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I cannot conclude this foort Memoir, without observing that the French romancers who kad borrowed the word Termagant from us, and applied it as we in their old romances, corrupted it into TerVAGAUNTE: And from them La Fontaine took it up, and has used it more than once in his tales. This
may be added to the other proofs adduced in these volumes of the great intercourse that formerly fubfifted between the old minstrels and legendary writers of both nations, and that they mutually borrowed each others romances.
A SCOTTISH BALL AD,
is given from two MS copies transmitted from Scotland. In what age the hero of this ballad lived, or when this fatal expedition happened that proved so destructive to the Scot's nobles, I have not been able to discover ; yet am of opinion that their catastrophe is not altogether without foundation in history, though it has escaped my own reFearches. In the infancy of navigation, such as used the northern seas, were very liable to shipwreck in the wintry months : hence a law was enacted in the reign of James the III, (a law which was frequently repeated afterwards) “ That there be na schip frauched out of the realm with
any staple gudes, fra the feast of Simons day and Jude, unto the feast of the purification our Lady called Candelmess.” Jam. III. Parlt. 2. Ch. 15.
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 Edw. IV. but whose Atory 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 ober beroes.
THE king fits in Dumferling toune,
Drinking the blude-reid wine : O quhar will I get guid sailòr,
To fail this schip of mine?
Up and fpak an eldern knicht,
Sat at the kings richt kne :
The king has written a braid letter,
And fignd it wi' his hand;
Was walking on the sand.
The first line that Sir Patrick red,
A loud lauch lauched he:
The teir blinded his ee.
O quha is this has don this deid,
This ill deid don to me ;
To fail upon the fe?
Mak haft, mak hafte, my mirry men all,
Our guid schip fails the morne. O fay na fae, my master deir,
For I feir a deadlie storme.
Late late yeftreen I saw the new moone
Wi’ the auld moone in hir arme;
That we will com to harme.
O our Scots nobles wer richt laith
To weet their cork-heild schoone;
Thair hats they swam aboone.
O lang, lang, may the ladies stand
For they'll se thame na mair.
Have owre, have owrę to Aberdour to
It's fiftie fadom deip :
Wi' the Scots lords at his feit.
+ A village lying upon the river Forth, the entrance to. which is Sometimes denominated De mortuo mari.
VII. 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 fubje&t. 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 & 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 conftantly have occasioned great numbers of outlaws, and especially of such as were the bejt marksmen. These naturally fled to the woods for shelter, and forming into troops, endeavoured by their numbers to proteet themselves from the dreadful penalties of their delinquency. The ancient punishment for killing the king's dver, was loss of eyes and castration : a punishment far worse than death. This will easily account for the troops of banditti, which formerly lurked in the royal forests, and from their superior skill in archery and knowledge of all the recefjes of those unfrequented folitudes, found it no difficult matter to resift or elude the civil power.
Among all these, none was ever more famous than the hero of this ballad : the heads of whose ftory, as collected by Stow, are briefly these.
“ In this time (about the year 1190, in the reign of Ri“ chard I.] were many robbers, and outlawes, among the “ which Robin Hood, and Little John, renozened theeves, “ continued in words, 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 faide Robert entertained an hundred tall men and
good archers with such spoiles and thefts as be got, upon “ whom four hundred ( were they ever so strong) durft not
give the onset. He suffered no woman to be oppressed, vio“ lated, 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 afirmeth him to be the prince and “ the most gentle theefe." Annals, p. 159,
The personal 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 ftories, have erected him into the dignity of an earl. Indeed it is not impossible, but our hero, to gain the more respect from bis followers, or they to derive the more credit to their profellion, may have given rise to such a report themselves : for we find it recorded in an epitaph, which, if genuine, muft 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 pilebotomy.
* Wear undernead dis laitt stean
obiit 24 kat, dekembris, 1247.
• See Thoresby's Ducat. Leod. p. 576. Bing. Brit. VI. 3933.