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FRAGMENT OF CHILD ROWLAND AND BURD ELLEN.
It is not impossible that this ballad should be the one quoted by Edgar in King Lear, (Act iii. sc. 4 :) " Child Rowland to the dark tower came."
We have extracted the fragment given by Jamieson, with the breaks in the story filled out, from Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, p. 397; and we have added his translation of the Danish ballad of Rosmer Hafmand, which exhibits a striking similarity to Child Rowland, from Popular Ballads and Songs, ii. 202. The tale of the Red Etin, as given in Chambers's Pop. Rhymes of Scotland, p. 56, has much resemblance to Jamieson's story, and, like it, is interspersed with verse.
The occurrence of the name Merlin is by no means a sufficient ground for connecting this tale, as Jamie-son would do, with the cycle of King Arthur. For Merlin, as Grundtvig has remarked (Folkeviser, ii. 79), did not originally belong to that cycle, and again, his name seems to have been given in Scotland to any sort of wizard or prophet.
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[" King Arthur's sons o' merry Carlisle] Were playing at the ba'; And there was their sister Burd Ellen, I' the mids amang them a'.
" Child Rowland kick'd it wi' his foot, t
And keppit it wi' his knee ; And ay, as he play'd out o'er them a', O'er the kirk he gar'd it flee.