Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 1 of 8 from 1860 edition

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This ballad was communicated to Sir Walter Scott, (j\rmstrelsy, iii. 195,) by Mr. William Laidlaw, who took it down from recitation. A fragment of the same legend, recovered by Motherwell, is given in the Ap­pendix to this volume, and another version, in which the hero is not a daemon, but the ghost of an injured lover, is placed directly after the present.
The Devil (Auld Nick) here takes the place of the Merman (Nix) of the ancient ballad. See p. 198, and the same natural substitution noted in K. u. H.Marchen, 3d ed. iii. 253.
" 0 where have you been, my long, long love, This long seven years and more ? "—
" 0 I'm come to seek my former vows Ye granted me before."—
" O hold your tongue of your former vows, s For they will breed sad strife ; 0 hold your tongue of your former vows, For I am become a wife."
He turn'd him right and round about,
And the tear blinded his ee ;                          w
" I wad never hae trodden on Irish ground, If it had not been for thee.