Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 1 of 8 from 1860 edition

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THE "WIFE OF USHER'S WELL.          213
" The other three will be bold young men, «
To fight for king and countrie; The ane a duke, the second a knight,
And third a laird o' lands sae free."
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, iii. 258,
That the repose of the dead is disturbed by the im­moderate grief of those they have left behind them, is a belief which finds frequent expression in popular ballads. Obstinate sorrow rouses them from their grateful slumber; every tear that is shed for them wets their shroud; they can get no rest, and are com­pelled to revisit the world they would fain forget, to rebuke and forbid the mourning that destroys their peace.
" Ice-cold and bloody, a lead-weight of sorrow, falls on my breast each tear that you shed,"
says the ghost of Helgi in the Edda to his lamenting wife (Helgak. Hundingsb. II.) The same idea is found in the German ballad, Der Vorwirth, Erk's Liederhori, No. 46, 46 a, and in various tales, as Das Todtenhemd-chen, (K. u. H. Mdrchen, No. 109, and note), etc. In like manner Sir Aage, in a well-known Danish ballad (Grundtvig, No. 90), and the corresponding Sorgens Moot, Svenska F. V-, No. 6.