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A Child's Own Book of Verse, Book Three by  Ada M. Skinner and Frances Gillespy Wickes

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SIR PATRICK SPENS

[73]

The king sits in Dunfermline town,

Drinking the blude-red wine:

"Oh, whaur will I get a skeely skipper

To sail this new ship o' mine?"


Oh, up and spake an eldern knight,

Sat at the king's right knee:

"Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor

That ever sailed the sea."


Our King has written a braid letter

And sealed it wi' his hand,

And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,

Was walking on the strand.


"To Noroway, to Noroway,

To Noroway o'er the faem;

The king's daughter to Noroway,

'T is thou maun bring her hame."


The first word that Sir Patrick read,

Sae loud, loud laughèd he;

The neist word that Sir Patrick read,

The tear blinded his ee.


"Oh, wha is this has done this deed,

And tauld the king of me,

To send us out at this time o' year

To sail upon the sea?


[74]

"Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet,

Our ship must sail the faem;

The king's daughter to Noroway,

'T is we must bring her hame."


They hoysed their sails on Monday morn

Wi' a' the speed they may;

They hae landed in Noroway

Upon a Wodensday.


They hadna been a week, a week,

In Noroway but twae,

When that the lords o' Noroway

Began aloud to say:


"Ye Scottishmen spend a' our king's goud

And a' our queenis fee."

"Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud,

Fu' loud I hear ye lie!


"For I brought as mickle white monie

As will gain my men and me,

And I brought a half-fou o' gude red goud

Out o'er the sea wi' me.


"Mak' ready, mak' ready, my merry men a'!

Our gude ships sails the morn."

"Now, ever alake, my master dear,

I fear a deadly storm.


[75]

"I saw the new moon late yestreen

Wi' the auld moon in her arm;

And, if we gang to sea, master,

I fear we'll come to harm."


They hadna sailed a league, a league,

A league but barely three,

When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud,

And gurly grew the sea.


"Oh, where will I get a gude sailor

To tak' my helm in hand,

Till I gae up to the tall topmast

To see if I can spy land?"


They fetched a web o' the silken claith,

Anither o' the twine,

And they wrapped them round that gude ship's side,

But still the sea cam' in.


Oh, laith, laith were our gude Scots lords

To weet their milk-white hands;

But lang ere a' the play was ower

They wat their gowden bands.


Oh, laith, laith were our gude Scots lords

To weet their cork-heeled shoon;

But lang ere a' the play was played

They wat their hats aboon.


[76]

Oh, lang, lang may the ladies sit

Wi' their fans intill their hand,

Before they see Sir Patrick Spens

Come sailing to the strand!


And lang, lang may the maidens sit

Wi' their goud kaims in their hair,

A' waiting for their ain dear loves!

For them they'll see nae mair.


Half ower, half ower to Aberdour,

It's fifty fathoms deep,

And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens

Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.

—OLD BALLAD.


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