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He hadna gane a step, a step,

A step but barely ane,

When a bout flew out of our goodly ship,1

And the salt sea it came in.2

"Gae, fetch a web o' the silken claith,

Another o' the twine,

And wap them into our ship's side,

And let nae the sea come in."- 3

They fetch'd a web o' the silken claith,1

Another o' the twine,

And they wapp'd them round that gude ship's side,
But still the sea cam in.

1I believe a modern seaman would say, a plank had started; which must have been a frequent incident during the infancy of ship-building. Mr Finlay, however, thinks it rather means that a bolt gave way.


["He hadna gane to his tapmast,

A step but barely three,

Ere thro' and thro' the bonny ship's side,

He saw the green haw-sea."-BUCHAN.]

3 The remedy applied seems to be that mentioned in Cook's Voyages, when, upon some occasion, to stop a leak, which could not be got at in the inside, a quilted sail was brought under the vessel, which, being drawn into the leak by the suction, prevented the entry of more water. Chaucer says,

"There n'is na new guise that it na'as old."

[The vulgarization of this passage in Buchan's copy, is amusing:

"There are five-and-fifty feather beds

Well packet in ae room,

And ye'll get as muckle gude canvass

As wrap the ship a' roun," &c.]

O laith, laith, were our gude Scots lords

To weet their cork-heel'd shoon!

But lang or a' the play was play'd,
They wat their hats aboon.

And mony was the feather bed,
That flatter'd1 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 of their true loves;
For them they'll see nae 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,
With their goud kaims in their hair,
A' waiting for their ain dear loves!
For them they'll see nae mair.

O forty miles off Aberdeen, 'Tis fifty fathoms deep,

1 Flattered-Fluttered, or rather floated, on the foam.

And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,

Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.1

1 This concluding verse differs in the three copies of the ballads which I have collated. The printed edition bears,

"Half ower, half ower, to Aberdour;"

And one of the MSS. reads,

"At the back of auld St Johnstoune Dykes."

But, in a voyage from Norway, a shipwreck on the north coast seems as probable as either in the Frith of Forth or Tay; and the ballad states the disaster to have taken place out of sight of land. [Buchan's version has,

"It's even ower frae Aberdour."

Aberdour is a small seaport, about six miles from "Dunfermling Town."-ED.]

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THIS ballad, notwithstanding its present appearance, has a claim to very high antiquity. It has been preserved by tradition; and is, perhaps, the most authentic instance of a long and very old poem, exclusively thus preserved. It is only known to a few old people upon the sequestered banks of the Ettrick; and is published, as written down from the recitation of the mother of Mr James Hogg,' who sings, or rather chants it, with great animation. She learned the ballad from a blind man, who died at the advanced age of ninety, and is said to have been possessed of much traditionary knowledge. Although the language of this poem is much modernized, yet many words, which the reciters have retained without understanding them, still preserve traces of its antiquity. Such are the words springals (corruptedly pronounced springwalls), sow

1 This old woman is still alive, and at present resides at Craig of Douglas, in Selkirkshire. 1805. The mother of the "Ettrick Shepherd" is now deceased. 1820.

ies, portcullize, and many other appropriate terms of war and chivalry, which could never have been introduced by a modern ballad-maker. The incidents are striking and well managed; and they are in strict conformity with the manners of the age in which they are placed. The editor has, therefore, been induced to illustrate them, at considerable length, by parallel passages from Froissart, and other historians of the period to which the events refer.

The date of the ballad cannot be ascertained with any degree of accuracy. Sir Richard Maitland, the hero of the poem, seems to have been in possession of his estate about 1250; so that, as he survived the commencement of the wars betwixt England and Scotland, in 1296, his prowess against the English, in defence of his castle of Lauder or Thirlestane, must have been exerted during his extreme old age. He seems to have been distinguished for devotion as well as valour; for A.D. 1249, Dominus Ricardus de Mautlant gave to the Abbey of Dryburgh, " Terras suas de Haubentside, in territorio suo de Thirlestane, pro salute animæ suæ, et sponsæ suæ, antecessorum suorum et successorum suorum, in perpetuum.' He also gave to the

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'There exists also an indenture, or bond, entered into by Patrick, Abbot of Kelsau, and his convent, referring to an engagement betwixt them and Sir Richard Maitland, and Sir William, his eldest son, concerning the lands of Hedderwicke and the pasturages of Thirlestane and Blythe. This Patrick was Abbot of Kelso betwixt 1258 and 1260.

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