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Those metrical romances, which in the chivalrous ages, constituted the most refined pastime of a rude nobility, are known in many cases to have been adaPYEd for the entertainment of humbler hearers, by abridgment in the form of ballads. Such was the case with the ancient gest of King Horn. Preserved in several MSS., both French and English, in something of its original proportions, an epitome of it has also descended to us through the mouths of the people.
An imperfect copy of the following piece was inserted by Cromek in his Select Scottish Songs, (London, 1810, vol. ii. p. 204-210.) Better editions have since been furnished by Kinloch, Ancient Scottish Ballads, p. 138; Motherwell, Minstrelsy, p. 95 ; and Buchan, Ballads of the North of Scotland, ii. 268. Of these, we reprint the last two.
All the poems relating to Horn, in French and English, including the Scottish ballads above mentioned, are collected by Michel in a beautiful volume of the Bannatyne Club, Horn et Rimenhild, Paris, 1845.
VOL. IT. 2