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SIR PATRICK SPEVS.

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The various versions of this ancient ballad given in the collections of Percy, Motherwell, Scott, Finlay

and others, are proofs of its high celebrity and remote origin. But the commentators cannot agree as to its historical foundation. Our Editor, Mr. Hall, prudently remarks,“ that the ballad was founded upon an actual occurrence there may be little doubt.” Let not the reader smile at the forcibly depicted reluctance of the gallant sailor to undertake this voyage to Norway in the winter season. the reign of James III., two hundred years after the date assigned to this composition, an Act of the Scottish Parliament prohibited all vessels from being navigated, “frae the feast of St. Simon's day and Jude unto the feast of our Lady, called Candlemas." Sir Patrick's conviction of the danger he must undergo, serves only to heighten the picture of his courage in undertaking the adventure, and of his skill and energy in attempting to avert the catastrophe. We doubt if any age or any country has produced a ballad more simple, more powerful, and more pathetic.

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GIL MORRICE.

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This ballad, in common with many others, has been interpolated, altered, and variously arranged by

the hands of successive annotators. All, however, seem to agree, that there is no very early copy of it in existence; and the very fact of its coming to light at a comparatively recent date, gave rise to many versions " from the mouths of nurses and old women.” Previously to Dr. Percy's printing it in his “ Reliques,” it had passed through two editions in Scotland, the latter having been published at Glasgow in 1755. The tragedy of “ Douglas,” founded upon it, and originally performed at Edinburgh in 1756, gave it an extensive popularity, and “about that period,” writes Mr. Motherwell, “ it underwent a total revisal.” He then adds, “ But though it has been grievously corrupted by ingenious interpolations, as well as paraphrastic additions, the most scrupulous enquirer into the authenticity of ancient song can have no hesitation in admitting, that many of its verses, even as they now stand, are purely traditionary, and fair and genuine parcels of antiquity, unalloyed with any base ad ixture of modern invention, and in no wise altered, save in those changes of language to which all oral poetry is unavoidably subjected in its progress from one age to another."

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