Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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money and plate, were consumed in the fire. And, in the fourth place, it is extremely improbable that any man of his rank should commit so deliberate and so atrocious an act of villainy. On the other hand, it seems by no means improbable that Pitcaple should have caused fire to be set to his enemy's house; a mode of reprisal which had been practised in the same district of country, as we have already seen, by a gentleman of only the preceding age. Pitcaple's men, moreover, had been heard to declare an inten­tion of attempting some such enterprise against Fren-draught; as was proved on the trial of a gentleman of the name of Meldrum, who was apprehended, con­demned, and executed, for his alleged accession to their conspiracy."—Chambers's Scottish Ballads, p. 85.
This ballad was first printed in the North Countrie Garland, p. 4, and afterwards with a few slight cor­rections in Motherwell's Minstrelsy, having in both cases been furnished by Mr. C. K. Sharpe. The tragic story was celebrated by one Arthur Johnston, a contemporary scholar, in two Latin poems, the one entitled, Querela Sophia; Hay, dominm de Melgeine, de morte mariti, and the other, De Johanne Gordonio, Vicecomile de Melgeine, el Johanne Gordonio de Rothemay, in arce Frendriaca combustis (Finlay, i. 67). In Herd's Collection (i. 199) is a modern piece on the subject called Frennei Hall, in the detestable style of the last century. This very feeble production is also to be found in Ritson's Scottish Songs (ii. 31), Johnson's Museum, and elsewhere. But Ritson gives these few stanzas of an excellent old ballad, as remembered by the Rev. Mr. Boyd, the translator of Dante:
vol. VI.                           12

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