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THE HEIRE OF LINNE.
This pleasant ballad is printed from the copious collection of the indefatigable Dr. Percy in his
“ Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.” As usual, it underwent alterations, and received additions at his hands, necessary in consequence of the breaches and defects which existed in his fragment. The simple story calls for no explanation, nor requires quotations from other versions to elucidate its merits.
He had never a penny left in his purse,
No chair, ne table he mote spye, Never a penny left but three,
No chearful bearth, ne welcome bed ; And one was brass, another was lead,
Nought save a rope with renning noose, And another it was white money.
That dangling hung up o'er his head. • Nowe well-a-day,' sayd the heire of Linne,
And over it, in broad letters, • Nowe well-a-day, and woe is me,
These words were written soe plain to For when I was the Lord of Linne, I never wanted golde nor fee.
Ah! gracelesse wretch, hast spent thine • But many a trustye friend have I,
• All this my boding mind misgave,
I therefore left this trustye friend: But one, I wis, was not at home;
Let it now sheeld thy foule disgrace, Another had payd his golde away; And all thy shame and sorrowes end.' Another calld him thriftless loone, And bade him sharpely wend his way. Sorely shent wi' this rebuke,
Sorely shent was the heire of Linne; Nowe well-a-day,' sayd the heire of Linne, His heart, I wis, was near to brast • Nowe well-a-day, and woe is me!
With guilt and sorrowe, shame and For when I had my landes soe broad,
sinne. On me they livd right merrilee.
Never a word spake the heire of Linne, • To beg my bread from door to door,
Never a word he spake but three: I wis, it were a brenning shame;
• This is a trustye friend indeed, To rob and steal it were a sinne;
And is right welcome unto me.' To worke, my limbs I cannot frame. Nowe Ile away to lonesome lodge, Then round his necke the corde he drewe,
For there my father bade me wend; And sprang aloft with his bodie; When all the world shold frown on me, When lo! the ceiling burst in twaine,
I there shold find a trusty friend.', And to the ground came tumbling he.
Nowe I am again the Lord of Linne,
And forty pounds I will give thee.
Yesterday I was Lady of Linne,
• Ile make thee keeper of my forrest,
Both of the wild deere and the tame; For but I reward thy bounteous heart,
I wis, good fellowe, I were to blame.'
• Nowe fare thee well,' sayd the heir of
Linne; • Farewell nowe, John o' the Scales,"
sayd he: Christs curse light on me if ever again
I bring my landes in jeopardie !
• Nowe well-a-day!' sayth Joan o' the
Scales; • Now well-a-day! and woe is my life;
Here we have a ballad, of which the real author is known. It was composed by John Leyden, and was
first published in the “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border." Local tradition and historical truth have both contributed to it; the supernatural agency, which upheld Lord Soulis in his cruel and oppressive career, being still spoken of amidst the ruins of Hermitage Castle, whilst Scott gives an instancs of violent death similar to that here recorded. “ The tradition concerning the death of Lord Soulis is not without a parallel in the real history of Scotland. Melville of Glenbure, Sheriff of the Mearns, | was detested by the barons of his county. Reiterated complaints of his conduct having been made to James I., the monarch answered in a moment of unguarded impatience, “Sorrow gin the Sheriff were sodden, and supped in broo !" The words were construed literally. The barons prepared a fire and a boiling cauldron, into which they plunged the unlucky Sheriff.”