Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 3 of 8 from 1860 edition -online book

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O our Scots nobles wer richt laith
To weet their cork-heild schoone;               a>
Bot lang owre a' the play wer playd, Thair hats they swam aboone.
0 lang, lang, may their ladies sit
Wi' thair fans into their hand, Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spence                   3s
Cum sailing to the land.
O lang, lang, may the ladies stand Wi' thair gold kerns in their hair,
Waiting for thair ain deir lords,
For they'll se thame na mair.                        *o
Have owre, have owre to Aberdour, It's fiftie fadom deip:
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence, Wi' the Scots lord3 at his feit. 41-44. " It is true that the name of Sir Patrick Spens is not mentioned in history; but I am able to state that tradi­tion has preserved it. In the little island of Papa Stronsay, one of the Orcadian group, lying over against Norway, there is a large grave or tumulus, which has been known to the in­habitants, from time immemorial, as ' The grave of Sir Pat­rick Spens.' The Scottish ballads were not early current in Orkney, a Scandinavian country; so it is very unlikely that the poem could have originated the name. The people know nothing beyond the traditional appellation of the spot, and they have no legend to tell." Aytoun, Ballads of Scotland, i. 2. — This passage is cited simply as a piece of external evi­dence to the antiquity of the legend of Sir Patrick Spens, — supposing the matter of fact to be well established, and the alleged tradition to be of long standing.