spacerTHE DEDICATORY EPISTLES James Hay [d. 1636], one of James’ favorite courtiers and repeatedly entrusted with diplomatic missions, and an important figure in the Virginia Company and other American enterprises. He had been knighted prior to coming down to England with the king in 1603, created Baron Sawley in 1606, Lord Sawley in 1615, Viscount Doncaster in 1616, and Earl of Carlisle in 1622. From these epistles (which preface the 1620/21 and 1623 editions of Leeches’ epigrams respectively) and from the number and tenor of epigrams addressed to him, it is clear that our poet regarded him as his most important patron. Leech would also address the fifth of his printed Strenae of 1626 to him. For examples of other poets who sought Hay’s patronage, see the commentary note on Dunbar I.89. From IV.32 we can gather that he was one of the two grandees who intervened to procure his release from prison, as discussed in the Introduction). Epigrams I.2, I.26, I.83, II.18, II.81, IV.14, IV.32, and IV.35 are addressed to Hay. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar I.89.

spacerδὶς κράμβη θάνατος A traditional Greek proverb: cf. Erasmus, Adagiorum Chiliades I.v.38.

spacerQuod caret alterna Ovid, Heroides iv.89.

spacerdextro pede A Latin proverb meaning “put your best foot forward”: Juvenal x.5 and Petronius

spacerquamquam sortis meae Probably an allusion to Leech’s imprisonment.

spacerI.1.3 The Pierian Spring in Macedonia was sacred to the Muses.

spacerI.1.5 Bilbilis in Hispania Tarraconensis was Martial’s home town. Leech frequently alludes to it.

spacerI.1.7 The allusion is evidently to the huge bumpers Cinna drinks in Martial, XII.xxvii:

Poto ego sextantes, tu potas, Cinna, deunces,
spacerEt quereris quod non, Cinna, bibamus idem?

spacerI.2.9 Idalian: pertaining to Idalium, a city on the island of Cyprus, sacred to Venus.

spacerI.2.10 Castalia was a fountain at Delphi, sacred to Apollo.

spacerI.2.12 Likewise, Aganippe was a spring at the foot of Mt. Helicon, sacred to the Muses.

spacerI.2.15 Acidalian: pertaning to Acidalia, a spring in Boeotia, also sacred to Venus.

spacerI.3.9 Cypris was a cult-title of Venus (the goddess of Cyprus). Mercury was born in a cave on Mt. Cyllene.

spacerI.3.11 Delia, the goddess of Delos, is Diana.

spacerI.3.12 Hippotades is Aeolus.

spacerI.3.14 Bromius was a cult title of Bacchus.

spacerI.4 For the tragic story of Aeolus’ daughter Canace, who had an incestuous relationship with her brother Macareus, see Ovid, Heroides xi.

spacerI.5 Eunus was a Syrian slave, the supposedly wonder-working, literally fire-breathing leader of a revolt on Sicily in 135 - 132 B. C., and during his early successes dressed and behaved himself as a king. See the epitome of the lost passages from Livy here.

spacerI.5.1 Leech must have happened to read and remember a line at Delitiae Poetarum Germanorum II.626, Fulgebit Tyrio vates spectandus in ostro, itself based on Vergil, Georgics III.17, illi victor ego et Tyrio conspectus in ostro.

spacerI.5.2 For Lydius amnis cf. Tibullus III.iii.29.

spacerI.5.3 Cf. Assyrium...amomum at Vergil, Eclogue iv.25.

spacerI.5.4 For costi...Achaemenii cf. Horace, Odes III.i.44.

spacerI.8 Meter: dactylic hexameters.

spacerI.9.2 Alcoholism can produce a distended gut, not a distended throat, and so gula is translated here. This translation seems more appropriate in other Leech epigrams as well.

spacerI.9.5 See the commentary note on I.3.14.

spacerI.10.1 He is poring over the Elegantiae Latinae Linguae by Lorenzo Valla, first printed at Rome in 1480.

spacerI.10.4 His wife is treating him just as Xanthippe treated Socrates.

spacerI.12 There may be an ironic pun on “charity” in the name of this addressee.

spacerI.13 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerI.15.2 I. e., the Fate.

spacerI.17 The only item in the Greek Anthology about Niobe written by a poet named Leonidas — in this case Leonidas of Alexandria — is VII.549:

Πέτρος ἔτ' ἐν Σιπύλῳ Νιόβη θρήνοισιν ἐάζει (1)
spacerἑπτὰ δὶς ὠδίνων μυρομένη θάνατον·
λήξει δ' οὐδ' αἰῶνι γόον. τί δ' ἀλαζόνα μῦθον
spacerφθέγξατο, τὸν ζωῆς ἅρπαγα καὶ τεκέω

Leech’s epigram may have been inspired by the Greek one, but is by no means a translation or even accurate paraphrase of it. Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerI.18 For the myth of Apollo and Leucothea, cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses IV.190 - 270.

spacerI.21 Epigrams I.36, I.60, II.9 - 11, III.22, and IV.10, are also addressed to King James.

spacerI.22.1 Lyaeus and Euan (or Euhan) were two cult-titles of Bacchus.

spacerI.24 Leech entered King’s College in 1610 and took his M. A. in 1614.

spacerI.24.3 Prior to 1891 Aberdeen and Old Aberdeen were two separate burghs.

spacerI.24.9 In 1494 William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and sometime Lord Chancellor of Scotland, obtained a bull from Pope Alexander VI for the foundation of King’s College, which in 1860 combined with Marischal College to create the modern University of Aberdeen.

spacerI.25 Cf. Pallas’ epigram (Greek Anthology X.34):

Εἰ τὸ μέλειν δύναταί τι, μερίμνα καὶ μελέτω σοι· (1)
spacerεἰ δὲ μέλει περὶ σοῦ δαίμονι, σοὶ τί μέλει;
οὔτε μεριμνήσεις δίχα δαίμονος οὔτ' ἀμελήσεις·
spacerἀλλ' ἵνα σοί τι μέλῃ, δαίμονι τοῦτο μέλει.

spacerI.26 For the pun on May/Hay, cf. Dunbar I.89 with its pun on Haius/Aias; cf. also a poem which was almost certainly known to Leech and hence reflected in his jokes about maiestas and maiores, namely Archibald Simson’s Maius reducens (May, the bringer-back) written in tribute to James VI’s return to his ancestral kingdom in May 1617 and published in The Muses Welcome (1618):

Majores Majo  dederant sua nomina quondam,
spacerNomina Majestas nunc magis ampla dabit.
Nam placido pulsus rex ante Cupidinis ictu
spacerNorvegiam tumidis dum mare sulcat aquis,
Tristi hyeme & per saxa volans maria omnia vincit,
spacerAusloviaeque  sinu virgineo excipitur.
Sed  Maii rediit rex et regina calendis,
spacerLaetaque ab excensus munere Letha fuit.
Anglia, quam Dani vexarunt clade cruenta
spacerNunc regi, et Danae dat sua sceptra Deae.
Maius post tria lustra refert sine caede triumphum,
spacerVictorem Patriae restituit suae.
Arrident nunc prata & frondent gramine sylvae,
spacerHorti pinguntr floribus innumeris.
Nunc agri laetas segetes & gramina portant,
spacerDulces demulcent jam loca cuncta soni.
Majestas Maio jam det nova nomina:  Maius
spacerDat Majestati quae bona cunque tulit.

[“ The mighty men of old once named the month of May,
And Majesty on May will now bestow yet greater names:
For while our King, impelled by Cupid's pleasing dart,
Ploughed the swelling seas to Norway in winter's dark,
Flying safe amidst the rocks, and conquered all the seas,
To find in Oslo welcome in a maiden's breast and arms,
The First of May it was that saw our King and Queen return,
To gladden Leith that served them for their landing then.
England, which the Danes had harried with bloody defeat
Now gives the sceptre to our King and to his Danish goddess.
And after fifteen years, May renews that unbloodyTriumph,
Whose Victor now returns to this his native land.
The meadows and the grassy, leafy woods all smile,
The gardens are bright-strewn with countless flowers.
The fields are green with cheerful corn and grass,
And sweet and soothing sounds are heard in every place.
Let Majesty bestow new names on May; for May
Gives Majesty all these good things it has brought forth.”]

spacerI.26.3 Mercury’s mother was Maia, a nymph of Mt. Cyllene in Arcadia.

spacerI.26.5 Diana (whose mother was Leto, Latinized as Latona).

spacerI.27 This epigram, like II.52 (and see also III.32) voices indignation at the way the wealth of the Kirk has been sacrilegously appropriated by the landowning laity, particularly courtiers. This left Reformed clergymen severely impoverished, often entirely dependent on teinds (tithes) for their livings, since the new Kirk had few means of raising cash of its own. In pre-Reformation days, the nobility and other rich laypeople had endowed churches and monasteries, but after the Reformation the nobles not only stripped the Kirk of its patrimony, but also refused to pay the teinds. ‘Patres’ in this epigram must mean the nobility – as in Robert Ayton, Lessus in funere Raphaelis Thorei’, ine 4 (see here). As a son of the manse, Leech was well aware of the Kirk’s funding problems. Indeed, even though his own father owned property of his own and therefore had private means, yet in March 1599, the Crown noted that “Mr Andro Leitch Marietoun and Inchebryok hes nocht sufficient moyance and provisioun for serveing the cure of the foirnamet kirkis as the worthines of his travellis requyris,” and therefore assigned him “for all the dayis of his lyfetyme, all and haill that pairt of the commounis of the channonis of the bishoprick of Brechin” that were “now vaicand in his majesteis handis” (Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, Aberdeen, 1856, p. 375). Leech may well have read Sir Henry Spelman’s De non temerandis ecclesiis A tract, of the rights & respect due vnto chvrches. Written to a gentle-man, who hauing an appropriate parsonage, imployed the church to prophane vses, and left the parishioners vncertainlie prouided of diuine seruice, in a parish neere there adjoyning, which was simultaneously published at London and Edinburgh in 1616. He may also have known the Spelman-inspired Scottish work Sacrilege sacredly handled. That is, according to Scripture onely... For the vse of all churches in generall: but more especially for those of North-Britaine (London, 1619) by Andrew Melville’s old friend Sir James Sempill of Beltrees. That volume’s paratext actually includes three specially written liminary epigrams by the exiled Melville. Sempill writes on p .2 that he means to deal with sacrilege as meaning

onely, with-holding of Maintenance, the chiefe exercise of men of our age, chiefly where the light is greatest, and the Person greatest. Any Religion will rob their Gods; but a Sacrilegious Protestant surpasseth all: so that no man now, in shew more religious, then some who in substance bee most Sacrilegious, (that is) Sac-religious; for that Religion feedeth best their soule, that filleth best their sack. A greedy kind of Gospellers, Pharisaically proud of their profession, all save one thing: The Pharisie vaunted that he gave Tithes of all he had : they will not (if they can) give the Tithes of any thing they have. The Gospell should be preached purely, therefore the Preachers live Poorely : Almes for Maintenance.

Leech actually states in II.52 that the new proprietors of church lands are not prepared to pay their tithes.

spacerI.27.6 Chreston is Greek for “use.”

spacerI.28 The production of this love poem “without names” may have been a challenge issued to Leech by the Gardinium to whom this was inscribed in 1620 and 1621. A plausible candidate is Alexander Garden [c. 1585 - c. 1642], an Aberdonian advocate and prolific vernacular versifier. Biography in O .D. N. B. This was certainly the opinion of William Turnbull, in his introduction to A Garden of Grave and Godlie Flowers by Alexander Gardyne  (Abbotsford Club: Edinburgh, 1845), p. xii. Turnbull draws attention to a vernacular epigram by John Lundie, professor of humanity at King’s College, Old Aberdeen, written to accompany his gift to Garden of a dictionary of four hundred languages. Turnbull then prints Garden’s response, and follows it with Leech’s In Gardinium epigram, saying that it “must apply” to the same individual, Amongst John Lundie’s manuscript verses are poems addressed to his King’s College colleague David Leech, John’s youngest brother (discussed in the Introduction). Turnbull printed Lundie’s efforts as a separately paginated supplement to the afore-cited 1845 Abbotsford Club volume of Garden’s verse.  

spacerI.28.5 Taenarum is a mountain in Sparta, and the reference is to Helen.

spacerI.28.7 Maeonides (“of Maeonia in Lydia”) is a poetic epithet for Homer.

spacerI.28.8 Penelope.

spacerI.29 Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet [1585 - 1670] was a lawyer, statesman, and author, who became Director of Chancery and Lord of Session. His central role in Leech’s life between at least the start of 1617 and mid-1621 can scarcely be overstated, as Leech’s eleven extant letters to him testify. A poet himself, he rebuilt Scotstarvet Tower and turned it into a kind of informal college (following the example of Tycho Brahe?), where learned Scotsmen gathered. He also funded a professorship of Latin at St. Leonard’s College, St. Andrews, and donated to the College a large collection of classical texts to support the occupant of that chair. For Scott’s role in the project of assembling an anthology of Scottish Neo-Latin verse, which finally eventuated in the publication of the massive two-volume Delitiae Scotorum Poetarum at Amsterdam in 1637, see T. D. Robb, “Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum,” in Proceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow 39 (1907 - 08) 91 - 120, Christopher A. Upton, Studies in Scottish Latin (diss. St. Andrews, 198) Chapter I, and Steven J. Reid, “Quasi Sibyllae folia dispersa: The Anatomy of the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (1637),” in Janet Hadley Williams and J. Derrick McClure (edd.), Fresche Fontanis: Studies in the Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013), 395 - 412. Epigrams I.62, III.48, and IV.18 are also addressed to Scot, and III.11 to his wife. Leech dedicated his 1617 Nemesis Poetica to him, and he is also one of the four dedicatees of the second part of Musae Priores, and in the Eroticon section of that publication, the fifty-eight couplets of Elegy II.1 are dedicated to him. Biography in O. D. N. B. See also epigram IV.61.
spacerLeech’s surviving letters to Scotstarvet were written between February 1617 and June 1621 from some unknown place (most likely within Scotland), London, Paris, Thouars, La Mothe-en-Bassigny and finally London again. See Scotstarvet Letter Book, NLS Adv. Ms. 17.8.9. Leech was fully aware of the ongoing Delitiae project, and obtained copies of poems by MacCulloch (Macolo), Walter Donaldson and a certain John Murray for Scotstarvet. His letter of 31 January 1618 begins with a poem which Scotstarvet would printed in the Schediasmata (pp. 28 - 30) he published in 1619, appended to the Hodoeporicon written in 1603 by his late cousin John Scot (of Elie). The Schediasmata actually open with a long verse epistle to Leech (pp. 21- 24), followed by the present poem and Scotstarvet’s reply to it (pp. 30 - 32). Scotstarvet’s opening epistle will reappear, now in two parts, in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum II.479 - 82 and 485 - 86, with Leech’s reply printed between them in italics (on II..483 - 85), as suggested by Leech in his letter of 14 August 1619.   

spacerI.29.2 See the commentary note on I.1.3.

spacerI.31 Epigrams I.39 and II.41 are addressed to the same woman. Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerI.34 Dido had previously been married to the wealthy Phoenician Sychaeus, murdered by his treacherous brother Pygmalion.

spacerI.36.2 Saturn.

spacerI.37.7 Paetum was a second Indian loan-word used by Latin writers of Leech’s day to designate tobacco.

spacerI.37.8 For gula = “belly”rather than “gullet,” see the commentary note on I.9.2.

spacerI.38.1 Idalium was a mountain city on Cyprus, sacred to Venus.

spacerI.38.2 Vulcan is supposed to have kept his smithy beneath a volcano on the island of Lemnos.

spacerI.39 We have just been introduced to Priscilla in I.31.

spacerI.39.4 Orchomenos was a town in Boeotia, the homeland of the Muses.

spacerI.39.22 Diana is supposed to have been born at Ortygia (i. e. Syracuse in Siciliy).

spacerI.40 The Rev. David Rait D. D. [d. 1632], who became Principal of King’s College in 1593. This epigram stands in striking contrast to what John Kerr wrote in Scotish Education, School and University (Cambridge, 1910), Chapter X:

David Rait was then [in 1619] Principal of King's College. Its condition was far from satisfactory in respect of both teaching and finance. Rait had taught practically nothing, and had so mismanaged the revenues that there was a deficiency of three thousand pounds. Graduation fees had been “invertit to privat use,” buildings were dilapidated and had become ruinous, the churches which were connected with the university had no ministers, and there was “lamentable hethenisme and sic lowsnes as is horrible to record.” Instead of proceeding to a sentence against him the Commissioners gave him four years to repair the dilapidations and clear off the debt. Whether he kept his promise is not recorded, but it is probable that he to some extent satisfied the Commissioners, as he retained the Principalship till his death.

Or is Leech writing about what Rait accomplished in the wake of the visitation?

spacerI.40.1 The first Principal of the college had been Hector Boece [1465 - 1536], author of the Scotorum Historia.

spacerI.40.2 See the commentary note on I.24.9.

spacerI.44 Henri IV converted to Catholicism at the time he ascended the French throne, in 1589. This and the following two epigrams are remarkable, insofar as Henri was normally lionized as a champion of the Protestant cause. Cf. Scotstarvet’s Henrici quarti, Galliarum Regis, Epitaphium (p.37 of his 1619 Schediasmata):

Hectoreos animos, vegetasque in proelia vires
spacerMars dedit, & nostris laurea serta comis:
Ingenium tribuit Pallas,  mentisque vigorem:
spacerIupiter auriflui munera larga Tagi,
Hei mihi, sed nostris semper contraria votis
spacerSupplicibus, rigidas in mea fata Deas
Iuno acuit, primus roseo cum sanguine tedas
spacerMiscens, & moestis laetitiam lachrymis.
Haec quoque Margaridi ventris clausisse recessus
spacerDicitur, & damnis invigilasse meis.
Illa novam vitae sociam de littore mittens
spacerHesperio, primam linquere me docuit:
Nec voluit sola hac contentum vivere, sed mî
spacer Consuluit dominam deligere usque novam.
Hinc mihi causa necis miserandae, pronuba Iuno;
spacerHinc moriens patriam tingo cruentus humum.

This was slightly revised when it was reprinted at Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum II.486-87. It is striking that Scot, writing about Juno’s vengeful attitude to the amorous king’s love-life, makes no comment on the issues that aroused Leech’s ire.

spacerI.45 At the time of his assassination by the Catholic fanatic François Ravaillac in 1610, it was widely believed that Henri was preparing for a campaign against the Holy Roman Empire.

spacerI.46 Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerI.46.7 A previous attempt had been made on Henri’s life by another deranged Catholic, Jean Chastel, in 1594, an effort which only resulted in a broken royal tooth. Chastel’s possible link to the Jesuits led to their expulsion from France.

spacerI.47 See the discussion of “Onopordus” in the Introduction.

spacerI.47.1ff. The poet-scholar Joseph Justus Scaliger [1540 - 1609], presented here as a kind of Humanist arbiter elegantiae, had written a complimentary epigram on Buchanan, concluding with a frequently-quoted couplet,

Imperii fuerat Romani Scotia limes,
spacerRomani eloquii Scotia limes erit?

[“Scotland was the border of the Roman Empire. Will Scotland be the border of Roman eloquence?”]

“Aonian,” which means “Boeotian,” is a favorite Leech adjective: Boeotia was the location of Mt. Helicon, and the fountain Aganippe, and therefore the home of the Muses.

spacerI.47.5ff. Although the change is not clearly marked in the text, the subject of this new sentence is Buchanan, not Scaliger.

spacerI.47.11 The reference here is to the Fergus son of Forchard who is supposed to have been the original founder of Scotland according to such historians who accepted the validity of mythological Scottish history as Hector Boece, closely followed by Buchanan.

spacerI.47.14 “Hyanthean” = Boeotian.

spacerI.49 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerI.50 Poems by Henry Danskin M. A. (St Andrews 1593) occupy pp. I.291 - 306 of the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum. He began his career as an assistant schoolmaster at Ayr, and then moved to the grammar school attached to Holy Trinity, the parish kirk of St Andrews (see John Durkan, Scottish Schools and Schoolmasters 1560-1633, Scottish History Society, 2014, pp. 212, 240, 363). Danskin coordinated (and contributed ten poems to) the St Andrews’ volume Antiquissimae celeberrimaeque Academiae Andreanae Charisteria presented to James VI and I in 1617, which ends (pp. 50 - 52) with 58 merry lines by John Leech, entitled Academiae Andreanae congratulat and beginning Huc, o delitiae facetiaeque / Huc o blanditiaeque et illecrebrae / Et blandae Veneres, Cupidinesque. In The Muses Welcome (1618), the contents of the Charisteria were cut and rearranged, presumably by the editor of the The Muses Welcome, John Adamson (III.81). All of Danskin’s poems survived into the 1618 volume, though three were moved to a different section covering the king’s birthday celebrations in Edinburgh Castle. But Leech’s 58 lines disappeared, to be replaced by the 128 hexameters of his earlier free-standing pastoral Daphnis rediens (1617), now printed as a “response” to Coridonis Querela by Godefredus van der Hagen, whose death Leech commemorates in II.79. Leech, who had inherited his father’s property interests in St Andrews, must have enjoyed some close association with the university prior to the king’s visit. His inclusion in the Charisteria surely reveals that he had made a positive impression on Danskin, while the cheeky epigram I.69 to the serious, devout and pious Baron brothers shows that he had met other members of the St Andrews academic community. Leech’s attitude to Danskin is difficult to discern; responding in a letter of 14 July 1619 to Scotstarvet’s request for a critique of the latter’s Schediasmata, Leech said Scotstarvet would be better advised to consult clarissimum Regium, doctissimum cum Raio Danskinum, habes: qui maximae famae nomina adhuc debent. Regius and Raius are Adam King (III.89) and John Ray (III.27). Yet in his next letter, of 14 August, in which he does in fact supply Scotstarvet with a detailed critique of the poems, he appears to be very dismissive of Danskin’s poetic skills. See this letter quoted in the Introduction.

spacerI.51 George Hume or Home, Earl of Dunbar [d. 1611] was the principal agent of James’ rule over Scotland after ascending the English throne. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar IV.84.

spacerI.53 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerI.53.19f. According to Suetonius (Domitian iii), that emperor “would spend hours alone every day doing nothing but catching flies and stabbling them with a needle-sharp pen.”

spacerI.53.34 See the commentary note on I.47.1ff.

spacerI.54.1 Deois was a cult-title of Persephone.

spacerI.55.5 Absyrtus’ sister was Medea, and that of Pelops was Niobe (mentioned here, evidently, because Niobe was constantly complaining).

spacerI.55.6 “The old man of Samos” is Pythagoras (the Pythagoreans believed in reincarnation).

spacerI.56.2 The allusion is to Leech’s Nemesis Poetica (Edinburgh, 1617). The phrase in question comes in a passage towards the foot of page 10, criticizing that poem’s target, John Spottiswoode, Archbishop of St. Andrews (see the Introduction):  

spacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerVos o vos candida vates *
Turba, procul fugite hinc: potiusque assuescite tristem
Pauperiem, turpemque fugam, aut quoscunque labores
Invictis perferre animis, quam dura patroni
Ingrati, stolidique pati ludibria vulgi.
Nec modo nos vulgi damnat censura, sed addit
Crudeles stimulos doctorum indocta caterva.

* -In all probability a printer’s mistake for vatum.

[“ You, o you poets, you shining troop, flee far hence. Rather get used to sad poverty, and inglorious flight, or to tolerating all kinds of labour with your souls, than suffer the harsh mockery of an ungrateful patron or the stolid rabble. And it is not just the censures of the mob that damn us — the unlearned rabble of learned doctors goads us with cruel pricks.”]

spacerI.57.4 Claros was a town in Ionia, the site of a temple and oracle of Apollo. Hence “Clarian” became one of the god’s standard epithets.

spacerI.58 The girl who serves as subject for this and the following poem was presumably a daughter or sister of Sir John Wood, Laird of Balbegno (a castle at Fettercairn, Kincardineshire, no great distance north of Montrose) from 1607 to 1636.

spacerI.61.1 Φθείρ means “louse” and γράμμα is self-explanatory: evidently the name indicates that the gentleman makes his living from the written word in the same way that a parasite lives off its host.

spacerI.62 For the addressee, see the commentary note on I.29. This poem can be dated to February 1617, since it appears at the end of the second fragment of Leech’s incomplete letter of that month (Scotstarvet Letter Book, NLS Adv. Ms. 17.1.9, fol. 207). In that draft, line 7 is very different in tone: Rura odi; et bibuli ferventia praela lyaei.  In line 8, Leech first wrote Panthea nostra and then replaced nostra with saepe. The lower half of fol. 207 has been lost, and with it the second part of line 9 and all that once followed. The epigram shows that in February 1617 Leech was undergoing a period of self-doubt, something to which he seems to have been prone.

spacerI.62.6 Had Leech written Pantolabo, one would gloss this with a simple refence to the scurra (clown) mentioned at Horace, Sermones I.viii.8. But both the manuscript and the printed texts have Pantalabo, so the allusion would appear to be to Ben Jonson’s Pantalabus (Poetaster III.i), who was a “parcel-poet“ who “pens high, lofty, in a new stalking strain, bigger than half the rhymers in the town again; he was born to fill thy mouth, Minotaurus, he was, he will teach thee to tear and rend” (the etymology of the name appears to be panta lambanein, “to take all, to be all-grasping.”) This is often thought to be a hit against Shakespeare. If it is right to see a reference to Jonson here, this of course only means that Leech had read Poetaster; it does not necessarily indicate any familiarity with Shakespeare.

spacerI.62.8 Since Panthea is set off by commas in the printed texts, this word might appear to be an exclamation Panthea nostra that Leech is referring to his preoccupation with the female subject (whether real or purely literary) of the first two of the six Books of Erotica in the Musae Priores volume.

spacerI.63 Cf. John Owen, epigram I.123,


Bardellam monachus solans in morte latronem,
“Euge, tibi in coelo coena paratur,” ait.
Respondit Bardella, “Hodie ieiunia servo.
Coenabis nostro, si lubet, ipse loco.”


A Monk the Thief Bardella judg’d to die
Thus Comforted, “O thou shalt Sup on high”:
Bardella then reply’d, “I fast this day,
Please you to Sup There in my Place, you may

spacerI.65 The scholarly Sir Patrick Young [1584 - 1652] was Royal Librarian to both James and Charles I. Epigrams IV.64 and IV.91 are also addressed to him. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar IV.56.

spacerI.65.2 The allusion is to a fabulously wealthy Greek dynasty that governed Pergamum in Asia Minor during the Alexandrian period.

spacerI.69 The distinguished Baron brothers were sons of the laird of Kinnaird in Gowrie, studied at St Andrews. Leech must have met these two gifted young theologians in St Andrews, as he did various other individuals, including Henry Danskin (I.50), the St Andrews grammar school headmaster and Amoeniorum literarum Professor Andreap. who wrote a prefatory poem to Robert Baron’s Philosophiae theologiae ancillans (1621). That same volume contains Baron’s own lavish expression of gratitude to John Scot of Scotstarvet, prefacing the Exercitatio tertia, de fide, scientia et opinione. In 1628 John Baron, a professor at St Salvator’s College, became minister of Kemback, Fife; in 1646 he would become principal of his old college. His brother Robert [1595 - 1639] had graduated in 1613 and began teaching at St Andrews.
spacer In July 1617, he took part in the certamen on Problemata Philosophica coram Regem at St Andrews. Before the disputation began, he addressed a speech to the King, which was published in The Muses Welcome the following year, which also saw the Edinburgh publication of Positiones aliqvot philosophicae, quas adolescentes Salvatoriani Collegii alumni, cursum philosophicum iam emensi, et ad lauream magist. adspirantes, in publico philosophantium consessu propugnabunt Andreapoli, ad diem Kalend. Quinct. anno 1617, horis et loco solitis. Praeside Roberto Barronio. A similar volume of theses presided over by Baron in 1621, although he had become minister of Keith in Banffshire in 1619. 1621 also saw the St Andrews publication of the first of several editions of his Philosophia theologiae ancillans hoc est, pia & sobria explicatio quaestionum philosophicarum in disputationibus theologicis subinde occurrentium. The Exercitatio Tertia of this work is dedicated to Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet, <qui> non solum Collegium S.. Leonardi, cuius dignissimus alumnus est, nova professione auxit et ornavit, sed Literatis quoque omnibus, Hospitii, Patrocinii, & Amicitiae fores libenti animo semper aperuit (see p. 142 of the 1641 Oxford edition).
spacer From 1625 Robert Baron taught at King’s College, Aberdeen, where he would become one of the celebrated royalist and Arminian “Aberdeen doctors” loathed by the Covenanters; he is commemorated in the calendar of saints of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Biography in O. D. N. B. A poem addressed Magistro Roberto Baronio, cum redderem ei notas Logicas by his student William Mitchell can be found in the 1634 volume Epitaphs vpon the vntymelie death of that hopefull, learned, and religious youth, Mr William Michel, sig. D1. Arthur Johnston has several poems to Baron in Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, I.564 - 66, 571 - 73, 603, 614, all reprinted from his Parerga (1632).

spacerI.71 spacerLeask (III.256) failed to identify Mounsemille as Munsy-milne (now Moonzie Mill), at Ardet (now Airdit), near Balmullo in Fife. However, he correctly opined that the David Leech addressed in this epigram was not the poet’s eponymous youngest brother [1600 - 1657], for whom see note 5 of the introduction. (Pace Leask, however, there is no reason to suppose that the postliminary epigrams to John Leech’s Iani Sperantis Strena of 1617 are not the work of his schoolboy sibling).
spacerMoonzie Mill appears in various spellings (e. g . Munnisymilne, Monsymilne, Monsamylne) in The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, and under such names can be traced by name at least as far back as 1514 when “Donald Falconar” is recorded as having been in yearly receipt of £8 from the mill (Exchequer Rolls of Scotland,XIV .7); it can be traced much farther back as the “mill of Ardet.” In The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland  (RMS) under 6 January 1542, we read that Rex ad feodifirmam dimisit DAVID LECHE quarteriam terrarum et molendini de Munsy, in dominio et senesc. de Fiffe (RMS III, item 2544). In RMS V, item 444 records that on 20 October 1582, the king confirmavit cartam Thome Andirsoun portionari molendini de Ardet alias Munissy-Mylne – [qua...vendidit DAVIDI LEICH in Wester Kynneir...quartam partem suam dicti molendini, cum ejus terris et astricta multura...]. RMS VI, item 298 records that on 8 July 1595, the king dimisit DAVIDI LEICHE in Wester Kinneir duas quaterias terrarum et molendini de Ardet alias Munyismilne cum astrictis multuris et sequelis. “Ardet (today spelled Airdit) lies close to the village of Balmullo, seven miles east of St Andrews: the description in Wester Kinneir has so far not helped to identify David of Munissy-Mylne. He was presumably was a relative of the poet’s father, who himself owned property in Fife. The Kinneirs of Forret (III.21) lived to the west of Airdit, so John Leech clearly knew the area, which in itgself strengthens the likelihood of a close family connection to Moonzie Mill.

spacerI.72.3 See the commentary note on I.40.1.

spacerI.72.7 The great monastery at Aberbroth (Arbroath) had been formally dissolved in 1608. Dundee is cited because Lindsay moved from the headship of the school at Montrose to that of Dundee Grammar School in 1597, and became minister of Dundee in 1607.

spacerI.72.8 Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret were particuarly fond of the castle and palace at Forfar.

spacerI.73 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerI.74 This poem parodies Catullus lxii.72ff.:

Virginitas non tota tua est, ex parte parentum est,
Tertia pars patrest, pars est data tertia matri,
Terti sola tua est: noli pugnare duobus,
Qui genero suo iura sum dote dederunt.

Meter: dactylic hexameters.

spacerI.79f. See the discussion of these two epigrams in the Introduction.  James Macollo (i.e. MacCulloch — see Thomas Dempster, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Scotorum (Edinburgh, 1829), p. 482, Magnus Macullochus, seu Macolo) worked at the University of Pisa and then became a physician to James VI, just like his brother John (see the commentary note on II.45). Leask (III.254) notes that in his letter of 21 September 1618, Leech wrote that Vidi Parisiis poema Iacobi Macalonis Scoti doctoris medici, et medicinae Pisae professoris non ita pridem publici....sed quum author non aliud apud se exemplar haberet non potui ad te mittere (Scotstarvet Letter Book, fol. 213); Leask comments that the poem “was called Anthophoria, and was the 1617 Strena of that writer to the Duke of Florence.” Some verse by James Macolo/McCulloch can be found in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, II.133 - 137. Further information about James MacCulloch is found in Stefano Villani, “Il Grand Tour degli inglesi a Pisa (secoli XVII-XIX),“ in Emilia Daniele (ed.), Le dimore di Pisa: l’arte di abitare i palazzi di una antica reppublica (Florence, 2010) p. 174: Tra il 1609 e il 1616 diresse l’orto botanico di Pisa lo scozzese Giacomo Macollo che fu anche docente di medicina teorica tra il 1613 e il 1618 e nello stesso periodo — dal 1614 al 1618 — fu lettore di Medicina chimica suo fratello Giovanni. Villani notes that a contemporary of the McCulloch brothers on the Pisa staff was the subject of III.21: dal 1616 al 1619 fu lettore di Pandette Thomas Dempster (anch’egli scozzese)’.
spacer John MacCulloch, rather than James, must have been the author of of XCIX canons, or rules learnedly describing an excellent method for practitioners in physick, written by Dr. J. Macallo (London, 1659), since the title states that the author was physitian in ordinary, first to Rodolphus, late Emperor of Germany, and after his death, physitian in like manner to K. James.Rudolf II died in 1612, and James had been in Pisa since 1609. The XCIX Canons, the 1659 editor assures us, were originally written “in the Scottish dialect.”

spacerI.79.7 “Paphian Diana” is a deliberate paradox created to suit the dramatic situation of this sexual allegory, since Paphos was a city on Cyprus sacred to Venus.

spacerI.81 The addressee is the soldier Sir Robert Dobbie (Dobie) of Staniehill (modern Stonyhill), near Musselburgh, on the coast to the east of Edinburgh. See Notes and Queries for January 29, 1859, p. 89. Sir Robert died in 1625, and was succeeded by his son Robert, haeres domini Roberti Dobie de Stannyhill, militis, patris — see History of the Regality of Musselburgh: With Numerous Extracts From The Town Records by James Paterson (1857), p. 187. The gift was a copy of the 1616 The Heavenly Golden Rod of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Seventy-two Praises, otherwise known as Virga Aurea, which actually listed seventy-two alphabets, by Father Bonaventure Hepburn O. M. [born James Hepburn, b. 1573], a proficient linguist of the time. III.71 is an earlier variant of this epigram.

spacerI.82 Walter Donaldson [d. 1630?], educated at Aberdeen and Heidelberg, had taught philosophy at Sedan before migrating to La Rochelle. He was a respected philosopher of the time, and author of the Synopseos philosophiae moralis libri tres (Frankfurt, 1604) and Synopsis locorum communium (1612). This poem’s original title indicates that he also wrote poetry. In a letter from Paris to Scotstarvet, 9 May 1618, Leech enclosed “lines on the Marquis d’Ancre, by Walter Donaldson” (Leask III.254). Before matriculating at Heidelberg, Donaldson had formed part of a Scottish diplomatic mission to Denmark and Germany in 1594, along with David Cunningham, bishop of Aberdeen, and Sir Peter Young, father of Leech’s addressees Patrick and John Young (I.65 and Leask). Elizabeth Goffin veufve de Donaldson wrote to Scotstarvet from Sedan on 15 April 1630, saying how hugely indebted she and her children were to his kindness. (Scotstarvet Letter Book, NLS Adv. Ms.17.1.9, fol. 221r - v). Unfortunately, it cannot be demonstrated that Andrew Leiche’s second wife Isabella Donaldson was a relative of Walter Donaldson: Walter’s father was an Aberdonian, but his mother was Elizabeth Lammie (Lamb, Lambie, L’Amy), daughter of David of Dunkenny, in Forfarshire. A John Lammie of “Duncarrie,” 1542, Andrew Leiche’s future ecclesiastical superior, John Erskine of Dun, had travelled to Europe in the company of a John Lammie of “Duncarrie” — which is almost certainly a mistranscription of Duncannie.

spacerI.82.2 See the commentary note on I.2.12.

spacerI.82.4 See the commentary note on I.47.1.

spacerI.82.5 See the commentary note on 1.57.4.

spacerI.82.14 See the commentary note on I.2.20.

spacerI.82.16 Oleum et operam perdidi is a familiar Latin proverb (Erasmus, Adagiorum Chiliades I.iv.62). The idea is that one has wasted the “midnight oil” if he has invested in a failed project.

spacerI.82.18 See the note on I.3.14.

spacerI.83 For Hay, see the initial commentary note on the dedicatory epistles.

spacerII.1.5 See the commentary note on I.1.5.

spacerII.1.10 See the commentary note on I.2.10.

spacerII.2 Sir James Fullerton of Dreghorn, Ayshire [d. 1631], who managed to combine a lifelong friendship with his university teacher Andrew Melville and a successful career as valued advisor to King James, and Gentleman of the Bedchamber and Keeper of the Privy Purse to Prince Charles. Epigram III.10 is also addressed to him. Meter: hendecasyllables. See the commentary note on Dunbar IV.2.

spacerII.2.2 “Curio” seems to be mentioned merely as a specimen of an old-fashioned Roman senator (Leech was thinking of Manius Curius Dentatus, a consul of the third century B. C., notable for his extreme frugality).

spacerII.2.16 A Greek mountain range.

spacerII.2.17 The Hippocrene was a fountain on Mt. Helicon, sacred to the Muses, supposedly created by the stroke of Pegasus’ hoof.

spacerII.3 Thomas Murray [1564 - 1623] was the tutor of Prince Charles. After the Presbyterian poet Andrew Melville had been imprisoned at London for his opposition to James’ imposition of bishops on the Kirk (and for writing some particularly scathing epigrams), Murray was instrumental in securing his eventual release. See the commentary note on Dunbar IV.44. Epigram II.49 is also addressed to Murray. On Murray’s own extensive Latin poetry, some of which is included in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, see Jamie Reid-Baxter, “Scotland will be the ending of all Empire”: Mr. Thomas Murray and King James VI and I,” in Kings, Lords and Men in Scotland and Britain, 1300-1625: Essays in Honour of Jenny Wormald (Edinburgh University Press, 2014).

spacerII.3.1 See the commentary note on I.3.

spacerII.3.4 “Hyantean” = “Boeotian.” Leech means waters of the Hippocrene (see immediately above).

spacerII.4 Cf. Agathias Scholasticus, Greek Anthology XI.401:

Ἰητήρ τις ἐμοὶ τὸν ἑὸν φίλον υἱὸν ἔπεμψεν,
spacerὥστε μαθεῖν παρ' ἐμοὶ ταῦτα τὰ γραμματικά.
ὡς δὲ τὸ "μῆνιν ἄειδε" καὶ "ἄλγεα μυρί' ἔθηκεν"
spacerἔγνω καὶ τὸ τρίτον τοῖσδ' ἀκόλουθον ἔπος
"πολλὰς δ' ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν,"
spacerοὐκέτι μιν πέμπει πρός με μαθησόμενον.
ἀλλά μ' ἰδὼν ὁ πατήρ· "Σοὶ μὲν χάρις," εἶπεν, "ἑταῖρε·
spacerαὐτὰρ ὁ παῖς παρ' ἐμοὶ ταῦτα μαθεῖν δύναται·
καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ πολλὰς ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προϊάπτω
spacerκαὶ πρὸς τοῦτ' οὐδὲν γραμματικοῦ δέομαι."

Meter: 1 dactylic hexameter + 1 iambic dimeter.

spacerII.4.3ff. I. e., the teacher is guiding the boy through the proem of the Iliad.

spacerII.5 Briseis is the captive girl over whom Achilles and Agamemnon quarrel in Book I of the Iliad.

spacerII.6 The cleck-goose (i. e. barnacle goose) is a species of bird native to the Orkney islands. Leech writes of some folk beliefs concerning it. We seem to find traces of these beliefs in James Wallace, A Description of the Isles of Orkney (Edinburgh, 1693), p. 22:

Sometimes are cast in by the Sea, pieces of Trees, & sometimes Hogsheads of Wine and Brandie, all covered over with an innumerable plenty of these Creature [sic] which they call Cleck-goose, though I take them to be nothing else but a kind of Shell fish (the Concha Anatiferd)...

spacerII.6.3 The Titaness Tethys, daughter of Uranus and Gaia, was a goddess of the sea.

spacerII.7 Acontius fell in love with Cydippe and wrote on an apple the words, “I swear by Artemis that I will marry Acontius,” and threw it at her feet. She picked it up, and mechanically read the words aloud, which amounted to a solemn undertaking to carry them out. Cf. Ovid, Heroides xx and xxi.

spacerII.7.3 I. e., an apple of gold.

spacerII.9.7 See the commentary note on I.57.4.

spacerII.9.8 For the myth cf. Apollodorus, Bibliotheca III.x.4 and Callimachus, Hymn to Apollo.

spacerII.9.10 These three rivers symbolise Highland Scotland, the north of England, and Northern Ireland respectively, an elegant way of stressing the extent of James’s ‘rule of law’, avoiding Londinocentricity and underlining the point of the title “King of the Britains.” 

spacerII.10 On the basis of John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions, and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First (London, 1828) and William Camden’s diary, James’ whereabouts and activities on May 1, 1621 cannot be ascertained As its title states, this epigram is alluding to symbolic flowers which feature in royal heraldry: the rose of England and the lilies — fleur de lys — of France, to which realm English monarchs had traditionally laid claim. (The Scottish thistle could hardly feature as a flower.) The nymph Chloris, abducted by and married to Zephyrus (the West Wind), was associated with springtime and blossom. Leech’s epigram on “1st May” would seem to be essentially symbolic, implying that the ageing James’s rule is as yet vernal, like that of his eternally youthful Tudor predecessor.

spacerII.11 Again Leech is playing on symbolism specific to the image cultivated by James, the pacifist and poet-king: the laurel leaves associated with Apollo, the father of the Muses, and the olive leaves of peace (Aeneid VIII.114 - 16) should be woven into a crown to grace the head of the poet-king whose personal motto after 1603 was beati pacifici.

spacerII.11.6 Silvanus.

spacerII.12 St. John Ogilvie S. J. [1579 - 1615] had secretly returned to Scotland in an attempt to win converts, was arrested, and executed by hanging on 10 March, 1615). The punning in this poem takes advantage of the fact that in contemporary Latin crux meant the gallows. Evidently the idea of the “thousand crosses”is the insinuation that Oglivie had brought with him money, intended to suborn accomplices (compare the bogus story of the alleged sinister stranger trying to conceal a large sum of money and a packet of letters, concocted to lure King James to Gowrie House in connection with the 1600 Gowrie conspiracy). Biography in O. D. N. B.

spacerII.15 Leech’s rendition of Greek Anthology IX.122 (anonymous or perhaps by Evenus):

Ἀτθὶ κόρα, μελίθρεπτε, λάλος λάλον ἁρπάξασα
spacerτέττιγα πτανοῖς δαῖτα φέρεις τέκεσιν,
τὸν λάλον ἁ λαλόεσσα, τὸν εὔπτερον ἁ πτερόεσσα,
spacerτὸν ξένον ἁ ξείνα, τὸν θερινὸν θερινά;
κοὐχὶ τάχος ῥίψεις; οὐ γὰρ θέμις οὐδὲ δίκαιον
spacerὄλλυσθ' ὑμνοπόλους ὑμνοπόλοις στόμασιν.

Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerII.16 Meter: 1 iambic trimeter + 1 iambic dimeter.

spacerII.16.9 Accipiter nisus is the sparrowhawk. Carabus designates a crab, crawfish, or even a lobster.

spacerII.16.18 The allusion is to Hercules’ eighth labor, overcoming the man-eating horses of the Thracian Diomedes.

spacerII.17 The royal favorite George Villiers [1592 - 1628], who was created Marquess of Buckingham in 1618 and would subsequently be advanced to Duke of Buckingham in 1623. Buckingham had acquired substantial Irish landholdings, control of the Irish customs farm, and controlled Irish patronage at court. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar II.2.

spacerII.18 For Hay, see the initial commentary note on the dedicatory epistles. This impassioned epigram recycles the overall conceit, and some phrases, from an epigram addressed to Scotstarvet in the letter of 21 September 1618 from Thouars:

Neptuni ut valido tunsa ratis salo
Quam rector pavidus, flaminaque Aeoli
In diversa trahunt, nutat; et arbitris
Nunc subsidit aquis, atque hyemem bibit
Undarum, e gelido nunc Borea sinus
Implens, in latus it, caecave confugit
Ad saxa. At dubius, nec iam Helicen videns
Rector, vix quid agat, scitve quid imperet
Fortunae implacidis fluctibus obrutus
Si pene, et rapidi flatibus Aeoli
Debens ludibrium, non iam Helicen quaeso
Te nostram adspicere. O quidnam ita, quid lates,
Nec nostris miseris auxilium malis
Affers?  nec solito lumine respicis?
O, aut (Scote) mica denuo: vel perit
Iam sortis subitis mersa ratis vadis.

Scotstarvet Letter Book, NLS Adv. Ms .17.1.9, fol. 213v.

spacerII.18.7 “Oebalian” = Spartan. The allusion is to Castor and Pollux.

spacerII.19 For Cydippe see the commentary note on II.7.

spacerII.22 This epigram appears to be Leech’s embroidery on an epigram by Macedonius the Consul (Greek Anthology XI.366):

Φειδωλός τις ἀνὴρ ἁφόων θησαυρὸν ὀνείρῳ
spacerἤθελ' ἀποθνῄσκειν πλούσιον ὕπνον ἔχων·
ὡς δ' ἴδε τὴν προτέρην σκιόεν μετὰ κέρδος ὀνείρου
spacerἐξ ὕπνου πενίην, ἀντικάθευδε πάλιν.

Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerII.23.4 Panchaea was a mythical island in the Red Sea. The idea, I suppose, is that the roses there are as fragrant as Arabian spices.

spacerII.24 Nessus gave Hercules’ wife Deianira a poison, which she unwittingly smeared on a cloak she gave her husband. As the flesh was melting off his bones, he cast himself on a pyre on Mt. Oeta. Cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses IX.134ff.

spacerII.25 Here Leech is converting part of Hercules’ dying speech from Ovid into an epigram (ib. 183ff.):

Ergo ego foedantem peregrino templa cruore
Busirin domui? Saevoque alimenta parentis
Antaeo eripui? Nec me pastoris Hiberi
Forma triplex, nec forma triplex tua, Cerbere, movit?
Vosne, manus, validi pressistis cornua tauri?
Vestrum opus Elis habet, vestrum Stymphalides undae,
Partheniumque nemus? Vestra virtute relatus
Thermodontiaco caelatus balteus auro,
Pomaque ab insomni concustodita dracone?
Nec mihi centauri potuere resistere, nec mi
Arcadiae vastator aper? Nec profuit hydrae
Crescere per damnum geminasque resumere vires?
Quid, cum Thracis equos humano sanguine pingues
Plenaque corporibus laceris praesepia vidi,
Visaque deieci, dominumque ipsosque peremi?
His elisa iacet moles Nemeaea lacertis:
Hac caelum cervice tuli. Defessa iubendo est
Saeva Iovis coniunx.

For a detailed explanation of this passage, the reader may be referred to any decent commentary on the Metamorphoses. Meter: dactylic hexameters.

spacerII.25.8 I have no idea why Deianira is called Altheis.

spacerII.29 John Graham [1573 - 1626], fourth Earl of Montrose. He was royal commissioner at the General Assembly which James VI convened at Aberdeen in August 1616 to push through the “articles of conformity” with the English church which had been brought north by John Young, dean of Winchester, addressee of III.76. The earl is mentioned in Leech’s father’s testament, since Andrew Leitch had bought “the lands of Scotstoun and Markarie” from him, and also had a debt “to Mr Andro Strauchan minister at Dwne (i. e. Dun) ane thousand markis qlk be contract past betuix the Erle of Montros and me I am oblist to pay to him for my Lords releiff” (NRS, CC3/3/2/542).
spacerMeter: hendecasyllables.

spacerII.29.3 See the commentary note on I.39.4.

spacerII.29.16 See the commentary note on I.1.2.

spacerII.29.20 The Greek god of silence, always depicted with his finger to his lips.

spacerII.30.3 Cytherea was a cult-title of Venus.

spacerII.37 Presumably the subject of this epigram was a son of Sir John Turing [d. 1662], Laird of Foveran in Aberdeenshire and subsequently created first Baronet of Foveran (a Nova Scotia title).

spacerII.38 At the time of Leech’s graduation in 1614, Robert Dunbar was Regent of King’s College, Aberdeen (Peter John Anderson, Officers and Graduates of University and King’s College Aberdeen, Aberdeen, 1893, p. 54).

spacerII.39.1 For Cypris see the commentary note on I.3.9. Cecrops was a mythical early king of Athens.

spacerII.41 The sluttish Priscilla has already been addressed in I.31 and I.39. Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerII.41.4 Gradivus was a cult-title of Mars.

spacerII.42.1 The “Dictaean tyrant” is Minos.

spacerII.43 Thomas Reid [d. 1624], a Scottish Humanist who received his education at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and at Rostock and Leipzig. He helped Patrick Young, the Royal Librarian, translate James’ English writings into Latin, and then was appointed Latin Secretary in 1618, a position he held until his death. A selection of his poetry features in Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum (II.254-65), as do the 125 hexameters of Sir Robert Ayton’s In Obitum Thomae Rhaedi (I.51-54), originally published separately in 1624. Reid’s own elegans paraphrasis of Psalm 104 was published by William Barclay as the final item in his Judicium, de certamine G. Eglisemmii cum G. Buchanano of 1620 (the story of this certamen is told in the Introduction).

spacerII.44 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerII.44.10 Machaon, himself a mythological early phyician, was the son of Asclepius.

spacerII.44.30 Dione was another cult-title belonging to Venus.

spacerII.45 John Macallo [d. 1622], brother of the James of I.79, was a Scots-born physician who had held the position of professor of chemistry at the University of Pisa before becoming a royal physician in ordinary, first to the Emperor Rudolf II, and then to King James. He was the author of Iatria chymica exemplo therapeiae Luis Venereae illustrata, printed at London in 1622. In 1619, according to the contemporary presbyterian historian John Row, James VI had been “heavielie troubled both with goutt and gravell, so that his doctors thought he could hardlie put it off; but by the help of Mackcullo, (a profane atheist, but skilled in medicine,) he gott releef” (History of the Kirk of Scotland, Wodrow Society, 1842, pp. 321f.),

spacerII.45.1 See the commentary note on I.79.7.

spacerII.45.4 See the commentary note on I.57.4.

spacerII.45.5 See the commentary note on II.30.3.

spacerII.45.7 See the commentary note on I.47.1

spacerII.46 The Scots-born Alexander Anderson [c. 1592 - c. 1620] taught mathematics at Paris and published several works, including Exercitationum Mathematicarum Decas Prima, &c., printed at Paris in 1619. Biography in O. D. N. B.

spacerII.46.14 Chiron, the healer-centaur, was the son of the nymph Philyra.

spacerII.47 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerII.48.6 Here the antecedent of sua is Cupid, the dominus (in Leech’s time, the distinction between standard and reflexive pronouns was not always observed).

spacerII.49 For Thomas Murray, see the commentary note on II.3. Before becoming Charles’ secretary, Murray had been his tutor.

spacerII.50 William Drummond, Laird of Hawthornden [1585 - 1649], one of the most distinguished Scots vernacular poets of his generation (see his Poetical Works, ( ed. L. E. Kastner, Scottish Text Society, 1913). He was a brother-in-law of Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet, for whom cf. the commentary note on I.29). Biography in O. D. N. B.
spacerLeech repeatedly mentions Drummond in letters to Scotstarvet. In Musae Priores, he dedicates his substantial anacreontic Somnium to Drummond (Anacreontica, Book II, pp. 70 - 74). Hawthornden is also one of the joint-addressees of Aita, the first of the Eclogae Bucolicae, in which Leech tells us, Trium amicorum suorum, Gul. Alexandri Menstraei, Ioanis Scoti Scototervatii, equitum, & Gul. Drumondi ab Hathornden, desiderium exponit (sig. A3), and he appears as spinifer Damon after Sir William Alexander and Scotstarvet in Vates, the fifth and last bucolic eclogue. Amongst Hawthornden’s own surviving letter drafts is one (to an unknown correspondent) which mentions Leech’s dangerously high expectations and voices pessimism about the British future of the Latin Muse (entirely eschewed by Drummond himself in his own writing), implying that like religion, it is honoured in the breach rather than the observance: “My Brother [presumably Scotstarvet] desired me to wryte to you in fauours of Mr Ihon Leich, which I know none needeth to doe who is conscious of your zeale to the Muses, hee expecteth such great matters that I feare in these tymes [inserted between lines] where the latin langage is become like their relligion in this Isle] hee come short of his Hopes.” (NLS, Drummond Papers, MS 2061, fol. 62r). Drummond was not only a close friend of Sir William Alexander (IV.61), but also a correspondent of Sir Robert Kerr of Ancram (cf. epigrams III.2, IV.4, IV.26 and IV.27). He revised the latter’s metrical psalm paraphrases (NLS, Drummond Papers, MS 2062, fols. 138r -43v). These psalms, like Drummond’s extant letters to Kerr, are printed in David Laing, ed. Correspondence of Sir Robert Kerr, first Earl of Ancram, and his Son, William, third Earl of Lothian (Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1875), II.487 - 506 and 517 - 23.

spacerII.51 Sithonia was a Greek peninsula in the central portion of Chalcidice, which was distinguished by a couple of lofty mountains.  For the background to this poem, see the commentary note on I.27.

spacerII.53 The solan goose is a very large white gannet with black wingtips. See also IV.90.

spacerII.53.5 For the same idea cf. IV.90.17f.:

Hinc do lautitias mensis si mergar Iaccho,
spacerEt coccyx fuerit si mihi dempta prius.

But it is unclear what part of the bird’s anatomy is to be removed, since in Classical Latin coccyx (i. e., a borrowing of Gk. κόκκυξ), means “cuckoo.” My guess is that Leech means the gizzard.

spacerII.55 Leech is complaining about the trivial subject-matter of some contemporary French poetry: see such items as La puce de Madame Des-Roches; Qui est un recueil de divers poemes Grecs, Latins & François composez par plusieurs doctes personnages aux grans iours tenus à Poitiers  à Poitiers l'An m. d. lxxix (Paris, 1582) and the poem Pulex Catharinae Rupellae by Jacques Mangot. For Jean de Hoey’s handless portrait of the barrister Etienne Pasquier, see Katharine MacDonald’s review of James H. Dahlinger, Etienne Pasquier on Ethics and History (Bern - New York, 2007), H-France Review 8 (208) p. 97.

spacerII.57.2 The mother of the Muses.

spacerII.60.2 He means Bacchus (Ogygia was the island home of Calypso in the Odyssey, and the entrance of her cave is described as being surrounded by a luxuriant growth of grapevines).

spacerII.61 For the story cf. Ludovico Ariosto, Satira V 298ff. (p. 153 Tambara).

spacerII.64.2 See the commentary note on I.9.2.

spacerII.66 Arthur Johnstone [d. 1641], educated at Aberdeen, Heidelberg and Padua, a lecturer at Sedan, medicus regius and sometime Rector of King’s College, Aberdeen, was a major poet in his own right (his 1627 set of Psalm paraphrases was esteemed by his contemporaries and long thereafter). He is at present chiefly remembered for his connection with Scotstarvet’s Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum huius aevi illustrium, a project which Scotstarvet launched in 1615, though the two volumes would see the press only in 1637. Johnstone was long thought to have been the principal editor and has received the lion’s share of the credit, but it has been shown that he was not actively involved until a late stage in the proceedings (see the commentary note on I.29). This epigram and also III.60 show that he and Leech were on friendly terms, as were Leech and Scotstarvet, so it is doubly strange that but a single item by Leech is included in the Delitiae. The epithet “poet laureate” is simply Leech’s honorific description of Johnston as an outstanding poet crowned with laurel-bays, not an allusion to any kind of official title. For details of Johnston’s biography, see W. D. Geddes, ed., Musa Latina Aberdonensis I and II, which are entirely devoted to his work. See also the O. D. N. B. article on Johnston.
spacer Given that Leech and Johnston wish to see Eglishem-Onopordus (see I.47 and the discussion of this gentleman in the introduction) sent back to Hell whence this half-man, half-donkey emerged in a mephitic stench of sulphur, the two references to “ὄνους” must surely mean not literal donkeys, but the common use of the word to mean “dunce.” Since Eglishem had had the gall to criticise Buchanan for perpetrating schoolboy howlers, and to present his own Psalm 104 paraphrase as an infinite improvement on the master’s, Leech seems to be saying that if Eglishem is a great poet, and Buchanan a dunce, then he would rather have the dunces any time. The reference to the Furies concerns their creation of Onopordus without the intervention of a male progenitor, as depicted in Johnston’s Onopordus furens.

spacerII.66.1 Since Leech writes in the first person, albeit in the (standard) plural form, this line would seem to refer to his own Panthea poems. By describing the passions evoked by these erotic verses as ‘chaste’, he is implying that they are mere literary exercises, a point argued at some length by Leask III.251f.:

These erotic verses were purely imaginary, and were simply a variation of the Roman elegiac poets, unduly prolonged from the earlier day of the imitation of Catullus, Ovid, Tibullus, Propertius and Martial, composed to show... skill in vamping a theme and running the gamut of the well-worn allusions,

and cites Leech’s own words from the dedication of the Eroticon Libri Sex to William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, sint scriptis suis theologi; ego meis lascivus; dum neque illorum vita scriptis suis respondeat, neque mei mores scriptis meis admodum consentiant, dum non minus illorum vivendi ratio de mea lascivia quam mea de illorum sanctitate vindicet.

spacerII.66.2 Teos was an island in Ionia, the home of the poet Anacreon. Leech is alluding to the two books of Ancreontica in his Erotica.

spacerII.66.3 Lycidas is one of the speakers in Leech’s pastoral Daphnis Rediens (see the discussion of its history in the commentary note on II.79), and is also a speaker in Pharmaceutria, the third ecloga bucolica. Melisaeus is the title of Leech's own first Ecloga piscatoria, addressed to Alexander Seton, Earl of Dunfermline, Chancellor of Scotland (1621 edition, pp. 26f.: see the commentary note on IV.30). Melisaeus reappears in the second Ecloga piscatoria (p. 28). Leech may have taken the actual name Melisaeus from the title of an eclogue by Aulo Giano Anisio (edited by Micaela Ricci, Foggia, 2008).

spacerII.66.5f. Zephyrus and Boreas vied for the love of the goddess Chloris, and Zephyrus eventually won. Chloris  figures extensively in Leech’s third Ecloga nautica (Phroura). Iolas (his name is taken from Vergil, Eclogue ix.76ff), is one of the speakers in Leech’s fourth Ecloga vinitoria.
spacerMany of Leech’s eclogues feature the singing of deeply infatuated swains, who are playing their melodies on the “reeds of Paphos” sacred to Venus. See also the commentary note on I.79.7.

spacerII.66.13 See the note on I.47.

spacerII.67 The four poets in question are Dominicus Baudius [1561 - 1613], Janus Secundus [1511 - 1536], Hugo Grotius [1583 - 1645], and Daniel Heinsius [1580 - 1655].

spacerII.67.5 Peitho is Persuasion personified.

spacerII.68 Volusenus is the Latinized form of Wilson (as used, for example, by the Scots philsopher Florence Wilson, author of the 1543 dialogue De Animae Tranquillitate). The Latin pun, on volo + sanum, is readily understood and satisfactory, but the proposed Greek ones are less so. In the first place, in the printed text the word is accented as ἄινος, which would represent ἄῑνος, an uncommon word meaning “without veins,” which surely does not suit the context (and anyway, a trisyllabic word is not wanted). The text requires emendation, but to what? Αἶνος (“tale, story”) is one possibility, and αἰνός (“dread, horrible”) is another. But the results, “a dread catch,” and “a complete riddle,” are not especially convincing. Another problem is an acoustic one: βόλος ἄινος (no matter how you choose to accentuate the word) does not sound at all like Volusenus, unless, just possibly, Leech and his contemporaries were aware that in modern Greek β is pronounced v, but this seems unlikely, and ὅλος ἄινος is only somewhat less implausible.
spacerGiven Leech’s own ecclesiological views, the addressee may well be the Edinburgh advocate Thomas Wilson/Volusenus, son-in-law of the prolific, gifted neo-Latin poet and royal placeman Archbishop Patrick Adamson [d. 1596.] Adamson was execrated by presbyterians, and his large output is represented by one single poem in the Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, (I, 13 - 17). Thomas Wilson’s editions of Adamson’s poetry and prose were published at London in 1619. He carefully designed his volumes to rehabilitate the archbishop and defame his arch-enemy and nemesis, Andrew Melville. The books’ appearance almost certainly provoked the publication of Melvini Musae in 1620, as a counter-strike (see the discussion by Steven Reid, in Andrew Melville, Writings, Reception and Reputation, (2014, pp. 130f.)

spacerII.69 Cult-titles of Venus and Bacchus respectively.

spacerII.71.5 “Pelasgian” = Greek.

spacerII.71.7 Helen was (more or less) married to three men, Theseus, Menelaus, and Paris.

spacerII.72.1f. See the commentary note on I.i.3. Delos was sacred to Apollo, hence he is called Delius.

spacerI.74 This celebrates the Banqueting House in Whitehall, designed in the most up to date Palladian style by Inigo Jones. As Leech indicates, the first permanent building on the site, built for King James, was burnt to the ground in January 1619, when the workmen, clearing up after the New Year's festivities, decided to incinerate the rubbish inside the building.

spacerII.74.6 Vulcan, the lame god of Lemnos. Presumably the bee in line 6 is a drone.

spacerII.74.8 Charles’ mother Anne of Denmark is compared to the Nereid Ione, because she too was a nymph from beyond the sea. If Leech is implying that Father Jove is King James, as in e.g . I.21, and many other epigrams, then “the son of Io” would be Charles.

spacerII.77.5f. Irus is the beggar in the Odyssey, and Thersites the common soldier (represented as a querulous hunchback) in Book II of the Iliad.

spacerII.79   This epigram first appeared in the memorial volume Miscellanea Poemata Godefridi van der Hagen, Middelburg-Zelandi  (Middelburg, 1619). Leech had referred to it in a letter of 9 May 1618 to Scotstarvet (Letter Book, NLS Adv. MS 17.1.9, fol. 194v – see the commentary note on III.21 below). Godefridus van der Hagen, Middelburgo-zelandus, had been a student at St Andrews in 1617 and died “of a fever” 7 October of that year at Edinburgh. He bequeathed his manuscript poetry to Scotstarvet. An undated letter from Hagen addressed Joanni Leochaeo et nostro Maecenato (i. e. Scotstarvet) is found on fol. 65 of the Scotstarvet Letter Book, NLS Adv. MS 17.1.9; fol. 68 of the Letter Book is a letter of 1618 from Hagen’s close friend Antonius Clemens, about plans for Miscellanea Poemata, to which Clemens would contribute an epicedion. Scotstarvet was clearly the driving force behind the volume. He composed two elegiac epigrams on the young man, which he published in his Schediasmata of 1619. They also occupy pride of place in the memorial section of the Miscellanea Poemata (pp. 26 - 34), leading off a string of no fewer than twelve epicedia for the young man by Scottish and Dutch poets, including Scotstarvet’s brother-in-law William Drummond of Hawthornden:


Scarce I four Lusters had enjoyed Breath,
When my Lifes Threid was cut by cruel Death;
Few were my Yeares, so were my Sorrowes all,
Long Dayes haue Drammes of sweet, but Pounds of Gall;
And yet the fruites which my faire Spring did giue,
Proue some may longer breath, not longer liue.
That craggie Path which doth to Vertue lead,
With steps of Honor I did stronglie tread;
I made sweet Layes, and into Notes diuyne
Out-sung Apollo and the Muses  nyne.
Forths sweetest Swannets did extolle my Verse,
Forths sweetest Swannets now weepe o’re my Hearse,
spacerFor which I pardone Fates my date of Yeares;
spacerKings may haue vaster Tombes, not dearer Teares.

Henry Danskin (I.50) and John Ray (III.27) also contributed epicedia. Very little information about van der Hagen is available in Dutch sources, but at St Andrews, the talents of this “overseas student” were highly enough esteemed for him to have been prominently featured in presentation volume Antiquissimae celeberrimaeque Academiae Andreanae Charisteria, presented to James VI and I on 11 July 1617. The 103 hexameters of Godfrid’s Coridonis Querela super diuturna Daphnidis absentia occupy pp. 29 - 33. When reprinted in the  Poemata Miscellanea, it bore an elucidatory title for the benefit of non-British readers, Daphnis. Ad Jacobum Sextum Magnae Britanniae, Franciae & Hiberniae Regem, in Scotiam redeuntem. A lightly edited version of Coridonis Querela was reprinted, in the St Andrews section of The Muses Welcome (1618) edited by John Adamson, who presented it as the first part of a St Andrews triptych: it is followed by John Leech’s Daphnis Rediens, which had been independently published in 1617. (Leech’s Daphnis would make yet a third appearance in print, namely as Eclogue II of the first book of Bucolica in Musae Priores.) The third part of the Muses Welome triptych is another new poem, by the late Godfrid’s friend Justinus Arondaeus, Gaudium Coridonis ob Daphnidis adventum. Arondaeus (for whom see Nieuw Nederlandsch Biographisch Woordenboek) had registered in 1612 at Franeker as a humanities and divinity student, and is found matriculated at St Andrews in 1618, along with his cousin Justinus van Assche. The latter is the addressee of an epigram in van der Hagen’s  Poemata Miscellanea, p.20, and the final epicedion in that volume is by Arondaeus. Letters to Scotstarvet from both Assche and Arondaeus, including several verses by the latter, are in the Scotstarvet Letter Book, NLS Adv. MS 17.1.9, fols. 57f., 63 and 106 - 8.
spacer Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerII.80 The title of the 1621 version makes clear that this event occurred on 21 April, 1621. But both titles seem to be incorrect: in 1621 Easter fell on April 11, and England celebrates St. George’s Day on the first Monday after Easter Week, which ought to have been April 19. According to Nichols IV.996, on St. George’s day the king was at Whitehall, where “[the Polonian Ambassador] rested himself in the old Councell-chamber till the Procession, when placed in a stand purposely erected for him and his followers next the doore at the head of the Stone-stayres, he saw the King and the Knights pass by, and after that the ceremony in the Chappell...” Here “Whitehall” is clearly a mistake for “Windsor.”

spacerII.80.14 Lucifer is the Latin name for the morning star, and Phosphorus the Greek one.

spacerII.81 In 1617 Hay married Lucy Percy, second daughter of Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland. Biography (under her own name) in O. D. N. B.

spacerII.81.3 Juno Pronuba was the patroness of marriage.

spacerII.81.6 Erycina was a cult-title of Venus, the mother of Cupid (“the Paphian god.”) The “Delian goddess” below is Diana.

spacerII.83 Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerII.84 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerII.85.7 The old man in the Iliad.

spacerII.85.9 The shape-shifter in the Odyssey.

spacerIII.2 Sir Robert Kerr of Ancram [d. 1654], cousin of the royal favorite Robert Kerr, Earl of Somerset, and himself a favorite of King James. Kerr was himself a practising vernacular poet, and a friend of William Drummond of Hawthornden (II.50). When Kerr killed his challenger Charles Maxwell in a duel on 12 February 1620, he was immediately pardoned by the king, but nonetheless went into exile in Holland for six months because his employer,  Prince Charles, insisted that the king’s laws on duelling be honored. The whole story is recounted in David Laing, ed. Correspondence of Sir Robert Kerr, first Earl of Ancram, and his Son, William, third Earl of Lothian (Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1875), I.xi - xiv; 10 - 16, while William Drummond’s letter to Kerr on the subject is printed in ib. II, 519. spacer Epigrams IV.4, IV.26, and IV.27 are also addressed to Kerr. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar VI.59

spacerIII.2.5 The great literary patron of Augustus’ reign. Kerr would be the dedicatee of several important publications, including the Cupar schoolmaster Robert Williamson’s Paedagogia moralis (Edinburgh, 1635), David Echlin’s edition (Leiden, 1631) of the De animi tranquillitate dialogus of Florens Wilson, and the Scottish schoolmaster Robert Farley’s Lychnocavsia sive Moralia facvm emblemata. Lights morall emblems (London, 1638) — which last is also dedicated, in English verse, to Kerr’s wife.

spacerIII.3 - 4 Leech seems to have been mistaken in his date. Cf. Nichols IV.755 (for March 27, 1621), “The Tilting that should have been on Monday was by reason of wet weather put off till the 18th of the next month...The Prince is nothing pleased with these delays, if it could be remedied, the rather that now twice or thrice he had all in readiness, and, it was said, was desirous to make shew of the favour of a feather he had from his Spanish Mistres.” Epigrams III.4, III.9, and III.49 are also written to or about Charles.
spacerEclogue 4 of the Bucolica is (predictably) entitled ‘Carolus’, and it is to Charles that Leech addresses the Musae Priores as a whole:


Spes iuvenum, virtusque virûm, divûm unica cura,
spacerDis genite, et magnos progeniture deos,
Quem Tamesis glaucus praecinctus arundine ripas,
spacerQuem pater e placido gemmifer amne Taus, 
Quem luvernas inter pulcherrimus undas
spacerBanna colit, solo, Carole, patre minor,
Accipe quae primis iuvenes praelusimus annis,
spacerAccipe quae genio vovit Apollo tuo.
Heic tibi oves inter Lycidas Melisaeus in antro,
spacerOmnia non maesti temporis ire sinent.
Heic tibi pampines Staphyle cantabit in umbras,
spacerAut apud aequoreas candida Chloris aquas.
Heic tibi Amor, placidoque decens Cythereia vultu,
spacerEt comes Idaliae Bacchus ubique deae,
Heic Charitum nudis ludet tibi triga papillis,
spacerEt tener ingrato sed sine felle iocus.
Magna canant maior queis pectora versat Apollo,
spacerQueisque dat e sacra pocula plena manu.
Nos humiles leviora decent. sors haec mage tuta.
spacerHaec venae, haec annis convenit una meis.
At tu, si placido videas mea carmina vultu,
spacerO decus, o aevi gloria lausque tui,
Tum me sublimi super aurea sydera penna
spacerFama per attonitum provehet ora virum,
Primoresque inter vatum numerabit Apollo,
spacerEt dabit auratae fila ferire lyrae.
Est aliquid placuisse homini, neque pessima laudum.
Plus tamen est, ipsis posse placere diis.

[“Hope of the young, strength of heroes, sole care of the Gods,
God-born, and future progenitor of of gods,
Thames between he grey, reedy banks,
Gem-bearing Father Tay from his tranquil course,
The lovely Bann flowing into the Irish sea — all
Revere you, Charles, than whom only your father is greater.
Accept these trial efforts, made in my early years, 
Accept these works that Apollo has consecrated to your genius.
Here Lycidas amongst his sheep, Melisaeus in his cave
Shall permit ll things to go without mourning,
Here under the shade of the vines Staphyle shall sing for you,
Or fair Chloris by the waves of the sea.
Here for you are Cupid, and comely Venus with peaceful face,
And Bacchus, the companion of the Idalian goddess everywhere,
Here the three Graces will dance for you with bared breasts,
And tender their merrymaking will be, free of unwelcome gall.
Let those whose hearts are agitated by the greater Apollo,
And on whom his sacred hand bestows full draughts,
Sing of great deeds; lighter subjects are fitting for us.
This poetic lot is one more entirely safe for me,
Better suiting my poetic vein and my years.
But if you, you splendor, glory and praise of your age,
Should look favourably on my songs,
Then fame will carry me on soaring wings
Above the golden stars, on the lips of astonished men
And Apollo will number me in the front rank of poets
And grant me to strike the strings of his gilded lyre,
It is something to please men, and not the worst of praise:
But it is something greater to please the gods themselves.”]

spacerIII.3.2 Hercules: see the commentary note on II.24.

spacerIII.4.8 Castor (or Pollux).

spacerIII.5.4 In response to an ill-omened dream by his mother Hecuba to the effect that he was destined to be the ruin of Troy, the infant Paris was exposed on Mt. Ida. He was rescued by a local shepherd.

spacerIII.5.5f. His first love was a local Oread named Oenone. She is called Pegasi nympha in imitation of the response to Ovid, Heroides v written by the fifteenth century Angelo Sabino (Aulus Sabinus), line 56. The single commentary evidently available (by Jean Auguste Amar, Paris, 1820) offers no explanation of this remarkable phrase: what possible connection is there between Oenone and Pegasus?

spacerIII.6.2 A Roman lustrum was a period of five years.

spacerIII.6.6 See the commentary note on II.41.4.

spacerIII.7   An elegant example of vers rapportés, a device much used by the Pléiade poets and their Scottish imitators.

spacerIII.9.9 See the commentary note on I.39.4.

spacerIII.9.11 I. e., Bacchus.

spacerIII.10 For Fullerton cf. II.2. This time, Leech manages to more convincing Greek puns, bassed on φὐλλον (“leaf,” which by which he means a laurel leaf), ἅρτον (the Greek word for “bread,” in the accusative case, and ἀρέτων (“of the virtues”). Dunbar (epigram IV.33) also punned on his surname using φὐλλον.

spacerIII.11 Anne Drummond was the first wife of Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet, for whom see the commentary note on I.29. Her brother was the poet William Drummond, for whom cf. the note on II.50.

spacerIII.11.10 There is pun here involving the name of the Roman goddess of renewal, Anna Perenna.

spacerIII.14.6 See the note on I.79.7.

spacerIII.16.4 One of the Furies.

spacerIII.20 Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerIII.24 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIII.21 Evidently James Kinnear of Wester Forret [d. 1617], to the west of Balmullo in Fife (see the commmentary note on I.71), registered in A History of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet with a List of the Members of the Society from 1594 to 1890 and an Abstract of the Minutes (Edinburgh, 1890) p. 116. Kinnear had become a Commissioner of the Society of Writers to the Signet in 1607. He was also the subject of two epitaphs by Scotstarvet (Schediasmata, pp. 34f.). Writing to the latter from Paris on 9 May 1618, Leech follows a reference to a carmen funebre for his own stepmother with an allusion to the present epigram: sed cur quaeso me pro Hagheno et Kinnerio rogasti? quasi ego aut amicitiam illius, aut humanitatem huisque, ex animo excidere pati possem. non equidem tam plumeae me mentis esse arbitrare (NLS, Adv. Ms. 17.1.9, fol. 194v)

spacerIII.21.4 See the commentary note on III.39.8.

spacerIII.22 The celebration of the royal birthday in 1621 is not noticed by Nichols.

spacerIII.21.3 The Romans used a white stone or piece of chalk to mark their lucky days with on the calendar.

spacerIII.22.6 See the commentary note on I.2.10.

spacerIII.25 Leech is writing of Hercules’ tenth labor, the theft of the cattle of Geryon.

spacerIII.26.1f. Four heroes of mythology, each of whom did or at least was accused of doing something discreditable in his lifetime but managed to maintain his posthumous reputation: Ajax distinguished himself in the Trojan War but went mad and slaughtered a herd of cattle (as dramatized in Sophocles’ Ajax); Clymene’s son Palamedes was falsely called a traitor by Ulysses; Cadmus killed a sacred dragon guarding the Castalian Spring; Peirithous stole Theseus’ cattle at Marathon.

spacerIII.26.5 Empedocles was one of the so-called Presocratic Philosophers. As dramatized in Hölderlin’s Tod des Empedokles and Matthew Arnold’s Empedocles on Etna, he is supposed to have hurled himself into the volcanic Mt. Etna on Siciliy, so that people would believe his body had vanished and he had been transformed into a god. Evidently the idea is that, had he seen the envy he incurred by this supposed transformation, he would not have bothered to make the jump.

spacerIII.27 Leech plays with the first lines of the Aeneid. For John Ray, the distinguished Edinburgh schoolmaster to whom this epigram was originally addressed, see Dunbar IV.47 (which is a grammatical joke). Leech’s focus on grammarians in this epigram presumably reflects an awareness of Ray’s opposition to the innovative approaches to grammar advocated by his predecessor at the High School, Alexander Hume [1550 - 1633]. See “Schoolbooks, Grammarians and Schoolmaster Poets,” Section IV of John Durkan, Scottish Schools and Schoolmasters 1560-1633 (Scottish History Society, 2013), and especially subsections IV.3 on Ray and IV.5 on Hume. Hume complains at length about Ray in a MS letter to Andrew Melville of November 1612: see Melvini Epistolae, Edinburgh University Library (Dc.6.45), pp. 309 - 11. Ray left no major poems, but wrote numerous epigrams, generally prefixed to the writings of others, including one to Ecphrasis paraphraseos Georgii Buchanani in Psalmos Dauidis: ab Alexandro Iulio Edinburgeno, in adolescentiae studiosae gratiam elaborata (1620). He contributed an epicedion to Miscellanea Poemata Godofredi van der Hagen, the subject of II.79.

spacerIII.29 This epigram was first printed on the verso of the title page of Leech’s Nemo (1617), under an engraving of an empty circle.

spacerIII.30 Sir Robert Ayton [1570 - 1636], secretary to Anne of Denmark and then to Henrietta Maria, and a prolific multilingual poet in his own right: cf. Charles B. Gullans, The English and Latin Poems of Sir Robert Ayton (Scottish Text Society, repr. 2006). III.86 is also addressed to Ayton, as are the sixty-five couplets of Elegy I.4 in the Musae Priores.

. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on III.45.

spacerIII.31 In truth, the Scotsman Thomas Dempster [1579 - 1625] held the position of Professor of Humanities at the University of Bologna: see the article on him in the Catholic Encyclopedia. The work Leech praises is presumably his edition of Rosinus’ Antiquitatum Romanarum corpus absolutissimum (his notorious Historia ecclesiastica gentis Scotorum did not appear until 1627). See also the commentary note Dunbar VI.67. Dempster would be commemorated by Leech’s friend George Chalmers (IV.67) in his Emblemata Amatoria (Venice, 1627), p. 192. Both the visual and poetic components of the relevant emblem can be seen inter alia on pp. 176f. of Rita Severi, Thomas Dempster Accademico della Notte a Bologna. The Dempster clan was also well enough known to Scotstarvet for the latter to be involved in an attempt to bring the fatherless six-year-old French nephew of an unidentified “ M. Dempster” to Scotland, a matter discussed in a letter to Scotstarvet from one “Keith,” dated Paris, 3 September 1618 (Scotstarvet Letter Book, NLS Adv. Ms.17.1.9, fol. 176).
spacerDempster was a prolific writer and, among other things, evidently the only Scottish playwright of the first half of the seventeenth century (all his plays were written and produced in France; like George Buchanan, he composed them to be acted by students at various educational institutions where he was employed). The sole surviving example, produced at the University of Paris in 1613, is the historical tragedy Decemviratus Abrogatus.

spacerIII.32 Noble appropriation of church property is less humorously criticised in II.52. Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIII.33 Presumably Carinus is the same man who appears in II.83. Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIII.34 For the Aberdonian poet Andrew Aidie (who, very regrettably, is overlooked in the O. D. N. B.), see the commentary note on Dunbar VI.10. Epigram IV.63 is also addressed to Aidie. This epigram appears to allude to the kind of criticism of his erotic verse that had landed Leech in gaol, and indicates that Aidie knew the critic in question, hinting that he was an Aberdonian academic.

spacerIII.34.4 The correct genitival form is Αἴδος.

spacerIII.35 The addressee of this epigram is possibly to be identified as the John Cockburn “servant to the king” (Charles I) mentioned in the Cockburn family history, Thomas Cockburn-Hood, The House of Cockburn of that Ilk and the Cadets Thereof (Edinburgh, 1888) p. 298. III.74 is also addressed to Cockburn, and its title describes him as Caroli principis praesectori. Various sources use the word praesector to designate a subordinate anatomist who first opens the corpse (one such is Andrew Balfour, To Arms!: being some passages from the early life of Allan Oliphant, Chirurgeon, Boston, 1898, p. 139), but this information is obviously irrelevant, save that it confirms the existence of the word. More likely this was a title for somebody who carved Charles’ meat (and such is therefore the meaning of creodata here). Since the addressee of these epigrams was obviously an educated and cultured man, surely this title was honorific in nature.

spacerIII.35.3 “Tritonia” = Minerva.

spacerIII.35.6 See the commentary note on I.41.1.

spacerIII.39 The addressee is the legalist Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall [1573 - 1646], who had gained a reputation by defending the clergymen who maintained the legality of the Aberdeen General Assembly of July 1605 at their 1606 trial in Linlithgow. Subsequently he was appointed Lord Advocate (1626) and created first Baronet Hope (a Nova Scotia title). Epigram IV.88 is also addressed to him. Biography in O. D. N. B. Leech’s 1617 Iana Speranti Strena was punningly dedicated to Hope.
spacer Amid the endless complaints voiced in Nemesis poetica, Leech has warm praise for Hope, as he does in IV.88. He mentions Hope several times in his letters. From London in November 1617 he wrote Adamo Regio pro cura sua erga me gratias per literas egi. Hopaeum ut mei memor pro re praesente firmus stet rogavi, indicating that both these lawyers (for King see the commentary note on III.89) had been active on his behalf. From Paris in February, he wrote A Regio, te, et Hopaeo carmen unum aut alterum exspecto, ut solatiolum mei laboris, and in May he commented quid responsi dederit meae epistolae Hopaeus exspecto. As Leech indicates, Hope was himself a practising Latin poet (hence the naming of various poetic metres at the end of this epigram). His sole publication was In serenissimum invictissimumq. Monarcham, Carolum Dei gratia Scotiae, Angliae, Franciae & Hiberniae Regem, fideique Christianae vindicem acerrimum carmen seculare Thomae Hopaei a Craighall, alterius ex Regiis in Scotia advocatis (Edinburgh, 1626), but an undated manuscript of his neo-Latin verse paraphrases of the entire psalter and of the Song of Songs are held by the National Library of Scotland (Adv. Ms. 19.2.12). Leech was not the only poet seeking Hope’s patronage: in 1626 and 1628, the advocate would be the much-lauded dedicatee of two books of neo-Latin poetry published by Robert Fairlie (Farlie) at Edinburgh.
spacer Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerIII.39.8 Themis was the Greek goddess of justice.

spacerIII.39.14f. A scazon (“limping verse”) is an iambic trimeter with a spondaic final element. A Phalaecian is a form of hendecasyllable consisiting of a glyconic with three additional syllables forming a single bacchius or an iambic dipody catalectic.

spacerIII.40.2 A second century B. C. philosopher, head of the Academy, who rejected all dogmatic philosophies on the grounds that truth is unknowable.

spacerIII.41 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIII.42 The title puns on the Scots word for “summer.” Who this John Simmer/Symmer of Balzordie was is unknown, but Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae V.406 states that poet’s sister Nicolas was married to Paul “Somer,” a younger son of George Symmer of Balzeordie (NRS, CC3/9/6, 3 December 1622; CC3/9/7, 11 October 1626). The Simmers of Balzeordie are discussed in Alexander Warden, Angus or Forfarshire, the Land and People, Descriptive and Historical (1885) pp. 360f., and an incomplete family tree is given by Sir William Fraser in History of the Carnegies II.458.

spacerIII.43 Returning from the Trojan War, Demophoon married Phyllis, daughter of a Thracian king. Promising to return, he continued on his way, but forgot all about her. Cf. Ovid, Heroides ii.

spacerIII.44.1 Diomedes inflicts a wound on Aphrodite in Book V of the Iliad.

spacerIII.44.3 Mars was supposedly born in Thrace, which remained his particular place of residence.

spacerIII.47.3 Vulcan caught his wife Venus in flagrante with Mars: the story is told in Book VI. of the Odyssey.

spacerIII.47.4 Lycoris was the mistress of the Roman poet Gallus.

spacerIII.47.10 See the commentary note on II.30.3.

spacerIII.48 For Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet, see the commentary note on I.29.This epigram makes high claims indeed for Leech’s loving friendship with him.

spacerIII.48.3 David.

spacerIII.48.4 Scipio Africanus and his great friend, the statesman Gaius Laelius (consul in 190 B. C.), who appears as a speaker in Cicero’s De Amicitia.

spacerIII.48.9 Here cavas = caveas.

spacerIII.50 If by equitum ordinis periscelidis faeciali Leech meant Garter King of Arms, he was mistaken, since nobody named Maxwell has ever held that position. Is it irrelevant that a James Maxwell held the office of Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod from 1629 to 1644 according to the sources cited here? (According to this anonymous source, his years of office were 1620 - 1642).

spacerIII.51 The words are, respectively, Gruis — Palamedes is supposed to have copied the letter-shapes of his alphabet from the postures of cranes (3), Rabidus (4), Accusator and Condemnatus (5), Ioannes (7), A (8), and Salus (9): their first letters spell out GRACIAS.
spacerThe identity of the addressee cannot be ascertained.

spacerIII.51.6 Evidently he means that the spelling GRACIAS might be unwelcome in Italy, because, besides being a palatalized Latin word it is also a Spanish one, and at this time, thanks to the ravage inflicted on papal territories, and Italian districts more generally, by Charles V and subsequent struggles with Habsburg dynasts, Spaniards were not popular in Italy. Whether “Ausonian” here ought to be translated “Roman” or more generally as “Italian” is subject to debate.

spacerIII.52.3 I. e., Persian.

spacerIII.52.9 Thetis’ son was Achilles. Taken literally, vis Telamonia points to Ajax’ father Telamon, but more likely is a reference to Ajax himself.

spacerIII.52.12 Since it is hard to imagine Posthumus lugging a spear around town, it is likely that here verutum is used to designate a sword.

spacerIII.53.1 This nymph who dwelt on the banks of the river Peneus in Thessaly was probably Coronis, mother of Asclepius.

spacerIII.53.3 For Pan’s pursuit of the nymph Syrinx cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses I.689ff.

spacerIII.53.4 Orpheus’ Eurydice died because she stepped on a viper while being pursued by a satyr.

spacerIII.57 By Leech’s mistake, the name Nicander has been substituted for that of the actual author of this epigram, Nicarchus (Greek Anthology XI.124):

Πέντ' ἰητρὸς Ἄλεξις ἅμ' ἔκλυσε, πέντ' ἐκάθηρε,
spacerπέντ' ἴδεν ἀρρώστους, πέντ' ἐνέχρισε πάλιν·
καὶ πᾶσιν μία νύξ, ἓν φάρμακον, εἷς σοροπηγός,
spacerεἷς τάφος, εἷς Ἀίδης, εἷς κοπετὸς γέγονεν.

spacerIII.58 Cf. Nicarchus, ib. XI.110:

Τρεῖς λεπτοὶ πρῴην περὶ λεπτοσύνης ἐμάχοντο,
spacerτίς προκριθεὶς εἴη λεπτεπιλεπτότερος.
ὧν ὁ μὲν εἷς, Ἕρμων, μεγάλην ἐνεδείξατο τέχνην
spacerκαὶ διέδυ ῥαφίδος τρῆμα λίνον κατέχων·
Δημᾶς δ' ἐκ τρώγλης βαίνων ἐς ἀράχνιον ἔστη,
spacerἡ δ' ἀράχνη νήθουσ' αὐτὸν ἀπεκρέμασεν.
Σωσίπατρος δ' ἐβόησεν· “Ἐμὲ στεφανώσατ'· ἐγὼ γὰρ
spacerεἰ βλέπομ', ἥττημαι· πνεῦμα γάρ εἰμι μόνον.”

spacerIII.59 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIII.59.52 A Fate.

spacerIII.59.27 A short narrative poem entitled Culex is included in the Appendix Vergiliana.

spacerIII.60 For Arthur Johnstone see the commentary note on II.66.

spacerIII.60.11 For Bavius, see the commentary note on IV.22.1.

spacerIII.61 The family of Collace had owned the estate and tower house of Balnamoon (Balnamone) on the North Esk, near Montrose, for some three centuries. The poet’s grandfather was John Collace of Balnamone, and his mother was John’s daughter Christian Collace, named as late spouse of Rev. Andrew Leiche in two Brechin documents registered on 29 March 1599 (NRS, CC3/9/1, n.p.). The poet’s “tutor” was his uncle Robert Collace, who “as appeirand (i.e. heir) of Balnamone” had been appointed chief executor by the Rev Andrew Leitch on 16 March 1611. Robert’s son John would sell off the whole estate to Carnegie of Southesk by 1636, whereupon the lairdly line of Collace vanishes into complete obscurity. Leech was perhaps preparing for his departure for France, which would occur exactly five months later (cf. III.68).

spacerIII.61.2 Themis was the Greek goddess of justice and law, the latter presumably an allusion to the “barony court” that the Collace lairds would have presided over; also, in 1612, the laird of Balnamoon was parliamentary commissioner for Forfarshire. As for Mars, the Collaces’ only notable military achievement had taken place on 14 May 1452, when John Collace of Balnamoon abandoned the Earl of Crawford’s army to join the royal forces under the Earl of Huntly. This switching of allegiance enabled Huntly to win the battle of Brechin (or “Huntlyhill”), which took place at Stracathro, three miles north of Brechin.

spacerIII.61.9 See the commentary note on I.57.4.

spacerIII.62 William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke [1580 - 1630], Lord Chamberlain from 1615 to 1625 and Chancellor of the University of Oxford (it was to him that the First Folio was dedicated). In 1626, Leech was still pursuing Herbert’s patronage;  ‘Frigus’, the third of the Strenae of that year is addressed to Herbert, ending,

At te ne Musae, me Brumae frigore perdam;
spacerFrigus utrumque animi pelle favore tui.

Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar II.28. Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerIII.63 William Leslie [d. 1654] was Principal of King’s College, and, like Robert Baron (cf. I.69), one of the so-called Aberdeen doctors, a group of six distinguished scholars who opposed the National Covenant and supported episcopacy and the 1618 Articles of the Assembly of Perth. Biography in O. D. N. B. Leslie’s Elogium funebre Patricii Forbesii (1635) is reproduced at Musa Latina Aberdonensis III.293-94. In 1634 he had contributed a short lament to Epitaphs vpon the vntymelie death of that hopefull, learned, and religious youth, Mr VVilliam Michel (see the commentary note to III.69). 
spacerMeter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIII.64 Vemius is the standard Latinisation of the surname Weemes, now spelled Wemyss. There were any number of individuals called “John Wemyss” who might qualify as Leech’s addressee, but the most likely is Joannes Uemius  SS Theol. studiosus, in Acad. Andreana, since he wrote the postliminary elegiac couplets to Leech’s Iani Maliferi Strenae (1617):


Unde precor gelidae concreto in frigore Brumae,
spacerMala tibi haec nullus commaculata  malis?
Haud facile est Iani dare tot bona mala calendis.
spacerQuum sit sylva suas undique tonsa comas.
Ni tibi sit (quod et esse reor)  de divite vena
spacerMalus Apolliniae quam rigat haustus aquae.
Quo pede nunc, hoc semper eas Leochaee supersint
spacerDum tua mala bonis, sint mala, multa malis.

Who this student was, however, is at present unknown. He could conceivably have been a son of the fiercely anti-episcopalian Rev. John Wemyss, from 1597 minister of Cuikston (after 1606 known as Kinnaird) near Brechin; see Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae V.395.

spacerIII.66 Excessive use of darkening around the eyes has the effect of making the rest of the face look pale and haggard.

spacerIII.68.2 “Getic” = Thracian. See the commentary note on III.44.3.

spacerIII.68.4 See the commentary note on I.1.2.

spacerIII.68.5f. For Fergus, the mythical first king of Scotland, see the commentary note on I.47.11. Fergus in turn was supposedly a descendant of Gathelus, who led a band of settlers from Egypt. According to Hector Boece (Scotorum Historia I.14) they were joined by an influx of immigrants from Denmark, then known as Nearer Scythia.

spacerIII.68.16 See the commentary note on I.47.1.

spacerIII.68.18 The (punning) reference is to Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet, for whom commentary note on I.29 and the perfervid protestations of III.48.

spacerIII.69 David Mitchell [c. 1592 - 1663] an M. A. of St Andrews, was admitted minister of Garvock, between Dunfermline and Culross in Fife, before 6 April 1619. A fervent supporter of the Five Articles of Perth, he became minister of Edinburgh’s second charge in 1628, moving up to the first charge in 1634. He has been claimed as the dean whose attempt to use the new Prayerbook in the pulpit of St Giles on Sunday 23 July 1638 led to the women in the congregation flinging their stools at him in protest. In December 1638, his Arminianism and his refusal to acknowledge the authority of the General Assembly led to his being deposed by the Covenanters. He fled to Holland via London, and supported himself there as a watchmaker, returning to Aberdeen, again via London, in 1661. In 1662, Mitchell would be consecrated bishop of Aberdeen. (See Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae I.70, 74, V.469.) Very little of his verse seems to be extant, but as a young man, he was clearly regarded as something of a white hope. Scotstarvet himself addressed him thus in his 1619 Schediasmata (sig. E3v):


Quod vatis tibi sit nomen, superumque ministri,
spacerHinc est quod mystes, sisque poeta simul.

At a date unknown, Mitchell sent Scotstarvet the following, in response to a request for verse:


Cur non, more meo, mittam tibi carmina, quaeris?
spacerNe mihi tu mittas munera, more tuo.
Atqui mos pius est, dices, dare munera vati.
spacerHis meritis Thuscus sidera scandit eques.
Illius fas sit mihi dicere pace, tuaque;
spacerNon est haec pictas – seu grave, Scote, scelus,
Num pius ingenuum mos est corrumpere vatem.?
spacerEt pretio casa sollicitare Deas?
Quare tibi dignos tali pietate poetas:
vPatronum possum non ego ferre pium.
Optarem gratum: cuius si carmine mores
spacerLaudavi, carmen laudet et ille meum
Hoc satis est nobis. Sed tu me grandia cogis
spacer  (Heu pudet) invita sumere dona manu.
Esse quid hoc dicam? Quid tandem vis tibi, Scote?
spacer       Num tibi laus nostro parta rubore placet?
Ut tu in munificas dicare, ego dicare avarus?
spacer  Non ita: nam fama est et mihi cura mea:
Quod si tantus amor, tanta est si gloria dandi,
spacer Et mage devinctum me tibi habere: iuvat
Mitte vel ingentes Eoa messis acervos,
spacer Iudica qua tellus, quaque Sabaea viret
Accipiam. At lentis traditam
consumere flammis.
spacer Displicet hoc? Rapidis da mea dona rogis.

spacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerD. M

Scotstarvet Letter Book, NLS, Adv. Ms. 17.1.9 fol. 17. In the penultimate line, by a mistake of transcription the ms. has tradam.

The young Mitchell, as SS. Theol. in Acad .Andreana studiosus, had addressed John Leech himself on at the conclusion of Leech’s Iani sperantis strena (1617):


Munus inane tuo mittis Leochaee patrono:
spacer Rem debes: non spem mittere causidico.
Sed vx te poteras mage dignum, aut gratius illi,
spacer Si sortem expendas illius, ille tuam.
Spes est ampla satis, sed res angusta Poetis
spacer At spes causidicis, res benigna favet.
Nec tu magna potes donare, nec optat Hopaeus,
spacer Tu quod habes donas, ille quod optat habet.

Later, as ecclesiae Edinburgenae presbyter, David Mitchell would contribute Obitum cognati sui Charissimi Magistri Gulielmi Michelii, iuvenis supra aetaem et plerosque coaevos docti, piique, hac elegia deflevit to the exhaustively-titled volume Epitaphs vpon the vntymelie death of that hopefull, learned, and religious youth, Mr William Michel sonne to a reverend pastor, Mr Thomas Michel, parson of Turreff, and minister of the Gospel there) [sic] who departed this lyfe the 6 of Ianuarie, 1634. in the 24 yeare of his age. Together with a consolatorie epistle, to the mother of the sayd young man; wherein his vertues and good carriage are mentioned (Aberdeen, 1634), sig. B1.

spacerIII.70 The apples that provide Leech with his puns on mala (which also means misfortunes) are those of his Iani maliferi strena Calendis Ianuarii anno Dom. 1617, dedicated to John Spottiswoode, who had become Archbishop of St Andrews in August 1615. Though this epigram does not mention it, the apples did bring misfortune in the shape of the clash with Spottiswoode, discussed in the Introduction, which seems to have been Leech’s motivation for leaving Scotland in October 1617. Laurence Skinner (M. A. St Andrews, 1603) is recorded as schoolmaster at Brechin between May 1611 and September 1616, though on October 1615 he had been admitted minister of Andrew Leitch’s erstwhile charge of Dunlappie, near Balnamoon. By February 1621 he had been transferred to nearby Navar parish, where he was incumbent when he died of the plague in 1647, to be succeeded by his like-named son. See John Durkan, Scottish Schools and Schoolmasters 1560 - 1633 (Scottish History Society, 2014), p.249, and Hew Scott, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae V.400. Either Skinner père or  fils owned the copy of Iani sperantis strena, call no. Ferg.108( 1), now held by the National Library of Scotland. There is an inscription on the lower margin of the title page which has been severely cropped, Viro Doct[or]iq[ue] D. Laurentio Skinnero eccl[....].

spacerIII.70.4 I. e., the Fate.

spacerIII.71 This epigram is an earlier variant of I.81.

spacerIII.72 Thomas Goad D. D. [1576 - 1638], a chaplain of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who wrote Latin poetry himself throughout his life. See the commentary note on Dunbar IV.59.
spacer Meter: dactylic hexameters.

spacerIII.73 The title is sarcastic — it sounds as if the poet’s “strange distress” is the financial result of overspending on wine, women and tobacco. However, in the first of his surviving letters to Scotstarvet, dated London 19 November 1617,  (Letter Book, NLS Adv.Ms.17.1.9, fols. .204f.), Leech writes:

Certe (ut lugubria manibus funestis, ditisque domui opacae relegem.) nescio, quid in me, sibi iuris, tali, tantoque necopinati curarum turbine velit, seu sors illa sit laeva; seu genius sinister: et ubique mihi adhuc ominosus. Illud procul dubio theon en genasi keitai: nobis pati satis est. Sed hanc am telam pertexere non est animus. Iliadem enim conderem tabellas omnes hac tempestate mihi obortas ex ordine commemorarem. Hactenus ergo ista. Dum haec exaro, in Galliam abituro...quicquid erit si quid posthaec ad me venire iusseris iube Parisios veniat et in academias, ibi enim hibernari statutum mihi. He had been seeking the patronage of the Earl of Pembroke (III.62)...operam enim lusissem quum hi Angli ut video omnes pessimo consilio latiam barbiton abhorreant et patriam tantum ament.

spacerIII.73.1 For paetum see the commentary note on I.37. Iacchus = Bacchus.

spacerIII.74 For Cockburn, see the commentary note on III.35.

spacerIII.74.3 Tritonia = Minerva.

spacerIII.74.6 See the commentary note on I.47.1ff.

spacerIII.76 John Young was Dean of Winchester Cathedral from 1616 to 1654. Biography in O. D. N. B. Brother of Sir Patrick Young (I.65), and hence another of the successful children of James VI’s much-rewarded childhood tutor Sir Peter Young. John Young was an M .A. of St Andrews and became the first Scot to graduate from Cambridge, with a bachelorate and doctorate of divinity in 1611 and 1613 respectively. A former royal chaplain and firm Calvinist, he become dean of Winchester in 1616, and in June was sent to St Andrews to supervise various university reforms. On 29 July, Dr Young presided over the ceremony conferring divinity doctorates on various Scotsmen, an event commemorated by Leech in the postliminary epigram to his 1617 Edinburgh publication  Iani maliferi strena, reprinted in his Epigrams (see IV.5). From 1616 until 1621, Dr Young was much employed by the king on diplomatic missions in the north, designed to bring the Scottish Kirk (and St Andrews University) into line with English practice. See Steven Reid, Humanism and Calvinism: Andrew Melville and the Universities of Scotland 1560 - 1625 (2011), pp. 246 - 4

spacerIII.76.7f. Having used the comparative (gratior) in lines 5 and 6, Leech rounds off with pun on the comparative form (iunior) of Young (Iunius)’s own name.

spacerIII.77 In 1618 the great Dutch jurist and Humanist Hugo Grotius [1583 - 1645] was arrested by Prince Maurice of Nassau for the part he had played in a complicated church-state controversy that (mercifully) need not be described here. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Loevestein Castle, but in 1621 he escaped the castle in a book chest and fled to Paris.

spacerIII.78.1 Theseus.

spacerIII.79.1 Sandapilam, is defined by Lewis and Short as “a common kind of bier for people of the lower classes,” with the implication that Grotius had been unworthily sentenced and was expected to leave Loevenstein only as a lower-class corpse.

spacerIII.80.5 Pertaining to Idalium, a city on Cyprus sacred to Venus.

spacerIII.80.6 I. e., Italian.

spacerIII.80.9 I. e., Bacchus.

spacerIII.80.13 I. e., Apollo (since Boeotia or Aonia was a district sacred to Apollo and the Muses). startme

spacerIII.81 John Adamson [d. 1652] would be, from 1625, Principal of King James’ College (now the University of Edinburgh) A close friend of the Presbyterian firebrand Andrew Melville, he is often thought to have assembled a collection of Melville’s poems and published it under the title Viri clarissimi A. Melvini Musae (1620 — see this note in the Introduction). He also edited the 1618 Muses Welcome, an anthology of verse celebrating James’ return to Scotland in 1617. Adamson included two substantial poems by Leech in The Muses Welcome. Under “Kinnaird, 22 May” he printed Leech’s enormous poem Nemo, which had originally issued on its own in 1617. Under “St Andrews, 11 July,” Adamson deleted Leech’s actual contribution (a lighthearted celebration) to the St Andrews Kharisteria of 1617, and replaced it with Daphnis rediens’ a response to the pastoral Coridonis Queraela super diuturna Daphnidis absentia by his late friend Godfrid van der Hagen (see II.79). Leech’s pastoral is recycled in Musae Priores, as Daphnis redux, the second of the eclogae bucolicae. Epigram IV.52 is also addressed to Adamson. Biography in O. D. N. B. Adamson’s extant verse includes numerous epigrams, in both Latin and the vernacular, prefixed to the writings of others, including one to Ecphrasis paraphraseos Georgii Buchanani in Psalmos Dauidis: ab Alexandro Iulio Edinburgeno, in adolescentiae studiosae gratiam elaborata (1620).

spacerIII.81.2 In his November 1617 letter to Scotstarvet from London, Leech wrote hoc Musis, hoc tibi, hoc mihi debitum corpusculum, pro quo ego continuis votis supplex Aesculapium illum —– qui cuncta nutu tempera, — onero.

spacerIII.81.17 A small catalogue of mythological healers: Cheiron the Cenaur, born of the nymph Philyra; Podalirius and Machaon, sons of Asclepius; Apollo; Melampus, a seer who ran a sideline in medicine.

spacerIII.81.21 Castor and Pollux (who in mythology were rescuers of distressed sailors).

spacerIII.82 The royal advocate Sir Lewis Stewart [1585 - 1655, no relation of Ludovic, second Duke of Lennox] was “a lawyer of the first eminence in the reign of Charles I. and a man of elegant and cultivated genius …  ‘Quo, nemo acutius, tersius, concinnius, et majore cum fide unquam actavit causas” (Hugo Arnot, ed. A Collection and Abridgement of Celebrated Criminal Trials in Scotland  (Glasgow, 1812), p. 480. He was admitted advocate in 1613, after years of academic study in France. This epigram shows that Stewart must have acted on behalf of the impecunious poet, and jestingly told Leech he could repay him in kind, rather than in cash. In 1638, Stewart would be one of the royal commissioners at the momentous Glasgow General Assembly, which overthrew the episcopate. Sir Lewis’s arms as laird of Kirkhill (as he became in 1642) can be seen here

spacerIII.82.10 A puzzling conclusion to a ten–line epigram (unless Leech was including the two lines of its title).

spacerIII.83 For Goad see the commentary note on III.72. Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIII.84 Scott’s position is not to be confused with the office of Lord Clerk Register (Clericus Rotulorum), the principal Clerk in the kingdom of Scotland.

spacerIII.84.2 See the commentary note on I.i.3.

spacerIII.84.10 Bacchus: see the commentary note on II.60.2.

spacerIII.84.20 See the commentary note on I.47.1.

spacerIII.86 For Ayton, see the commentary note on III.30.

spacerIII.86.1 See the commentary note on I.ii.15.

spacerIII.86.2 See the commentary note on I.79.7.

spacerIII.86.3 See the commentary note on II.3.4.

spacerIII.86.10 Ganymede.

spacerIII.88.2 See the commentary note on II.60.2.

spacerIII.88.4 See the commentary note on III.44.3. (Aemonia or Haemonia also = “Thrace.”)

spacerIII.89 For the Scots Neo-Latin poet Adam King cf. here and here, and the Introduction to King’s 1602 Ad Iacobum Sextum Scotorum Regem a Nefaria Fratrum Ruvenorum Coniuratione divinitus servatum SOTERIA in The Philological Museum. See the commentary note on Dunbar I.35. Leech’s surviving letters to Scotstarvet mention King several times. Writing from London in November 1617, he says Adamo Regio pro cura sua erga me gratias per literas egi’ and the postscript to his Paris letter of 31 January 1618 reads A Regio, Te, et Hopaeo carmen unum aut alterum exspecto, ut solatiolum mei laboris; simul etiam ut negligentia illa, et nostri sepulta memoria, Musis omnibus, Apolline, Lauro, lyra et omni pierio apparatu pietur. On 14 July 1619, he would tell Scotstarvet that when it came to finding someone to cast a critical eye over the latter’s Schediasmata,  clarissimum Regium ... habes. (Letter Book, fols. 205, 78 and 196).

spacerIII.90.1 Galli were castrated priests of Cybele. For Gradivus see the commentary note on II.41.4. At least in the Renaissance, Mars’ emblematic bird was the vulture. For the following puns, see the translation.

spacerIII.91 This poem, followed by what is now IV.68, was first published at the end of Sylva Laeochaeo suo sacra, sive Lycidae Desiderium authore Georgio Camerario Scoto. A Paris, d’Imprimerie de Iean Laquehay, dans la Cour d’Albert, et en la rue sanct Estienne des Grecz, prez le College de Lizieux. MCDCXX. There is a copy in Edinburgh University Library.

spacerIII.91.7 Deois = Persephone. Enna was the place on Sicily where she is supposed to have been abducted.

spacerIII.91.9 Dione = Venus. For Acidalia see the commentary note on I.2.15.

spacerIII.91.12 See the commentary note on III.39.8.

spacerIII.91.14 See the commentary note on I.47.1.

spacerIII.91.24 Scotland is called fusca in a translingual pun alluding to the long-established word-play on the Greek word Skotia, meaning both darkness and Scotland. 

spacerIII.93 For Thomas Goad see epigrams III.72 and III.83. Confined (presumably in the Lollard’s Tower of Lambeth Palace, still being used as an archiepiscopal prison) for offending Archbishop George Abbott with some salacious verses, as described in the Introduction, Leech begs his chaplain Goad to intervene on his behalf. This epigram is rather difficult to translate and discuss because one is not sure exactly what Leech means in writing about the Gallus (“Frenchman”). It is tempting to associate these lines with something else he says about his present predicament at epigram IV.32.4ff.:

Huic causa, Galla, Scotus, Anglus est malo,
Regina, rufus Zoilus, pastor gravis, spacer
Mutone, morsu livido, superbia.

[“ A French girl, a Scotsman, and and an Englishman were the cause of this evil: blue a queen, a red-headed Zoilus, and a grave pastor, by means of my prick, his hostile bite, and his arrogance.”]

No doubt the Zoilus in question is Dr. George Eglisham and the pastor is Archbishop Abbott. But the mention of a French girl (perhaps the same girl excoriated under the name “Priscilla” in epigrams I.31, I.39, and II.41) would appear to indicate that Leech had also provoked Abbot by engaging in some sexual escapade. Possibly, therfore, the Gallus benignus in the present episode is a kinsman. In which case, benignus might best be translated “complaisant,” and in calling the girl “innocent” Leech suggests that she is likelier his daughter than his wife. If there is any validity to these suppositions, he is therefore arguing that if the Frenchman is not deeply offended by the girl’s seduction, then neither should be the Archbishop.

spacerIV.1 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.1.3 For Zoilus see the commentary note on I.47.

spacerIV.1.15 In addition to Cato the Censor and Cato Uticensis.

spacerIV.1.19 For this proverbial Latin expression see Erasmus, Adagiorum Chiliades I.x.71. Evidently it means “having a mouth that doesn’t bite off more than it can chew.”

spacerIV.2 Esmé Stuart [1579 - 1624], Earl of March and subsequently third Duke of Lennox for a few months in succession to his elder brother Ludovic, is chiefly remembered for being Ben Jonson’s patron. Epigram IV.44, also addressed to him, shows that he somehow played a part in procuring Leech’s release from prison. Biography in O. D. N. B. Curiously, the third of Leech’s eclogae piscatoriae in the 1620 Musae Priores,  “Lycon” bemoans the seizing of Leech’s fields at St Andrews by the Duke of Lennox’s servants: De agris Andreanis, pene sibi, per illustrissimi Ludovici Leviniae Ducis famulos, ereptis, conqueritur (Eclogarum ... Argumenta, sig. A3)

spacerIV.2.1 See the commentary note on I.47.1.

spacerIV.2.2 See the commentary note on II.3.4.

spacerIV.2.14 Praeneste, a Greek settlement not far from Rome, was the location of the sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia.

spacerIV.2.18 Hercules, Neptune.

spacerIV.3 Being an incomparably Calvinist city (“Geneva-on-Forth,” “the Sion of our Jerusalem”) Edinburgh is altogether superior to the world’s other great cities. Mentioned are “The city of Venus” (probably Paris, regarded as a hotbed of venery). Athens, and probably the great maritime city Venice. The opening reference to the city’s freedom from warfare is a multi-layered compliment to James VI and I — not only has his reign seen Edinburgh freed from the presence of French troops and from English military attacks, but his episcopal settlement of the Kirk has also freed the city from such home-grown violence as the Scottish Civil War of 1570 - 72, and the never-forgotten “riot” of 17 December 1596, which was actually a failed coup d’état by the presbyterian radical ministers and their armed supporters, who briefly besieged the king and his counsellors in the Tolbooth. (See Julian Goodare, ‘The Scottish presbyterian movement in 1596’, Canadian Journal of History, vol. 45:1, pp. 21 - 48).

spacerIV.4 For Kerr see the commentary note on III.2. This and the other Classical allusions to the Muses and other patrons of the creative arts as particular friends of Kerr would seem to indicate Leech was not merely aware of the addressee’s reputation for generous patronage, but also (via their mutual friend William Drummond (see II.50) of the fact that Kerr wrote vernacular poetry himself, though none of the extant verse dates from before 1624. See the commentary note on II.50.
spacer Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.4.1 See the commentary note on I.1.3.

spacerIV.4.2 See the commentary note on I.39.1.

spacerIV.4.6 See the commentary note on I.39.4.

spacerIV.4.12 Earlier Scottish court poets had habitually referred to the poet-king James VI as ‘Apollo’ or ‘Titan’, but the young Apollo of this line is Kerr’s employer, Prince Charles, not the 54 year-old king. Leech prefers to speak of James as the Caledonian or British Jove: cf. I.21, I.80, II.17, III.3, III.4, IV.32, IV.44 and IV.49 (in II.3, exceptionally, Charles himself is “young Jove” in relation to his secretary and former tutor Thomas Murray.)

spacerIV.5 This poem first appeared, with nominatives instead of accusatives in the last two lines, as a postliminary epigram to Leech’s Iani Maliferi Strena (1617), a pamphlet fulsomely dedicated to Archbishop Spottiswoode of St Andrews, who would oversee the implentation of King James’ various measures to bring the Kirk into greater conformity with the Church of England. The most controversial were the Five Articles of Perth (1618), but a preparative thereto was the reintroduction of the degree of Doctor of Divinity at St Andrews. This was marked by a special graduation ceremony on 29 July 1616, which Leech may well have witnessed personally. It was conducted by Dr John Young, Dean of Winchester (see commentary note on III.76), and was received with indignation in presbyterian circles. David Calderwood, The Historie of the Kirk of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1845) VII.222, remarked, “This noveltie was brought in amongst us without advise or consent of the kirk.”

spacerIV.5.6 See the commentary note on I.1.3.

spacerIV.5.12 “Ausonian” = Italian (“the Ausonian wolf” was a standard epithet for the Pope among Protestant writers).

spacerIV.8 Leech plays with the first words of various ancient epics, primarily epics, incluiding Homer’s Iliad, Lucan’s Bellum Civile, Statius’ Thebais, Vergil’s Aeneid, Martial’s epigrams (beginning with De Spectaculis), Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica.

spacerIV.10.3 See the commentary note on I.47.11.

spacerIV.10.7f. Calais and Zethes were the sons of Boreas who intervened to rescue Phineus from the Harpies. Athena and Alcinous both rescue Odysseus in the Odyssey.

spacerIV.11 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.12 For paetum = tobacco, see the commentary note on I.37.7. Tobacco was also called “the Medicean herb” because Jean Nicot, Sieur de Villemain, had popularized tobacco by sending Catherine de Medicis seeds and leaves at Paris.

spacerIV.12.3 Nysus was the name of a mountain on which the infant Dionysus (Bacchus) was traditionally said to have been raised.

spacerIV.14 For Hay see the note on the dedicatory epistles.

spacerIV.14.6 See the commentary note on I.57.4.

spacerIV.16 Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerIV.17 Patrick Maule [1585 - 1661], a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, was created Earl of Panmure in 1646: biography in O. D. N. B. This is one of the few pieces of evidence Leech gives us about his family connections. Patrick Maule’s mother Margaret Erskine was a daughter of the great reforming laird, clergyman and courtier John Erskine of Dun [1509 - 1590]. As Superintendent of Angus since the Reformation, the long-lived Erskine of Dun was the ecclesiastical superior of Leech’s father Mr Andrew from the start of his ministry in Brechin, and indeed during the early years of his ministry in Montrose. John Leech’s mother (see the commentary note on III.61) evidently had family links to the Erskines of Dun, themselves part of the great Erskine clan network headed by the earls of Mar.  

spacerIV.18 For John Scott of Scotstarvet see the commentary note on I.29.

spacerIV.18.1 See the commentary note on I.47.11. The allusion is to the gathering of material for the Deliciae Poetarum Scotorum anthology that eventually appeared at Amsterdam in 1637,

spacerIV.18.10 Hybla was a town in Sicily famous in antiquity for the quality of its honey.

spacerIV.21 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.22.1 Maevius was a captious critic of the age of Augustus, mentioned by Vergil in Eclogue iii and Horace in Epode x. He is almost always linked with a second, similar critic named Bavius.

spacerIV.24.5 I do not know what Scottish or English surname is being Latinized as Olbius.

spacerIV.25.5 See the commentary note on II.30.3. The bird in question is the dove.

spacerIV.25.5 Leomedon was Paris’ grandfather.

spacerIV.25.10 Erichtonius was a mythological early king of Athens.

spacerIV.25.12 Cos was an Ionian island (and the Ionians were known for their soft luxuriousness).

spacerIV.26 - 27 For Kerr, see the commentary note on III.2. The tone of the second of these epigrams, expressing thanks to Kerr, surely indicates that he too must have played a role in extracting Leech from prison.

spacerIV.28 Daniel Featley [1582 - 1645], one of the chaplains to Archbishop George Abbot. Featley, at this stage still a plain-speaking, puritanical Calvinist like his archbishop, had returned to London from Cornwall to become rector of Lambeth in 1619. Biography in O. D. N. B. We do not know what satiric anagram was currently circulating.
spacerMeter: dactylic hexameters[ .

spacerIV.29 The great Humanist George Buchanan [1506 - 1582], whose influence on Scottish poets of the following generation was incalculable . To the best of our knowledge, the phrase poetarum sui saeculi facile princeps appears on the title page of each of the myriad editions of Buchanan’s complete poetry. Biography in O. D. N. B.

spacerIV.30 Alexander Seton, first Earl of Dunfermline [1555 - 1622], Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1604 to 1622. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar V.41. In the letter of 19 November 1617 from London, announcing his impending move to France, Leech had told Scotstarvet that since the English are not interested in the Latin Muse at all, Cancellariae nostro Setonio dicatum ibimus (NLS Adv. Ms. 17.1.9, fol. 205). In Musae Priores,  Seton is indeed the dedicatee of the five Eclogae piscatoriae. Of the first,  Melisaeus, Leech specifically explained that Alexandro Setonio, Scotiae Cancellario, de statu suo conqueritur, eiusque auxilium implorat (sig. A3).

spacerIV.32 Meter: iambic trimeters.

spacerIV.32.4ff. These lines are discussed in the Introduction.

spacerIV.33.2 The story goes that a man named Lycambes betrothed his daughter to the poet Archilochus, but then reneged. Archilochus responded by writing such abusive satires against the fellow that he and his daughter hanged themselves. This tale became an oft-quoted example of the satirist’s power.

spacerIV.34 Patrick Scot [d. ca. 1625], who evidently acted as an occasional tutor to Prince Charles, wrote, inter alia, A table-booke for princes containing short remembrances for the government of themselves and their empire, printed at London in 1621. A couple of years later, he began writing anti-Presbyterian tracts, fully in keeping with the stance enunciated in section XIX of his Table Booke  (pp. 147 - 58), “Of Church controuersies, ciuill contentions, seditious Pamphlets, infamous Libels, and how carefully by Princes they are to bee repressed.” This contains fierce attacks on “obstinate schismaticks” who create controversies over matters “‘indifferent” — King James’s famous adiaphora, which the presbyterians insisted were not in the least “indifferent.” Scot denounced such people as affecting “certain cognizances.... Anarchie, confused parity, or false named purity (euer holden dangerous in all sound gouernment),” and giving “aduantage to the common enemy to make musicke by their discord.” Not content with decrying the essential presbyterian tenets of parity and purity, he proceeds to attack “such as haue lost the characters of loue, and by fire-brands of inconsidered zeale haue abused the patience of Princes, by stirring vp needlesse controuersies, and haue neglected superiour powers, by contemning the authority of their mother the Church.” He warns them that “scepters haue eyes, and Princes long hands that will see and ouer-reach their most secret and far distant actions of this quality.”. Leech’s enthusiasm for Scot’s Table Booke was doubtless subsequently matched by equal warmth towards his Calderwoods recantation: or, A tripartite discourse Directed to such of the ministerie, and others in Scotland, that refuse conformitie to the ordinances of the church. Wherein the causes and bad effects of such separation, the legall proceedings against the refractarie, and nullitie of their cause, are softly launced, and they louingly inuited to the vniformitie of the church (London, 1622), and Vox vera: or, Obseruations from Amsterdam Examining the late insolencies of some pseudo-puritans, separatists from the Church of Great Brittaine. And closed vp with a serious three-fold aduertisement for the generall vse of euery good subiect within his Maiesties dominions, but more especially of those in the kingdome of Scotland. By Patricke Scot, North-Brittaine (London, 1625). Biography in O. D. N. B.

spacerIV.35 For Hay, see the initial commentary note on the dedicatory epistles.

spacerIV.36 - 38 John Lyon, second Earl of Kinghorne [1596 - 1646], written on the death of his father Patrick [1575 - 1615], the first Earl. Biography of John Lyon in O. D. N. B.

spacerIV.36.2 The allusion is to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. .

spacerIV.36.8 Caria was a source of marble in antiquity.

spacerIV.37 Meter: 1 iambic trimeter + 1 iambic dimeter.

spacerIV.37.4 Rhamnusia = Nemesis (here considered as a goddess of inevitable death).

spacerIV.42 Andrew Melville [1545 - 1622] was a scholarly Presbyterian spokeman who fiercely opposed James’ attempt to impose bishops and end the democratic government of the Scottish Kirk. His scathing Latin epigrams got him in trouble after being summoned to London in 1606, and he was imprisoned in the Tower for four years. Freed in 1611 but denied permission to return to Scotland, he accepted an invitation to join the faculty of the Academy of Sedan, where he spent the remainder of his life. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar I.44.

spacerIV.42.7 Montrose.

spacerIV.44 For Esmé Stuart, Earl of March, see the commentary note on IV.2.

spacerIV.46 The identity of this man, named Moore, More, or perhaps Muir, remains unknown. Perhaps he was a professional stage-clown of the Tarleton variety.

spacerIV.47.2 See the commentary note on II.81.3. Torches were borne during Roman weddings.

spacerIV.47.2 Birds of ill omen.

spacerIV.48 A sculpture group of Niobe and her children, discovered in 1583 and preserved at Florence, is by either Praxiteles or Scopas.

spacerIV.49 John Murray [1550 1614], a Groom of the King’s Bedchamber and Keeper of the Privy Purse in 1611. Biography in O. D. N. B. See the commentary note on Dunbar III.71. Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.50 John Maitland, first Viscount (later Earl) of Lauderdale [d. 1645], son of John Maitland, Lord Maitland of Thirlestane, the great Chancellor of Scotland of the previous century who gave Scotland its best period of government during the early adult reign of James VI. For his poetry, see here.

spacerIV.50.1 See the commentary note on I.47.1.

spacerIV.52 For Adamson, see the commentary note on III.80.

spacerIV.52 1 and 4 For Gathelus and Fergus, see the commentary note on III.68.5. (The “Aonian god,” as always, is Apollo).

spacerIV.52.5 Pharamond was a legendary early king of the Franks.

spacerIV.52.8 Ausonia = Italy.

spacerIV.52.14 See the commentary note on I.57.4.

spacerIV.54.13 I do not know what kind of coinage Leech has in mind. A Scottish thirty-shilling piece was minted under Charles I showing the king, clad in armor, on horseback. Was there a similar design issued prior to 1625?

spacerIV.55 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.56 Meter: 1 iambic trimeter + 1 iambic dimeter.

spacerIV.57 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.58 In Scottish, Scandinavian and German folk tradition the flower (viola tricolor) is the Stiefmütterchen or stivmorviol, and gorgeous “main petal” is the two fairly gorgeous petals and stepmother to the duller two petals. Leech may have been employing this poem to vent his resentment against one or both of his own stepmothers, Isabella Donaldson, or more likely, Madalene Adamson (who married the Reverend Andrew Leech in 1605, six years before his death): cf. Hew Scott, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae (Edinburgh, 1915) V.405.
spacerLeech may well have been familiar with two similar epigrams about the pansy in the Delitiae Poetarum Scoticorum, by Andrew Melville and Thomas Craig (pp. 114 and 267 respectively), both of which seem liable to interpretation as anti-papist allegories (the daughters represent the Protestant Church, and the stepdaughters the Catholic one).

spacerIV.61 Sir William Alexander [d. 1640], laird of Menstrie in Stirlingshire, subsequently created first Earl of Stirling, was both a statesman and a prolific published poet. Appointed Master of Requests in 1614, he went on to receive huge land grants in Nova Scotia in 1621. Biography in O. D. N. B. and see the note on Dunbar IV.47. Alexander published vernacular poetry throughout his life, including several very wordy Senecan closet dramas and the even wordier hexameral poem Doomsday. He also revised and completed the metrical psalm paraphrases of King James VI, at the request of Charles I, who wanted these paraphrases sung in kirk in place of the existing metrical psalter. Mocked by the Scottish populace as “the Menstrie psalms,” they were first printed in 1631, and reissued in heavily revised form in 1636 and 1637. 
spacerAlexander was well known to Leech, and is mentioned in almost all of Leech’s extant letters to Scotstarvet, as well as featured several times over in Musae Priores. Amatoriis valedicit, the fifth Elegy in the second book of Leech’s Eroticon’ p .115, (EEBO im.63), pays tribute to Alexander's Doomsday, when he says that his Muse will turn spiritual:

Omnia quae, nullo morituris tempore chartis
spacer Bartasii potuit tradere dia chelys.
Aut Solymae motis pro libertate tyrannis,
  spacer Tassaea canerem praelia magna tuba.
Aut quod ALEXANDRI sacris operata Camoenis
 spacer Cura, Caledoniis prodidit alta sonis,
Iudicium solemne Dei...

Leech dedicated the book of “Bucolic Eclogues” of Musae Priores to Alexander, and in the fifth and last eclogue, Vates, he celebrates him in direct association with Scotstarvet (p. 24):

Haec quoque perpetuae Musae date nomina famae,
Nosco viros erit hic Tragico qui pulpita versu
Pulsabit, sublime sonans, Menstraeus Alexis.
Alter Tervati collis decus, unica Musis
Cura, et Thespiadum fautor, Caplaeus Amyntas.

As early as 1615, Alexander and Scotstarvet had been collaborating on the creation of an anthology of Scottish Neo-Latin poetry, as is proved by the following letter from Scotstarvet to Sir David Lindsay of Balcarres, transcribed by his nineteenth century descendant Lord Lindsay:

Right honourable
spacerMy humble duty premittit, your accustomed kindness to me makes me at this present to presume thus far with your wrship; the occasion whereof is this. At the desire of Sir William Alexander, of Menstrie, and mine, Mr John Rea, our auld minister [sic: editorial mistranscription of “Mr.,” i. e. “maister”] has undertaken the collecting and setting togidder of our Scottish poets, in the imitation of the French and Italians, whereof we have gadderit a good number already, and I am doing all that I can to get in those that we want, among whilk there is ane whilk your worship hes, viz. Bodius’ Answers to the haill Epistles of Ovid, whilk I will entreat your worship to do me the favour as to send me with this bearer [ms. note by Sir David Lindsay: Sent to him, and sindry other papers]. It shall be safely keepit to your worship, and honestly redeliverit. And likeways that ye wald be pleasit to luik out any epigrams either of your father’s or Chancellor Maitland’s, whereof I know ye have numbers, and either send me them now, or acquaint me be your letter whereof ye can be able to help us in these, for we know they were baith excellent in that airt. And finally, gif ye have any others good written poesies of our countrymen, to communicate them aso with me, who shall be answerable to your worship for the redelivery of them upon my credit. As likeways, if ye have any of Melvin’s printed verses. I hope, Sir, your discretion will appardon my boldness in this behalf, seeing it proceeds from so honest a cause and tends to so good an end as the honour of our country, whilk I know your worship respects als much as any gentleman in the samyn, and wha yourself yield to few in that métier of learning.

spacer So my humble service rememberit to yourself, and attending your will in thir particulars, I rest,
spacerYour humble servitor at command, J Scott of Scotistarvett.
spacerThridpart, 5 April 1615.

(From Lord Lindsay, Lives of the Lindsays (London, 1849), III. 5f.)

Alexander’s involvement in the project appears to have been short-lived, but the poems gathered by Scotstarvet and his helpers, including Leech, would eventually see print as the 1637 Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum.While volume two would include epigrams by Maitland, none by Sir David’s father (the judge and secretary of state John Lindsay, Lord Menmuir, d. 1598) are to be are to be found in the Delitiae or are known still to exist.

Biography in O. D. N. B. The second section of Musae Priores is dedicated to Alexander, and also to Alexander Seton, Earl of Dumfermline, Thomas Hamilton, Earl of Melrose, and John Scott of Scotstarvet. See the commentary note on Dunbar IV.47.

spacerIV.61.9 See the commentary note on II.44.30.

spacerIV.61.11 Dioi apparently is Leech’s weird idea of an alternative genitive singular termination.

spacerIV.61.15 The Cimmerians were a people who inhabited part of Russia in ancient times. They were proverbial for their long, dark winters.

spacerIV.62 John Murray, first Earl of Annandale [d. 1640] was one of James’ closest confidants and Keeper of the Privy Purse. He was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Shaw, who was in the service of Queen Anne. Alexander of Menstrie’s first published effort was Aurora, containing the first fancies of the author’s youth (London, 1604), a collection of sonnets, songs, and elegies, some (but scarcely all) of which are addressed to “Aurora.” Leech’s now lost Rudimenta grammaticae Latinae in gratiam Iacobi Moraviae (London, 1624) was apparently dedicated to Annandale.

spacerIV.63 For Aidie, see the commentary note on III.34.

spacerIV.64 For Young, see the commentary note on I.65.

spacerIV.65 The references to poetry, ”heavenly beings,” Scottish royal genealogy and lack of public recognition all point to the addressee being not some unknown John Maxwell, but the eccentric intellectual, would-be astronomer, poet, theologian, student of prophecy and frustrated seeker of royal patronage James Maxwell [c. 1585 -c. 1635], brought up in Dumfries, for whom see the commentary note on Dunbar V.27. There is no trace of a John Maxwell of Dumfries who fits Leech’s description, and Leech’s addressee can scarcely be identified with Bishop John Maxwell [d. 1647], who wrote a series of anti-Presbyterian tracts in the 1640’s and hailed from Kirkcudbrightshire, not Dumfries. But see IV.67 below for another, unidentified acquaintance of Leech’s called Maxwell. .

spacerIV.65.7 See the note on I.47.11.

spacerIV.66 Cf. Greek Anthology XI.203:

Ἡ ῥὶς Κάστορός ἐστιν, ὅταν σκάπτῃ τι, δίκελλα·
spacerσάλπιγξ δ', ἂν ῥέγχῃ· τῇ δὲ τρύγῃ δρέπανον,
ἐν πλοίοις ἄγκυρα, κατασπείροντι δ' ἄροτρον,
spacerἄγκιστρον ναύταις, ὀψοφάγοις κρεάγρα,
ναυπηγοῖς σχένδυλα, γεωργοῖς δὲ πρασόκουρον,
spacerτέκτοσιν ἀξίνη, τοῖς δὲ πυλῶσι κόραξ.
οὕτως εὐχρήστου σκεύους Κάστωρ τετύχηκε
spacerῥῖνα φέρων πάσης ἄρμενον ἐργασίης.

See also epigram III.85. Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.67f. Leech addresses two friends of his French period. Maxwell may or may not be the same individual as the John Maxwell of Dumfries discussed immediately above. Camerarius is (as was pointed out by D. K. Money in his O. D. N. B. biography) is George Chalmers, author of Sylvae Leochaeo suo sacrae (Paris, 1620). For further details, see the next note.

spacerIV.68 This poem first appeared as the second of the two postliminary epigrams attached to George Chalmers’s Sylvae Leochaeo suo sacrae: sive, Lycidae desiderium (Paris, 1620); for the first epigram, see III.91. According to Thomas Dempster, who knew Chalmers well, he had attended university in Scotland, and then moved to Paris, whence he later moved to northern Italy and cultivated friendships with, inter alia, Domenico Molino of Venice and Paulo Leone of Padua (Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum, Edinburgh, 1829, p. 172). Molino is the dedicatee of the Emblemata Amatoria published at Venice in 1627 by a Georgius Camerarius. Since the book also contains brief epicedia for Paulo Leone and Thomas Dempster, cognato meo et amicorum principi, and uses a phrase found in the Sylvae, namely liligeros...tonantes ( i. e. the French monarchy), there can be no doubt that this Camerarius is Leech’s Paris friend of 1620. As indicated by his funerary epigram Paulo Leonio Patritio Patavino, Ferrariae Episcopo (Emblemata, p. 190), Chalmers was a Catholic; Ludwig von Pastor notes a substantial manuscript poem by him in the Vatican Library, Ad Urbanum VIII P. M. Scotiae quandam sic protectorem Silva, with a note “professor at Padua”: History of the Popes,  from the Close of the Middle Ages, tr. Dom Ernest Graf (London, 1938), XIX.574Giachino Brognoligo noted that nel giugno del 1632, lo scozzese Giorgio Camerario was vocato to replace the late Felice Osorio in the seconda cattedra at Padua, but died prima di aver assunto l’ufficio (Un profesore del seicento, Genova, 1907), p.14, n. 5. T. A. Birrell mistakenly conflates George Chalmers with William Chalmers, professor of law at Pont-à-Mousson (“Some Rare Scottish Books in the Old Royal Library,” in A. A. MacDonald et al. (eds.), The Renaissance in Scotland, Studies in Literature, Religion, History and Culture (Leiden, 1994) p. 406).
spacer Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.68.7 See the commentary note on II.30.3. There is an ancient tradition that there were two different gods, Eros and Anteros, one the god of base and carnal love, and the other of love that is chaste and reciprocal (but in mythology Anteros is not represented as the child of Athena).

spacerIV.68.8 See the commentary note on I.39.1.

spacerIV.68.9 In the original Paris 1620 text of this epigram, decorus was revinctus.

spacerIV.68.17 To a reader with no knowledge of Leech’s personal circumstances, the obvious meaning of this line is “alas, the domestic storms of our nation compel me,” with reference to the ecclesiastical ructions caused by the promulgation of the episcopalising Articles of Perth in 1618. But the line can also mean “alas, the domestic storms of my father’s house compel me.” That Leech intended both readings is indicated by a letter of 8 June 1619, which refers first, and in some detail, to various family problems concerning his mother’s family and the Rev. Andrew Leitch’s testamentary arrangements for his children (discussed in the Introduction)  and  then — very briefly and in passing to the considerable post-1618 tensions between bishops and ministers over the correct way of celebrating holy communion:

Audio enim de morte reginae nostrae. Inter episcopos autem ministrosque, non leviter ob caenae dominicae celebrationem turbari. Fatis concessisse (quod doleo) Gallovidium. Ei suffectum Brechiniensem. De bello Gallico, cuius originem tibi paucis superioribus literis deduxi nihil est adhuc certi quod scribam.

Leech’s letter complains that “Balnamoon junior” (either an uncle or a cousin on his mother’s side) wants details of Leech’s own testament, insisting that it provide for John’s sisters. Of the latter, Leech writes that they are fully provided for in his father’s testament, but are clearly dissatisfied. He also mentions that he concerned about his younger half-brother’s financial future. In 1619, David Lindsay (see I.72) became bishop of Brechin in succession to Andrew Lamb, who had been there since 1607. Leech may well have seen Lindsay’s arrival as having possible implications for the Montrose and Brechin side of Leech’s rather complicated family finances, since his father Andrew had been in receipt of special grants of kirk property. In the dedicatory epistle of the Eclogae in Musae Priores, Leech promises to do better donec mihi a curis, morbis, et domesticis procellis, liberius respirare concessum fuerit.

spacerIV.69 Evidently a proverbial expression: see the sentence Lanio quidam venit et Hansi persuasit et: "Bove dignus non es," inquit,. "muta vaccam tuam cum porco meo! at this site.

spacerIV.70.3 Falernian wine was highly prized in antiquity.

spacerIV.71.4 Actaeon.

spacerIV.72 Bacchus and Venus.

spacerIV.72.8 Salmas was a fountain at Halicarnassus, the waters of which had the reputation of making men soft and effeminate. Clitorion was a village in Arcadia mentioned by Polybius, Book IX, but this seems irrelevant. More like it is a word of Leech’s invention, and the meaning of “the Clitorian fountain” is all too clear.

spacerIV.74.1 See the note on I.57.4. Leech is comparing Lydia with the mythological Daphne.

spacerIV.75 For the name Maevius, see the note on IV.22. He reappears in IV.84. Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.75.1 See the commentary note on I.47.1.

spacerIV.75.2 Medea.

spacerIV.75.6 Evidently the idea is that they stick out their front feet like so many dead animals, but with the added implication that “Maevius” can’t get his scansions right.

spacerIV.76. 4 Lupa (“wolf“) is a slang term for “whore,” and lea (“lioness”) one for “bawd.”

spacerIV.78.3ff. Foreign trade and exploration led to the importation of all manner of new and exotic items for the pharmacopia. See the Textbook of Pharmacology, “Guaiacum [a genus of flowering plant belonging to the caltrop family) has a local stimulant action which is sometimes useful in sore throat. The resin is used in chronic gout and rheumatism, whilst the wood is an ingredient in the compound concentrated solution of sarsaparilla, which was formerly much used as an alternative in syphilis.” Ficus Indica (or Bengalersis) was used to stanch bleeding, the Indian herb dutroa as a soporific, and “Goa powder” was employed as an ingredient in a dermatological ointment. Automedon reappears in epigram IV.84.

spacerIV.79.3 See the commentary note on IV.15.12.

spacerIV.79.8 See the commentary note on I.2.15.7

spacerIV.80 Meter: hendecasyllables.

spacerIV.83.5 See the commentary note on IV.15.12.

spacerIV.84 For the bad poet Maevius, see the commentary note on IV.22. He also appears in IV.75. Automedon also provides the subject for IV.78 (but that epigram does not convey the information that he was a bad physician).

spacerIV.88 For Hope, see the commentary note on III.39.

spacerIV.90 This same bird is celebrated in epigram II.53.

spacerIV.90.14 Tethys was an ancient Greek sea-goddess. I cannot imagine what Leech may have meant by aculos, nor, if this is a printing error for something else, can I think of a satisfactory substitute.

spacerIV.90.21 A Roman author of cookbooks who dealt in outrageously extravagant creations (his recipe for baked flamingo is particularly memorable).

spacerIV.91 For Patrick Young, see the commentary note on I.65.

spacerIV.95.1 The biblical Lamech was the world’s first polygamist.

spacerIV.95.5 See the commentary note on III.91.1. But do male vultures preside over flocks of females, in the manner of bulls and rams?

spacerIV.95.7f. Alcides is Hercules. I have no idea who Proculus is supposed to be: there is no famous strong man of that name in mythology or ancient history.

spacerIV.96.6 Achilles’ grandfather was Aeacus, king of Aegina.

spacerIV.97.3 See the commentary note on I.2.10.

spacerIV.98.2 See the commentary note on I.1.2.

spacerIV.99.7f. This “patron Stuart” is presumably Esmé, Earl of March, so warmly celebrated in IV.2 and IV.44, rather than the royal advocate Sir Lewis Stuart, the addressee of III.82.