Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 2 of 8 from 1860 edition

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Jjinloch's Ancient Scottish Ballads, p. 110.
Like the two which preceded it, this ballad is common to the Gothic nations. It exists in a great variety of forms. Two stanzas, recovered by Burns, were printed in Johnson's Museum, i. 337 ; two oth­ers were inserted by Jamieson, in his Illustrations, p. 319. The Border Minstrelsy furnished five stanzas, giving the story, without the bequests. Allan Cun­ningham's alteration of Scott's version, (Scottish Songs, i. 285,) has one stanza more. Kinloch procured from the North of Scotland the following complete copy.
In the Appendix, we have placed a nursery song on the same subject, still familiar in Scotland, and trans­lations of the corresponding German and Swedish bal­lads—both most remarkable cases of parallelism in popular romance.
Lord Donald, as Kinloch remarks, would seem to have been poisoned by eating toads prepared as fishes. Scott, in his introduction to Lord Randal, has quoted from an old chronicle, a fabulous account of the poison­ing of King John by means of a cup of ale, in which the venom of this reptile had been infused.