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In some modern copies, instead of Patrick Spence hath been substituted the name of Sir Andrew Wood, a famous Scottish admiral, who flourished in the time of our Edward IV., but whose story hath nothing in common with this of the ballad. As Wood was the most noted warrior of Scotland, it is probable that, like the Theban Hercules, he hath engrossed the renown of other heroes.

The king sits in Dumferling toune,

Drinking the blude-reid wine :
O quhar will I get guid sailor,

To sail this schip of mine?


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Up and spak an eldern knicht,

Sat at the kings richt kne:
Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor,

That sails upon

the se.


The king has written a braid letter, *

And signd it wi’ his hand;
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence,

Was walking on the sand.

The first line that Sir Patrick red,

A loud lauch lauched he:
The next line that Sir Patrick red,

The teir blinded his ee.


* A braid letter, i. e. open, or patent; in opposition to close rolls.

O quha is this has don this deid,

This ill deid don to me;
To send me out this time o' the zeir,

To sail upon the se?


Mak hast, mak haste, my mirry men all,

Our guid schip sails the morne. O say na sae, my master deir,

For I feir a deadlie storme.


Late late yestreen I saw the new moone

Wi’ the auld moone in hir arme; And I feir, I feir, my deir mastèr,

That we will com to harme.


O our Scots nobles wer richt laith

To weet their cork-heild schoone; Bot lang owre a’ the play wer playd,

Their hats they swam aboone.

O lang, lang, may their ladies sit

Wi' thair fans into their hand, Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spence

Cum sailing to the land.


O lang, lang, may the ladies stand

Wi' thair gold kems in their hair, Waiting for thair ain deir lords,

For they'll se thame na mair.


Have owre, have owre to Aberdour,*

It's fiftie fadom deip :
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence,

Wi’ the Scots lords at his feit.


Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne. We have here a ballad of Robin Hood (from the Editor's folio MS.) which was never before printed, and carries marks of much greater antiquity than any of the common popular songs on this subject.

The severity of those tyrannical forest-laws that were introduced by our Norman kings, and the great temptation of breaking them by such as lived near the royal forests, at a time when the yeomanry of this kingdom were every where trained up to the long-bow, and excelled all other nations in the art of shooting, must constantly have occasioned great numbers of outlaws, and especially of such as were the best marksmen. These naturally fled to the woods for shelter, and forming into troops, endeavoured by their numbers to protect themselves from the dreadful penalties of their delinquency. The ancient punishment for killing the king's deer, was loss of eyes and castration : a punishment far worse than death. This will easily account for the troops of banditti

A village lying upon the river Forth, the entrance to which is sometimes denominated De mortuo mari.

+ An ingenious friend thinks the author of Hardyknute has borrowed several expressions and sentiments from the foregoing, and other old Scottish songs in this collection.

which formerly lurked in the royal forests, and from their superior skill in archery, and knowledge of all the recesses of those unfrequented solitudes, found it no difficult matter to resist or elude the civil power.

Among all these, none was ever more famous than the hero of this ballad, whose chief residence was in Shirewood Forest, in Nottinghamshire: the heads of whose story, as collected by Stow, are briefly these.

“In this time (about the year 1190, in the reign of Richard I.] were many robbers, and outlawes, among the which Robin Hood, and Little John, renowned theeves, continued in woods, despoyling and robbing the goods of the rich. They killed none but such as would invade them ; or by resistance for their own defence.

“The saide Robert entertained an hundred tall men and good archers with such spoiles and thefts as he got, upon whom four hundred (were they ever so strong) durst not give the onset. He suffered no woman to be oppressed, violated, or otherwise molested: poore mens goods he spared, abundantlie relieving them with that which by theft he got from abbeys and the houses of rich carles : whom Maior (the historian) blameth for. his rapine and theft, but of all theeves he affirmeth him to be the prince and the most gentle theefe.”Annals, p. 159. The

courage of this celebrated outlaw, his skill in archery, his humanity, and especially his levelling principle of taking from the rich and giving to the poor, have in all ages rendered him the favourite of the common people: who, not content to celebrate his memory by innumerable songs and stories, have erected him into the dignity of an earl. Indeed it is not impossible but our hero, to gain the more respect from his followers, or they to derive the more credit to their profession, may have given rise to such a report themselves : for we find it recorded in an epitaph, which, if genuine, must have been


inscribed on his tombstone near the nunnery of Kirk-lees in Yorkshire; where (as the story goes) he was bled to death by a treacherous nun, to whom he applied for phlebotomy:

Hear undernead dis laitl stean
laiž robert earl of huntingtun
nea arcir ver az hie sae geud
an pipi kauld im Rovin Heud
sick utlawz as hi an is men
vil England nivir si agen

obiit 24 kal. dekembris, 1247.* This epitaph appears to me suspicious; however, a late Antiquary has given a pedigree of Robin Hood, which, if genuine, shows that he had real pretensions to the earldom of Huntington, and that his true name was ROBERT Fitz-ooth. Yet the most ancient poems on Robin Hood make no mention of this earldom. He is expressly asserted to have been a yeoman f in a very old legend in verse, preserved in the archives of the public library at Cambridges in eight FYTTES or Parts, printed in black letter, quarto, thus inscribed, “ C Here begynneth a lytell geste of Robyn hode and his meyne, and of the proude sheryfe of Notyngham." The first lines are,

“ Lithe and lysten, gentylmen,

That be of fre-bore blode :
I shall you tell of a good YEMAN,
His name was Robyn hode.
Robyn was a proude out-lawe,
Whiles he walked on grounde ;
So curteyse an outlawe as he was one,
Was never none yfounde,” &c.

* See Thoresby's Ducat. Leod. p. 576. Biog. Brit. vi. 3933.
+ Stukeley, in his Palæographia Britannica, No. II. 1746.
# See also the following ballad, v. 147.

Num. D. 5, 2.

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