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LTHOUGH it is not quite an ascertained fact, ,
there can be little doubt that it was somewhere
in the sunny levels which lie between the old cathedral city of Elgin and the sea that, about the year 1500, Florentius Volusenus was born, parentibus ingenuis. And it is one of the most beautiful features in his character that, long years after, when he had wandered far through England, France, and Italy, and had been the protégé, successively, of four cardinals, Wolsey, Du Bellay, Lorraine, and Sadoleto—he should return in spirit, as, but for premature death, he would have done in body, to the “ Laich of Moray," where the fruit trees ripened early, where the gentle Lossie, “lucidus et vadosus," mirrored the great eastern window of the “ Lanthorn of the North," and where the palace walls of Spynie rose from their shimmering loch that
“haunted by wild swans. His friend, George Buchanan, has paid eloquent tribute to the peculiar charm of that region—a charm which is perhaps less known
1 Volusenus has had many biographers. Dr. Irving in his “Lives of Scottish Writers,” has related almost every fact known about him; and, among other lives, may be mentioned a most interesting monograph printed many years ago by a respected member of a literary society in the town of his birth.
than it should be even by the south-country Scotsman, who may be astonished to learn that, “at the back of the north wind,” there lies a province that is earlier in its season than regions much nearer the sun. George Buchanan (whose Hebrew Lexicon lies in the Edinburgh University Library with this autograph on it,
Georgius Buchananus. Ex munificentia Florentii Voluseni") bears testimony to the amenities of the province of Moray—to its mild skies, its rich pastures, and its wealth of fruits. Bishop Lesley, too, who was a contemporary of our author, tells of its meadows and wheat fields, frequent groves, sweet-smelling wild flowers, and teeming apple gardens, over all which lay a sky whose breezes were healthful and whose clouds were rare.
Amid such scenes the philosopher of tranquillity was born. There are some difficulties, however, in connection with the next notable event, namely, his christening. It may seem absurd to confess that the very name of our hero is a matter of doubt, but such, unfortunately, is the case.
One thing is certain, viz., that he called himself, and was known in the learned world as, Florentius Voluzenus or Volusenus. This, of course, was a Latinised version of his surname, adopted in accordance with the usage of the authors of his day. But a Latinised version of what? Some suggest Wolsey, some Wilson. Awkwardly, however, for both, Florence himself signs a letter, written in the pure venacular, “Florence Voluzene," and a French contemporary calls him Volusen. No such name, so far as we are aware, occurs in this country; and the nearest to it is certainly Wilson,