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ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH BALLADS. 79
As to these stanzas and lines, which give a perfect marriage of sound and meaning either in the interpretation of emotion or description, and in which the ear is the interpreter of the eye and the heart with a skill which no art could give, they are numberless, and of the very substance of the genius of the old ballad singers. There is nothing in the cultivated skill of trochee and spondee to equal such untaught perfections of the human voice as these: —
O, we were sisters, sisters seven ; We were the fairest under heaven.
And a lightsome bugle then heard he blowe, Over the bents sae browne.
It was a sad and rainy night,
As ever rained from town to town.
But 't was wind and weet and fire and sleet When we came to the castle wa.
O, he has ridden o'er field and fell
Through ruins and moss and many a mire,
He spurs a steed that was sair to ride, And frae her forefeet flew the fire.