Open main menu

GRAHAME, SIMION (1570?–1614), Franciscan, born probably in Edinburgh about 1570, was the son of Archibald Grahame, a burgess of that city. James VI in 1580 presented him to the prebend of Brodderstanis for his ‘sustentatioun at the scolis, for sevin yeiris.’ In 1587 the king again presented Grahame to the same prebend 'for all the dayes of his lyftyme.' According to his own testimony his life was by no means prosperous. He was at different periods a traveller, a soldier, and a courtier (cf. Epistle Dedicatorie of his Anatomie of Humours to the Earl of Montrose). Sir Thomas Urquhart describes him as 'a great traveller and very good scholar ... but ... too licentious, and given over to all manner of debordings' (Jewel, p. 122); but Dempster states that in his maturer years Grahame became repentant and assumed the habit of St. Francis (Hist. Eccles. Gentis Scotorum, ed. Bannatyne Club, p. 328). He spent some time in exile on the continent, under what circumstances is unknown, and when there wrote two poems, which he afterwards called 'His Passionado, when he was in Pilgrimage' and 'From Italy to Scotland his soyle.' Before 1603 Grahame appears to have returned home and to have resumed his literary pursuits. To James VI he dedicated a little collection of poems, ornamentally printed and published at London in 1604, called 'The Passionate Sparke of a Relenting Minde,' 4to. In 1609 he published at Edinburgh 'The Anatomie of Hvmors,' a quarto of mingled prose and verse, which may have suggested to Burton the first idea of his 'Anatomy of Melancholy' (1621). Both Urquhart and Dempster represent the writings of Grahame as numerous, but these two works (reprinted by the Bannatyne Club in 1830) are alone known to be extant. Neither has much literary merit. Grahame subsequently returned to the continent and spent the last years of his life as an austere Franciscan. He died, according to Dempster, at Carpentras in 1614, while on his way to revisit Scotland.

[Grahame's Works (Bannatyne Club); Anderson's Scottish Nation, ii. 357.]

G. G.