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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Don, Lady Henrietta (1752 — 1801)

Elder daughter of the 13th Earl of Glencairn and sister to Earl James, Burns's patron. In 1778, she married Sir Alexander Don, Bart, of Newton-Don, Berwickshire. Her daughters, Elizabeth and Mary — one of whom Burns referred to as 'Lady Harriet's little angel whose epithalamium I am pledged to write' — were accidentally drowned in 1793. Her only son succeeded to the title when he was 26, on his father's death in 1815.

On 26th March 1787, Burns sent Lady Don: 'a parcel of my epistolary performances', which had obviously been asked for. He added 'I might have altered or omitted some things in these letters; perhaps I ought to have done so; but I wished to show you the Bard and his style in their native colors.' Burns dined with Lady Harriet at her home on 12th May 1787, while on his Border tour.

Writing from Ellisland, on 23rd October 1791, Burns sent Lady Don his 'Lament for James, Earl of Glencairn'. Underneath it he wrote: 'To Lady Harriet Don, this Poem, not the fictitious creation of poetic fancy, but the breathings of real woe from a bleeding heart, is respectfully presented by The Author.'

The parcel of 'epistolary performances' makes up the Don Manuscript, which is now in the Library of the University of Edinburgh.

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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