Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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to Lord Forbes. He afterwards sent a party under-one Captain Car, or Ker, to reduce the house of Towie, one of the chief seats of the name of Forbes. The proprietor of the mansion being from home, his lady, who was pregnant at the time, confiding too much in her sex and condition, not only refused to surrender, but gave Car some very opprobious language over the walls, which irritated him so much that he set fire to the house, and burnt the whole inmates, amounting in all to thirty-seven persons. As Gordon never cashiered Car for this inhuman action, he was held by the public voice to be equally guilty, and accordingly [in one of the versions of the ballad] he is repre­sented as the principal actor himself." (Chambers's Scottish Ballads, p. 67.) It appears that the Forbeses afterwards attempted to assassinate Adam Gordon in the streets of Paris. See more of this Captain Ker under The Battell of Balrinnes, in the next volume.
The ballad was first printed by the Foulises at Glasgow, 1755, under the title of Edom of Gordon, as taken down by Sir David Dalrymple from the re­citation of a lady. It was inserted in the Reliques, (i. 122,) "improved and enlarged," (or, as Bitson more correctly expresses the fact, " interpolated and corrupted,") by several stanzas from a fragment in Percy's manuscript, called Captain Adam Carre. Eitson published the following genuine and ancient copy, (Ancient Songs, ii. 38,) from a collection in the Cotton Library. He states that his MS. had received numerous alterations or corrections, all or most of which, as being evidently for the better, he had adopted into the text. We have added a copy of

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