Hume, Alexander (1809-1851) (DNB00)

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For works with similar titles, see Alexander Hume.


HUME, ALEXANDER (1809–1851), Scottish poet, born at Kelso on 1 Feb. 1809, was the son of Walter Hume, a retail trader. He speaks with gratitude of his early education received at Kelso, and he was permanently impressed by the beautiful scenery of his native district. While he was still a boy his family removed to London, where he joined in 1822 or 1823 a party of strolling players for a few months, undertaking a variety of characters, and singing specially a song entitled 'I am such a beautiful boy.' Through the kindness of a relative he obtained a situation in 1827 with the London agents of Berwick & Co., brewers, of Edinburgh, where he ultimately secured a position of trust.

Hume joined the Literary and Scientific Institution in Aldersgate Street, became a good debater, and wrote his 'Daft Wattie' for the magazine of the club. From this time he found recreation in writing Scottish lyrics. In 1837 he married, and in 1840, owing to bad health, travelled in America. Returning he became London agent for Messrs. Lane, well-known Cork brewers. In 1847 he revisited America for the benefit of his health. He died at Northampton in May 1851, leaving a wife and six children.

Hume dedicated an early issue of his songs to Allan Cunningham, and his collected 'Poems and Songs' appeared in 1845. 'Sandy Allan,' one of his best lyrics, is in the anthology of minor Scottish singers, 'Whistle Binkie,' 1832-47. Hume's poems are vigorous and fresh in sentiment and expression.

[Rogers's Modern Scottish Minstrel; Irving's Eminent Scotsmen.]

T. B.