Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 2 of 8 from 1860 edition

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A desperate and mortal combat ensued between Flem­ing and the murderer, in which the latter was cut to pieces. Other accounts say, that Fleming pursued his enemy to Spain, and slew him in the streets of Madrid.
" The ballad, as now published, consists of two parts. The first seems to be an address, either by Fleming or his rival, to the lady; if, indeed, it constituted any portion of the original poem. For the Editor cannot help suspecting, that these verses have been the pro­duction of a different and inferior bard, and only adapted to the original measure and tune. But this suspicion being unwarranted by any copy he has been able to procure, he does not venture to do more than intimate his own opinion. The second part, by far the most beautiful, and which is unquestionably original, forms the lament of Fleming over the grave of fair Helen.
" The ballad is here given, without alteration or im­provement, from the most accurate copy which could be recovered. The fate of Helen has not, however, remained unsung by modern bards. A lament, of great poetical merit, by the learned historian, Mr. Pinkerton, with several other poems on this subject, have been printed in various forms.1
" The grave of the lovers is yet shown in the church­yard of Kirconnell, near Springkell. Upon the tomb­stone can still be read—Hie facet Adamus Fleming ;
i For Pinkerton's elegy, see his Select Scottish Ballads, i. 109; for Mayne's, the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 86, Part ii. 64. Jamieson has enfeebled the story in Popular Ballads, i. 205, and Wordsworth's Ellen Irwin hardly deserves more praise. Ed.