occasion for this epigram is likely to have been the attempted Presbyterian coup d’etat of 17 and 18 December 1596. The resultant uproar obliged the king to withdraw to Linlithgow. A few days after the failure of the coup, the Presbyterian leaders fled the capital without a fight. Evidently Hume was distressed by the violence and open challenge to royal authority.
Poems 6 - 10 At Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (Amsterdam, 1637) pp. 433 - 436, Sir John Scotr printed Hume’s cycle of five epigrams on the subject of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. It is something of a puzzle where Scot obtained them, insofar as all the other Hume material he included in his anthology had previously appeared in print.
These epigrams are presented here with translations kindly furnished by Jamie Reid Baxter. Hume’s Gunpowder Plot epigrams are briefly discussed by Dr. Baxter, “Andrew Melville and the Gunpowder Plot, 1605 - 1609,” in R. A. Mason and S. J. Reid, (edd.) Andrew Melville, Humanist and Reformer (Farnham, 2014), pp.155 - 76, at 163 - 64.
Poems 11 and 12 These two items appear at Jacobaea pp. 68f. They are written on the occasion of James’ death (27 March, 1625).
Poem 13 This lengthy poem is found as the last item in the Jacobaea section of the 1639 volume (pp. 70 - 80). James Hume’s note at the end of the poem reads Scripsit author hoc poematium anno 1619 (quum fama erat venturum regem in Scotiam ad coronationem) et aetatis suae 71. Ideoque versus minus suave sonant, et [et et lib.] stylum Horatianum potiusquam Virgilii sapiunt [“The author wrote this little [sic] poem in the year 1619, when it was rumored the king would come to Scotland for his coronation. He wrote it at age 71, so his verses do not sound so sweetly, and smack of Horace’s style more than Vergil’s.” Evidently, should the king have come to Scotland, Hume had planned on issuing this poem as a small commemorative volume, just as he had published Regi suo Scotiae Gratulatio in connection with the 1617 royal visit.
As with the similar evaluation of Humes late poetry prefacing Lusus Poetici poem 83 quoted below, I have no idea what James Hume meant by his disparaging remarks about Horatian style, or why he regarded Horace as a poet inferior to Vergil. It is true that in a couple of respects the Latin of this poem is problematic: the sentence beginning at line 98 lacks a verb, and the sentence at 116f., Quam magnus imagine gestas / Nomine nil, nec quas sceptri moliris habenas, appears to defy understanding. On the other hand, the printed sentence at 229f. can be put right by emendation. The key to fixing it is the realization that audemus should be audimus with a long i, = audivimus, as at Statius, Thebais VII.249. It is not out of the question that James was right and his father’s poetic ability began to fail in his old age, but is also possible that Hume never got around to putting the summa manus to this poem, because he lost enthusiasm for continued work on it once it became clear that the king was not going to come.
It is important to realize that in the concluding note 1619 is a printing error for 1629, and the subject of this poem is Charles, not James: James had been crowned King of Scots in his infancy and King of England in 1603, and in 1619 any kind of Scottish visit would probably have been excluded by his age and health. Charles did not arrive for his Scottish coronation until 1633, but an earlier arrival would have been a plausible expectation. There is, to be sure, a very similar note preceding Lusus Poetici, poem 83: Ex his versibus (amice lector) satis apparet authoris stylum, qui in iuventute cum Maronis vel Nasonis carmine componendus erat, senectute ingravescente in Horatianum pene degenerasse. Scripserat enim hos θρήνους anno aetatis 72 [“From these verses (dear reader) it is evident that the author’s style, which in his youth was comparable to that of Vergil or Ovid, had almost degenerated into that of Horace as his old age progressed. For he wrote these elegiac verses in the 72nd year of his life.”] This is a poem written on the death of Hume’s wife Barbara Johnstone, who died in 1619, but it was not written at the time of the event, but rather to mark its tenth anniversary. It is interesting to see that as late as 1629 Hume still clung to an updated variant of his aspiration, broached in Daphn-Amaryllis and his prose tract De Unione Insulae Britannicae (for which cf. Paul J. McGinnis and Arthur H. Williamson, A Critical Edition and Translation of David Hume of Godscroft's De Unione Insulae Britannicae, Aldershot, 2002) that King James should transform himself into a warrior-king and lead an anti-Catholic crusade on the Continent (cf. 147ff.). As a continuation of this hope, as in poem 8, written soon after James’ death in 1625, he appears to want Charles to involve Britain in the Thirty Years’ War. Old ideas die hard.