Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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" I saw Eaf Coilyear with his thrawin brow, Crabit John the Reif, and auld Cowkilbeis Sow; And how the wran cam out of Ailesay, And Piers Plowman, that meid his workmen fow: Gret Gowmacmorne, and Fin Mao Cow], and how They suld be godd is in Ireland, as they say. Thair saw I JMailland upon auld beird gray, Eobin Hude, and Gilbert with the quhite hand, How Hay of Nauchton flew in Madin land."
" It is a curious circumstance that this interesting tale, so often referred tp by ancient authors, should be now recovered in so perfect a state ; and many readers may be pleased to see the following sensible observations, made by a person born in Ettrick For­est, in the humble situation of a shepherd: ' I am sur­prised to hear that this song is suspected by some to be a modern forgery; the contrary will be best proved, by most of the old people, hereabouts, having a great part of it by heart. Many, indeed, are not aware of the manners of this country; till this present age, the poor illiterate people, in these glens, knew of no other entertainment, in the long winter nights, than repeating, and listening to, the feats of their an­cestors, recorded in songs, which I believe to be handed down, from father to son, for many genera­tions, although, no doubt, had a copy been taken, at the end of every fifty years, there must have been some difference, occasioned by the gradual change of language. I believe it is thus that many very ancient songs have been gradually modernized, to the com­mon ear; while, to the connoisseur, they present marks of their genuine antiquity.'—Letter to the Editor, from Mr. James Hogg. [June 30, 1801..] To the observations of my ingenious correspondent I