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A SCOTTISH BALLAD,
MS. COPY TRANSMITTED FROM SCOTLAND.
Quhy dois zour brand sae drop wi' bluid,
Edward, Edward ? Quhy dois zour brand sae drop wi' bluid ?
And quhy sae sad gang zee, O ? 0, I hae killed my hauke sae guid,
Mither, mither : O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid:
And I had nae mair bot hee, O.
Zour haukis bluid was nevir sae reid,
Edward, Edward : Zour haukis bluid was nevir sae reid;
My deir son I tell thee, O. O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid,
Mither, mither : O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid,
That erst was sae fair and free, O.
Zour steid was auld, and ze hae gat mair,
Edward, Edward : Zour steid was auld, and ze hae gat mair,
Sum other dule ze drie, O. O, I hae killed my fadir deir,
Mither, mither :
O, I hae killed my fadir deir,
Alas! and wae is mee, O!
son, now tell
And quhatten penance wul ze drie for that,
Edward, Edward ? And quhatten penance will ze drie for that? deir
0. Ile set my feit in zonder boat,
Mither, mither: Ile set my feit in zonder boat,
And Ile fare ovir the sea, O.
And qubat wul ze doe wi' zour towirs and zour ha',
Edward, Edward ? And quhat wul ze doe wi' zour towirs and zour ha’,
That were sae fair to see, O ? 36 Ile let thame stand til they doun fa',
Mither, mither: Ile let thame stand til they doun fa',
For here nevir mair maun I bee, O. 40
And quhat wul ze leive to zour bairns and zour wife,
Edward, Edward ? And quhat wul ze leive to zour bairns and zour wife,
Quhan ze gang ovir the sea, 0?
Mither, mither :
For thame nevir mair wul I see, 0.
And quhat wul ze leive to zour ain mither deir,
50 And quhat wul ze leive to zour ain mither deir ?
My deir son, now tell me, O. The curse of hell frae me sall ze beir,
Mither, mither : The curse of hell frae me sall ze beir,
55 Sic counseils ze gave to me, O,
This curious song was transmitted to the Editor by Sir David Dalrymple, Bart., late Lord Hailes.
King Estmere. This old romantic Legend, (which is given from two copies, one of them in the Editor's folio MS. but which contained very great variations,) bears marks of great antiquity, and perhaps ought to have taken place of any in this volume. It should seem to have been written while a great part of Spain was in the hands of the Saracens or Moors; whose empire there was not fully extinguished before the year 1491. The Mahometans are spoken of in v. 49, &c., just in the same terms as in all other old romances. The author of the ancient legend of Sir Bevis represents his hero, upon all occasions, breathing out defiance against
“Mahound and Termagaunte ;"'* and so full of zeal for his religion, as to return the following polite message to a Paynim king's fair daughter, who had fallen in love with him, and sent two Saracen knights to invite him to her bower:
* See a short Memoir at the end of this ballad.
“I wyll not ones stirre off this grounde,
To speake with an heathen hounde,
Or I your harte bloud shall se.'* Indeed they return the compliment, by calling him elsewhere “a Christen hounde." +
This was conformable to the real manners of the barbarous ages: perhaps the same excuse will hardly serve our bard for the situations in which he has placed some of his royal personages. That a youthful monarch should take a journey into another kingdom to visit his mistress incog. was a piece of gallantry paralleled in our own Charles I.; but that King Adland should be found lolling or leaning at his gate, (v. 35,) may be thought, perchance, a little out of character. And yet the great painter of manners, Homer, did not think it inconsistent with decorum to represent a king of the Taphians rearing himself at the gate of Ulysses to inquire for that monarch, when he touched at Ithaca as he was taking a voyage with a ship's cargo of iron to dispose of in traffic. I So little ought we to judge of ancient manners by our own.
Before I conclude this article, I cannot help observing that the reader will see in this ballad, the character of the old minstrels (those successors of the bards) placed in a very respectable light :here he will see one of them represented mounted on a fine horse, accompanied with an attendant to bear his harp after him, and to sing the poems of his composing. Here he will see him mixing in the company of kings without ceremony; no mean proof * Sign. C. ij. b.
+ Sign. C. j. b. # Odyss. a. 105.
♡ See vol. 2, note subjoined to 1st pt. of Beggar of Bednal, &c.
of the great antiquity of this poem. The farther we carry our inquiries back, the greater respect we find paid to the professors of poetry and music among all the Celtic and Gothic nations. Their character was deemed so sacred, that under its sanction our famous King Alfred (as we have already seen)* made no scruple to enter the Danish camp, and was at once admitted to the king's head quarters.f Our poet has suggested the same expedient to the heroes of this ballad. All the histories of the North are full of the great reverence paid to this order of men. Harold Harfagre, a celebrated king of Norway, was wont to seat them at his table above all the officers of his court: and we find another Norwegian king placing five of them by his side in a day of battle, that they might be eye-witnesses of the great exploits they were to celebrate. I As to Estmere's riding into the hall while the kings were at table, this was usual in the ages of chivalry; and even to this day we see a relic of this custom still kept up, in the Champion's riding into Westminster-hall during the coronation-dinner. S
HEARKEN to me, gentlemen,
That ever born y-were.
The tone of them was Adler yonge,
The tother was kyng Estmere;
* See the Essay on the ancient Minstrels prefixed to this vol.
+ Even so late as the time of Froissart, we find Minstrels and Heralds mentioned together, as those who might securely go into an enemy's country. Cap. cxl.
# Bartholini Antiq. Dan. p. 173. Northern Antiquities, &c., vol. 1. pp. 386, 389, &c.
See also the account of Edw. II. in the Essay on the Minstrels.