Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 2 of 8 from 1860 edition

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Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, iii. 3.
This ballad, of which more than thirty versions have been published in the Northern languages, is preserved in English in several forms, all of them more or less unsatisfactory. Of these the present copy comes nearest to the pure original, as it is found in Danish. The next best is The Brave Earl Brand and The King of Eng­land's Daughter, recently printed for the first time in Bell's Ballads of the Peasantry, and given at the end of this volume. Erlinton (vol. iii. 220) is much muti­lated, and has a perverted conclusion, but retains a faint trace of one characteristic trait of the ancient ballad, which really constitutes the turning point of the story, but which all the others lack. (See Erlin­ton.) A fragment exists in the Percy MS., of which we can only say that if it much resembled Percy's Child of Elle (which it cannot), it might without loss be left undisturbed forever. In the only remain­ing copy Robin Hood appears as the hero. (See vol. v. p. 334.) It is of slight value, but considerably less insipid than the Child of Elle. Motherwell (Minstrel­sy, p. 180) has given a few variations to Scott's ballad, but they are of no importance. — Of the corresponding Danish ballad, Ribolt og Guldborg, Grundtvig has col­lected more than twenty versions,- some of them an­cient, many obtained from recitation, and eight of the