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Τ Η Ε CRU EL SISTER.
Our copy is taken from the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," but of this very ancient ballad there
are several versions in existence, under various names. One annotator, Mr. Jamieson, gives in his collection a parody upon it, being a most decisive proof of its great popularity. It was probably founded on some actual occurrence.
FAIR HELEN OF KIRCONNELL.
Thrs is another extract from Scott's “Minstrelsy," wherein it is given “ without alteration or improve
ment,” the original having been " handed down by tradition in its present imperfect state.” Very r any and various are the versions of it, that have been published. The sad catastrophe upon which the ballad was founded, was this—A lady of the name of Helen Irving or Bell--the daughter of the Laird of Kirconnell in Dumfries-shire, celebrated for her beauty, wa beloved hy two gentlemen in the neigli bourhood. The name of the favoured suitor was Adam Fleming of Kirkpatrick; that of the other is unknown. The addresses of the latter were, however, favoured by the friends of the lady, and the lovers were therefore obliged to meet in secret, and by night, in the churchyard of Kirconnell, a romantic spot, almost surrounded by the river Kirtle. During one of these private interviews, the jealous and despised lover suddenly appeared on the opposite bank of the stream, and levelled his carabine at the breast of his rival. Helen threw herself before her lover, received in her breast the bullet, and died in his arms. Some accounts say that Fleming slew the murderer on the spot, others, that he followed him to Madrid, and there took his revenge. Returning to Scotland, he is said to have died beside the grave of his unfortunate mistress. The grave of the lovers is yet shown in the church-yard of Kirconnell, and upon the tomb-stone may still be read,
" Hic jacet Adam Fleming."
O! Helen sweet, and maist complete,
O think na ye my heart was sair,