1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hume, Alexander

HUME, ALEXANDER (c. 1557–1609), Scottish poet, second son of Patrick Hume of Polwarth, Berwickshire, was born, probably at Reidbrais, one of his family’s houses, about 1557. It has been generally assumed that he is the Alexander Hume who matriculated at St Mary’s college, St Andrews, in 1571, and graduated in 1574. In Ane Epistle to Maister Gilbert Montcreif (Moncrieff), mediciner to the Kings Majestie, wherein is set downe the Experience of the Authours youth, he relates the course of his disillusionment. He says he spent four years in France before beginning to study law in the courts at Edinburgh (l. 136). After three years’ experience there he abandoned law in disgust and sought a post at court (ib. l. 241). Still dissatisfied, he took orders, and became in 1597 minister of Logic, near Stirling, where he lived until his death on the 4th of December 1609. His best-known work is his Hymns, or Sacred Songs (printed by Robert Waldegrave at Edinburgh in 1599, and dedicated to Elizabeth Melvill, Lady Comrie) containing an epistle to the Scottish youth, urging them to abandon vanity for religion. One poem of the collection, entitled “A description of the day Estivall,” a sketch of a summer’s day and its occupations, has found its way into several anthologies. “The Triumph of the Lord after the Manner of Men” is a song of victory of some merit, celebrating the defeat of the Armada in 1588. His prose works include Ane Treatise of Conscience (Edinburgh, 1594), A Treatise of the Felicitie of the Life to come (Edinburgh, 1594), and Ane Afold Admonitioun to the Ministerie of Scotland. The last is an argument against prelacy. Hume’s elder brother, Lord Polwarth, was probably one of the combatants in the famous “Flyting betwixt Montgomerie and Polwart.”

The editions of Hume’s verse are: (a) by Robert Waldegrave (1599); (b) a reprint of (a) by the Bannatyne Club (1832); and (c) by the Scottish Text Society (ed. A. Lawson) (1902). The last includes the prose tracts.