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Tobias Hume

born: ?c1579
died: 16 April 1645
country: United Kingdom

Relatively little is known of Tobias Hume. Some have suggested that he was born in 1579, because he was admitted to the London Charterhouse in 1629, a prerequisite to which was being at least fifty years old, though there is no certainty over this. He published two collections of pieces for viols and songs, The First Part of Ayres—Captain Humes Musicall Humors in 1605 and Captain Humes Poeticall Musicke in 1607. The Earl of Pembroke, who was also Shakespeare’s patron and paid for the printing of Hume’s first publication, must have recognized Hume’s qualities, investing in a musician who might not return from the next battle and whose genius (to this day) is not fully appreciated. Hume must have been in some financial trouble in 1607 when he begged Queen Anne, to whom his second collection is dedicated, to bestow some attention upon ‘the onely and last refuge of [his] long expecting hopes’ as his ‘Fortune is out of tune’. To earn a living, Hume wandered through Europe to the scenes of the various religious and political conflicts as a soldier and mercenary. We have two surviving petitions of his addressed to King Charles I, both of which were ignored by the relevant officials. Hume died in the Charterhouse in the poorest of circumstances on Wednesday, 16 April 1645.

from notes by Susanne Heinrich © 2010


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