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Collection of papers of Mark Alexander Boyd, including a few of members of his family.

Identifier: Adv.MS.15.1.7

Scope and Contents

The contents are as follows:

(i) an engraved portrait of Boyd, 1596, by Thomas de Leu, or De Leeuw (folio 1), made probably when he was at Paris;

(ii) an account of the family of Boyd (by Robert Boyd of Trochrig), undated, written to an unidentified correspondent (folio 1);

(iii) heads of lectures on the Institutions of Justinian, entitled `In Instituta Imperatoris commenta, 1591` (folio 3), accompanied by marginalia, some lengthy, as far as folio 52 verso; apparently incomplete;

(iv) `Discours ciuiles sur le Royeaulme d’Escosse` undated (folio 172), consisting of the title, the `Epistre au Lecteur` (bearing many amendments) and the first book (probably the only one written, despite the twelve books referred to in the title), entitled `L`estat du royaume d`escosse a present`;

(v) a discourse, bearing several amendments, on the qualifications and duties of a statesman, entitled `Politicus`, written in 1591 (folio 186); it is dedicated to John Maitland, 1st Lord Thirlestane and Lord High Chancellor;

(vi) a rough draft, unfinished, on the qualifications and duties of a lawyer, entitled `Jurisconsultus` written probably in 1590 (folio 192); it is dedicated to François Balduin;

(vii) a treatise on the qualities required of a poet, entitled `Poeta` (folio 198); it is dedicated to Cornelius Varus;

(viii) copies, with amendments, of most of Boyd’s `Poemata Varia` (folio 204). Printed, with many differences of wording and order, in his ‘Epistolae Heroides, et Hymni’, pages 97 and after, where they appear under the title `Hymni Ad Iacobum sextum Regem`. The manuscript lacks most of `Crocus` and all of `Poeniculus` (following folio 219) which are both printed in full, and `Hasta` (folio 220), originally dedicated to François de La Noue, is printed with a dedication to King James, and with other differences from the amended manuscript text; the poem following (folio 222), on an anagram of the name of La Noue is not printed;

(ix) letters (folio 223), consisting of letters 1595 and undated, of Boyd to Robert Boyd of Trochrig, copies of undated letters (folio 229) to various unidentified persons, a letter (folio 234) of Patrick Sharp to Boyd, and a letter, 1671 (folio 236), probably of John Boyd of Trochrig concerning him; and,

(x) Poems (folio 237) including two epitaphs on Robert, Lord Boyd. The collection appears to have been formed by Sir Robert Sibbald, who describes it briefly in the account of Boyd in his ‘Scotia illustrata’, part 2, tomus 2, book 3, pages 2-4.


  • Creation: 1590-1596, 1671, and undated.


0.00 Linear metres (i + 239 folios. Quarto and under, inlaid inside a folio volume.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Bought by the Advocates’ Library, 1723.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm available: Mf.Sec.MSS.458.

Related Materials

A copy of the poems on François de La Noue (section viii) is in Adv.MS.23.6.16, folio 411 verso.


Boyd, Mark Alexander. ‘Epistolae Heroides, et Hymni’ (Antverpiæ, 1592), pages 97 and after.

Sibbald, Robert. ‘Scotia illustrata’ (Edinburgh, 1664), part 2, tome 2, book 3, pages 2-4.
The poems (folios 204-222) are reprinted in ‘Delitiae Scotorum’, edited by Arthur Johnston, pages 181 and after.
The following letters or drafts are printed (in part) in the biographical account of Boyd published in 1787 as a specimen of a projected `Biographia Scotica` by Lord Hailes: folio 231 verso (page 9); folio 228 (page 10); folio 233, with translation (pages 23-24); along with a much more detailed description of section x than that of Robert Sibbald, with printed extracts from some of the items as illustrations.
A photo of folio 234 appears in the Glasgow High School Magazine, volume xlvii, number 1 (December 1947) as frontispiece, with a translation on page 5.
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
16 01 2015
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Descriptive Rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
0131 623 3700