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The Works of James Melville

Edited By David W. Atkinson

The Works of James Melville presents both published and unpublished prose and poetry by Scottish divine James Melville (1556–1614). James Melville has been largely ignored as a significant figure in the life of the Scottish Church in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. While his Diary and Autobiography is often referenced as an important account of the Scottish Kirk, the rest of his writing remains unavailable to modern scholars. The result is that we are without an important resource for understanding the spiritual dynamics of the Scottish Church, as well as the devotional life of the ordinary believer. This book—which incorporates vital critical commentary on each of the selected works—endeavors to fill this scholarly lacuna, and to excite interest in Melville as a self-conscious writer who drew on all manner of sources, even as he developed a distinctive voice that positioned him as an important religious writer of the Reformation. Melville’s understanding of his role as a pastor of the Church—and of his ultimate responsibility for saving souls—gives his writing a power that signals his own deeply held faith, which in turn inspires so much of his poetry and prose. The Works of James Melville will hopefully encourage others to give Melville the kind of scholarly attention that sheds light on his contribution to Scottish history, religion, and literature.

Acknowledgements – Introduction – A Spiritvall Propine of a Pastour to his People – A Morning Vision – A Frvitful and Comfortable Exhortatioun anent Death – The manner of the sicknesse and departure, of Iean d’Albret – The Black Bastel, or A Lamentation in Name of the Kirk of Scotland – A Preservative from Apostacie – The wandering sheepe or Davids tragique fall – The reliefe of the longing soule, or The Song of Songs – Short Poems – The Zodiac of Lyff – Poems from Melville’s Autobiography and Diary – Translations from Latin in Autobiography and Diary – Three Sonnets from D. Robert Rollici Scoti.