Alexander Dicsone


Auertiment of Prudence

Unpublished disquisition on Prudence, in seventeen chapters, addressed to an unidentified person by ‘Yor Sruitor Alexr Dicsone’. Beal, ‘Checklist’, p. 123.

*DiA 1

Autograph MS, in Dicsone's cursive italic hand, signed ‘Alexr Dicsone’, on 42 quarto pages. c.1585-1604.

In: A quarto composite volume of theological tracts, in various hands, 524 leaves, in modern calf gilt.

Facsimile of the last page in Beal, ‘Checklist’, p. 124.

British Library, Harley MS 6866, ff. 52r-72v.

Of the Right of the crowne after Hir Majestie

A treatise in support of James VI's title to the Crown of England. Beal, ‘Checklist’, pp. 123, 126-7. Unpublished in full. Extracts edited in Breaking the Silence on the Succession: A Sourcebook of Manuscripts and Rare Elizabethan Texts (c. 1587-1603), ed. Jean-Christophe Mayer (Montpellier, 2003), pp. 157-87.

*DiA 2

A partly autograph folio MS, viii + 153 leaves, in contemporary limp vellum with remains of ties. A working manuscript, apparently one book of an intended ‘three Bookes’ mentioned on the title-page, the main text in the professional hand of an amanuensis, chiefly in secretary script, occasionally italic, with autograph sidenotes, revisions, and copious additions by Dicsone. [1598].

Later owned by Sir Robert Sibbald (1641-1722), royal physician and geographer. Purchased at the sale of his library in April 1723.

Facsimiles of f. 113v in Beal, ‘Checklist’, p. 125. Selections edited from this MS in Mayer, with a facsimile of f. 29v on p. 180.

National Library of Scotland, Adv. MS 31.4.8.



*DiA 3

Autograph letter signed (‘Yor ls right affectionat freind & Srvitor Alexr Dicsone’), to Robert Bowes (English Ambassador in Scotland), 9 August 1595. 1595.

Beal, ‘Checklist’, p. 129. A complete transcript of the letter in Beal, ‘Sidney's Letter’, pp. 35-8, with a facsimile of the last page on p. 27.

National Archives, Kew, SP 52/56/84.

*DiA 4

Autograph letter signed (‘Yor right affectionat friend, Alexr Dicson’) to George Nicolson. [mid-September 1595]. 1595.

Beal, ‘Checklist’, p. 129.

National Archives, Kew, SP 52/57/20.

DiA 5

Copy of Dicsone's letter to John Davidson, subscribed ‘Your brother in Christ Alexander Dicksone’, c.1-3 April 1603. 1603.

In: Volume III of the autograph MS of The Historie of the Kirk of Scotland by John Calderwood (1575-1650), closely written in his secretary hand, untitled, 411 folio leaves, in modern half-morocco. 1627.

Inscribed (f. 1v) ‘Ex Libris Dom: Gulielmi Calderwood de Poltoun’ [i.e. Sir William Calderwood (d.1733), Lord Polton]. Donated in 1765 by his heir Dr Andrew Gifford.

Beal, ‘Checklist’, pp. 129-30. The letter edited from this transcript in the edition of Calderwood's Historie by the Rev. Thomas Thomson, Woodrow Society (8 vols, Edinburgh, 1842-9), VI, 214-15.

British Library, Add. MS 4739, ff. 128v-9r.

Books and Manuscripts Owned or Inscribed by Dicsone

Bruno, Giordano. De la causa, principio, et uno ([London], 1584)

DiA 6

A printed exemplum inscribed ‘Alex. Dicsonus’. 1584.

Recorded in Sturlese and in Beal, ‘Sidney's Letter’, pp. 39-40, n. 12.

Landesbibliothek Oldenburg, Phil. I 2/27.

Bruno, Giordano. De l'infinito universo et mondi ([London], 1584)

DiA 7

A printed exemplum inscribed (p. 175v) ‘Il vostro malignare non giova nulla Alexander Dicson’. 1584.

Recorded in Sturlese and in Beal, ‘Sidney's Letter’, pp. 39-40, n. 12

University of Glasgow, R 8.7.

Bruno, Giordano. De umbris idearum (Paris, 1582)

DiA 8

A printed exemplum presented to Alexander Dicsone by Bruno, with the latter's inscribed dedication to him ‘D Alexandro Dicsono Bonarum literarum optime sui memoriam, & amicitiæ...’, in contemporary vellum gilt. c.1584.

Later owned by Sir James Balfour, first Baronet (1600-57), of Denmilne and Kinncaird, Lyon King of Arms and antiquary. Afterwards sold by David and Robert Freebairn, Edinburgh book auctioners (fl. 1703-37).

Recorded in Beal, ‘Sidney's Letter’, p. 40, n. 13. Facsimiles of the inscription in Rita Sturlese, ‘Un nuovo autografo del Bruno’, Rinascimento, 27 (1987), 387-91, and in John Bossy, Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair (New Haven & London, 1991), p. 277.

University College London, Ogden A 50.

Bruno, Giordano. Spaccio de la bestia trionfante ([London], 1584)

DiA 9

A printed exemplum inscribed ‘Alex. Dicson’. Recorded in Sturlese and in Beal, ‘Sidney's Letter’, pp. 39-40, n. 12. 1584.

Smithsonian Institution, B 783 S73 RB NMAH.



*DiA 10

A miscellany of political papers, a number relating to Sir Thomas Smith (1513-77), Secretary of State, compiled in part by Alexander Dicsone, whose signature (‘Alexr Dicsone’) appears on various pages, as well as on ff. 104v-5r.

In: A folio volume of state tracts and letters, largely in a single secretary hand, with other hands towards the end, i + 110 leaves, in contemporary limp vellum. c.1585-1603.

Scribbled inscriptions including the names ‘Archibald Delawar’, ‘Archibald Dewer’, ‘John Bourchier’, ‘Nicolas Barklay’, and ‘Symson’. Among the collections of Sir James Balfour, first Baronet (1600-57), of Denmilne and Kinncaird, Lyon King of Arms and antiquary. Acquired in 1698.

This volume discussed, with facsimile examples, including Dicksone's signature and scribbling on ff. iir, iiv, and iiir, in Beal, ‘Sidney's Letter’.

National Library of Scotland, Adv. MS 33.3.11, The MS as a whole.