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ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH BALLADS. 101
These verses, and many like them, cling to the tongues and have sunk deep into the hearts of men, and will live until the speech in which they were created has passed away. The Flower of Yarrow will always utter her melodious lament so long as there is English poetry, and the Border moss-troopers will ride with spear in hand and " splent on spauld " until the valleys of the Tweed and the Tyne are inhabited by an alien race, and the songs in which they are sung have perished like those of the Assyrian shepherds.
The collection and study of folk-song is being pursued with a vigor and a scholarly diligence which promises to leave no corner of the world unransacked, and no people, however simple and savage, neglected, and very valuable treasures of poetry have been and are being collected, which speak to the heart with the native eloquence of unsophisticated feeling and thought, and which give a more accurate knowledge of national temperament and of the stages of the development of the human intellect than any material remains or any historical records. But none have as yet been discovered, or are likely to be, which have a stronger power of original poetry, passion, and pathos, or which reveal a more vigorous and noble native genius than the ballads and songs which were produced within the limits of the little province between the Grampians and the Border,