Skye-inspired verse

We recently bought a privately printed book with lithographed illustrations of some wildlife and albumen prints of landscapes and sheep on the Isle of Skye set in beautifully ornamented borders.  The author, illustrator and printer all in one was the rural improver and gardener Sir Charles Isham (1819-1903). He probably produced the book at his family estate of Lamport, […]

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More Gaelic Books Digitised

We have reached the first milestone in digitising all our out-of-copyright books in Gaelic: the first 50 are now freely accessible and can be read in full on our website about Early Gaelic Book Collections! The digitised books were published between 1631 and 1900 and cover mostly literary and religious subjects from poetry and songs to translations […]

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Robert Burns in America

The Library has acquired a collection of individual issues of the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser newspaper from 1787 through to 1788, which probably contain the first examples of Robert Burns’s work in print in the USA! Each issue prints a poem or song by Burns to give American readers a taster of his poetry. […]

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National Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day! I’d like to celebrate this event by showcasing how a poem can act as a link between nations, in this case between Scotland and Germany. In 1802, Walter Scott published his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (Bk.5/1.3-4), a collection of “historical and romantic ballads, collected in the southern counties of Scotland”, as the subtitle said. […]

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More Scott for Russians

We recently acquired two very rare translations into Russian of Walter Scott’s epic poems The Lay of the Last Minstrel and Rokeby. Scott was probably the most popular foreign author in Russia in the 19th century. The Lay of the Last Minstrel was first published in 1805. The Russian translation (RB.s.2828), in prose rather than verse, […]

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Temperance is the only solution!

We’ve been fortunate recently to buy a copy of a book which appears to be the only known copy! It’s called Whiskiana, or the drunkard’s progress.  A poem. In Scottish verse (NLS shelfmark AP.1.211.06), and it was printed in Glasgow in 1812: Whiskiana deals with the “evil of habitual intoxication”.  The author acknowledges the popular Scots poet Hector Macneill as an inspiration […]

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