Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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of Wallace's expedition to France, there can be no doubt that the hero's exploits were at an early date celebrated in popular song. Still, the ballads which are preserved relate to only one of Wallace's adven­tures, and are of doubtful antiquity.
Burns communicated to Johnson's Museum (p. 498) a defective ballad called Gude Wallace. A better copy of this, from tradition, is here given. It is taken from Buchan's Gleanings (p. 114), and was derived by the editor from a wandering gipsy tinker. Mr. Laing has inserted in the notes to the new edition of Johnson's Museum (iv. 458*) what may perhaps be the original of both these recited ballads, though in­ferior to either. This copy appeared in a chap-book with some Jacobite ballads, about the year 1750. There are two other versions of this same story, in which Wallace's mistress is induced to betray him to the English, but repents in time to save her lover. The best of these is annexed to the present ballad. The other, which is but a fragment, is printed in Buchan's larger collection, ii. 226, Wallace and his Leman.
The principal incidents of this story are to be found in the Fifth Book of Blind Harry's Metrical Life of Wallace.
Jamieson, in Popular Ballads, ii. 166, and Cun­ningham, in The Songs of Scotland, i. 262, have taken the stanzas in Johnson's Museum as the basis of bal­lads of their own.
Wallace in the high highlans,
Neither meat nor drink got he ; Said, " Fa' me life, or fa' me death,
Now to some town I maun be."

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