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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Hoy, James (1747 — 1828)

Librarin to the Duke of Gordon at Castle Gordon. Chambers described him as: 'The Duke's librarian, companion and friend, a well read man, who lived in the castle for 46 years without ever losing the Dominie-Sampson-like purity of heart and simplicity of jmnners by which he was distinguished.'

Burns met Hoy at Castle Gordon during his Highland tour, on the occasion when, to plcate Nicol, the poet had to forgo 'dining with the Duke and Duchess'. Burns referred to the incident when he wrote to Hoy from Edinburgh on the 20th October 1787: 'I shall certainly, among my legacies, leave my latest curse to that unlucky predicament which hurried me, tore me away from Castle Gordon. May that obstinate sn of Latin Prose be curst to Scotch-mile periods, and damn'd to seven league paragraphs; while Declension and Conjugation, Gender, Number, and Time, under the ragged banners of Dissonance and Disarrangement eternally rank against him in hostile array!!!!!!'

The main purpose of Burn's letter, however, was to acquaint Hoy with the Scots Musical Museum, and to make a request: 'My request is; "Cauld Kail in Aberdeen" is one intended for this Number; and I beg a copy of His Grace of Gordon's words to it, which you were so kind as to repeat to me. You may be sure we wont prefix the Authors name, except you like; tho' I look on it as no small merit to this work that the names of the Authors of our old Scotch Songs, names almost forgotten, will be inserted.'

Burns wrote to Hoy again on 6th November, when the librarian had complied with his request. Said Burns: 'The Duke's song, independent totally of his Dukeship, charms me....I could name half-a-dozen Dukes that I guess are a devilish deal worse employed; nay, I question if there are half-a-dozen better.'

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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
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
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

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...