Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 1 of 8 from 1860 edition

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CLERK COLVILL, OR THE MERMAID.
This ballad exemplifies a superstition deeply rooted in the belief of all the northern nations,—the desire of the Elves and Water-spirits for the love of Christians, and the danger of being exposed to their fascination. The object of their fatal passion is generally a bride­groom, or a bride, on the eve of marriage. See, in the Appendix, Sir Oluf and the Elf-King's Daughter, for further illustrations; also the two succeeding pieces.
Clerk Colvill was first printed in Herd's Scottish Songs, (i. 217,) and was inserted, in an altered shape, in Lewis's Tales of Wonder, (No. 56.)
Clerk Colvill and bis lusty dame Were walking in the garden green;
The belt around her stately waist Cost Clerk Colvill of pounds fifteen.
" O promise me now, Clerk Colvill,                  s
Or it will cost ye muckle strife, Ride never by the wells of Slane, If ye wad live and brook your life."







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