1845 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Simion Grahame

William Anderson, in Scottish Biographical Dictionary (1845) 368.



Simion, or Simeon Grahame, a quaint old writer, the son of Archibald Grahame, a burgess of Edinburgh, was born in that city about 1570. He seems to have been indebted for his education to the patronage of James VI.; and we learn from the "Epistle Dedicatorie" of his Anatomie of Humours to the Earl of Montrose, that he was at different periods a traveller, a soldier, and a courtier. Sir Thomas Urquhart describes him as "a great traveller and very good scholar, but otherways licentious, and given over to all manner of debordings;" but we have the testimony of Demptster that, in his mature years, he became repentant, and assumed the habit of St. Francis. He spent some time in exile on the Continent, and when there wrote a poem addressed "From Italy to Scotland, his Soyle." In 1604 he published at London a small collection of poems, entitled The Passionate Sparke of a Relenting Minde, inscribed, in a long poetical dedication of fifty-nine verses, to his earliest patron, James VI. His Anatomie of Humours appeared at Edinburgh in 1609, a work, principally prose, but interspersed with verse, which Dr. Irving is of opinion may have suggested to Burton the first ideas of his Anatomie of Melancholie, published in 1624. The two works mentioned are all of Grahame's writings that are extant, although both Urquhart and Dempster represent his publications as numerous. Grahame subsequently retired again to the Continent, and spent the last years of his life as an austere Franciscan. He died at Carpentras, on his return to Scotland, in 1614. A beautiful edition of his Anatomie of Humours and Passionate Sparke was printed by the Bannatyne Club in 1830.