Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, i. 369. t
" This ballad appears to have been composed about the reign of James V. It commemorates a transac­tion supposed to have taken place betwixt a Scottish monarch and an ancestor of the ancient family of Murray of Philiphaugh, in Selkirkshire. The Editor is unable to ascertain the historical foundation of the tale; nor is it probable that any light can be thrown upon the subject, without an accurate examination of the family charter-chest........
" The merit of this beautiful old tale, it is thought, will be fully acknowledged. It has been, for ages, a popular song in Selkirkshire. The scene is by the common people supposed to have been the Castle of Newark upon Yarrow. * This is highly improbable, because Newark was always a royal fortress. Indeed, the late excellent antiquarian, Mr. Plummer, Sheriff-depute of Selkirkshire, has assured the Editor that he remembered the insignia of the unicorns, &c, so often mentioned in the ballad, in existence upon the old Tower of Hangingshaw, the seat of the Philiphaugh family; although, upon first perusing a copy of the ballad, he was inclined to subscribe to the popular opinion. The Tower of Hangingshaw has been de­molished for many years. It stood in a romantic and solitary situation, on the classical banks of the Yarrow. "When the mountains around Hangingshaw were cov­ered with the wild copse which constituted a Scottish