Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 2 of 8 from 1860 edition

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THE DOUGLAS TKAGEDT.                115
kindred Hildehrand og Hilde. There have also been printed of the latter, three versions in Swedish, and of the former, three in Icelandic, two in Norse, and seven in Swedish. (Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser, ii. 308-403, 674-81.) Jamieson has translated an infe­rior copy of the Danish ballad in Illustrations of North. Antiq., p. 317.
" The ballad of The Douglas Tragedy" says Scott, " is one of the few (?) to which popular tradition has ascribed complete locality.
" The farm of Blackhouse, in Selkirkshire, is said to have been the scene of this melancholy event. There are the remains of a very ancient tower, adjacent to the farm-house, in a wild and solitary glen, upon a torrent named Douglas burn, which joins the Yarrow, after passing a craggy rock, called the Douglas craig. . . . From this ancient tower Lady Margaret is said to have been carried by her lover. Seven large stones, erected upon the neighboring heights of Blackhouse, are shown, as marking the spot where the seven breth­ren were slain ; and the Douglas burn is averred to have been the stream at which the lovers stopped to drink : so minute is tradition in ascertaining the. scene of a tragical tale, which, considering the rude state of former times, had probably foundation in some real event."
Were it not for Scott's concluding remark, and the obstinate credulity of most of the English and Scotch editors, we should hardly think it necessary to say that the locality of some of the incidents in Ribolt and Guldborg, is equally well ascertained (Grundtvig, 342, 343). " Popular tales and anecdotes of every kind," as Jamieson well remarks, "soon obtain locality wher­ever they are told; and the intelligent and attentive