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THE DOWIE DENS OF YARROW.
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, iii. 143.
" This ballad, which is a very great favourite among the inhabitants of Ettrick Forest, is universally believed to be founded in fact. I found it easy to collect a variety of copies; but very difficult indeed to select from them such a collated edition as might, in any degree, suit the taste of ' these more light and giddy-paced times.'
" Tradition places the event, recorded in the song, very early; and it is probable that the ballad was composed soon afterwards, although the language has been gradually modernized, in the course of its transmission to us, through the inaccurate channel of oral tradition. The bard does not relate particulars, but barely the striking outlines of a fact, apparently so well known when he wrote, as to render minute detail as unnecessary as it is always tedious and unpoetical.
" The hero of the ballad was a knight of great bravery, called Scott, who is said to have resided at Kirkhope, or Oakwood Castle, and is, in tradition, termed the Baron of Oakwood. The estate of Kirkhope belonged anciently to the Scotts of Harden: