Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 2 of 8 from 1860 edition

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GIL MOEEICE.
29
about five miles above these lands, is named the Earls-burn, and the hill near the source of that stream is called the Earlshill, both deriving their appellations, according to the unvarying traditions of the country, from the unfortunate Erie's son who is the hero of the ballad. He, also, according to the same respectable authority, was ' beautiful exceedingly,' and especially remarkable for the extreme length and loveliness of his yellow hair, which shrouded him as it were a gold­en mist. To these floating traditions we are, probably, indebted for the attempts which have been made to improve and embellish the ballad, by the introduction of various new stanzas since its first appearance in a printed form.
" In Percy's Keliques, it is mentioned that it had run through two editions in Scotland, the second of which appeared at Glasgow in 1755, 8vo.; and that to both there was prefixed an advertisement, setting forth that the preservation of the poem was owing ' to a lady, who favoured the printers with a copy, as it was carefully col­lected from the mouths of old women and nurses,' and requesting that' any reader, who could render it more correct or complete, would oblige the public with such improvements.' This was holding out too tempting a bait not to be greedily snapped at by some of those ' In­genious Hands' who have corrupted the purity of legen­dary song in Scotland by manifest forgeries and gross im­positions. Accordingly, sixteen additional verses soon appeared in manuscript, which the Editor of the Rel-iquea has inserted in their proper places, though he rightly views them in no better light than that of an ingenious interpolation. Indeed, the whole ballad of Gil Morice, as the writer of the present notice has been politely informed by the learned and elegant Editor of







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