Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 3 of 8 from 1860 edition -online book

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SIB PATKICK SPENCE.                   149
to be a modern production, and is, notwithstanding the praise it has received, a tame and tiresome one besides. Sir Patrick Spence, on the other hand, if not ancient, has been always accepted as such by the most skilful judges, and is a solitary instance of a successful imitation, in manner and spirit, of the best specimens of authentic minstrelsy.1
It is not denied that this ballad has suffered, like others, by corruption and interpolations, and it is not, therefore, maintained that hats and cork-heeld shoon are of the 13th century.
We'have assigned to Percy's copy the first place, because its brevity and directness give it a peculiar vigor. Scott's edition follows, made up from two MS. copies, (one of which has been printed in Jamieson's Popular Ballads, i. 157,) collated with several verses recited by a friend. Buchan's version, obtained from recitation, is in the Appendix. The variations in re­cited copies are numerous : some specimens are given by Motherwell, p. xlv.
The king sits in Dumferling2 toune,
Drinking the blude-reid wine: " O quhar will I get guid sailor,
To sail this schip of mine ? "
1.   This controversy has been recently re-opened by R. Chambers, The Romantic Scottish Ballads, their Epoch and Authorship, Edin. 1S59; and in reply, The Romantic Scottish Ballads and the Lady Wardlaio Heresy, by Norval Clyne, Aberdeen, 1859.
2.   The palace of Dunfermline was the favorite residence of King Alexander III.