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Presented by Lady Dorothea Ruggles- 
Brise to the National Library of Scotland, 
in memory of her brother, Major Lord 
George Stewart Murray, Black Watch, 
killed in action in France in 1914. 
28th January 1927. 













VOL. I. 

Printed by James Ballantyne fy Co. 















Preface, i.— xviii. 


Hardyknute, 1 

Sir Patrick Spens, 45 

Frennet Ha*, 59 

The Bonnie Earl o' Murray, 77 

Edom o' Gordon, 85 

Gude Wallace, 97 

Sir Cauline, 107 

Glasgerion, 137 

The Battle of Corichie, 147 

The Battle of Harlaw, 159 

Lady Mary Ann, 179 


From the enquiries into which I have been 
led in preparing these Ballads for the press, I 
have collected a few notices, respecting the ear- 
lier historical and romantic poetry of Scotland, 
which I shall give to my reader, in the hope, 
that, imperfect and desultory as they are, they 
may be regarded as contributing, in some de- 
gree, to the study of our ancient literature. 

At the earliest period of Scottish poetry with 
which we are acquainted, we find it divided in- 
to two distinct species ; the elaborate Romances 
of the minstrels, which were composed for 

vol. i. a 


kings and nobles, and the Ballads, which were 
designed for the entertainment of the lower or- 
ders of the people. 

I. The learning and ingenuity of antiquarians 
lias been exerted, with doubtful success, to in- 
vestigate the introduction of the artificial poe- 
try of the minstrels into the different languages 
of Europe ; and the history of our Scottish ro- 
mance has been usually conceived to depend 
on this yet uncompleted investigation. This 
opinion, however, has lately been opposed ; and 
the assertion of Tyrwhitt, that we possess no 
Anglo-Saxon romance which is not founded on 
a French original, has been strongly contested 
in the preface to Mr Scott's edition of " Sir 
Tristrem." This poem its learned editor con- 
ceives to have sprung up in Scotland, from the 
British traditions surviving on the Border, and 
to have been translated by the minstrels of the 
continent. As the theory which thus represents 
this country as one of the sources of romantic 


fiction to Europe, would, if established, throw 
considerable splendour on its early literature, it 
becomes a matter of some importance and cu- 
riosity to examine the grounds on which it 
rests. The argument is thus stated : " We have 
satisfactory proof, that the romance of Sir Tris- 
trem, as composed by Thomas of Erceldoune, 
was known upon the continent, and referred to 
by the French minstrels, as the most authentic 
mode of telling the story. This is fortunately 
established by two metrical Fragments of a 
French romance, preserved in the valuable li- 
brary of Mr Douce. The story told in these 
Fragments will be found to correspond most ac- 
curately with the tale of Sir Tristrem, as narrated 
by Thomas of Erceldoune, while both differ es- 
sentially from the French prose romance, after- 
wards published." {Sir Trhtrem, p. xxxix. 1 st edit.) 
Now it must be evident to every one who con- 
sults the Fragments, that the whole force of this 
argument depends on the supposition,, that both 


are by the same author; for the striking coinci- 
dence is confined to the second, and the -first 
only refers to the authority of Thomas. They 
are accordingly conceived, by Mr Scott, to be 
even parts of the same poem. * It must be ob- 
served, however, that the poem is not easily 
conceivable which should combine these two 
parts. The second has every appearance, ex- 
cept, perhaps, in the abruptness of the opening, 
of being itself a distinct and complete poem; 
for it consists of a single anecdote, detailed at 
length, from the adventures of Sir Tristrem, in- 

* " There seems room to believe, that these fragments 
were part of a poem, composed, as is believed, by Raoul 
de Beauvais, who flourished in 1257, about the same time 
with Thomas of Erceldoune, and shortly after we suppose 
the latter to have completed his grand work." — Sir Tris- 
trem, p. xl. If we may trust the evidence of style in the 
specimens given by Mr Scott of the fragments, and of the 
Perceval of Raoul de Beauvais, we can scarcely ascribe 
them to the same author. Perceval appears to belong to 
a later age, both of language and composition. Among 
other things, we find, in the first fragment, the old form li 
reiSf and in Perceval, le rot/. 

to which the whole preceding history of the lo- 
vers, in a very compressed form, is en wrought, 
with considerable happiness of artifice. I doubt 
if it would be possible to imagine any arrange- 
ments of the previous and subsequent parts of 
the story, with which this little piece, so entire 
in itself, could be connected, without a gross 
awkwardness, of which those who have read it 
will hardly suspect its author ; and, if possible, 
it would still take away all motive from that art- 
ful contexture of the poem, which, at present, 
certainly appears of high merit. But it seems 
improbable that they are both even by the same 
author. In their style, Mr Ellis has observed, 
they differ remarkably; " the first being so ver- 
bose and diffuse, as fully to justify the ridicule 
thrown on the historian of Sir Tristrem by the 
author of Sire Hain et Dame Anieuse ; while the 
second is concise, lively, and dramatic." — Sir 
Tristrem, p. £04. 1st edit. And, what may appear 
most conclusive of all, one of them places the 

court of King Mark at Tintagel, and the other 
at London.* 

It will, perhaps, be thought, that these obser- 
vations render the question sufficiently uncertain 
to allow the statement of some arguments, 
which seem to point out, as the work so often 
referred to by the minstrels of the continent, 
not the Auchinleck romance, but a French 
poem on the subject, by an Anglo-Norman Tho- 
mas, already well known at the earliest date 
to which we can refer the composition of Ry- 

They are, 1st, That the style of the Fragments 
would, were other evidence wanting, be ascribed 
to the 12th century. — Sir Tristrem, p. xliii. 

2. That the first Fragment differs so material- 
ly from the Auchinleck romance, as to make it 
difficult to believe, that both ground their rela- 

* In the Auchinleck romance, I do not find any thing 
which seems at all to determine the place of the royal resi- 


tion on the authority of the same Thomas. Un- 
fortunately the Auchinleck MS. is torn off' just 
before it reaches that passage of the history, at 
which the French poet refers expressly to his 

3. In 1250, # Godfrey of Strasburg, in his 
German romance of Sir Tristrem, refers to Tho- 
mas of Britain as his original, as appears from 
the concluding lines of the work : 

Si in einander minnenklick 

Vlechten weren und weben 

Den rosenbusch u. den winreben 

Gar bescheidenlich man sack 

Als Thomas von Brittannien sprach 

Von den zwein suezen jungen 

In lampartischer zungen 

Also han ick die warheit 

In dutsche von in zwein geseit. f 

* The date is from Eichhorn's Gesch. d. Cultur. p. 224. 
(See Leydens Comp. of Scotland? p. 257.) where the trans- 
lation is said to be from the Norman French. 

f These lines, describing the usual miracle which distin* 
guishes the graves of true lovers, appear to me somewhat 
obscure. They speak of Thomas of Britain as an author 


The earliest date which Mr Scott finds it justi- 
fiable to assign to the romance of Thomas of Er- 
celdoune is this very year, 1250; and even 
this supposes the minstrel to have completed 
his researches, and his poem, at the age of 

At the same time, the correspondence be- 
tween the Auchinleck romance and the second 
Fragment is so close, that they must be connect- 
ed ; and it seems not unreasonable to suppose, 
that the Scottish work is a translation of that 
original French poem, (corrected by Thomas of 
Erceldoune's researches,) from which the inter- 
woven narrative of the Fragment is compressed. 
It maybe added, that the absence of all reference 
to a romance original is no argument against its 

in the Lampartisch (I suppose the Lombard) tongue ; yet I 
know of no authority For applying that term to any branch 
of the Roman language, except the Italian. The extract I 
have given from the Teutsche Museum, for April 1780. I 
have no opportunity of consulting the original poem, which 
would probably throw considerable light on the whole en- 


existence ; as it was not natural that the report- 
er of Thomas's poem should refer to any autho- 
rity but that of Thomas himself. 

If the existence of this Anglo-Norman Tho- 
mas * be admitted, he may, perhaps, be identi- 
fied with the author of the French Horn Child, 
which is assigned, by Ritson, to the 12th cen- 

Of the three other extant romances to which 
Mr Scott is inclined to ascribe a Scottish ori- 
gin, two, Sir Egeir, (which is analyzed by Mr 
Ellis,) and the Awntre of Gawain, acknowledge 
their Norman source; one in the words," In Ro- 
mane stories who will read ;" and the other in 
the expression, " As the boke telles." 

Mr Scott also mentions a romance of Wade, 

* I find, that an Anglo-Norman poet of this name, a 
Thomas of Kent, wrote a romance of Alexander, in the 13th 
century; but I know no reason at present for connecting 
him with the romance of Sir Tristrem. For an account of 
his work, which he entitles the " Roman de toute Chevale- 
rie," see Notices des la Bibl. Nation, par Le Grand 
d'Aussy. An. 7. 

which he supposes to have been of northern 
growth; a supposition which seemed to rest on 
very strong ground, as Wade was a border hero, 
and no romance of his exploits was known to 
have existed in French. Yet it appears that 
even this may be doubted; for I find that 
Montfaucon, in his Bibliotheca Bibliothecamm, 
p. 792. Bib. Reg. Parisiens, has mentioned the 
" Roman de Gaides, en vers" Its being in verse 
js, of itself, a proof of its high antiquity, as the 
French romances of later times were almost uni- 
versally in prose.* 

In Major's History of Scotland, I observe the 
name of one other Scottish romance; arid it 
will appear surprising, that even this, though 
founded on late national history, is spoken of 
in connection with a French one on the same 
subject, — probably its original. " Monasterium 
de Londoris, David Huntingtonus fundavit. Iste 

* At p. 928. I also find the Roman de Gaidon, which 
means, I presume, Little Wade. 


mini est David de quo apud Gallos liber satis vul- 
garis loquitur j qui de trium regumfitiis imcribitur, 
scilicet Francia, Anglia, et Scotia, et non differen- 
tem ab hoc in nostra lingua vernacula lihrum liabe- 
mus"—P. 135. Edinb. 1740. 

II. 1. The origin of the historical ballads of 
Scotland requires no investigation ; they have 
sprung up, like the greater part of the popular 
poetry of all uncivilized nations, among the peo- 
ple themselves, as the record of their most inte- 
resting events ; and little can be collected re- 
garding them, but a few incidental notices, from 
successive historians, of those which were popu- 
lar in their time. 

The first popular songs in the country, of 
which any memory is preserved, are those com- 
posed in honour of William, brother of King 
Achaius, and one of Charlemagne's peers. — 
" This prince William" says Hume of Gods- 
croft, " brother to Achaius king of Scotland, 
passed into Germanie, and gave himselfe whol- 
ly to the warres, where, for his service bv *"' 


sword, having obtained large territories, he led 
a single life all his days ; and, thinking to make 
Christ his heire, he founded and doted fifteen 
abbacies for those of the Scottish nation. It 
is he, (saith Major,) who is named in songs 
made of him, Scottish Gilmore." — P. 5. Edin. 
1648. Major's words, indeed, seem hardly to 
admit of this construction ; they are simply, 
<( Qui a nostratibus vulgaliter Scotisgilmor vaca- 
tur" May we presume, then, that, since the 
expression " vulgaliter vocatur" when applied to 
Gilmor, appeared, to Hume's mind, equivalent 
to " is named in songs," these songs must have 
been still current in the days of the later histo- 
rian? Or can we only conclude, that, at the 
time when Major wrote, (about 1508,) he was 
still a popular hero in Scotland ? I have acci- 
dentally met with an allusion to him in an an- 
cient Latin poem, by one of the priors of Aln- 
wick, which is more decisive of his being the 
subject of song. 


Vix est muse melior Scotus Guilmaurus, 
Ad cujus victoriam nunquam crescit laurus 
Desunt nam robora, deedque thesaurus 
Bella movet citius cui desunt cornua taurus.* 

He was called the Scottish Gilmor, to distin- 
guish him from the Irish Gilmor, whose name 
occurs frequently in romance. 

I should be inclined to think, that the ballad 
of Sir Patrick Spens is the most ancient of which 
we are in possession. It contains, no doubt, al- 
lusions to a state of comparative refinement; 
but these are obviously acquired in the natural 
course of tradition. The event upon which it is 
founded, is not, to the best of my knowledge, 
recorded by any of our historians ; but the fol- 
lowing passage, quoted by Leland from an an- 
cient chronicler, although incorrect in the point 

* Prioris Alnwkensis de hello Scotico apud Dumbar tem- 
pore regis Edwardi I. dictamen sive rythnus Latinus, quo 
de Wi/lielmo Wallace, Scotico Mo Robin Whood, plura sed 
invidiose canit.—MS. Brit. Mus. 


that Margaret perished hy shipwreck, is suffi- 
ciently decisive of the fact, of a disastrous is- 
sue of a voyage undertaken for the purpose 
mentioned in the ballad. " One Master We- 
land, (qu. Cleland ?) a clerke of Scotiande, sent 
into Norway for Margaret, dyed with her by 
tempeste on the se, cumming out of Norway to 
Scotiande yn costes of Boghan." — Scala Chro- 
nica. * Of the ballad itself I have been favour- 
ed with some recited copies, one ot which con- 
tains these stanzas, which are too characteristic 
to be omitted : 

Then up an' cam a mermaid, 

Wi' a siller cup in her han': 
H Sail on, sail on, my gude Scotch lords, 

For ye sune will see dry Ian'." 

* Leland's Collectanea, I. p. 538. " iN'otable thinges, 
translated in to Englisch, by John Leyiande, oute of a 
booke caullid Scala Chronica, the which a cerrein Englisch 
man (taken in werre prisoner, and brought to Edingeburgh 
yn Scotland) did translate owte of Frenche ryme yn to 
Frenche prose." 


" Awa, awa, ye wild woman, 

An' let your fleechin be ; 
For, sen your face we've seen the day, 

Dry Ian' we'll never see." 

Of Wallace, the renowned assertor of Scot- 
tish independence, many songs were anciently 
current. ' ' Wallace, ascensd nave Franciam petiit, 
ubi quanta probitate refulsit tarn super mare a pi- 
ratis quam in Francid ab Anglis perpessus est dis- 
crimina, et mriliter se habuit, nonnulla carmina, 
tarn in ipsa Francid, quam Scotia, attestantur." — 
Forduni Scotichron. II. 176. edit. GoodalL 
See more also to the same purpose in the edit, 
of Henry, 1630. There can be little doubt that 
such songs formerly existed, although the histo- 
rical fact, for the establishment of which they 
are quoted, is sufficiently problematical. Other 
fragments, relating to Wallace's history, are 
mentioned in the introduction to the Gude 
Wallace. A recited copy of this last poem 
makes Wallace allude to Robin Hood : 


Its hold up your band, kind sir, he said, 
And let me see if your money be good; 

And if it be true and right, says he, 
Ye'll maybe get the downcome of Robinhood. 

This, if genuine, is the earliest mention of this 
celebrated outlaw, whose actions were as famous 
in Scottish as in English tradition. " Hoc in 
tempore de exheredatis et bannitis surrexit et caput 
erexit ille famosissimw sicarius Robertas Hode, et 
Litill Johanne, cum eorum compliabus, de quibus 
stolidum valgus hianter in com&diis, et in traga- 
diis, prurienter festum faciunt, et pra ceteris ro- 
manciis, mimos, et bardanos cantitare delectantur? 
— Ford. Scotichr. p. 104. The passage that 
follows is a curious proof of the extensive diffu- 
sion of traditionary lore over the two kingdoms ; 
as it relates, from Scottish tradition, an anec- 
dote of this freebooter, which forms the subject 
of an English ballad still preserved in the pub- 
lic library of Cambridge, and published by Mr 



Among the tales mentioned in the Complaynt 
of Scotland, printed originally at St Andrews 
about the year 1547> we find that of Sir Walter 
the Bauld Lesley. This epithet Lesley, the his- 
torian, translates in describing his character: 
" In hello contra Sarracenos gerendo, tarn pmcla- 
ram et extremam operant navavit, ut a quodam ani- 
mi generoso impetu, quo hostes J ranger e, et sub ju- 
gum fortiter mittere solebat, generosi equitis cog- 
nomentum sit consecutus" — Lesl-EI. Hist. p. €01. 
Lond. 1675. Verstegan, in his " Restitution of 
Decayed Intelligence," has preserved a curious 
tradition, which perhaps refers to this hero : " A 
combat being once fought in Scotland, between 
a gentleman of the family of the Lesleys, and a 
knight of Hungary, wherein the Scottish gentle- 
man was victor, in memory thereof, and of the 
place where it happened, these ensuing verses 
do in Scotland yet remain : 

Between the lesse ley and the mare, 
He slew the knight, and left him thare. 

Verst. p. 323. Lond. 1673/* 

VOL. I. : b 


The battle of Otterbume, fought in L&88, was 
celebrated in the lays of the rival nations. Of 
these some are printed, and others perhaps yet 
remain in MS. ; of which number appears to be 
one in the Bodleian Library, which is thus en- 
tered in the catalogue : " Ashm. MSS. 7003. 
ad fin. 862. p. 247. Anglorum et Scotorum pr al- 
lium in quo Percii et Douglasii decantata virtutis, 
illud specimen rythmis Anglicanis explicatum? — 
The Scottish copy of this popular song, at least 
as it is described by Hume, is probably now 
lost ; or the changes it has undergone are even 
more considerable than the nature of tradition- 
ary poetry, uncertain and fluctuating as it is, 
will easily account for. In one recited copy, 
the appearance of the English army is given 
with considerable effect : 

Then out an' spak a little wee boy, 
And he was near o' Percy's kin, 

" Methinks I see the English host 
A coming branking us upon ; 


Wi' nine waggons scaling wide, 
And seven banners bearing hign, 

It wad do any living gude, 

To see their bonny colours fly." 

The Queen's Marie. — A recited copy of this 
ballad, (in which the unfortunate heroine's name 
is Mary Moil,) contains the following variations 
from that given by Mr Scott, in the Minstrelsy 
of the Border, Vol. II. p. 18. 2d edit. The in- 
troductory stanza is : 

There lived a lord into the south, 

And he had dochters three ; 
And the youngest o' them went to the king's court, 

To learn some courtesie. 

After the seventh stanza follows, 

She row'd it in a wee wee clout, 

And flangt into the faem ; 
" Saying, sink ye soon, my bonny babe, 

I'll go a maiden hame." 

The first line of this and the preceding stanza 
is the same. The exclamation of the king ap- 
pears to follow the eighth stanza : 


* O, woe be to you, ye ill woman, 

An all death may ye die, 
Gin ye had spared the sweet baby's life, 

It might hae been an honour to thee." 

And between the eleventh and twelfth are in- 
serted these two, which add considerably to that 
expression of exulting gaiety, while she goes un- 
consciously to death, which appears in the bal- 
lad already known, and which certainly was not 
imagined by an unskilful poet : 

She wadna put on her gowns o' black, 

Nor yet wad she o' brown ; 
But she wad put on her gowns o' gowd, 

To glance through Embro' town. 
■" Come saddle not to me the black," she says, 

** Nor yet to me the brown; 
But come saddle to me the milk-white steed, 

That I may ride in renown." 

Frennet Ha 9 , — The beautiful liltle poem on 
fchis subject, printed in Vol. L, is modern, and 
the editor's attempts to recover the ancient bal- 
lad have been unsuccessful. The following in- 

formation respecting it, which he owes to at va- 
luable correspondent, is so minute and descrip- 
tive, that the old poem may be allowed to fall 
into oblivion with less regret. He begs permis- 
sion to use his correspondent's own words. — " A 
lady, a near relation of mine, lived near the 
spot, in her youth, for some time ; and remem- 
bers having heard the old song r mentioned by 
Ritson, but cannot repeat it. She says there 
was a verse which stated, that the lord and lady 
locked the door of the tower, and flung the keys 
into the draw-well ; and that, many years ago> 
when the well was cleared out, this tradition 
was corroborated by their finding the keys ; at 
least, such was the report of the country/* 

2. The history of our Romantic Ballads ad- 
mits of more doubt and enquiry. They appear 
to have been derived from various sources. 

Some, it is probable, are to be referred to 
the minstrel romances; episodes, and interest- 
ing fragments of which would find their way 


to the people, and either degenerate into bal- 
lads in their progress through a race of unlearn- 
ed reciters, or be at first translated from the 
" quaint Inglis" of the minstrels, into a language 
intelligible to the ruder audience for which they 
were intended. Of this derivation, however, 
much less evidence remains than might have 
been expected. 

We know, from various authorities, that Ar- 
thur and his Round-table chivalry were high 
favourites among the Scottish minstrels, and it 
must therefore appear singular, that neither in 
the ballads now known to exist, nor in those of 
which some memory is preserved, are there any 
traces of their popularity among the lower or- 
ders of the people. I can name, indeed, but one 
ballad, of which the origin may be ascribed, 
with any certainty, to the minstrel romance ; it 
is that called Burd Helen, the story of which 
is the same with that of the Lai le Frine, pre- 


served in English in the Auch. MS. and in the 
original Norman in the Lais of Marie** 

We might, perhaps, include in this class the 
ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, which, though 
founded on late history, has been converted in- 
to romance ; and of which the original, lately 
published by Mr Jamieson, appears, by its 
length, and something elaborate in its composi- 
tion, to have been designed for hearers of a 
higher order than those among whom its relics 
have been found. 

But with regard to the great bulk of our ro- 
mantic ballads, — which are not referred, even 
by tradition, to any historical event, which bear 

* Whence Marie derived her materials is still a dispu- 
ted point. The proofs of their Armorican origin do not 
appear to me very conclusive. Marie wrote about 1250. 
Her fourth tale is to be found in the Gesta Tlomanorum. 
Berchorius, the compiler of this work, died in 1360; and 
from the very different termination of the story in the Ges- 
ta, I think it unlikely that Berchorius took it from Marie, 
whose work, written in England and for Englishmen, was 
not probably known upon the continent at this date. The 
tales of the Gesta are thiefly of an Eastern origin. 


no traces in local or family names of an histori- 
cal origin, and which we cannot connect with 
any more ancient poetry which we know to 
have prevailed in the country, — nothing is left 
us hut an uncertain speculation, whether they 
are native poems, on events which have actual- 
ly taken place in Scotland, but of which the 
scene and the persons are forgotten ; or whe- 
ther they were borrowed, as tales, from the na- 
tions with whom we have held intercourse. 
That many are to be ascribed to the first source 
is probable ; I shall offer a few remarks on a 
theory which has lately been advanced, respect- 
ing the influence of the second on this species 
of poetiy. 

Mr Jamieson supposes, that we owe much of 
our romantic ballads to the Scalds, who attend- 
ed the camp of the Scandinavian invaders of 
Britain; and he expresses, in the following 
words, his confidence in this opinion : " Of this, 
after a careful perusal of the very extensive col- 


lection now before me, (the Kampe Viser,) I 
have not a doubt remaining ; and I am fully 
persuaded, notwithstanding the authority of Mr 
Ritson to the contrary, that many of the tradi- 
tionary ballads, still current in our country, have 
been virum volitantes per ora in the north of 
England, and in the lowlands of Scotland, ever 
since the first arrival of the Cimbrian Britons." 
— Jamieson's Ballads, II. p. 87. The evidence 
of the theory, however, as contained in the let- 
ter from which this passage is extracted, con- 
sists in this, that some Scottish ballads bear 
considerable resemblance in their story to some 
ballads in this Danish collection. 

On this theory we may observe, 1st, That 
supposing we were reduced to believe in an im- 
mediate communication of traditions between 
the two countries, we have no evidence that the 
derivation is from the Danish to the Scottish, 
rather than the reverse ; evidence especially ne- 
cessary under the pressure of the statement 


quoted in another part of the letter from the 
preface to the Kampe Viser : " Although/' says 
the editor of 1695, « the personages of this tale 
are foreigners, yet have I admitted it into this 
collection of Danish ballads, because it is old, 
and still popular among us. I have also heard 
it sung with the name of the king of Denmark. 
We have, besides, many other Danish ballads 
concerning foreigners with whom we formerly 
had intercourse." — P. 86. The historical pre- 
sumption, from the settlement of the Danes in 
Britain, that the course of the derivation was as 
Mr Jamieson supposes, seems sufficiently ba- 
lanced by the consideration, that the subsequent 
intercourse of the two nations opened a suffi- 
cient channel for the communication of a few 
ballads in either direction. The only seeming 
traces with which I am acquainted of a Scandi- 
navian origin in Scottish poetry, is in the list of 
romances and ballads in the Complaynt of Scot- 
land. Two of these, Skail Gillenderson, and the 


Three Futtit Dog of Norroway, are judged by Mr 
Leyden to be Norwegian tales, on the evidence 
of their names. This, however, is very unsatis- 
factory reasoning; and even granting his as- 
sumption, that Skail Gillenderson is a corrup- 
tion of Skald Gillenderson, it by no means fol- 
lows, that because the hero was northern, the tale 
concerning him should be of northern origin. 
Indeed, to justify our ascribing the invention of 
these to the poets of the north, it should be 
shown that they possessed some characteristic 
at least of their race ; but this cannot possibly 
now be done, as not a line of either is known 
to exist. The tale of The Wolf of the Warldis 
End, mentioned in the same list, was probably 
some wild story connected with Fenris the wolf; 
who, according to the sublime mythology of the 
Edda, is to burst his chains at the general con- 
flagration, the twilight of the gods, and to de- 
vour Odin. But this tale, as well as the others, 


lias entirely perished, and the resemblance I 
have traced may be merely fanciful. 

2. That there is no necessity (unless from fu- 
ture positive evidence) for believing in an im- 
mediate communication of tales, while the na- 
tural probability that both nations derived them 
from a third is- strengthened by the certainty 
we possess., that the minstrels of both did draw 
copiously from the Norman romance ; and it is 
a singular fact, that the tale which, being com- 
mon to the two countries, is brought forward 
by Mr Jamieson in proof of his theory, is to be 
found among the yet extant specimens of those 
very Norman romances. It is the Lai le Fr£n& 
above mentioned, 

3, That, under all the circumstances of doubt 
which appear to hang over the theory, there 
should be some presumptive evidence of the 
priority of the Danish songSo To clear it from 
all uncertainty, there should be evidence of an 
antiquity reaching to the period of the invasion 


of Britain by the Northmen. But it seems im- 
probable that this can be attempted for the col- 
lection of the Ktempe Viser. The Scandic scho- 
lars, we know, lay claim to an extravagant an- 
tiquity for their Edda, &c; and some of their 
historical songs are, perhaps, contemporary with 
the events they record * But their chief anti- 
quarian rejects with contempt the Kampe Viser 
as a work of no authority, because it is of such 
modem invention. He has made some obser- 
vations respecting the ancient manners of the 
north, and continues, * Cui assertions probanda 
non erit opus recurrere ad putidissimas et triviales 
cantilenas quas Ksempe Viser vulgo vacant, omni 
prorsus luce indignas, cum ne instar quidem antiqui- 
tatisprtz se ferant, ad cobs aniles heri ant nudius- 
iertius infdici vena composite ; cum ex purissimo 
mttiquitatis fonte ipsis artificiosissimis veterum Seal- 

* See Pontoppidan's -work Gesta et Vestig. Danorum 
extra Daniam, passim, The collection be quotes is that of 


dorum carminibus, quibus nihil sacratius, Mud ip- 
sum abundh constet." — Bartholini Antiq. Da- 
nk. Hafniae, 1(389. p. 543. I will not dissemble, 
that the antiquity of the Kcempe Viser has been 
asserted by Cleffel in his Antiquitates Germani- 
cs prcecipue Septentrionales ; in the preface to 
which he observes, " Multa (carmina) etiamper 
traditionem conservata pervenerunt et a viris doctis 
edita sunt, ut a Dn. Petro Syv, et alio quodam 
ante eum cujus nomen jam non occurrit, (sc. La- 
frenson) sed hoc in Septentrione, in Germania non 
item, ubi per innumera bella diu interierunt egre- 
gii Mi vetustatis labores, adeo ut pauca in hanc rem 
supersint." This, it will be observed, is simply 
the opinion of a foreigner ; and indeed, in ano- 
ther passage, at p. 130. in which he resumes the 
subject, it is plain, that he confouuds the popu- 
lar traditionary ballads with the Skaldic re- 
mains, preserved in the Edda and elsewhere ; 
the high antiquity of which, although very 
doubtful, I feel no inclination at present to dis- 


pute, as it is obviously another question. Clef- 
fel likewise refers to Bartholinus for proofs of 
their authenticity; but the testimony of that 
antiquary just quoted, is the only mention of 
the Kampe Vise?' I can discover in his work. 

Of variations from known copies of romantic 
ballads, and fragments of others which I have 
received, the few subjoined stanzas are all that 
appeared to me worth preserving. 

To the well-known ballad of Johnnie of Braid- 
islee, which it seems doubtful whether we should 
place among our romantic or historical poems, 
I am enabled to add one stanza, which seems, 
to me, to describe expressively the languor of 
approaching death : 

There's no a bird in a' this foreste 

Will do as meikle for me, 
As dip its wing in the wan water 

An* straik it on my e'e-bree. 

Another romantic ballad, of which unfortu- 
nately one stanza only has been preserved, is the 


more deserving of mention from its singular 
agreement with a superstition, recorded by 
Schott in his Physica Curiosa, and quoted by Mr 
Scott. * The tradition bears, that a young la- 
dy was carried away by the Fairies ; and that, 
although invisible to her friends who were in 
search of her, she was sometimes heard by them 
lamenting her destiny in a pathetic song, of 
which the stanza just mentioned runs nearly 

O, Alva hills is bonny, 

Dalycoutry hills is fair, 
But to think on the braes of Menstrie, 

It maks my heart fu' sair. 

There is another fragment still remaining, 
which appears to have belonged to a ballad of 
adventure, perhaps of real history. I am ac- 
quainted with no poem of which the lines, as 
they stand, can be supposed to have formed a 
part : 

* See .Minstrelsy, II. 188. 2d edit. 


Saddled, and briddled, 

And booted rade he ; 
Toom hame cam the saddle, • 

But never cam he. 

Down cam his auld mither, 

Greetin fu' sair ; 
And down cam his bonny wife 

Wringin her hair. 

Saddled, and briddled, 

And booted rade he ; 
Toom hame cam the saddle, 

But never cam he. 

Our regret for the loss of so large a propor- 
tion of our national poetry as has already pe- 
rished, is increased by the interest we still feel 
in some of its most mutilated remains. Yet, 
after all that has been lost, and all that is now 
secured to posterity, it is probable, that much 
is still uncollected, which is within the reach of 
preservation ; and there is a strong inducement 
to publish even such imperfect fragments as 
these, in the chance that their circulation may 
lead to further researches, and some of the en- 
tire ballads yet be recovered. It might even 


justify the publication of many indifferent bal- 
lads, and fragments of ballads, that they might 
lead to the preservation of stanzas of merit 
which belong to them, which are still floating 
in tradition, and must be lost, because there is 
nothing with which they can be connected. A 
very few years will carry into oblivion all that yet 
remains among the peasantry of our old heredi- 
tary song ; for it is almost exclusively from the 
recitation of very old people, that the lately re- 
covered pieces have been obtained. If any 
means could collect the scattered reliques of 
the legendary poetry of our ancestors, Scotland 
might yet perhaps furnish the materials of more 
than one national work, of as high interest as 
the Minstrelsy of the Border;-— a work for which 
its editor, I believe, will wish no greater eulogy, 
than the rude verse of one of our old and bar- 
barous poets : 

Non Scotus est, Christe, cui liber non placet istK 



The author of this celebrated ballad was 
Lady Wardlaw, second daughter of Sir Char- 
les Halket, of Pitferran. She was born in 
1677 ; and in 1696 was married to Sir Henry 
Wardlaw of Balmulie, or Pitrivie, in Fife- 
shire. She died about the year 1727. 

It is difficult which most to admire, the 
mind capable of producing such a poem, or 
the modesty of sending it into the world ano- 
nymously. It must be remembered, too, that 
" Hardyknute" was composed at a period 
unusually dark in the literary history of Scot- 

land, and when poetical genius, in particu- 
lar, seems to have slumbered; at least, no 
composition of those times exists, possessing, 
in a nearly equal degree, the vigour and lofty 
versification of e J Hardyknute." 

Lady Wardlaw, who seems to have wished 
to deceive the world into an opinion of the 
antiquity of the ballad, for the greater secu- 
rity, as her own poetical talents were well 
known, employed her brother-in-law, Sir John 
Bruce of Kinross, to communicate the MS. 
to Lord Binning, with the following account : 
<c In performance of my promise, I send you 
a true copy of the manuscript I found a few 
weeks ago, in an old vault at Dumfermline. 
It is written on vellum, in a fair Gothic cha- 
racter, but so much defaced by time, as you'll 
find, that the tenth part is not legible*." 

* From the words I found, &c. in this letter, Mr Pin- 
kerton supposes that Sir John himself was the author ; 
but the following circumstances will, it is believed; 


The ballad was first published in 1719, by- 
some literary gentlemen, who believed it to 
be a genuine production of antiquity. — It was 
afterwards adopted by Ramsay into the Ever- 
green ; from which edition the present one is 
taken, as being the last printed during the 
life of Lady Wardlaw, and as exhibiting the 
additions made by herself. 

put the question entirely at rest. — Dr Percy, on the au- 
thority of a gentleman of rank and learning in Scotland, 
ascribes it to Mrs Wardlaw, of the family of Pitferran, 
and aunt of Sir Peter Halket, who was killed in Ame- 
rica in 1755 ; and that when questioned on the subject, 
she in a manner acknowledged it, by adding the three 
last stanzas, which were not in the first edition. — Re~ 
liques, Vol. II. p. 96. This is perfectly correct, with the 
exception of the lady's title. The late Mr Hepburn, of 
Keith, often declared, that he was in the house with 
Lady Wardlaw when she wrote Hardyknute. To these 
strong testimonies, may also be added those of Mrs 
Wedderburn of Gosford, Lady Wardlaw's daughter, and 
of Mrs Menzies of Woodend, her sister-in-law, who were 
equally positive in their evidence. See Life of Ramsay? 
prefixed to his works, Lond. 1800, 

Mr Pinkerton, to complete the catastrophe, 
has added a second part to it in his Collec- 
tion of Heroic Ballads, and has likewise taken 
some unjustifiable liberties with the text of 
the original. — The principal variations and 
parallel passages will be found in the notes. 

The following are the historical events ce* 
lebrated in the ballad. In 1263, Haco, king 
of Norway, invaded the western isles of Scot- 
land with a powerful fleet ; and having taken 
and laid waste Kintire, and the islands of 
Bute and Arran, he anchored his fleet at the 
Cumbras, and sent a detachment up the river 
Clyde, which landing at Loch Long, drag- 
ged their boats across the isthmus at Tarbet, 
and plundered the islands in Loch-lomond, 
which were at that time well inhabited * : 

* Within this Loch are xxx ilis, weil biggit with kirkis, 
templis, and housis. — Bellenden's Boece ? Descript. of 


A storm, in the meantime, arose, and several 
of the ships which were with Haco were dri- 
ven on shore near Largs. The Scotch army 
attacked them in this situation. Haco sent 
a reinforcement on shore to their assistance, 
which brought on the battle of Largs, fought 
on the 2d of October, 1263. 

It is thus described in the Norwegian ac- 
count, published by Mr Johnstone, at Copen- 
hagen, from ancient MSS. in the library of 
the king of Denmark. 

" When the Scotch saw that the vessels 
had run aground, they assembled together, 
and, advancing against the Norwegians, at- 
tacked them with missile weapons. They, 
however, defended themselves gallantly, un- 
der cover of their ships. The Scotch made 
several attempts, at different times, but kill- 
ed few, though many were wounded. King 
Haco, as the wind was now somewhat abated, 

sent in some boats with a reinforcement, as 
is here mentioned." 

" The victorious breaker of gleaming wea- 
pons, attentive of soul, then sent his bands to 
the hard-fought field, where breast-plates rang. 
Our troops, by the slaughter of the suspicious 
foe, established our monarch's fame, . vilified by 
the dwellers of the vallies *." 

u Afterwards the sovereign himself, attend- 
ed by Thorlaug Bosi, set sail in a barge be- 
longing to the Masters of the Lights. As 
soon as the king's men approached the land, 
the Scotch retired, and the Norwegians con- 
tinued on shore all night. The Scotch, how- 
ever, during the darkness, entered the trans- 
port, and carried off as much of the lading 
as they could. On the morning, the king, 
with a numerous reinforcement, came on 

* These stanzas are from the " Ravens Song" of the 
poet Sturlas. He probably derived his information from 
his nephew, who was in the expedition. 

shore ; and he ordered the transport to be 
lightened, and towed out to the ships. 

te In a little time they descried the Scottish 
army ; and it was so numerous, that they 
supposed the king of Scotland was present. 
Ogmund Krsekidantz, with his company, was 
stationed on a hill. The Scottish van skir- 
mished with his men ; and, their main body 
coming on, the Norwegians entreated the 
king, as they were anxious for his safety, to 
row to his fleet, and to send them help. The 
king insisted on remaining on shore ; but they 
v/ouid not assent to his continuing any longer 
so exposed ; he therefore sailed out in a barge 
to his ships at the Cumbras. The following 
barons remained on land ; Lord Andrew Ni- 
colson, Ogmund Krsekidantz, Erling Alfson, 
Andrew Pott, Ronald Urka, Thorlaug Bosi, 
Paul Soor: the whole number of soldiers 
with them was eight or nine hundred. Two 
hundred men were on the rising ground with 


Ogmund, but the rest of the troops were 
posted down upon the beach. The Scot- 
tish army now advanced^ and it was conjec- 
tured to consist of near five hundred knights. 
All their horses had breast-plates ; and there 
were many Spanish steeds in complete ar- 
mour*. The Scottish king had besides a 

* We have here a splendid picture of the Scottish 
army at this period. That Spanish and other foreign 
horses were introduced so early into Scotland, may sur- 
prise some readers ; but the fact seems incontrovertible. 
Wynton gives an animated description of the Arabian 
steed and Turkish armour of Alexander I. 

Befor the lordis all, the kyng 
Gert than to the awtare bryng, 
Hys cumly sted of Araby, 
Sadelyd and brydelyd costlykly ; 
Covered wyth a fayre mantlete, 
Of pretyous and fyne velvet ; 
Wyth hys armwris of Turky, 
That Pryncys than oysyd generaly. 

During the disastrous times of the minority and death of 
Margaret of Norway, and the competition of Bruce and 

numerous army of foot soldiers, well accou- 
tred. They generally had bows and spears. 

" The Norwegians on the hill # , apprehen- 
sive of being surrounded, began to retire, in 
scattered parties, towards the sea : Andrew 
Nicolson observing this, came up to the rising- 
ground, and desired Ogmund to draw off his 
men towards the beach, but not to retreat so 
precipitately as if he fled. The Scotch at 
this time attacked them furiously with darts 
and stones ; showers of weapons were poured 
upon the Norwegians, who defended them- 
selves, and retired in good order ; but when 
they approached the sea, each one hurrying 
faster than another, those on the beach ima- 
gined they were routed ; some therefore leap- 

Baliol, it is naturally to be expected that the foreign 
breed of horses would be neglected or destroyed. We 
know that Robert the Bruce rode but a sorry charger at 
the battle of Bannockburn. 

* Probably Knock-hill. The remains of a small en- 
trenched camp are still observable on its summit. 


ed into their boats, and pushed off from land ; 
others jumped into the transport. Their com- 
panions called on them to return ; and some 
returned, though few. Andrew Pott leaped 
over two boats, and into a third, and so esca- 
ped from land ; many boats went down, and 
some men were lost ; and the rest of the Nor- 
wegians at last wheeled about towards the 

" Here, Haco of Steini, one of King Haco's 
household fell. The Norwegians were then 
driven south from the transport, and were 
headed by Andrew Nicolson, Oginund Krae- 
kidantz, Thorlaug Bosi, and Paul Soor. There 
soon began a severe contest, though very une- 
qual ; as ten Scots fought against each Nor- 
wegian. Among the Scotch, there was a 
young knight called Penis # , equally distin- 

* The death of this knight is mentioned both by Wyn- 
ton and Fordun. By the former he is called " Perys of 
Curry/' and by the latter, " Petrus de Curry Miles.* 


guished for his birth and fortune : He wore 
a helmet plated with gold, and set with pre- 
cious stones, and the rest of his armour was 
of a piece with it ; he rode gallantly up to the 
Norwegians, but no other ventured ; he gal- 
loped frequently along the Norwegian line, 
and then back to his own followers. Andrew 
Nicolson had now reached the Scottish van 5 
he encountered this illustrious knight, and 
struck at his thigh with such force, that he 
cut it off through the armour with his sword, 
which penetrated to the saddle. The Nor- 
wegians stript him of his beautiful belt. The 
hardest conflict then commenced. Many fell 
on both sides, but more of the Scotch, a£ 
Sturlas sings." 

The editor has discovered no other traces of him in his- 
tory. Curry is in the island of Arran; and its lord 
might probably be animated with such a degree of he- 
roism, from a desire of revenging the loss of his posses* 


" Where cuirasses rung, our generous youths 
formed into a circle, prostrated the illustrious 
givers of bracelets ; the birds of prey were glut- 
tonously filled with lifeless limbs. What great 
chieftain shall avenge the fate of the renowned 
wearer of the belt ?" 

" During the battle there was so great a 
tempest, that King Haco saw no possibility 
of bringing the army ashore. Ronald and 
Eilif of Naustadale, however, with some men, 
rowed to land, and greatly distinguished them- 
selves, as did those troops who had before 
gone out in their boats. 

Ronald in the end was repulsed to his ships, 
but Eilif behaved most heroically. The Nor- 
wegians now began to form themselves anew ; 
and the Scotch took possession of the rising 
ground. There were continual skirmishes 
with stones and missile weapons ; but to- 
wards the evening, the Norwegians made a 
desperate charge against the Scotch, on the 
hill, as is here recorded." 


a The champions of Nordmaera's lord saluted 
the stout harnessed barons with the rough music 
of the battle. The train of the supporter of 
thrones, courageous, and clad in steel, marched 
to the din of clashing swords." 

u At the conflict of corslets, on the blood- 
red hill, the damasked blade hewed the mail of 
hostile tribes, ere the Scot, nimble as the hound, 
would leave the field to the followers of our all- 
conquering king." 

" The Scotch then left the eminence, and 
fled, whence they could away to their moun- 
tains. The Norwegians, perceiving this, re- 
tired to their boats ; and rowing out to their 
ships, luckily escaped the storm. On the 
morning they came back in search of the bo- 
dies of those who had dropt. Among the 
dead were Haco of Steini, and Thorgisl Glop- 
pa, both belonging to King Haco's house- 
hold ; there fell also a worthy vassal called 
Karlhoved, from Drontheim, and another 
vassal called Halkel, from Fiorde; besides, 


there died three Masters of the Lights, Thor- 
atein Bat, John Ballhoved, and Halward Bu- 
niard. It was impossible for the Norwegians 
to tell how many were killed of the Scotch, 
because those who dropt were taken up and 
removed to the woods. King Haco ordered 
his dead to be carried to a church. 

" Five days after King Haco commanded 
his men to weigh anchor, and to bring his 
ships close under the Cumbras. He was soon 
joined by the squadron which had been in 
Loch Long. On the fast day following, the 
weather was good, and the king sent some 
retainers ashore, to burn the vessels which 
had been stranded. That same day the king 
sailed past Cumbra to Melansay # , where he 
lay some nights." 

This relation differs widely from that of 
the Scottish writers, who represent the battle 

* Probably Lamlasb. 


as a decisive victory, and the Norwegians de- 
feated with the loss of twenty-jive thousand 
men. The reasons for adopting this account, 
in preference to that of our own historians, 
will be found in the notes. 

The slight notices of local scenery in the 
ballad are extremely accurate, and show that 
the author must have been well acquainted 
with it. Fairly castle, the residence of Har- 
dyknute, is a single square tower, that stands 
" Hie on a nill," by the side of a mountain- 
stream, which immediately under the castle 
is precipitated over the rock into a deep 
chasm. It commands a wide view of the 
firth of Clyde, with its islands, which is bound- 
ed by the blue and alpine summits of Arran. 
The ancient family of Fairly formerly possess- 
ed it, but it has been long the property of 
the Boyles of Kelburn, ancestors of the earls 
of Glasgow. 


The field of battle is three miles to the 
north of this. It is covered with numerous 
cairns, piled over the bodies of the slain. 

" Piena di sepoltura e la campagna." 

A rude column of granite, erected to the 
memory of some fallen chief, once stood in 
the centre of the field. 




Stately stept he east the wa ,# , 

And stately stept he west ; 
Full seventy ziers he now had sene, 

With skerss sevin ziers of rest. 
He livit quhen Britons breach of faith 

Wroucht Scotland meikle wae, 
And ay his sword tauld, to their cost, 

He was their deidly fae. 

* Wa% wall, the rampart of the castle. 



Hie on a hill his castle stude, 

With halls and touris a hicht, 
And guidly chambers fair to se, 

Quhair he lodgit mony a knicht. 
His dame sae peirless anes, and fair, 

For chast and bewtie deimt, 
Nae marrow * had in all the land, 

Saif Elenor the queue. 


Full thirtein sons to him scho bare, 

All men of valour stout, 
In bluidy ficht, with sword in hand, 

Nyne lost their lives hot f doubt ; 
Four zit remain ; lang may they live 

To stand by liege and land ; 
Hie was their fame, hie was their micht, 

And hie was their command. 

* Marrow, usually mate, here equal. 
f Bot, without. 



Great luve they bare to Fairly fair, 

Their sister saft and deir, 
Her girdle shawd her middle jimp*, 

And gowden f glist her hair. 
Quhat waefou wae her bewtie bred ! 

Waefou to zung and auld ; 
Waefou, I trou, to kyth and kin, 

As story ever tauld. 


The king of Norse, in summer tyde, 

Puft up with povvir and micht, 
Landed in fair Scotland the yle, 

With mony a hardy knicht. 
The tydings to our gude Scots king 

Came as he sat at dyne, 
With noble chiefs, in braif aray, 

Drinking the blude-reid wyne. 

* Jimp, slender. 

t Gowdin glist, shone as gold. 



s< To horse, to horse, my ryal liege J 

u Zour faes stand on the strand ; 
(e Full twenty thousand glittering spears 

u The king of Norse commands. 
" Bring me my steed, Mage, dapple gray," 

Our gude King raise and cryd : 
A trustier beast in all the land, 

A Scots King never seyd *. 


" Go, little page, tell Hardyknute, 

" That lives on hill so hie, 
a To draw his sword, the dried of faes, 

" And haste and follow me." 
The little page flew swift as dart, 

Flung by his master's arm ; 
" Cum down, cum down, Lord Hardyknute, 

w And red zour King frae harm." 

* Seyd, tried. 



Then reid, reid grew his dark-brown chieks, 

Sae did his dark-brown brow ; 
His luiks grew kene, as they were wont 

In dangers great to do. 
He hes tane a horn as grene as glass. 

And gien five sounds sae shrill, 
That tries in grene wod schuke thereat, 

Sae loud rang ilka hill. 


His sons, in manly sport and glie, 

Had past that summer's morn ; 
Quhen lo doun in a grassy dale, 

They heard their fatheris horn. 
C( That horn, quod they, neir sounds in peace, 

" We haif other sport to byde ;" 
And sune they heyd them up the hill, 

And sune were at his syde. 


C( Late, late zestrene, I weind in peace 

€t To end my length'ned lyfe ; 
ct My age micht weil excuse my arm 

" Frae manly feats of stryfe : 
" But now that Norse dois proudly boast 

" Fair Scotland to inthral, 
" Its neir be said of Hardyknute, 

" He feird to ficht or fall. 


ft Robin of Rothsay bend thy bow, 

ce Thy arrows shute sae leil, 
" That mony a comely countenance 

" They've turn'd to deidly pale. 
ee Brade Thomas tak ze but your lance, 

" Ze neid nae weapons mair ; 
" Gif ze fecht wi% as ze did anes, 

" Gainst Westmoreland's ferss heir. 



" Malcom, licht of fute, as stag 

" That runs in forest \vyld_, 
" Get me my thousands thrie of men, 

" Well bred to sword and schield : 
" Bring me my horse and harnisine, 

*f My blade of mettal cleir f 
If faes kend but the hand it bare^, 

They sune had fled for feir. 


" Fareweil, my dame sae peirless gude/ ? 

And tuke hir by the hand, 
" Fairer to me in age zou seim 

" Than maids for bewtie fam'd : 
" My zoungest son sail here remain, 

" To guard these stately towirs, 
" And shut the silver bolt that keips 

" Sae fast zour painted bowirs." 



And first scho wet her comely chieks, 

And then hir boddice grene ; 
Her silken cords of twirtle twist 

Weil plett with silver schene ; 
And apron set with mony a dice 

Of neidle-wark sae rare, 
Wove by nae hand, as ze may guess, 

Saif that of Fairly fair. 


And he has ridden owre muir and moss, 

Owre hills and mony a glen, 
Quhen he came to a wounded knicht, 

Making a heavy mane : 
" Here maun I lye, here maun I dye 

" By treacheries false gyles ; 
f 1 Witless I was that eir gaif faith 

" To wicked woman's smyles." 



& Sir knicht, gin ze were in my bowir, 

" To lean on silken seat, 
<e My ladyis kyndlie care zou'd prove 

" Quha neir kend deidly hate ; 
€t Hir self wald watch ze all the day, 

" Hir maids a deid of nicht , 
a And Fairly fair zour heart wald cheir, 

'' As scho stands in zour sicht. 


f e Arise, zoung knicht, and mount zour steid, 

" Full lowns * the schynand day ; 
f c Cheis frae my menzie f quhom ze pleis, 

f< To leid ze on the way." 
With smyless hike, and visage wan, 

The wounded knicht replyd, 
u Kind chieftain, your intent pursue, 

" For here I maun abyde. 

* Lowns, or rather lownh, is calns. 
f Menzie, men. 



* To me, nae after day nor nicht, 

" Can eir be sweit or fair ; 
** But sune beneath sum draping trie, 

" Cauld deith sail end my care." 
With him nae pleiding micht prevail, 

Braif Hardyknute to gain, 
With fairest words and reason Strang, 

Straif courteously in vain. 


Syne he has gane far hynd # , attowre 

Lord Chattan's land sae wyde ; 
That lord a worthy wicht was ay, 

Quhen faes his courage seyd : 
Of Pictish race, by mother's syde : 

Quhen Picts ruld Caiedon, 
Lord Chattan claim'd the princely maid 

Quhen he saift Pictish crown. 

'* lar hynd, attowre, far beyond, over the country. 



Now with his ferss and stalwart * train 

He reicht a rysing heicht, 
Quhair braid encampit on the dale, 

Norss Menzie lay in sicht ; 
" Zonder my valziant sons, and feris f , 

" Our raging revers J wait, 
" On the unconquerit Scotish swaird § 

" To try with us thair fate. 


" Mak orisons to him that saift 

" Our sauls upon the rude || ; 
Syne braifly schaw zour veins are filld 

" With Caledonian blude." 
Then furth he drew his trusty glaive, 

Quhyle thousands all arround, 
Drawn frae their sheaths glanst in the sun, 

And loud the bougills sound. 

* Stalwart, fierce and strong. f Feris, companions. 

X Revers, spoilers, robbers. 

§ Stcaird, the grassy surface of the ground. 

II Rude, rood, cross. 



To join his king, adoun the hill 

In hast his merch he made, 
Quhyle playand pibrochs* minstralls meitf 

Afore him stately strade. 
u Thryse welcum, valziant stoup of weir, 

" Thy nation's scheild and pryde, 
a Thy king nae reason has to feir, 

u Quhen thou art be his side. 


Quhen bows were bent, and darts were thrawn, 

For thrang scarce could they flie, 
The darts clove arrows as they met, 

The arrows dart the trie. 
Lang did they rage, and fecht full ferss. 

With little skaith to man ; 
But bludy, biudy was the field 

Or that lang day was done ! 

* Pibroch, a martial air on the bagpipe. 
t Meitf proper. 



The king of Scots that sindle # bruik'd 

The war that lukit lyke play, 
Drew his braid sword, and brake his bow,. 

Sen bows seimt but delay. 
Quoth noble Rothsay, " Myne I'll keip, 

" I wate its bleid a skore." 
" Hast up my merry men/' cry'd the king, 

As he rade on before. 


The king of Norse he socht to find, 

With him to mense f the faucht ; 
But on his forehead there did licht 

A sharp unsonsie J shaft : 
As he his hand put up to find 

The wound, an arrow kene, 
O waefu chance ! there pinnd his hand 

In midst betwene his ene. 

* Sindle, seldom. 

f Mense the faucht, measure, or try the battle, 

% Unsonsie,. unlucky, 



(e Revenge ! revenge !' crjd Rothsay's heir, 

" Your mail-coat sail nocht byde 
ec The strength and sharpness of my dart," 

Then sent it through his syde. 
Another arrow weil he mark'd 

It persit his neck in twa ; 
His hands then quat the silver reins, 

He law as eard did fa. 


" Sair bleids my liege ! Sair, sair he bleids l K 

Again with micht he drew, 
And gesture dreid, his sturdy bow ; 

Fast the braid arrow flew : 
Wae to the knicht he ettled # at ; 

Lament now quene Elgreid ; 
Hie dames to wail zour darling's fall, 

His zouth, and comely meid. 

*' Ettled, aimed. 



<c Take aff, take aff his costly jupe % f 

(Of gold weil was it twyn'd, 
Knit like the fowler's net, throuch quhilk 

His steily harnes shynd.) 
" Take Norse that gift frae me, and bid 

" Him venge the blude it beirs ; 
cf Say if he face my bended bow 

" He sure nae weapon feirs." 


Proud Norse with giant body tall, 

Braid shoulder, and arms strong ; 
Cryd, " Quhair is Hardyknute sae fam'd« 

" And feird at Britain's throne ? 
a Tho' Britons tremble at his name, 

" I sune sail mak him wail, 
fi That eir my sword was made sae sharp, 

" Sae saft his coat of mail." 

* Jupe, upper garment, 



That brag, his stout heart coud na byde^ 

It lent him zouthfu micht : 
se I'm Hardyknute. This day/' he cryd, 

" To Scotland's king I hecht *, 
<c To lay thee law as horse's hufe, 

" My word I mean to keip :" 
Syne with the first strake eir he strake 

He garrd f his body bleid. 


Norse ene lyke gray gosehauk's staird wyld, 

He sicht with shame and spyte ; 
" Disgrac'd is now my far fam'd arm 

" That left thee power to stryke." 
Then gaif his head a blaw sae fell, 

It made him doun to stoup, 
As law as he to ladies usit, 

In courtly gysi to lout J. 

* Hecht, promised. 

f Garrd, caused, made; 

X Lout, bend, bow. 



Full sune he rais'd his bent body ; 

His bow he marvelld sair, 
Sen blaws till then on him but darrd 

As touch of Fairly fair. 
Norse ferliet * too as sair as he, 

To see his stately luke ; 
Sae sune as eir he strake a fae, t 

Sae sune his lyfe he tuke. 


Quhair, lyke a fyre to hether *f* set, 

Bauld Thomas did advance, 
A sturdy fae, with luke enrag'd, 

Up towards him did prance. 
He spurd his steid throw thickest ranks 

The hardy zouth to quell ; 
Quha stude unmuvit at his approach, 

His furie to repell. 

* Ferliet, wondered, 
t Hether, heath. 



" That schort brown shaft, sae meanly trimcL, 

" Lukis lyke poor Scotland's geir * ; 
" But dreidfull seims the rusty poynt !" 

And loud he leuch in jeir-f*. 
C( Aft Britains blude has dim'd its shyne, 

" This poynt cut short their vaunt ;" 
Syne pierc'd the boisteris bairded cheik, 

Nae tyme he tuke to taunt. 


Schort quhyle he in his sad ill swang ; 

His stirrip was nae stay, 
Sae feible hang his unbent knie, 

Sure taken he was fey J. 
Swith § on the harden' d clay he fell, 

Richt far was hard the thud || , 
But Thomas luikt not as he lay 

All waltering in his blude. 

* Ge'ir, wealth, property, 
f Leuch injeir, laughed in derision; 
X Fey, foredoomed to death, predestined. 
§ Swith, swift. 

|| Thud, the hollow sound occasioned by the falling of 
any heavy body. 



With cairles gesture, mind umnuvit, 

On raid he north the plain, 
His seim in thrang of fiercest stryfe, 

Quhen winner ay the same. 
Nor zit his heart dames' dimpelit cheik 

Coud meise # saft luve to bruik ; 
Till vengeful Ann returned his scorn, 

Then languid grew his luke. 


In thrawisf of death, with wallowit J cheik, 

All panting on the plain, 
The fainting corps of warriours lay, 

Neir to aryse again : 
Neir to return to native land ; 

Nae mair with blythsom sounds 
To boist the glories of the day, 

And schaw their shyning wounds. 

* Meise, mollify, mitigate, 
f Thrawis, throes, agonies, 

* Wallowit, faded. 




On Norway's coast the widowit dame 

May wash the rocks with teirs, 
May lang hike owre the schiples seis 

Befoir hir mate appeirs. 
Ceise, Emma, ceise to hope in vain, 

Thy lord lyis in the clay ; 
The valziant Scots nae revers thole $ 

To carry lyfe away. 


There on a lie, quhair stands a cross 

Set up for monument, 
Thousands full fierce, that summer's day, 

Fill'd kene waris black intent. 
Let Scots quhyle Scots praise Hardyknute, 

Let Norse the name ay dried ; 
Ay how he faucht, aft how he spaird, 

Sal latest ages reid. 

* Thole, suffer. 



Loud and chill blew the westlin wind,, 

Sair beat the heavy showir, 
Miik # grew the nicht eir Hardyknute 

Wan f neir his stately towir : 
His towir that us'd with torches bleise 

To shyne sae far at nicht 
Seim'd now as black as mourning weid : 

Nae marvel sair he sich'd. 


" Thairs nae licht in my lady's bowir, 

" Thairs nae licht in my hall ; 
" Nae blink % shynes round my Fairly fair, 

<£ Nor ward § stands on my wall. 
« Quhat bodes it ? Robert, Thomas, say/ 

Nae answer fits their dreid. 
<e Stand back my sons, I'll be zour gycle ;" 

But by they past with speid. 

* Mirk, dark. 

f Wan, got, arrived. 

% Blink, lively intermitting flashes of light. 

§ Ward, warden. 



* As fast I haif sped owre Scotland's faes"- 

There ceist his brag of weir, 
Sair schamit to mynd ocht but his dame, 

And maiden Fairly fair. 
Black feir he felt, but quhat to feir 

He wist not zit with dreid : 
Sair schuke his body, sair his limbs, 

And all the warrior fled. 




St, I. Stately stept he east the toa\ 
Var. Stately stept he east the ha'. 


St, II. Hie on a hill his castle stude, 

With halls and touris a hicht. 
On yonder hill a castle standes, 
With walles and towres bedight. 

The Child of Elk, 

lb. Saif Elenor the quene. 

J/'rn' Smf "F.mornrarrJ f-Vio rmc 

ID. daij JLienor the quene. 
Var, Saif Emergard the quene. 

Scottish Songs, Edin. 177$. 


St. V. The tydings to our gude Scots king, 
Came as he sat at dyne, 
With noble chiefs in braif array, 
Drinking the blude-red wyne. 
This stanza appears to have been imitated from two 
ancient ballads : 

The king sits in Dumfermline town, 
Drinking the blude-red wine. 

Sir Patrick Spens. 
The king but, and his nobles a', 

Sat drinking at the wine ; 
He would ha' nane but his ae daughter, 
To wait on them at dyne. 

Brown Robin. 

St. VI. Full twenty thousand glittering spears, 
The king of Norse commands. 
The ballad here agrees with Forduii. Boece slays 
twenty-four thousand out of this number, and Buchan- 
nan sixteen thousand, not venturing to follow Boece, as 
he usually does. The Norwegian narrative, given in 
the Introduction, differs widely from all of these ; but 
it is the only contemporary one that enters into the 
particulars of the expedition ; and, from the minuteness 
of the descriptions, and the accuracy of the names, it 
is evidently the production of an eye-witness himself, 
or of one who had his relation from an eye-witness. 
Goodall, the editor of the Scotichronicon, who is dis- 
posed to controvert its accuracy, as given by Torfagus, 
alleges, that this minuteness of detail was purposely 
affected with the design of giving the work an air of 


authenticity. But the materials whence Torfaeus col- 
lected his information, were not then known. Our own 
more early accounts state nothing that would lead us 
to suppose, that a battle of such decisive importance 
had taken place. These are the Chronicles of Mel- 
rose and of Man. They merely mention the failure of 
Haco's expedition. 

St. XVII. and XVIII. were not in the first edition. 

St. XVII. Full lozons the shynand day. 
Var. Bricht lows the schynand day. 


St. XVIII. To me nae after day nor nicht 
Can eir be szveit or fair. 
To me nae after days nor nichts 
Will eir be saft or kind. 

Gil Morrice. 

Id. With him nae pleiding micht prevail, 

Braif Hardyknute to gain, 
With fairest words and reason Strang, 
Straif courteously in vain. 
Var. With argument but vainly strave, 

Lang courtiously in vain. 

Dr Clerk's MS. 
Still him to win strave Hardyknute, 

Nor strave he lang in vain ; 
Short pleading eithly micht prevail 
Him to his lure to gain. 



After which, he adds the following stanza : 
I will i*eturn wi' speid to bide 

Your plaint, and mend your wae ; 
But private grudge maun neir be quelled,. 

Before our country's fae. 
Mordac thy eild may best be spaird, 

The fields of stryfe frae mang, 
Convey Sir Knicht to my abode, 

And meise his egre pang. 

St. XX. XXI. and XXII. These were not in the first, 

St. XXI. Thenfurth he drew his trusty glaive, 
Quhyle thousands all arround, 
Drawn frae their sheaths glanst in the sun. 
He spake ; and to confirm his words, outflevv 
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs 
Of mighty cherubim ; the sudden blaze 
Far round illumin'd hell — 

Milton, Paradise Lost, 

St. XXII. To join his king, adoun the hill 
In hast his merch he made, 
Quhyle playand pibrochs minstralls meit : 
Afore him stately strade. 
Far, To join his king adoun the bill, 
In haste his strides he bent, 
While minstralls play, and pibrochs line, 
Afore him stately went. 

Dr Clerk's MS, 


St. XXIII. The arrows dart the trie. 
Var. Eir faes their dint mote drie, 


St. XXXI. Norse ene lyke gray gosekauk's, staird toyld. 
The boy stared wild, like a gray goss-havvk. 
Tame Foodrage.—See Scott's Minstrelsy, V»l. IL 
p. 80, with the note on the line. 

St. XXXVI. After this, the following lines were in- 
serted in Dr Clerk's MS. : 

Now darts flew wavering throw slaw speed, 

Scarce could they reach their aim, 
Or reached, scarce blood the round point drew, 

'Twas all but shot in vain. 
Right strengthy arms for-feebled grew, 

Sair wrecked wi' that day's toils; 
E'en fierce-born minds now langed for peace, 

And cursed war's cruel broils. 

Yet still war's horn sounded to charge., 

Swords clashed, and harness rang • 
But safter sae ilk blaster blew, 

The hills and dales frae mang. 
Nae echo heard in double dints, 

Nor the lang-winding horn ; 
Nae mair she blew out braid as she 

Did e'er that summer's mora, 


These stanzas, and other variations already quoted, 
were left in the hand-writing of Dr John Clerk of 
Edinburgh, the intimate friend of Lord President For- 
bes, and were communicated by his son to Dr Percy. 
See Reliques, Vol. II. p. 94, 

*$.* The three last stanzas were added in the second 
edition, in the " Evergreen." 


Haco, king of Norway, after the battle of 
Largs, retreated with the remains of his fleet 
to Orkney, where he died. In consequence 
of the unfortunate issue of his expedition, his 
son Magnus agreed to a peace, by which the 
island of Man, and the Hebrides, were ceded 
to Scotland ; and soon after he gave his son 
Eric in marriage to Margaret, daughter of 
Alexander III. On the death of the Scottish 
monarch, in 1286, the crown descended to 
his grand-daughter Margaret, called the 


Maiden of Norway, the only child of this mar- 
riage. That princess was detained in Nor- 
way till 1290, and died at Orkney on her 
voyage to Scotland. Mr Scott, the latest edi- 
tor of this ballad, and by whose exertions great 
part of it has been recovered, supposes that 
u the unfortunate voyage of Sir Patrick Spens 
may really have taken place for the purpose 
of bringing back the Maid of Norway to her 
own kingdom ; a purpose which was probably 
defeated by the jealousy of the Norwegians, 
and the reluctance of Kins: Eric." 


The present editor, however, cannot think, 
that the Ballad, as it is, has a claim to such 
high antiquity. — Indeed, the mention of hats, 
and cork-heeled skoon, would lead us to infer, that 
some stanzas are interpolated, or that its com- 
position is of a comparatively modern date. 
The interpolation of stanzas must have been 
no uncommon occurrence,, when a poem was 


neither printed, nor even committed to wri- 
ting ; and a reciter may be easily supposed to 
introduce the costume of his own age, on 
purpose to render the work more interesting 
to his audience. Were we to suppose, how- 
ever, that the event related to the reign of 
James III., it would bring it a step nearer 
probability. That monarch married Mar- 
garet, the King's daughter of Norrowaij ; and, 
although the kingdom of Norway had previ- 
ously been united with that of Denmark, yet 
the writers and natives of this country, from 
their old habits and prejudices, still conti- 
nued to distinguish the sovereign of both 
countries by the more ancient, and, as they 
thought, more appropriate title of King of 
Norway. Lindsey of Pitscottie says, that 
James " being of the age of twenty years, 
taketh to wife Margaret, the King of Norro- 
way's daughter, {otherwise the King of Den- 


mark) and got with her in tocher good, the 
lands of Orkney and Shetland, with all right, 
and title of right, to them pertaining, to the 
King of Norroway at that time." 


The king sits in Dunfermline toun, 
Drinking the blude-red wine ; — 

" O whare will I get a skeely skipper *, 
" To sail this ship of mkie^ 

O up and spak an eldern knicht, 
Sat at the king's right knee, 

" Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor 
" That ever sail'd the sea." 

Our king has written a braid letter, 

And sign'd it wi' his hand, 
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens, 

Was walking on the strand. 

* Skeely skipper, skilful mariner. 


se To Noroway, to Noroway, 

" To Noroway o'er the faem ; 
" The king's daughter o' Noroway, 

" Its thou maun bring her hame/ 5 

The first word that Sir Patrick read, 

Sae loud loud laughed he ; 
The neist word that Sir Patrick read, 

The tear blinded his e'e. 

a O wha is this has done this deed, 

" And tauld the king o' me, 
" To send us out at this time o' the year 

" To sail upon the sea ? 

** Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet, 
" Our ship maun sail the faem ; 

fC The king's daughter o' Noroway, 
" Its we maun fetch her hame." 

They hoysed their sails on Monenday morn, 

Wi' a' the speed they may ; 
They hae landed in Noroway 

Upon a Wodensday. 


They hadna been a week, a week 

In Noroway but twae, 
When that the lords o' Noroway 

Began aloud to say, 

" Ye Scottishmen spend a' our king's goud, 

<c And a' our queenis fee !" 
" Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud ! 

" Fu' loud I hear ye lie. 

" For I brought as much white monie, 

" As gane # my men and me, 
" And I brought a half fouf o' gude red goud 

" Out o'er the sea wi' me. 

" Make ready, make ready, my merrymen a', 
" Our gude ship sails the morn ;" 

" O say na sae, my master dear, 
" For I fear a deadly storm. 

" Late late yestreen I saw the new moon, 
<c Wi' the auld moon in her arm, 

<s And I fear, I fear, my master dear, 
" That we will come to harm." 

* Gane, suffice. 

f Halffou', the eighth part of a peck. 

They haclna sailed a league, a league, 

A league but barely three, 
Whan the lift* grew dark, and the wind blew loud, 

And gurlyf grew the sea. 

The ankers brak, and the top-masts lap, J 

It was sic a deadly storm, 
And the waves cam' o'er the broken ship, 

Till a' her sides were torn. 

" O whare will I get a gude sailor 

" To tak my helm in hand, 
<e Till I get up to the tall top-mast r 

" To see if I can spy land ?" 

{( O here am I, a sailor gude, 

" To tak the helm in hand, 
" Till you go up to the tall top-mast, 

" But I fear you'll ne'er spy land." 

He hadna gane a step, a step, 

A step but barely ane, 
When a bout flew out of our goodly ship, 

And the salt sea it cam in. 

* Lift, sky. f Gwrly, boisterous, \ Lap, sprang. 


* Gae fetch a web o* the silken claith, 

11 Another o' the twine, 
" And wap them into our gude ship's side, 

" And let na the sea come in." 

They fetched a web o' the silken claith, 

Another o' the twine, 
And they wapped them round that gude ship's side, 

But still the sea cam in. 

O laith, laith were our gude Scots lords, 

To weet their cork-heeled shoon, 
But lang or a' the play was played, 

They wat their hats aboon. 

And mony was the feather bed, 

That flattered on the faem ; 
And mony was the gude lord's son, 

That never mair cam hame. 

The ladyes wrang their fingers white, 

The maidens tore their hair, 
A* for the sake o' their true loves, 

For them they'll see na mair. 


O lang, lang may the ladyes sit, 
Wi' their fans into their hand, 

Before they see Sir Patrick Spens 
Come sailing to the strand ! 

And lang lang may the maidens sit, 
Wi* their goud kaims in their hair, 

A' waiting for their ain dear loves ! 
For them they'll see na mair. 

Half ou'r, half ou'r to Aherdour, 

Its fifty fathom deep, 
And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens, 

Wi* the Scots lords at his feet. 




[Mr Scott's edition of the ballad is followed almost 
without variation, as it is by far the most correct and 

Make ready, make ready, my merry men a* t 
Our gude ship sails the morn/ 9 — P. 51. 1. IS. 

This abrupt departure of Sir Patrick Spens was by 
no means unprecedented. 

"1261. In the summer there came from Scotland, in 
the west, an archdeacon, and a knight called Missel, 
as envoys from Alexander, king of Scotland. They 
showed more fair language than truth, as seemed to 
King Haco. They set out so abruptly on their return, 
that none wist till they were under sail. The king dis- 


patched Brini of Johnson in pursuit, and he detained 
them with him. The king declared that they should 
remain that winter in Norway, because they had gone 
away without taking leave, contrary to what other en- 
voys did." — Hack's Expedition. 

It is to be regretted, that the king of Norway did not 
exercise the same wholesome severity in the instance 
of Sir Patrick Spens. 

Late late yestreen I saw the new moon, 

Wi' the auld moon in her arm" — P. 51, 1. 17. 

" Anno Domini M.C.D.XXV. undecimo die Octo- 
bris, tam validus ventus subito est exortus, ut a mag- 
nis retroactis temporibus non recolunt homines consi- 
milem audivisse. Cujus violentia naves et batellre un- 
dique quassatse perierunt. Similiter et coram Leth, na- 
vis immanissima Lumbardorum quae le Crake vocatur, 
fracta est ipsa eadem hora mutationis nova? lunse unde 
tota ilia luna, sive mensis erat valde periculosa et ven- 
tosa, nunc ventus nunc pluvia, nunc subito aura levis, 
et subito in ventum agitata." — Forduni Scotichron : 

The Cupar MS. of Fordun says, " nunquam duabus 
horis in eodem statu permansit." — (mensis) 

When a bout flew out of our goodly ship. — P. 52. 1. 19. 

Mr Scott supposes that a plank had started ; but the 
more particular meaning seems to be, that a bar, or 
bolt (Scotice bout) had loosened. 

"Igitur Godredus subjugavit sibi Dubliniam et mag^ 


nam partem de Laynester— Scotos vero ita perdomuit 
ut nullus qui fabricaret navem vel scapham, ausus esset 
plusquam tres clavos inserere. — Chron, Mannia" p. 8. 
These clavi seem to be iron bolts for fastening the 
principal parts of vessels. 

And mony teas the feather bed, 
That flattered on thefaem.—P. 53. 1. 13. 
This mention of feather-beds, is, perhaps, rather 
premature ; at least we find, from Froissart, that, even 
in the reign of David II., the French ambassadors, who 
had been sent to excite the nation to a war with Eng- 
land, complained grievously of their bad accommoda- 
tion at Edinburgh, and, in particular, of the want of 
soft beds. 

Half ou'r, half 'ou'r to Aberdour. — P. 54. 1. 9. 
There are many variations of this line, but the 
rhyme seems to justify the present reading. — Bishop 
Percy has a note on " Aberdour" which, were it cor- 
rect, would be a great corroboration. He explains 
it, " a village lying upon the river Forth, the en- 
trance to which is sometimes denominated, De mor- 
tuo mari ;" that is, from its dangerous navigation. 
But the truth is, that De mortuo mari is only the de- 
signation of a family (Mortimer), who were lords of 
Aberdour. The bishop may have been led into the 
error, from looking over, cursorily, the Register of the 
Abbey of Inchcohn, which bears, Alanus de Mortuo 


Mart, Miles, Dominus de Aberdaur, dedit amnes et 
iotas demidietates Terrarum Villa sua, de Aberdaur, 
Deo et monachis de Insula Sancti Columbi" &c. 

The Mortimers, I believe, received their name from 
the Dead Sea in Palestine, during the times of the Cru- 


e< Upon the first of January, 1630, the laird 
of Frendraught, and his complices, fell in a 
trouble with William Gordon of Rothemay, 
and his complices, where the said William 
was unhappily slain, being a gallant gentle- 
man ; and on Frendraught's side was slain 
George Gordon, brother to James Gordon of 
Lesmoir, and divers others were hurt on both 
sides. The marquis, and some well-set friends, 
settled this feud ; and Frendraught ordained 
to pay to the lady relict of Rothemay, and 
the bairns, fifty thousand merks, in compost 


tion of the slaughter; whilk, as was saicl_, 
was truly paid. 

« Upon the 27th of September, 1630, the 
laird of Frendraught having in his company 
Robert Crightoun of Candlau, and James 
Lesly, son to John Lesly of Pitcaple, with 
some other servants, the said Robert, after 
some speeches, shoots the said James Lesly 
through the arm. They were parted ; and 
he conveyed to Pitcaple, and the other, 
Frendraught, shot out of his company. 

" Likeas Frendraught, upon the fifth of Oc- 
tober, held conference with the Earl of Mur- 
ray, in Elgin ; and, upon the morn, he came 
to the bog of Gight, where the Marquis 
made him welcome. Pitcaple loups on about 
30 horse, in jack and spear, (hearing of Fren- 
draught's being in the bog) upon Thursday 
the 7th of October, and came to the Mar- 
quis, who, before his coming, had discreet- 
ly directed Frendraught to confer with his 


lady. Pitcaple heavily complains of the hurt 
his son had got in Frendraught's company^ 
and rashly avowed to be avenged before he 
went home. The Marquis alleged Fren- 
draught had done no wrong, and dissuaded 
him from any trouble. Pitcaple, displeased 
with the Marquis, suddenly went to horse, 
and that same day rides his own ways, lea- 
ving Frendraught behind him in the bog, to 
whom the Marquis revealed what conference 
was betwixt him and Pitcaple ; and held him 
all that night, and would not let him go. 
Upon the morn, being Friday, and a night 
of October, the Marquis caused Frendraught 
to breakfast lovingly and kindly ; after break- 
fast, the Marquis directs his dear son, Vis- 
count of Aboyn, with some servants, to con- 
voy Frendraught home to his own house, if 
Pitcaple was laid for him by the way; John 
Gordon, eldest son to the late slain Rothe- 
may, happened to be in the bog, who would 


also go with Aboyn ; they ride without inter- 
ruption to the place of Frendraught, or sight 
of Pitcaple by the way. Aboyn took his leave 
of the laird, but upon no condition he and 
his lady would not suffer him to go, nor none 
that was with hirn, that night, but earnestly 
urged him, (though against his will) to bide. 
They were well entertained, supped merrily, 
and went to bed joyfully. The Viscount was 
laid in an bed in the Old Tower going off the 
hall, and standing upon a vault wherein there 
was an round hole, devysed of old, just under 
Aboyn's bed. Robert Gordon, born in Su- 
therland> his servitor, and English Will, his 
page, were both laid beside him in the same 
chamber ; the laird of Rothemay, with some 
servants beside him, was laid in an upper 
chamber, just above Aboyn's chamber; and, 
in another room above that chamber, was 
laid George Chalmers of Noth, and George 
Gordon, another of the Viscount's servants ; 


with them also was laid Captain Rollock^ 
then in Frendraught's own company. Thus, 
all heing at rest, about midnight, that dolo- 
rous tower took fire in so sudden and furious 
a manner, yea, and in an clap, that the no- 
ble Viscount, the Laird of Rothemay, En- 
glish Will, Colonel Jvat, another of Aboyn's 
servants, and other two, being six in num- 
ber, were cruelly burnt, and tormented to 
the death, without help or relief. The laird 
of Frendraught, his lady, and haill house- 
hold, looking on, without moving, or striving 
to deliver them from the fury of this fearful 
fire, as was reported. Robert Gordon, called 
Sutherland, Robert being in the Viscount's 
chamber, escaped this fire with the life. 
George Chalmers, and Captain Rollock, be- 
ing in the third room, escaped also this fire ; 
and, as was said, Aboyn might have saved him- 
self also, if he would have gone out of doors, 
which he would not do, but suddenly ran up 


stairs to Rothemay's chamber, and wakened 
him to rise ; ami, as he is wakening him, the 
timber passage and lofting of the chamber 
hastily takes fire, so that none of them could 
win down stairs again ; so they turned to a 
window looking to the close, where they pi- 
teously cryed, many time, help! help! for 
God's cause ! The laird and the lady, with 
their servants, all seeing and hearing the 
woeful crying, made no help, nor manner of 
helping ; which they perceiving, cried often- 
times mercy at God's hands for their sins, 
syne clasped in others arms, and chearfully 
suffered their martyrdom. Thus died this 
noble Viscount, of singular expectation, Ro- 
themay, a brave youth, and the rest, by this 
doleful fire, never enough to be deplored, to 
the great grief and sorrow of their kin, pa- 
rents, and haill common people, especially 
to the noble Marquis, who, for his good-will, 
got this reward. No man can express the 


dolour of him and his lady, nor yet the grief 
of the Viscount's own dear lady, when it 
came to her ears, which she kept to her 
dying day ; disdaining after the company of 
man in her lifetime, following the love of the 
turtle dove. 

" How soon the Marquis gets word, he di- 
rects some friends to take up their ashes and 
burnt bones, which they could get, and as 
they could be kent, to put ilk one's ashes and 
bones in an chest, being six chests in the 
haill, which, with great sorrow and care, was 
had to the kirk of Garntullie, and there bu- 
ried. In the mean time, the Marquis writes 
to the Lord Gordon, then dwelling in Inver- 
ness, of the accident. It is reported, that 
upon the morn after this woeful fire, the 
Lady Frendraught, daughter to the earl of 
Sutherland, and near cousin to the Marquis, 
busked in a white plaid, and riding on a small 



naig, having a boy leading her horse, with- 
out any more in her company ; in this pitiful 
manner she came weeping and mourning to 
the Bog, desiring entry to speak with my 
Lord, but this was refused ; so she returned 
back to her own house the same gate she 
came, comfortless." — Spalding. 

Such is a contemporary account, of the me- 
lancholy catastrophe, on which the following 
ballad is founded. It has never been satis- 
factorily proven, that the fire was intention- 
ally raised ; but circumstances would lead us 
to infer, that it was not wholly without the 
connivance of Frendraught. If there is in- 
deed any confidence to be put in general feel- 
ing or report, little doubt can be entertained 
of his guilt. Two of his servants, John Mel- 
drum and John Toasch, suspected of being 
" art and part," (aiding and abetting) were 
brought to trial ; Meldrum denied every part 
of the charge; but, on cross examination, 


being found to vary slightly from his former 
deposition, he was sentenced to die, and was 
accordingly executed. Toasch was put to the 
torture ; but confessed nothing at the time : 
he, however, afterwards revealed to Huntlv 
what he knew concerning the fire, for which 
the Marquis is said to have paid him hand- 
somely ; although it does not appear that his 
evidence was ever after made use of. 

The ballad may be farther illustrated by 
two poems of Arthur Johnston, written in 
Latin, and, it would appear, about the aera of 
the event. The one is in elegiac verse, and 
entitled, " Querela Sophia? Hay; dominas 
de Melgeine, de morte Mariti." The other 
is in heroic measure, and bears, " De Johanne 
Gordonio, Vicecomite de Melgeine, et Jo- 
hanne Gordonio de Rothemay in arce Fren- 
driaca combustis*." They are full of the 

* DeUcice Poetarum Scotorum, Amst. 1637, Vol. I. p. 587. 


exotic and classical allusions which disgrace 
the poetry of the learned men of that period^ 
and to which the contemporary ballads and 
songs form such a contrast. The lines that 
follow are circumstantial, and contain an art- 
ful insinuation: 

Saxea turris erat, murorum saxea moles, 
Sub pede juncta rudi frigida saxa manu, 

Saxeus hie tenui constratus robore fornix, 
Dicitur ilignum sustinuisse thorum, 

Cernere erat gelido positam sub fornice cellam, 
Antraque nescio quo pervia facta dolo. 

A little after, there is a curious circum 
stance mentioned, which has escaped Spal 
ding, minute as he is : 

Flamma ubi sopita est ustos excepit equile, 
Thracis inhuman! quale fuisse ferunt. 

In the other poem, he descants likewise on 
this subject : 

Vilibus illati stabulis, jacuere jugales 
Inter equos, &c. 


Johnston resided at Aberdeen, and was 
consequently not far from Frendraught Cas- 
tle. From his warmth, he appears to have 
been well acquainted with the victims, and 
to have seen the bodies after the conflagra- 
tion — 


Corporis unius memini pars ossa fuerunt 

Pars cinis immundus, tostum pars igne cadaver. 

The reader may not, perhaps, be displea- 
sed with the following specimen of John- 
ston's manner ; as he is scarcely known but 
by his translation of the Psalms, and as the 
collection from which the extract is taken is 
now remarkably scarce : 

Illustres juvenes, procerura genus alter, avito 
Alter Hyperboreos attingens sanguine reges, 
Sic pereunt, stratique jacent florentibus annis. 
Ah prius hoc procerum par inclarescere mundo 
Debuerat, patriamque novis implere trophreis, 
Seu domito, quern tota hominum gens odit, Ibero, 
Sive triumphatis aquilis, Rhenoque bicorni, 


GordoniaB quern gentis honos, Huntleius hsere* 
Tmperio nunc Celta tuo, circumsonat armis 
Vndique Grampiacis, et sanguine miscet herili, 
Debuerat fratri comitem se jungere frater, 
Cognatusque latus cognati cingere, pugnas 
Inter, et anna ducum, majoraque fulmina belli. 
Sed decus hoc nostris invidit Tartarus oris, 
Tartarea vel gente satus; nam criminis hujus 
Horruit aspectu tellus, et pontus, et aether. 
iEmula majorum soboles, quas nescia vinci, 
Nescia terreri frameas spernebat, et enses, 
Fraude perit, tectisque dolis, nee cernitur hostis. 
O saeclum, o mores ! fuit olim gloria gentis 
Grampigenag nescire dolos, sed viribus uti, 
Et conferre manus, campisque patentibus armis 
Cernere fulmineis, et sternere cominus hostem. 
Sic domiti Pictique truces, Cimbrique feroces, 
Sic Tibris et dominae repressa potentia Romae est r 
Nee secus armorum princeps et gloria Vallas, 
Quique Caledonias rexit faeliciter oras 
Brussius, Hayorum comitatus principe, vastos 
De sibi vicina pepererunt gente triumphos. 
Heu, nunc orba viris, et plusquam degener aetas^ 
Rem gerit insidiis, Martis pro cuspide sica est, 
Toxica pro telis, et clandestinus ubique 
Pro jaculis, Bellona, tuis, heu, spargitur ignis; 
Authorem nee scire datur ; secretior ille est, 
Quam pelagi fontes aut incunabula Nili. — P. 589 


When Frennet castle's ivied walls 
Thro* yallow leaves were seen ; 

When birds forsook the sapless houghs, 
And bees the faded green ; 

Then Lady Frennet, vengeful dame, 

Did wander frae the ha*, 
To the wild forests dewie gloom *, 

Among the leaves that fa\ 

* " Dezoie gloom," This should perhaps be dowie, 
i. e. melancholy. 


Her page, the swiftest of her train, 

Had clmnb a lofty tree, 
Whose branches to the angry blast, 

Were soughing # mournfullie. 

He turn'd his e'en towards the path, 

That near the castle lay, 
Where good Lord John, and Rothemay, 

Were riding down the brae. 

Swift darts the eagle from the sky, 

When prey beneath is seen, 
As quickly he forgot his hold, 

And perch' d upon the green. 

" O hie thee, hie thee, lady gay, 
" Frae this dark wood awa, 

i( Some visitors, of gallant mein, 
" Are hasting to the ha\" 

Then round she row'd her silken plaid^ 

Her feet she did na spare, 
Until she left the forest skirts, 

A lang bow-shot and mair. 

* Soughing, making a long deep sound. 


a O where, O where, my good Lord John. 

" O tell me where you ride ; 
u Within my castle wall this night 

" I hope you mean to bide. 

i( Kind nobles, will }^e but alight, 

" In yonder bower to stay ; 
a Saft ease shall teach you to forget 

*" The hardness of the way." 

" Forbear entreaty, gentle dame ; 

<c How can we here remain ? 
ft Full well you ken your husband dear 

" Was by our father slain. 

Si The thoughts of which, with fell revenge, 

" Your angry bosom swell ; 
Ci Enrag'd, you've sworn that blood for blood 

" Should this black passion quell." 

<c O fear not, fear not, good Lord John, 

<€ That I will you betray, 
" Or sue requital for a debt, 

a Which nature cannot pay. 


" Bear witness, a' ye powers on high, 
" Ye lights,, that 'gin to shine, 

a This night shall prove the sacred cord, 
" That knits your faith and mine." 

The lady slee, with honeyed words, 

Entic'd thir youths to stay ; 
But morning sun nere shone upon 

Lord John nor Rothemav. 




" The present ballad appears to have been suggested 
by one composed at the time ; a few stanzas of which 
are fortunately remembered by the reverend Mr Boyd, 
translator of Dante, and were obligingly communica- 
ted to the editor by his very ingenious and valuable 
friend, J. C. Walker, Esq." 

The reek it rose, and the flame it flew, 

And oh ! the fire augmented high, 
Until it came to Lord John's chamber window, 

And to the bed where Lord John lay. 

a O help me, help me, Lady Frennet, 

" I never ettled * harm to thee; 
" And if my father slew thy lord, 

" Forget the deed, and rescue me," 

* Ettled, intended. 


He looked east, he looked west, 

To see if any help was nigh; 
At length his little page he saw, 

Who to his lord aloud did cry, 

" Loup down, loup down, my master dear ; 

" What tho' the window's dreigh* and hie, 
" I'll catch you in my arms tua, 

" And never a foot from you I'll flee." 
" How can I loup, you little page ? 

" How can I leave this window hie ? 
" Do you not see the blazing lowf, 

" And my twa legs burnt to my knee ?" 

" There are some intermediate particulars (Mr Boyd 
says) respecting the lady's lodging her victims in a tur- 
ret, or flanker, which did not communicate with the 
castle. This (adds he) I only have from tradition, as 
I never heard any other stanzas besides the foregoing." 


* Dreigh, far from the ground, hazardous. 
f Low, flame. 


" Upon the 7th of February, (1591) the Earl 
of Huntly, with his friends, to the number of 
five or six score horse, passed from his ma- 
jesty's said house (the Abbey of Holy-rood) in 
Edinburgh, as intending to pass to a horse- 
race in Leith ; but after they came there, 
having another purpose in their head, they 
passed forward to the Queen's-ferry, where 
they had caused stop the passing of all boats 
over the water. When they came on the 
other side of the Ferry, they passed directly 


to the place of Dinnibristle, beside Aberdour^ 
pertaining to James Earl of Murray : This 
was his mother's dwelling-house, and he in- 
tended to have stay'd there, in hopes of be- 
ing received into his Majesty's favour, and so 
of being reconciled to the chancellor, intend- 
ing to have gone over for that purpose the 
very next day. But so it happened, in the 
mean time, that the Earl of Huntly raised 
fire, and burnt the house of Dinnibristle, and 
most unworthily slew and murdered the Earl 
of Murray, who was the tallest and lustiest 
young nobleman within the kingdom, to the 
great regret of all people. With him also 
they slew the Sheriff of Murray, Dumbar, 
and hurt three or four others of his servants : 
Th; y took some of the servants likewise, and 
returned peaceably back to the town of In- 
verkeithing, where they remained all that 
night ; and, in the mean time, the Earl sent 
the Goodman of Buckie, Gordon, to Edin- 


burgh, to tell the news ; but he departed 
without good-night, and being sought at his 
lodgings next day, by the Duke of Lennox, 
the Earl of Marr, the Lord Ochiltree, and 
their servants, he narrowly escaped, and re- 
turned again to his master, the Earl of Hunt- 
ly, at Inverkeithing ; who being at dinner, 
immediately on Buckie's arrival rose there- 
from, and slipt away in haste, not even pay- 
ing his reckoning." — Moyses' Memoirs, p. 182. 
The attempt of the Earl of Bothwell to 
seize the person of James VI., was the pri- 
mary cause of this tragedy. Upon its failure, 
Huntly got a commission from the king to 
pursue Bothwell and his followers with fire 
and sword ; and it was under cover of this 
commission, that he revenged a private quar- 
rel he had against Murray, who was a rela- 
tion of Bothwell's. — Percy. The bishop is, 
however, wrong in countenancing the report, 
that James aided and abetted the murderers; 


for, a upon the 10th of the said month, pro- 
clamation was made, charging all noblemen, 
barons, and others, within a great number 
of shires, to rise in arms, with twenty days 
provisions, in order to pass forward with his 
majesty, for pursuit both of the Earl of Hunt- 
\y, and of the committers of the late treason- 
able enterprise, upon the palace of Holy-rood- 
house."— Moym, ut sup. 


Ye High-lands, and ye Law-lands, 
Oh ! quhair hae ye heen ? 

They hae slaine the Earl of Murray, 
And hae lain him on the green. 

Now wae be to thee, Huntley ! 

And quhairfore did you sae, 
I bade you bring him wi' you, 

But forbade you him to slay ? 

He was a braw gallant, 

And he rid at the ring, 
And the bonny Earl of Murray, 

Oh ! he might hae been a king. 

He was a braw gallant, 
And he play'd at the ba' ; 

And the bonny Earl of Murray 
Was the flower among them a'. 

He was a braw gallant, 

And he play'd at the gluve ; 

And the bonny Earl of Murray, 
Oh ! he was the Queenes luve. 

Oh ! lang will his lady 

Luke owre the castle Downe, 
Ere she see the Earl of Murray 

Cum sounding throw the towne, 




And he rid at the ring. — St. III. p. 81. 
That is, bore away the ring on his lance at tilting ; 
a feat of surpassing address. Although " chivalry was 
no more" at this period, in Scotland, its usages were 
recollected, and its language common. 

And he play'd at the gluve. — St. V. p. 82. 
Playing at the glove seems to have been anciently 
a kind of game. Mr Pennant, in his " Tour through 
Scotland," has strangely perplexed the meaning of the 
passage, by explaining gluve, glaive, a sword. 


Look owre the castle Downe. — St. VI. p. 82. 

I had conjectured this to be the true reading, before 
I was aware that a friend of Mr Pinkerton had antici- 
pated me. It has always, before the present edition, 
been printed, " Look owr the castle downe/' which 
is hardly sense. 

The castle of Downe gives the title of viscount to 
the eldest son of the Earl of Murray. 


Lord Hailes, well known for many valua- 
ble publications on the subject of Scottish 
literature, first published this ballad in 1755,, 
as he obtained it from the recitation of a lady. 
The subject, as given by Bishop Percy, from 
Spotswood's History of the Church of Scot* 
land, is as follows: " Anno 1571. In the 
north parts of Scotland, Adam Gordon (who 
was deputy for his brother, the Earl of Hunt- 
ly) did keep a great stir ; and, under colour 
of the queen's authority, committed divers 
oppressions, especially upon the Forbesesj 


having killed Arthur Forbes, brother to the 
Lord Forbes. — Not long after he sent to sum- 
mon the house of Tavoy (Towie), pertaining 
to Alexander Forbes. The lady refusing to 
yield without direction from her husband, 
he put fire unto it, and burnt her therein, 
with children and servants, being twenty- 
seven persons in all. This inhuman and bar- 
barous cruelty made his name odious, and 
stained all his former doings ; otherwise, he 
was held very active and fortunate in his en- 
terprizes." Crawfurd, in his Memoirs, p. 213, 
makes the number of persons burnt amount 
to thirty-seven. Simson, who writes Short 
Annals of the Church of Scotland, also briefly 
mentions the event. <( Hoc anno Forbosii et 
Gordonii manus consererunt magnis copiis undi- 
que convocatis apud Crabsteane Abredonice loco 
vicino, ubi Forbesii non sine magna strage puhi 
ceciderimt. Ubi etiam Arthurus Forbosius ce- 
cidit. Eodemque anno Joanna Forbosia Tow* 


tnsis Comarchi uxor, uterum gerens, cum totii 
familia Jlammis commissa Capitano Carro Gor- 
doniorwn ministro" — MS. Coll. Glasg. 

This Captain Car, or Ker, was a famous of* 
ficer in his time, and had been trained in the 
wars in Flanders. Previous to the battle of 
Glenlivet, he was selected by Huntly to watch 
the motions of Argyle's army. Gordon in- 
forms us, that the Forbeses were afterwards 
foiled in an attempt to assassinate Adam 
Gordon in the streets of Paris : " Forbes, 
and these desperate fellows, lay in wait in 
the street through which he was to return 
to his lodgings, from the palace of the 
archbishop of Glasgow, then ambassador in 
France. They discharged their pistols upon 
Auchindown as he past by them, and wound- 
ed him in the thigh. His servants pursued, 
but could not catch them 5 they only founds 
by good chance, Forbes's hat, in which was 
a paper with the name of the place where 


they were to meet. John Gordon, lord of 
Glenluce, and Longormes, son to Alexander 
Gordon, bishop of Galloway, above-mention- 
ed, lord of the bed-chamber to the king of 
France, getting instantly notice of this, . im- 
mediately acquainted the king, who forthwith 
dispatched le grand provost de Vhotel, or the 
great provost of the palace, with his guards, in 
company with John Gordon, and Sir Adam's 
servants, to the place of their meeting, to 
apprehend them. When they were arrived 
at the place, Sir Adam's servant, being im- 
patient, rushed violently into the house, and 
killed Forbes; but his associates were all ap- 
prehended,, and broke upon the wheel. ,, — 
pp. 113, 114. These were terrible times; 
and it is not now possible to determine among 
the feuds of great families, what actions were 
the effect of malice, and what of sudden pas- 
sion, or even mere accident, 


It fell about the Martinmass, 

Quhen the wind blew shril and cauld., 

Said Eclom o' Gordon to his men, 
" We maun draw to a hauld. 

" And what an a hauld sail we draw to, 

" My merry men and me ? 
" We will gae to the house of the Rodes, 

" To see that fair ladie." 

She had nae sooner busket hersel, 

Nor putten on her gown, 
Till Edom o' Gordon, and his men, 

Were round about the town. 


They had nae sooner sitten down, 
Nor sooner said the grace, 

Till Edorn o' Gordon, and his men ; 
Were closed about the place. 

The lady ran up to her tower-head. 

As fast as she could drie *, 
To see if, by her fair speeches, 

She could with him agree. 

As soon as he saw the lady fair, 
And hir yates all locked fast, 

He fell into a rage of wrath, 
And his heart was aghast. 

u Cum down to me^ ze lady fair* 
" Come down to me, let's see, 

€C This night ze's ly by my ain side,, 
" The morn my bride sail be." 

" I winnae cum down, ye fals Gordon, 
i{ I winnae cum down to thee, 

" I winnae forsake my ain dear lord, 
" That is sae far frae me." 

* Drie } literally, suffer, was able* 


" Gi up your house, ze fair ladye, 

" Gi up your house to me, 
" Or I will burn zoursell therein, 

" Bot and zour babies three." 

" I winnae gie up, zou fals Gordon, 

" To nae sik traitor as thee, 
" Tho' zou should burn mysel therein, 

" Bot, and my babies three." 

<c Set fire to the house," quoth fals Gordon,- 

" Sin better may nae be ; 
" And I will burn hersel therein, 

" Bot, and her babies three." 

" And ein wae worth ze, Jock, my man, 

" I paid ze weil zour fee, 
e< Why pow ze out my ground wa' stane, 

" Let's in the reek * to me ? 

cs And ein wae worth ze, Jock, my man,- 
u For I paid zou weil zour hire ; 

a Why pow ze out my ground wa' stanc, 
" To me lets in the fire .?" 

* Reek, smoke. 


gi Ye paid me weil my hire, lady, 

<c Ye paid me weil my fee ; 
" But now I'm Edom o' Gordon's man, 

" Maun either do or die/' 

O then bespake her zoungest son, 

Sat on the nurse's knee, 
" Dear mother, gie owre zour house," he says, 

" For the reek it worries me." 

" I winnae gie up my house, my dear, 

" To nae sik traitor as he ; 
a Cum weil, cum wae, my jewels fair, 

u Ye maun tak share wi' me." 

O then bespake her dochter dear, 

She was baith jimp and sma', 
" O row me in a pair o' shiets, 

" And tow me owre the wa'." 

They rowd her in a pair o' shiets, 

And towd her owre the wa', 
But on the point of Edom's speir, 

She gat a deadly fa'. 


O bonny, bonny was hir mouth, 

And cherry were her cheiks, 
And cleer, cleer was hir zellow hair, 

Whereon the reid bluid dreips. 

Then wi his speir he turnd hir owre, 

O gin # hir face was wan ! 
He said, « Zou are the first that eer 

" I wist alive again." 

He turned hir owr and owr again ; 

O gin hir skin was whyte ! 
He said " I might ha spard thy life, 

" To been some man's delyte. 

" Busk and boonf my merry men all, 

" For ill dooms I do guess ; 
« I cannae luik in that bonny face, 

" As it lyes on the grass." 

« Them luiks to freitsj, my master deir, 
" Then freits will follow them ; 

" Let it neir be said, brave Edom o' Gordon 

a Was daunted with a dame." 

* gin, an expression of great admiration. 

t Boon, make ready. X Freits, superstitious notions. 


O then he spied her ain dear lord, 

As he came owr the lee ; 
He saw his castle in a fire, 

As far as he could see. 

es Put on, put on, my mighty men, 

<e As fast as ze can drie ; 
(< For he that's hindmost of my men, 

e< Sail neir get guid o' me." 

And some they raid, and some they ran, 

Fu' fast out owr the plain ; 
But lang, lang ere he coud get up, 

They were a' deid and slain. 

But mony were the mudie men 

Lay gasping on the grien ; 
For, o' fifty men that Edom brought out, 

There were but five ged hame. 

And mony were the mudie men 

Lay gasping on the grien ; 
And mony were the faire ladys 

Lay lemanless at hame, 


And round, and round the waa's he went^ 

Their ashes for to view ; 
At last,, into the flames he flew, 

And hade the world adieu, 



There is an English ballad on the same subject, but 
of no value. Some of the stanzas of the present one, 
towards the conclusion, bear strong marks of modern 

Mr Ritson has altered " Edom" into " Adam," as 
Edom, he says, may be only the local pronunciation of 
the lady from whose memory it was published. He 
might have substituted another idiom and orthography 
for the same reason. In " The Duke of Gordons 
three Daughters" he likewise gives us " shoon" (shoes) 
instead of sheen, which last is the northern pronuncia- 
tion, and is necessary for the rhyme. 


This is given from Johnston's Scots Musical 
Museum, where there is no notiee of its being 
given from a printed copy, or obtained from 
recitation. In whatever way it came there,, 
there can be little doubt that it is founded on 
an incident related in the fifth book of Henry's 
metrical life of the hero. 

— Wallace said, myself will pass in feyr, 
And ane with me off herbre for to speyr; 
Follow on dreich, gyff yat we mystir ocht. 
Edward Litill, with hys mystir forth socht 
Till ane Oystry, and with a woman met. 
Sche tald to yaim yat Sothroune yar was set; 


And ze be Scotts I cunsaill yow pass by, 
For and yai may, ze will get ewill herbry ; 
At drynk yai ar, so haiff yai beyne rycht lang, 
Gret worde yar is off Wallace yaim amang : 
Yai trew yat he has found hys men agayne, 
At Lowchmaban feyli Inglismen ar slayne. 
Yat houss is tynt, yat gers yaim be full wa, 
I trow to God yat yai sail sone tyne ma. 
Wallace sperd, off Scotland giff sche be ? 
Sche said hym, za, and thinkis zet to se 
Sorow on yaim, throw help of Gods grace. 
He askyt hir quha was into ye place. 
Na man of fens is left yat houss within, 
Twentye are her makand gret noyss and din. 
Allace, sche said, giff I mycht anys se, 
Ye worthi Scotts maist mastir in it to be. 
With yis woman he wald na langar stand, 
A bekyn he maid, Schyr Jhon come at hys hand. 
Wallace went in, and said, benedicite, 
Ye Captayne speryt, quhat bellamy may yow be 
Yat commys so grym, sum tithings till us tell, 
Yow art a Scott, ye dewyll yi natioune quell. 
Wallace braid out hys suerd withoutyn mar, 
In to ye breyst ye bryme captayne he bar, 
Trouchout ye cost, and stekyt hym te ded. 
Ane oyir he hytt awkwart apon ye hed 


Quham evir he strak he byrstyt bayne and lyr ? 
Feiil of yaim dede fell thw-or-tour in ye fyr. 
Haisty payment he maid yaim on ye flur, 
And Edward Litill kepyt weill ye dur. 
Schyr Jhon ye Grayme full fayn wald haiff beyne in 
Edwarde hym bad at ye castell begyn, 
For off yir folk we haiff bot litill dreid. 
Schyr Jhone ye Grayme fast to ye castell zeid. 
Wallace rudly sic routs to yaim gaiff, 
Yai twenty men derfly to dede yai draiff; 
Fyfteyn he straik, and fyfteyne has he slayne, 
Edwarde slew fyfe quhiik was of mekill mayne. 

Perth Edit. 1790, Vol. I. p. 112. 

Although the " Gude Wallace" obviously 
alludes to the same event as that celebrated 
in the above lines., there is so much discrepan- 
cy in the two accounts, that many people may 
be inclined to think that the ballad is rather 
composed from some current tradition, than 
broken down from Henry's narrative.- — Of 
the two opinions, I should be inclined to 
adopt the latter, as the difference is not 
greater than what we often find, where epi- 


sodes have been disjointed from ancient ro- 
mances. The reader will readily excuse some 
observations connected with the subject, by 
Mr Leyden, in his introduction to the " Com- 
playnt of Scotland." " Another favourite ob- 
ject of study (among the Scottish peasantry) 
is Scottish history ; and as few books are so 
much calculated to gratify national prejudi- 
ces and partiality as the " Wallace" and the 
{i Bruce/' no history obtains equal admiration. 
The most brilliant episodes are occasionally 
chaunted to monotonous legendary airs. In 
this manner, metrical histories are melted 
down into unconnected songs or rhapsodies, 
metrical distichs of some antiquity, and songs 
celebrating imaginary feats of the hero, are 
added from time to time \ and, when they 
display genius, and obtain popularity, are 
sometimes repeated as parts of the original 
metrical history, the incidents of which in 
this manner accumulate." — P. 225. 


These remarks are ingenious ; and, al- 
though rather vaguely expressed, are found- 
ed in truth. Mr Leyden gives one or two of 
these fragments that relate to Wallace, but 
they are neither very correct nor important. 


" O for my ain king," quo gude Wallace, 
" The rightfu' king of fair Scotland ! 

ee Between me and my sovereign blude 
u I think I see some ill seed sawn." 

Wallace out over yon river he lap, 

And he has lighted low down on yon plain ; 

And he was aware of a gay ladie, 
As she was at the well washing. 

" What tydins, what tydins, fair lady," he says, 
" What tydins hast thou to tell unto me ; 

u What tydins, what tydins, fair lady," he says, 
" What tydins hae ye in the south countrie." 


** Low down in yon wee ostler house # , 

" There is fifteen Englishmen, 
" And they are seekin for gude Wallace, 

" Its him to take, and him to hang." 

" There's nought in my purse/' quo gude Wallace, 
a Theres nought, not even a bare pennie ; 

" But I will down to yon wee ostler house, 
" Thir fyfteen Englishmen to see." 

And when he came to yon wee ostler house, 
He bade benedicite be there ; 

" Where was ye born, auld crookit carl, 
" Where was ye born, in what countrie." 

f( Iama true Scot born and bred, 

" And an auld crookit carl, just sic as ye see." 

" I wad gie fifteen shillings to onie crookit carl, 
" To onie crookit carl, just sic as ye, 

" If ye will get me gude Wallace, 

" For he is the man I wad very fain see," 

* Wee ostler house, small inn. 


He hit the proud captain alaiig the charTts blade*, 
That never a bit o' meal he ate mair; 

And he sticket the rest at the table where they sat, 
And he left them a' lyin sprawlin there. 

" Get up, get up, gudewife," he says, 
" And get to me some dinner in haste, 

" For it will soon be three lang days 
" Sin' I a bit o' meat did taste." 

The dinner was na weel readie, 

Nor was it on the table set, 
Till other fifteen Englishmen 

Were a' lighted about the yett. 

" Come out, come out, now gude Wallace, 
" This is the day that thou maun die ;" 

" I lippen f na sae little to God/' he says, 
« Altho' I be but ill wordie %? 

The gude wife had an auld gudeman, 

By gude Wallace he stiffly stude, 
Till ten o' the fyfteen Englishmen 

Before the door lay in their blude. 

* Chaffts blade, cheek bone. 

f Lippen, trust. \ Wordie, worthy. 


The other five to the greenwood ran, 
And he hang'd thae five upon a grain # ; 

And on the morn, wi' his merry men a', 
He sat at dine in Lochmaben town. 

* Grain, the branch of a tree. 


This ballad is given from Percy's Reliques, 
in which it was first printed from the editor's 
folio MS, I have been induced to give it a 
place in the present collection, chiefly from 
the great similarity some of the incidents bear 
to the ancient romance of ee Sir Tristram/' 
lately edited by Mr Scott ; that part of it, at 
least, which relates to Sir Tristram's adven- 
tures in Ireland. Some readers may be in- 
clined to think, that this similarity is ideal ; 
and, perhaps, may be ready enough with 
Fluellin's reasoning ; " there is a river in Ma* 


-cedon ; and there is also, moreover, a river 
at Monmouth :" but those who have made 
the subject of romance their study, and who 
have been attentive to the changes it under- 
went from time to time, will be the last to 
urge objections of this kind. When roman- 
ces ceased to be " sung in hall/' they de- 
scended to the cottage ; and when the Min- 
strel and his harp were alike forgotten by the 
great, " fragments of the lofty strain" conti- 
nued to be chaunted by the peasantry. The 
language and manners of the tales of chivalry 
were, in this manner, modernised, as a different 
language, and new fashions, succeeded the old. 
Nor were the incidents themselves always 
preserved, as they^existed in the ancient tales ; 
a new reciter frequently took liberties, as he 
found occasion for using them, and displa}-- 
ed as much solicitude in introducing marvel- 
lous patchwork, as Peter, in the Tale of a 
Tub, did in the various appendages to his 


It would be an easy matter to apply these 
observations to the subject of Scottish ro- 
mance. The preceding ballad of " Gude 
Wallace" is an instance of the small varia- 
tion a short story sometimes undergoes, when 
it is narrated in a different metre. But what 
a small portion of the life of Wallace, by 
Henry, does that incident contain ? Nor 
would we find the case at all dissimilar, were 
we to extend our researches farther into those 
ballads, which have been in the same way 
separated from romances of antiquity : fre- 
quently, indeed, a few stanzas only of an epi- 
sode are left, 

. as buoyant on the stormy main, 

A parted wreck appears. 

Mr Scott has observed, that the ballad of 
" Fair Annie" is taken from the Breton " Lay 
of the Ash," (lai hjrain) ; and, in his admi- 
rable work of the Minstrelsy of the Border, 


there are many other ballads which appear 
to have their origin in the same manner; 
in particular, that of «■ Sir Hugh le Blond," al- 
though Mr Scott appears to think the story 
Scottish, and the ballad as having given rise 
to that in " Percy's Reliques," entitled, " Al- 
dingar " They are both, however, taken from 
a striking incident in the ancient romance 
of the " Erie of Tolous," and, as usual, con- 
tain much new embellishment. 



In Ireland, ferr over the sea, 
There dwelleth a bonnye kinge ; 

And with him a yong and comlye knighte., 
Men call him Syr Cauline. 

The kinge had a ladye to his daughter^ 
In fashyon she hath no peere ; 

And princely wightes that ladye wooed. 
To be their wedded feere *. 

* Feere, mate, companion. 


Syr Cauline loveth her best of all, 

But nothing durst he saye ; 
Ne descreeve his counsayl to no man,, 

But deerlye he lovde this may *. 

Till on a daye, it so befell, 

Great dill f to him was dight J, 

The maiden's love removde his mynd, 
To care-bed went the knighte. 

One while he spred his armes him fro, 
One while he spred them nye ; 

(C And aye ! but I winne that ladye's love^ 
" For dole now I rami § dye." 

And when our parish-masse was done, 
Our king was bowne || to dyne : 

He says, " Where is Syr Cauline, 
" That is wont to serve the wyne ?" 

* May t maiden. f Billy grief. 

; Bight, wrought § Mim, must. 

If Bourne, made read v. 


Then aunswerde him a courteous knighte, 
And fast his handes # gan wringe : 

" Syr Cauline is sicke and like to dye, 
" Without a good leechinge f " 

" Fetche me downe my daughter deere, 

" She is a leeche fulle fine ; 
" Goe take him doughe and the baken bread, 
" And serve him with the wyne soe red ; 

ee Lothe I were him to tine J." 

Fair Christabelle to his chaumber goes, 
Her maydens followyng nye ; 

" O well," she sayth, " how doth my lord 
" O sicke, thou fayr ladye." 


« Now ryse up wightlye, man, for shame, 

" Never lye soe cowardlee ; 
" For it is told in my father's halle, 

" You dye for love of mee." 

* Gan, literally began, but used here as an expletive, 
f Leechinge, medicinal care. 
% Tine, lose. 



" Fayre ladye, it is for your love, 

« That all this dill I drye * : 
" For, if you wold comfort me with a kisse, 
" Then were I brought from bale to blisse, 

" No lenger wold I lye." 

u Sir knighte, my father is a kinge, 

" I am his onlye heire ; 
" Alas ! and well you know, syr knighte, 

" I never can be youre fere." 

<e O ladye, thou art a kinges daughter, 

" And I am not thy peere ; 
a But, let me doe some deedes of armes, 

" To be your bacheleere." 



Some deedes of armes, if thou wilt doe, 
My bacheleere to be, 
" (But ever and aye my heart wold rue, 
" Giff harm shold happe to thee) 

* Qrye., suffer. 


a Upon Eldridge hill there groweth a thorn e, 

te Upon the mores brodinge # ; 
" And dare ye, syr knighte, wake there all nighte, 

" Untill the fayre morninge ? 

" For the Eldridge Knighte, so mickle of might, 

(< Will examine you beforne ; 
({ And never man bare life awaye, 

c( But he did him scath and scorne. 

a That knighte he is a foul paynim, 

(< And large of limb and bone ; 
" And but if heaven may be thy speede, 

« Thy life it is but gone." 

i( Now on the Eldridge hills I'll walke, 

" For thy sake, fair ladie ; 
<{ And Fll either bring you a ready token, 

" Or Fll never more you see." 

The lady is gone to her own chaumbere, 

Her maydens following bright ; 
Syr Cauline lope from care-bed soone, 
And to the Eldridge hills is gone, 

For to wake there all night. 

* Mores brodi?ige } wide downs, or moors ? 


Unto midnight, that the moon did rise, 

He walked up and downe ; 
Then a lightsome bugle heard he blowe, 

Over the bents soe browne ; 
Quoth hee, " If cryance come till my heart, 

" I am ffar from any good towne." 

And soone he spyde on the mores so broad, 

A furyous wight and fell ; 
A ladye bright his brydle led, 

Clad in a fayre kyrtell : 

And soe faste he called on syr Cauline, 

" O man, I rede # thee flye, 
a For " but" if cryance comes till thy heart, 

" I weene but thou mun dye." 

He sayth, " No" cryance comes till my heart; 

" Nor, in faith, I wyll not flee ; 
" For, cause thou f minged not Christ before, 

" The less me dreadeth thee." 

The Eldridge knighte, he pricked his steed ; 

Syr Cauline bold abode ; 
Then either shooke his trusty e speare, 
And the timber these two children bare, 

Soe soone in sunder slode. 

* Rede, advise. f Minged, mentioned. 


Then tooke they out theyr two good swordes, 

And lay den on full faste, 
Till helme and hawberke, mail and sheelde, 

They all were well-nye brast. 

The Eldridge knight was mickle of might. 
And stiffe in # stower did stande ; 

But syr Cauline, with a '" backward" stroke, 
He smote off his right hand, 

That soone he, with pain, and lacke of blond, 
Fell downe on that lay-land. 

Then up syr Cauline lift his brande, 

All over his head so hye : 
i( And here I sweare, by the holy rood, 

" Nowe, caytiffe, thou shalt dye." 

Then up and came that ladye bright, 

Fast wringing of her hande, 
u For the mayden's love, that most you love, 

" Withhold thy deadlye brande. 

" For the mayden's love, that most you love, 

" Now smy te no more, I praye ; 
" And aye whatever thou wilt, my lord, 

" He shall thy hests obaye." 

* Slower, battle : O. Tr. Estour. 


" Now sweare to mee, thou Eldridge knighte, 

" And here on this lay-land, 
" That thou wilt believe on Christ his laye # , 

" And therto plight thy hand : 

" And that thou never on Eldridge come 

" To sport, gamon, f or playe ; 
" And that thou here give up thy amies, 

" Until thy dying daye." 

The Eldridge knighte gave up his armes, 

With many a sorrowfulle sighe ; 
And sware to obey syr Cauline's hest, 

Till the tyme that he shold dye. 

And he then up, and the Eldridge knighte, 

Sett him in his saddle anone ; 
And the Eldridge knight, and his ladye, 

To theyr castle are they gone. 

Then he tooke up the bloudy hand, 

That was so large of bone, 
And on it he founde five rings of gold, 

Of knights that had ben slone. 

* Laye, law. f Gamon, fight. 


Then he tooke up the Eldridge sworde, 

As hard as any flint; 
And he took off those ringes five, 

As bright as fyre and brent. 

Home then pricked syr Cauline, 

As light as leafe on tree ; 
I wys he neither stint ne blanne*, 

Till he his ladye see. 

Then downe he knelt upon his knee, 

Before that lady gay ; 
« O ladye, I have bin on Eldridge hills, 

" .These tokens I bring away." 

" Now welcome, welcome, syr Cauline, 

" Thrice welcome unto me, 
" For now I perceive thou art a true knighte, 

" Of valour bolde and free." 

" O ladye, I am thy own true knighte, 

" Thy hests for to obaye : 
" And mought I hope to winne thy love!"— 

Ne more his tonge colde say. 

* Blanne, ceased, 

120 . 

The ladye blushed scarlette redde, 

And fette a gentill sighe ; 
" Alas ! syr knight, how may this bee, 

" For my degree's soe highe \ 

" But, sith thou hast hight, thou comely youth, 

iC To be my batchilere, 
" I'll promise, if thee I may not wedde, 

" I will have none other fere." 

Then shee held forth her lilly-white hand, 

Towards that knighte so free ; 
He gave to it one gentill kisse, 
His heart was brought from bale to bliss, 

The teares sterte from his ee. 

a But, keep my counsayl, syr Cauline, 

" Ne let no man it knowe ; 
" For and ever my father sholde it ken, 

(C I wot he walde us sloe." 

From that daye forthe, that ladye fayre 

Lovde syr Cauline the knighte; 
From that daye forthe he only joyde, 

Whan shee was in his sight. 


Yea, and oftentimes they mette 

Within a fayre arboure, 
Where they^ in love, and sweet daliaunce, 

Past manye a pleasaunt houre. 



Everye white will have its blacke, 
And everye sweete its sowre : 

This found the ladye Christabelle, 
In an untimely howre. 

For, so it befelle, as Syr Cauline 

Was with that ladye faire, 
The kinge, her father, walked for the, 

To take the evening aire. 

And, into the arboure, as he went, 

To rest his weary e feet, 
He found his daughter and Syr Cauline; 

There sette in daliaunce sweet. 



The king hee sterted forthe, i-wys, 

And an angry man was hee : 
" Nowe, traytoure, thou shalt hange or drawe, 

" And rewe shall thy ladie." 

Then forthe syr Cauline he was ledde, 
And throwne in dungeon deepe ; 

And the ladye, into a towre so hye, 
There left to wayle and weepe. 

The queene, she was syr Caulines friend.. 

And to the kinge sayd shee, 
" I pray you, save syr Caulines life, 

" And let him hanisht bee." 

" Now, dame, that traitor shall be sent 

" Across the salt sea fome : 
€i But here I will make thee a band, 
" If ever he come within this land, 

i( A foule deathe is his doome." 

All woe-begone was that gentil knight x 

To part from his ladye ; 
And many a time he sighed sore, 

And cast a wistfulle eye : 
si Faire Christabelle, from thee to parte, 

a Farre # lever had I dye." 
* Lever, liefer, rather. 


Faire Christabelle, that ladye brighte, 

Was had forth of the tovvre ; 
But ever she droopeth in her minde, 
As, nipt by an ungentle winde, 

Doth some faire lillye flowre, 

And ever shee doth lament and weepe, 

To " tine" her lover soe ; 
i{ Syr Cauline, thou little think'st on me, 

« But I will still be true." 

Manye a kinge, and manye a duke, 

And lorde of high degree, 
Did sue to that fayre ladye of love, 

But never shee wolde them *nee. 

When manye a daye was past and gone,, 

Ne comforte she colde finde : 
The kinge proclaimed a tourneament, 

To cheere his daughter's mind. 

And there came lords, and there came knights, 

Fro manye a farre countrye, 
To break a spere for theyr lad} r es love, 

Before that faire ladye* 

* Nee, nigh, come nigh; 


And many a ladye there was sette, 

In purple and in palle ; 
But faire Christabelle, so woe-begone, 

Was the fayrest of them all. 

Then manye a knighte was mickle of might, 

Before his ladye gaye ; 
But a stranger wight, whom no man knewe, 

He wan the prize eche daye. 

His acton it was all of blacke, 

His hewberke, and his sheelde ; 
Ne noe man wist whence he did come, 
Ne noe man knew where he did gone, 

When they came from the feelde. 

And now three days were prestlye * past 

In feats of chivalrye, 
When lo, upon the fourth morninge, 

A sorrowfulle sight they see : 

A hugye giaunt, stifTe and starke, 

All foule of limbe and lere + ; 
Two gogling eyen, like fire farden§, 

A mouth from eare to eare. 

* Prestlye, quickly. f Lere, flesh. § Farden, flashed. 


Before him came a dwarffe full lowe, 

That waited on his knee ; 
And, at his back, five heads he hare, 

All wan and pale of blee # . 

" Sir," quoth the dwarffe, and louted lowe, 

" Behold that hendf Soldain ! 
" Behold these heads I hear with me ! 

(f They are kings which he hath slain. 

iC The Eldridge knight is his own cousine, 
" Whom a knight of thine hath shent § ,; 

(t And he is come to avenge his wrong ; 

" And to thee, all thy knights among, 
" Defiance here hath sent. 

" But yette he will appease his wrath, 
" Thy daughter's love to winne : 

" And but thou yeelde him that fayre mayde, 
" Thy halls and towers must brenne |[. 

" Thy head, syr king, must goe with mee, 

" Or else thy daughter deere ; 
" Or else, within these lists soe broad, 

" Thou must finde him a peere." 

* Blee, complexion. f Hend, courteous. 

§ Shent, injured. J[ Brenne, burn. 


The king he turned him round aboute, 

And in his heart was woe : 
" Is there never a knighte of my round table > 

(i This matter will undergoe ? 

" Is there never a knighte amongst yee all, 
" Will fight for my daughter and mee ? 

" Whoever will fight yon grimme soldan, 
iC Right fair his meede shall bee. 

11 For hee shall have my broad lay-lands, 

(i And of my crown be hey re ; 
" And he shall winne fayre Christabelle, 

u To be his wedded fere." 

But every knighte of his round table 

Did stand both still and pale ; 
For, whenever they lookt on the grim soldan, 

It made their hearts to quail. 

All woe-begone was that fayre ladye, 
When she saw no help was nye : 

She cast her thought on her own true love, 
And the tears gusht from her eye. 


Up then stert the stranger knighte, 

Sayd, " Ladye, be not affrayd : 
i( I'll fight for thee with this grimme soldan, 

" Thoughe he be unmacklye # made. 

" And if thou wilt lend me the Eldridge sworde, 

" That lyeth within thy bowre, 
iC I truste in Christe for to slay this fiende, 

" Thoughe he be stiff in stowre." 

sc Goe fetch him downe the Eldridge sworde," 
The kinge he cryde, " with speede : 

" Nowe, heaven assist thee, courteous knight; 
" My daughter is thy meede." 

The gyant he stepped into the lists, 

And sayd, " A wave, awaye ; 
a I sweare, as I am the hend soldan, 

" Thou lettest f me here all daye." 

Then forthe the stranger knight he came, 

In his blacke armoure dight § ; 
The ladye sighed a gentle sighe, 

" That this were my true knighte !" 

* Unmacklye, mis-shapen, f Lettest, hinderest, detainest. 
§ Dight, accoutered. 


And nowe the gyant and the knighte be mett, 

Within the lists soe broad ; 
And nowe, with swordes soe sharpe of Steele, 

They gan to lay on load. # 

The soldan strucke the knighte a stroke, 

That made him reele asyde; 
Then woe begone was that fayre ladye, 

And thrice she deeply sighde. 

The soldan strucke a second stroke, 

And made the bloude to flowe : 
All pale and wan was that ladye fayre, 

And thrice she wept for woe. 

The soldan strucke a third fell stroke, 
Which brought the knighte on his knee : 

Sad sorrow pierced that ladye's heart, 
And she shriekt loud shriekings three. 

The knighte he leapt upon his feete, 

All recklesse of the pain ; 
Quoth hee, " But f heaven be now my speecle, 

" Or else I shall be slaine." 

* Lay on load, give blows. 

| But, unless. Dr Percy adds improperly in the next line, 
u Or else." It ought to be some such phrase as " Bot doubt." 


He grasped his sworde with mayne and mighte, 

And spying a secrette part, 
He drove it into the soldan's syde, 

And pierced him to the heart. 

Then all the people gave a shoute, 
Whan they sawe the soldan falle : 

The ladye wept, and thanked Christ, 
That had reskewed her from thrall. 

And nowe the kinge, with all his barons, 

Rose up from off his seate, 
And downe he stepped into the listes, 

That curteous knighte to greete. 

But he, for payne, and lacke of bloude, 

Was fallen into a swounde, 
And there, all waltering in his gore, 

Lay lifelesse on the grounde. 

ft Come downe, come downe, my daughter deare, 

"Thou art a leeche of skill : 
<e Farre lever # had I lose halfe my landes, 

"Than this good knighte sholde spille." 

* Lever, rather ; the comparative of lief. 


Downe then steppcth that fay re ladye, , 

To help him if she maye ; 
But when she did his beavere raise, 
" It is my life, my lord," she sayes, 

And shriekt and swound awaye. 

Syr Cauline just lifte up his eyes, 
When he heard his ladye crye, 

<e O ladye, I am thine own true love ; 
" For thee I wisht to dye." 

Then giving her one parting look, 

He closed his eyes in death ; 
Ere Christabelle, that ladye milde, 

Begane to drawe her breathe. 

But when she found her comelye knighte, 

Indeed, was dead and gone, 
She layde her pale cold cheeke to his, 

And thus she made her moane : 

" O staye, my deare and onlye lord, 
<c For me, thy faithfulle feere ; # 

u 'Tis meete that I sholde followe thee, 
" Who hast bought my love soe deare." 

* Feere, companion ; obliquely for ? lover. 


Then fayntinge in a deadlye swoune, 
And with a deep fette sighe, 

That burst her gentle heart in twayne^ 
Fayre Christabelle did dye. 

* Fette, brought, drawn. 





She is a leechef idle fine. — P. 113. v. 2. 
u As to what will be observed in this ballad, of the art 
of healing being practised by a young princess, it is no 
more than what is usual in all the old romances, and 
was conformable to real manners; it being a practice, . 
adopted from the earliest times, among all the Gothic 
and Celtic nations, for women, even of the highest rank, 
to exercise the art of surgery. In the Northern Chro- 
nicles, we always find the young damsels staunching the 
wounds of their lovers, and the wives those of their 
husbands. — See Northern Antiquities^ ol. I. p. 318,&c. 
And even so late as the time of Queen Elizabeth, it is 
mentioned among the accomplishments of the ladies of 


her court, that the " eldest of them are skilful in sur- 
gery." — See Harrison's Description of England pre- 

The metrical structure of this, and other stanzas in 
the ballad, has been remarked by Dr Percy. It is an 
approximation to a common measure of romances, and 
is, therefore, another proof of its general antiquity. Dr 
Percy has not marked his interpolations. 

Much of what follows has a striking resemblance to 
the commencement of the romance of Sir Eglamour of 


Page 125. v. 4. 5. 

The incident in these stanzas, is nearly the same as 
that on which the catastrophe of the romance of Ros- 
wall and Lillian turns. See Mr Ellis' very elegant prose 
abstract. — Early Romances, Vol. III. 

But every knichte of his round table. 

P. 127. v. 4. 
Dr Percy has remarked, that the " round table" was 
not peculiar to the reign of King Arthur. The Scottish 


ballad of Young Waters seems to point out the season 
for holding that festival : 

About Zule (Christmas) when the wind blew cule, 
And the round tables began. 

The ladye sighed a gentle sighe, 
" That this were my true knight e." 

P. 128. v. 5. 
This burst of feeling resembles one in Sir Tristrem : 

Ysonde seyd that tide, 
— " Alias, that thou ner knight !" 


" Glasgerion, (says Mr Scott,) whose story 
is preserved in Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poe- 
try, was a Celtic bard, as appears from his high 
birth, and fatal intimacy with the daughter of 
a prince, as well as from the epithet of Chau- 
cer, who terms him " The British Glaskerion." 
A copy of his legend has been preserved, in the 
remote parts of Scotland, by oral recitation. — - 
His musical powers are curiously described : 

Glaskerion was the best harper 
Harped ever on the string. 


He could harp the fish out of the sea ? 

The water out o' the stane, 
And milk out o' the maiden's breast, 

That bairn had never nane. 

His musical powers, indeed, were the theme 
of admiration with our ancient Scottish poets, as 
well as their more southern brethren. Bishop 
Douglas, in his " Palace of Honour," classes 
him with Orpheus. The whole passage on mu- 
sic is exceedingly amusing, but too long for in- 
sertion; the following stanza is, however, too 
singular to be omitted : 

Na mair I understude thair numbers fine, 
Be God, then dois of Greik a swine ; 

Saif that me think sweit soundis gude to heir : 
Na mair heirow my labour will I tyne, 
Na mair I will thir everbillis sweit define, 

How that thair musick tones war mair cleir, 

And dulcer, than the moving of the spheir ; 
Or Orpheus harp of Thrace, with sound divine, 

Glaskeriane maid na noyis compeir. 

In the " Complaynt of Scotland," we find a 
list of tales and romances, which were popular 


in Scotland about the year 1540 ; among them 
there is one entitled, " Skail Gillenderson, the 
king's son of Skellye," which probably relates 
to the same personage ; — the variation of the 
name is trifling. The tale, however, is now 
lost, provided it be not the identical one pub- 
lished here. 


Glasgerion was a kinges owne sonne, 

And a harper he was goode ; 
He harped in the kinges chambere, 

Where cuppe and caudle stoode : 

And soe did he in the queenes chambere, 

Till ladyes waxed glad ; # 
And then bespake the kinges daughter, 

These were the wordes she sayd : 

" Strike on, strike on, Glasgerion, 
Of thy striking doe not blinne ; f 

There's never a stroke comes o'er thy harpe, 
But it glads my harte withinne." 

* Wood, MS. f Blinne, cease. 


<€ Faire might he fall, # ladye," quoth hee, 
" Who taught you nowe to speake ; 

I have loved you, ladye, seven longe yeare, 
My mind f I durst never breake " 

ec But come to my bower, my Glasgerion, 

When all men are att rest ; 
As I am a ladye true of my promise, 

Thou shalt be a welcome guest." 

Home then came Glasgerioii, 
A glad man, Lord ! was he ; — 

" And come thou hither, Jacke, my boy, 
Come hither unto mee. 

u For the kinges daughter of Normandy e> 

Hath granted me my boone ; 
And att her chambere must I bee, 

Beffore the cocke have crowen." 

" O master, master, then," quoth hee, 
" Lay your head heere on this stone. 

For I will waken you, master deare, 
Afore it be time to gone." 

* That is, Well may he thrive. f Harte, MS, 


But up then rose that lither # ladd, 

And hose and shoone did on, 
A coller he cast upon his neeke ; 

He seemed a gentleman. 

And when he came to the ladye's chambere, 

He thrilled upon a pinn ; 
The ladye was true of her promise, 

And rose and lett him in. 

He did not take the ladye gaye 

To boulster nor to bed ; 
Nor, thoughe hee had his wicked wille, 

A single word he sed. 

He did not kisse that ladye's mouth, 
Nor when he came nor yode ; *f* 

And sore that ladye did mistrust, 
He was of some churl's blode. 

But home he came, that lither ladd, 
And did off his hose and shoone, 

And cast the coller from off his necke ; 
He was but a churle's sonne. 

* Dr Percy explains lither, little ; it is, wicked. 
f Yode, went, 


u Awake, awake,, my deere master, 
The cock hath well nigh crowen; 

Awake, awake, my master deere, 
I hold it time to be gone. 

" For I have saddled your horse, master ; 

Well bridled I have your steede ; 
And I have served you a good breakfast, 

For thereof ye have need." 

Up then rose good Glasgerion, 

And did on hose and shoone, 
And cast a coller about his necke ; 

For he was a kinge his sonne. 

And when he came to the ladye's chambere, 

He thrilled upon the pinne ; 
The ladye was more than true of promise. 

And rose and let him inn. 

(t O whether have you left with me 

Your bracelet, or your glove ? 
Or are you returned backe again 

To know more of my love ?" 


Glasgerion swore a full great othe, 

By oake, and ashe, and thorne, 
<c Ladye, I was never in your chambere, 

Sith the time that I was borne." 

" O then it was your lither * foot-page, 

He hath beguiled me ;" 
Then shee pulled forth a little pen-knife, 

That hanged by her knee ; 

Sayes, <e There shall never noe churle's blood, 

Within my bodye spring ; 
No churle's blood shall e'er defile 

The daughter of a kinge." — 

Home then went Glasgerion, 

And woe, good lord ! was hee ; 
Sayes, " Come thou hither, Jacke, my boy, 

Come hither unto me. 

" If I had killed a man to-night, 

Jacke, I would tell it thee ; 
But if I have not killed a man to-night, 

Jacke, thou hast killed three." 

* Little, MS. 


And he pulled out his bright browne sword* 

And dryed it on his sleeve, 
And he smote off that lither ladd's head, 

Who did his ladye grieve. 

He sette the sword's poynt till his breast, 

The pummil until a stone : 
Throw the falsenesse of that lither ladd, 

These three lives all were # gone. 

* Weren all, MS. 



A coller he cast upon his necke. — P. 142. v. 1. 
The collar was formerly, and is still, with some orders 
of knighthood, a badge of distinction. 

He thrilled upon a pinn. — P. 142. v. 2. 
This is elsewhere expressed, " twirled the pin," or 
" tirled at the pin," and seems to refer to the turning 
round the button, on the out-side of a door, by which 
the latch rises, still used in cottages. Percy. 

By oahe, and ashe, and thorne. — P. 144. v. 1. 
Of the meaning of these tree oaths, nothing satisfac- 
tory can be said. Concerning the thorn, a conjecture 
is offered in the ballad of Sweet Willie. There was, I 
believe, an ancient sect of philosophers, ridiculed by 
Lucian, who used to swear, ffgoj avm non 7rhxTctvov, hj 
dog and plane-tree. 



Hume of Godscroft gives by far the most mi- 
nute and interesting account of this battle : I 
shall, therefore, give his words without com- 
ment; only remarking, that the simplicity of 
his manner, and his love of circumstantiality, 
would amply justify us in styling him the Scot- 
tish Froissart. 

iC Then Murray and Morton, thinking it both 
tedious and perillous to be alwayes on their 
guard, and to be defenders only, resolved to 


take their turne of assailing, and pursuing, if so 
happily (r. haply) they might break his forces, 
and disperse them. And howbeit they had not 
of their own, that they could trust to, above an 
hundred horse, yet being armed with authori- 
se, and the majestie of their soveraigne, for the 
safetie of whose person they were to fight, ha- 
ving gathered together of the Forbeses and 
Leslies to the number of seven or eight hun- 
dred, and hoping that albeit they inclined to 
favour Huntley, yet their duty and allegiance 
to their princesse would not suffer them to be- 
tray her; they took the fields. These made 
great show of forwardnesse in conveening, and 
gave out great words and brags that they alone 
would do all. Huntley with his men had taken 
a plot of ground inclosed about with marishes, so 
that he was in a manner encamped. Murray and 
Morton, with the trustiest of their friends, retired 
to a little hill to behold the issue of this battel!, 
committing all to those who had taken it upon 


them ; only they sent some horsemen a by-way 
to close up the passages of the marish, that 
Huntley being overcome, might not escape that 
way. So those boasters began to march toward 
the enemie, and by the way they pluckt off the 
heath, (or heather,) which growes in abundance, 
and stuck it in their helmets and head-pieces, 
according as it had been agreed upon betwixt 
them and Huntley. Wherefore he thinking 
now (these being for him) that there was no 
power to resist him, came out of his strength 
against them, who presently turned their backs, 
and came fleeing with their swords drawn, and 
crying, Treason, treason! as if they had been 
betrayed, when indeed themselves were .the 
traitors. They had thrown away their spears 
and long weapons ; wherefore Murray and Mor- 
ton, though they were astonished at the first 
sight of these hather-topped traitors, who came 
running toward them, with Huntley at their 
heels, yet they took courage, and resolved to 


stand to it ; for as the}' were about to save them- 
selves by flight, and were calling for their hor- 
ses, William Douglas of Glenbarvie, (who was 
afterward Earl of Angus,) requested them to 
stay, (as is reported,) saying, " No horses, my 
" lords ; we are strong enough for Huntley, and 
" these men, though they flee, yet will they not 
" right against us ; wherefore let us present our 
u pikes and spears to keep them out, that they 
" come not in amongst us to break our ranks, 
" and the rest will prove easie." This advice 
was liked, and followed ; so that Huntley ex- 
pecting nothing lesse than to find resistance, 
and being destitute of long weapons, was forced 
(some of his men being slain) to give ground, 
and at last to flee as fast as before he had fol- 
lowed the counterfeit fleers. Then the hather- 
tops, perceiving that Huntley fled, turned upon 
him, and, to make amends, slew most of them 
that were slain that day, which were some hun- 
dred and twentie, and an hundred taken pri- 


soners; amongst whom was Huntley himself, 
and his sons John and Adam. The earl being 
an aged and corpulent pursie man, was stifled 
with his armour, and for want of breath, in the 
taking. Some say, that he received a stroke on 
the head with a pistoll, but it seems to be false ; 
for it is reported, that when Huntley saw his men 
routed, he asked of those that were by him, 
what the name of the ground was upon which 
they fought ; and having learned that it was 
commonly called Corraighie, he repeated the 
name thrice, " Corraighie, Corraighie, Cor- 
" raighie ;" then," God be merciful to me." The 
name of the place put him in mind of a re- 
sponse, or oracle, (if we may so call it,) which 
was given by a witch in the Highlands, to whom 
he had sent to enquire of his death, and she 
had told, that he should die at Corraighie. But 
whether the messenger, or he himself, mistook 
the word, he understood it of Creigh, a place 
which was in his way to Aberdene, and which 


(riding thither) he alwayes did shunne, by rea- 
son of this soothsayer's speech; or if at any 
time he did adventure to go by it, he was sure 
to be well accompanied, and to have the fields 
cleared before. But this event discovered his 
mistaking. It was also told him by some of the 
same profession, that the same day he was 
taken, he should be in Aberdene, maugre those 
that would not so, neither should one drop of 
his blood be spilt. This seemed to promise 
him a successeful journey; but the ambiguitie 
thereof was cleared by his death ; for he was 
indeed that night in Aberdene, being carried 
thither upon a paire of creels or panniers, and 
that against the will of all his friends, who 
would not have had him brought thither in 
such a guise. Neither did he lose any blood, 
but was choak'd for want of breath. Such are 
commonly the answers of such spirits, ambi- 
guous, and of no use to the receivers ; yet men's 
curiositie is so prevalent, that posterity will 

take no warning of former examples. Murray 
being glad of this so unlooked-for victory, sent 
to the ministers of Aberdene to be ready 
against his coming, to go to the churches, and 
give God thanks for that day's successe ; which 
they did very solemnly and (no question) hear- 
tily, as men are wont to do while the memory 
of a great delivery is yet fresh in their minds. 
The next day John Gordon (the earle's son) 
was execute, and his brother Adam was pardon- 
ed, in regard of his youth." — History of the 
Houses of Douglas and Angus, p. 283. 

The ballad, which is distinguished by an as- 
tonishing contempt for historical truth, was 
composed, it is said, by one Forbes, school- 
master at Mary-Culter, upon Dee side. It is 
written in the broad Aberdeenshire dialect. 



Murn ye heighlandsy* and murn ye leighlands^ 

I trow ye hae meikle need ; 
For the bonny burn of Corichie 

His run this day wi' bleid. 

Thi hopeful laird of Finliter, 

Erie Huntly's gallant son, 
For the love he bare our beauteous quine, 

His gart fair Scotland mone. 

* Heighla?ids and highlands, highlands and lowlands. 


Hi his braken his ward in Aberdene, 
Throu dreid o' the fause Murry ; 

And his gather' t the gentle Gordone clan, 
An' his father, auld Huntly. 

Fain wad he tak our bonny guide quine,* 

An' beare hir awa' wi' hirn ; 
But Murry's slee wyles spoil't a' thi sport, 

An' reft him o' lyfe and lim. 

Murry gart rayse thi tardy Merns men, 
An' Angis, an' mony ane mair, 

Erie Morton, and the Byres lord Lindsay, 
An' campit at thi hill o' Fare. 

Erie Huntly came wi' Haddo Gordone, 

An' countit ane thusan men ; 
But Murry had abienf twal hunder, 

Wi' sax score horsemen and ten. 

They soundit the bougills and thi trumpits, 
And marchit on in brave array/ 

Till the spiers an' the axis forgatherit, J 
An' then did begin thi fray. 

* Guide quine, good queen. f Abien, above, 

X Forgatherit, came together. 


Thi Gordones sae fercelie did fecht it, 

Withouten terror or dreid, 
That mony o' Murry 's men lay gasping 

An' dyit thi gmnd wi' theire bleid. 

Then fause Murry feingit to flee them, 

An' they pursuit at his backe ; 
Whan thi haf o' thi Gordones desertit, 

An' turnit wi' Murry in a crack. 

Wi' hether i'thir bonnits they turnit, 
The traitor Haddo o * their heid ; 

An' flaid f theire brithers an' theire fatheris, 
An' spoilit, an' left them for deid. 

Then Murry cried, to tak' thi aulde Gordone, 

An' mony ane ran wi' speid ; 
But Stuart o' Inchbraik had him stickit, 

An' out gushit thi fat lurdane's J bleid. 

Than they tuke his twa sones quick and hale,§ 
An' bare them awa to Aberdene ; 

But sair did our guide quine lament, 
Thi waefu' chance that they were tane. 

* 0, at. f Flaid, affrighted. 

J Lurdane's, lording's, lord's. 
§ Quick and hale, alive and well. 


Erie Murry lost a gallant stout man, 
Thi hopefV laird o' Thornitune ; 

Pittera's sons, an' Egli's far fearit laird, 
An' mair to me unkend, fell doune. 

Erie Huntly mist tenscore o' his bra* men, 
Sum o' heigh, an' sum o' leigh degree; 

Skeenis youngest son, thi pride o* a' the clan^ 
Was ther fun* cleid, he widna flee. 

This bloody feeht wis fercely faucht 
Octobris aught an' twinty day ; 

Crystis fyfteen hundred thriscore yeir 
An' twa will mark thi deidlie fray. 

But jiow the day maist waefu' came, 
That day the quine did grite f her fill, 

For Huntly's gallant stalwart J son 
Wis heidit on the Heidin Hill. 

Fyve nobles Gordon es wi' him hangit were, 

Upon this samen fatal playne ; 
Crule Murry gar't thi waefu' quine luke out, 

And see hir lover an' liges slayne. 

* Fun, found. f Grite, weep. 


I wis our quine had better fririds ; 

I wis our countrie better peice ; 
I wis our lords wid na discord ; 

I wis our weirs * at hame may ceise. 

* Weirs, wars. 



This battle is so circumstantially described by 
the ballad-monger, that it does not appear ne- 
cessary to prefix any prose account. The con- 
sternation it excited seems to have pervaded all 
ranks. " Nee cum exteris (says Major) pr&lium 
periculosius in tanto numero unquam habitum est ; 
sic quod in schola grammaticali juvenculi ludentes, 
ad partes oppositas nos solemus retrahere, dicentes 
nos pralmm de Harlaw struere velle." 


It is much to be regretted, that the literary 
history of the ballad is involved in so much un- 
certainty. We possess no copy which can be 
proved to be a century old ; and yet, if internal 
evidence may be trusted, we may safely infer, 
that, with a few modern alterations, it is the 
identical song alluded to in the " Complaynt of 
Scotland." It was unluckily first published by 
Allan Ramsay, whose well-known character for 
dishonesty in publishing ancient poetry, is in it- 
self a circumstance sufficient to prejudice some 
against its authenticity. Mr Sibbald, a man of 
diligence, and its last editor, has indeed disco- 
vered from chronology, that it must have been 
composed subsequent to the year 1511; but 
chronology is unfortunately the touch-stone of 
madness in Mr Sibbald. The slaughter alluded 
to in the second stanza, not to speak of the 
absurd anachronism, may certainly refer to any 
Scottish battle with the Henrys of England, as 
well as to that of Flodden Field ; the expression 


is as vague as that of King Kenneth in the last 
stanza but one. His conjecture respecting the. 
misapplication of old words is equally injudici- 
ous : He particularises " bandoun," in the se- 
venth stanza, which is used by ancient Scottish 
as well as English writers, in the sense required. 
€< It may also admit of a question, (says he,) 
whether drums were used in the Scottish army 
so early as the reign of James the First, or even 
the regency of the earl of Arran, when the 
< Complaynt of Scotland' was written." With- 
out entering at large into the history of the mi- 
litary instruments used in the Scottish army at 
this period, we may safely conclude that drums 
were actually used, as they are enumerated by 
Giraldus Cambrensis among the instruments of 
music popular in Scotland previous to the year 

The tune of the Battle of Harlaw maintained 
its consequence at a time when the ballad itself 
seems to have been unknown : 


Interea ante alios dux piperlarius heros 
Pracedens magnamque .gerens cum burdine pypam, 
Incipit Harlai cunctis sonare batellum. 


Bishop Gibson, however, is pleased here to 
observe, in a note, " Vestigium hujus vocis est in 
Islandica hardly a, etper contr 'actionem , harla,per~ 
quam, mlde, fortiter" 




Frae Dimideir as I cam throuch, 
Doun by the hill of Banochie, 

Allangst the lands of Garioch, 
Grit pitie was to heir and se, 
The noys and dulesum hermonie, 

That evir that dreiry day did daw, # 
Cryand the corynoch f on hie, 

ee Alas, alas, for the Harlaw." 

* Daw, dawn. 

f Corynoch, an air of lament. 



I marvlit what the matter meint, 

All folks war in a fiery fairy,* 
I wist nocht quha was fae or friend, 

Zit quietly I did me carrie , 

But sen f the days of auld king Harrie, 
Sic slauchter was not hard nor sene ; 

And thair I had nae tyme to tairy> 
Eor bissiness in Aberdene. 


Thus as I walkit on the way, 

To Inverury as I went, 
I met a man, and bad him stay, 

Requesting him, to mak me 'quaint 

Of the beginning and the event, 
That happenit thair at the Harlaw ; 

Then he entreated me tak tent, J 
And he the truth sould to me schaw, 

* Fiery fairy, bustle, consternation. f Sen, since, 
I Tak tent, take care. 



Grit Donald of the Yles did claim 

Unto the lands of Ross sum richt, 
And to the Governour he came, 

Them for to haif gif that he micht; 

Quha saw his interest was but slicht, 
And thairfore answerit with disdain ; 

He hastit hame baith day and nicht, 
And sent nae bodword * back again. 


But Donald, richt impatient 

Of that answer Duke Robert gaif, 

He vowd to God Omnipotent, 

All the hale f lands of Ross to haif; 

' Or ells, he graithed J in his graif, 

He wald not quat his richt for nocht, 
Nor be abusit lyk a slaif, 

That bargain sould be deirly bocht. 

* Bodword, message, reply. 

f Hale, whole. 

1 Graithed, dressed ; here buried. 



Then haistylie he did command, 

That all his weir-men # should convene, 
Ilk ane well harnisit frae hand, f 

To meit, and heir quhat he did mein ; 

He waxit wrath, and vowit tein J 
Sweirand he wald surpryse the north, 

Subdew the brugh of Aberdene, 
Mearns, Angus, and all Fyfe, to Forth, 


Thus with the weir-men of the Yles, 

Quha war ay at his bidding boun, || 
With money maid, with forss and wyls, 

Richt far and near, baith up and down ; 

Throw mount and muir, frae town to town, 
Allangst the land of Ross he roars, 

And all obeyed at his bandoun, ^f 
Evin frae the north to suthren shoars. 

* Weir-men, men of war, warriors. 

f Frae hand, immediately. 

J Tein, anger, revenge. || Boun, ready,, 

^1 Bandoun, command ; a son bandoun, Fr. 



Then all the cuntrie men did zield, 

For nae resistans durst they mak, 
Nor offer battill in the field, 

Be forss of arms to beir him bak ; 

Syne they resolvit all and spak, 
That best it was for their behoif, 

They sould him for thair chiftain tak, 
Believing weil he did then) luve. 


Then he a proclamation maid, 

All men to meet at Inverness, 
Throw Murray land to mak a raid, * 

Frae Arthursyre unto Speyness ; 

And, furthermair, he sent express 
To schaw his collours and ensenzie, 

To all and sindry, f mair and less, 
Throchout the boundis of Boyn and Enzie. 

* Raid, inroad, assault. 

f Sindry ', sundry, individuals. 



And then throw fair Strathbogie land. 

His purpose was for to purse w, 
And quhasoevir durst gainstand, 

That race* they should full sairly rew ; 

Then he bad all his men be trew, 
And him defend by forss and slicht, 

And promist them rewardis anew, 
And mak them men of meikle micht. 


Without resistans, as he said. 

Throw all these parts he stoutly past, 
Quhair sum war wae, and sum war glaid, 

But Garioch was all agast ; 

Throw all these fields he sped him fast, 
For sic a sicht was never sene, 

And then, forsuith, he langdf at last, 
To se the bruch J of Aberdene. 

* Race, same as res } in old romances, assault, 
f Langd, longed. % Bruch, burgh. 



To hinder this prowd enterprise, 

The stout and michty erle of Mar, 
With all his men in arms did ryse, 

Even frae Curgarf to Craigyvar ; 

And down the syde of Don richt far, 
Angus and Mearns did all convene 

To fecht, or Donald came fae nar 
The ryall # bruch of Aberdene. 


And thus the martial erle of Mar 

Marcht with his men in richt array, 
Befoire the enemie was aware, 

His banner bauldly did display ; 

For weil enewch they kend f the way, 
And all their semblance weil they saw, 

Without all dangir or delay, 
Came haistily to the Harlaw. 

* Ryatt, royal. f Kend, knew. 



With him the hraif lord Ogilvy, 

Of Angus sheriff-principall ; 
The Constabill of gude Dunde, 

The vanguard led before them all ; 

Suppose in number they war small, 
Tbay first richt bauldlie did pursew, 

And maid thair faes befoir them fall, 
Quha then that race did sairly rew. 


And then the worthy lord Saltoun, 

The strong undoubted laird of Drum, 
The stalwart * laird of Lawriestone, 

With ilk -f thair forces all and sum ; 

Panmuir with all his men did cum ; 
The Provost of braif Aberdene, 

With trumpets, and with tuick of drum^ 
Came shortly in their armour schene. 

* Stalwart, stout. f H>h each. 



These with the erle of Mar came on, 

In the reir-ward rieht orderlie, 
Thair enemies to set upon 

In awful manner hardily ; 

Togither vowit to live and die, 
Since they had marchit mony myles, 

For to suppress the tyrannic 
Of douted Donald of the Yles. 


But he in number ten to ane, 

Richt subtilie alang did ride, 
With Malcomtosch, and fell Maclean, 

With all thair power at thair syde ; 

Presumeand on thair strenth and pryde, 
Without all feir or ony aw, 

Richt bauldlie battill did abyde, 
Hard by the town of fair Harlaw. 



The armies met, the trumpet sounds, 

The dandring* drums alloud did touk, 
Baith armies hyding on the bounds, 

Till ane of them the feild sould bruik ; 

Nae help was thairfor, nane wad jouk, f 
Ferss was the fecht on ilka syde, 

And on the ground lay mony a bouk,;j; 
Of them that thair did hattill byd. 


With doutsum victorie they dealt, 

The bludy battill lastit lang ; 
Each man his nibours forss thair felt, 

The weakest aft-times gat the wrang ; 

Thair was nae mowis thair them amang, 
Naithing was hard but heavy knocks, 

That echo maid a dulefull sang, 
Thairto resounding frae the rocks. 

* Dandring, a word formed from the sound, rattling. 

t Jouk, escape by jumping aside. 

t Bouk, body. |j Mowis, jests. 

But Donald's men at last gaif bade, 

For they war all out of array; 
The erle of Maris men throw them brak> 

Pursewing shairply in thair way, 

Thair enemys to tak or slay, 
Be dynt of forss to gar them yield ; 

Quha war richt blyth to win # away, 
And sae for feirdness tintf the field. 


Then Donald fled, and that full fast. 
To mountains hich for all his miclit j 

For he and his war J all agast, 

And ran till they war out of sicht : 
And sae of Ross he lost his richt, 

Thoch mony men with him he brocht ; 
Towards the Yles fled day and nicht. 

And all he wan was deirlie bocht. 

* Win, get. t Tint, lost. J War, w<?rc, 



This is (quod he) the richt report 
Of all that I did heir and knaw ; 

Thoch my discourse be sumthing schort, 
Tak this to be a richt suthe saw, # 
Contrairie God and the King's law 

Thair was spilt mekle Christian blude, 
Into the battil of Harlaw ; 

This is the sum, sae I conclude. 


But zit a bonny quhyle abide, 

And I sail mak thee clearly ken, 
Quhat slauchter was on ilk ay syde, 

Of Lowland and of Highland men ; 

Quha for thair awin + haif evir bene ; 
These lazie lowns J micht weil be spaird, 

Chessit lyke deirs into thair dens, 
And gat thair wages for rewaird. 

* Suthe saw, soothsaying, true story. 
f Atoin, own. 
X LozcnSf rascals. 



Malcomtosch of the clan heid cheif, 
Maclean with his grit hauchty heid, 

With all thair succour and relief, 
War dulefully dung to the deid ; * 
And now we are freid of thair feid, f 

And will not lang to come again ; 

Thousands with them without remeid, 

On Donald syd, that day war slain. 


And on the uther syde war lost, 

Into the feild that dismal day, 
Cheif men of worth (of mekle cost) 

To be lamentit sair for ay ; 

The lord Saltoun of Rothemay, 
A man of micht and mekle main, 

Grit dolour was for his decay, 
That sae unhappylie was slain. 

* Dung to the deid, knocked to death, 
f Freid of thair feid, free from their feud, 



Of the best men amang them was 
The gracious gude lord Ogilvy^ 

The Sheriff-principal of Angus, 
Renownit for truth and equitie, 
For faith and magnanimitie ; 

He had few fallows* in the feild, 
Zit fell by fatal destinie, 

For he nae ways wad grant to zield. 


Sir James Scrimgeor of Duddap, knicht, 

Grit Constabill of fair Dunde, 
Unto the dulefull deith was dicht; + 

The kingis cheif banner-man was he, 

A valiant man of chevalrie, 
Quhais predecessors wan that place 

At Spey, with gude king William frie, 
? Gainst Murray and Macduncan's race. 

* Fallows, fellows. 

t Dicht, accoutered ; here, made to suffer. 



Gude Sir Alexander Irving, 

The much renownit laird of Drum, 

Nane in his days was bettir sene, 

Quhen they war semblit # all and sum ; f 
To praise him we sould not be dumm, 

For valour, witt, and worthyness, 
To end his days he ther did cum, 

Quhois ransom is remeidyless. 


And thair the knicht of Lawriston, 

Was slain into his armour schene ; 
And gude Sir Robert Davidson, 

Quha Provest was of Aberdene ; 

The knicht of Panmure as was sene, 
A mortal J man in armour bricht ; 

Sir Thomas Murray stout and kene, 
Left to the world thair last gude nicht. jj 

* Semblit, assembled. 

f All and sum, altogether. 

% Mortal, deadly. 

|| Gude nicht, good night, farewell. 

VOL. I. M 



Thair was not sen king Keneth's days, 

Sic strange intestine crewel stryf 
In Scotland sene, as ilk man says, 

Qohair raony liklie* lost thair lyfe; 

,Quhilk maid divorce twene man and wyfe, 
And mony children fatherless, 

Quhilk in this realm e has bene full ryfe; 
Lord help these lands, our wrangs redress ! — 


In July, on Saint James his even, 

That four-and-twenty di small day, 
Twelve hundred, ten score, and eleven, 

Of zeirs sen Chryst, the suthe to say ; 

Men will remember as they may, 
Quhen thus the verite they know ; 

And mony a ane may murn for ay, 
The brim f battil of the Harlaw. 

* Liklie, handsome men; 
f Brim, fierce. 


J have extracted these beautiful stanzas from Johnson's 
" Poetical Museum/' They are ivorthy of being bet- 
ter known, a circumstance which may lead to a disco- 
very of the persons whom they celebrate. The green 
ribbon, among lovers, is the symbol of hope; the yel- 
low one, on the contrary, that of being forsaken. 

O Lady Mary Ann looks o'er the castle wa', 
She saw three bonnie boys playing at the ha*, 
The youngest he was the flower among them a'; 
My bonnie laddie's young, but he's growin' yet, 

" O father, O father, an ye think it fit, 
We'll send him a year to the college yet ; 
We'll sew a green ribbon round about his hat, 
And that will let them ken he's to marry yet. 


Lady Mary Ann was a flower in the dew, 
Sweet was its smell, and bonnie was its hue, 
And the langer it blossomed, the sweeter it grew; 
For the lilly in the bud will be bonnier yet. 

Young Charlie Cochran was the sprout of an aik, 
Bonnie, and blooming, and straight was its make, 
The sun took delight to shine for its sake, 
And it will be the brag o' the forest yet. 

The simmer is gane, when the leaves they were 

And the days are awa' that we hae seen ; 
But far better days, I trust, will come again, 
For my bonny laddie's young, but he's growin' 



Printed by James Ballantyne & O. 


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