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Sir Patrick Spens

No: 58; variant: 58E

Source: Motherwell's MS., p. 348.

  1. The king sits in Dumfermline toun, Sae merrilie drinking wine; O Says, Whare will I get a fine skipper, Wud sail these ships of mine? O
  2. Out and spak an auld rich knicht, And an ill death may he die’ Says, Young Patrick is the best skipper That ever set sail on sea.
  3. The king did write a lang letter, Sealed it with his own hand, And he sent it to Young Patrick, To come at his command.
  4. When Young Patrick read the letter lang, The tear blindit his ee; Says Wha is this, or wha is that, That’s tauld the king of me? Altho he had been better than what he is, He micht hae askt leave of me.
  5. ‘But busk, O busk, my merry men a’, O busk and mak you braw, For blaw the wind what airt it will, Our ship she must awa.
  6. ‘Drink, O drink, my merrie men all, Drink o the beer and wine, For gin Wedensday by twal o’clock We’ll a’ be in our lang hame.’
  7. Out and spak a pretty little boy: ‘I fear a deadlie storm; For I saw the new mune late yestreen, And the old ane in her arm, And readilie, maister,’ said he, ‘That’s the sign of a deadly storm.’
  8. Aye they sat, and aye they drank, They drank of the beer and wine, And gin Wedensday gin ten o’clock, Their hair was wat abune.
  9. ‘Whare wuld I get a pretty little boy, That wants to win hose and shoon, Wuld up to the top of my mainmast go, See if he could spy land?’
  10. ‘O here am I, a pretty little boy, Wants to win hose and shoon; I’ll up to the top of your mainmast go, Though I should neer come doun.’
  11. ‘Come doun, come doun, my pretty little boy, I think thou tarries lang; For the jawe is coming in at my coat-neck, Going out at my richt hand.’
  12. But there cum a shouir out o the Norewest, Of dreidfu hail and rain, It made Young Patrick and his men A’ flat wi the sea faem.
  13. O is na it a great pitye To see feather-beds on the main? But it is a greater pitye, I think, To see men doing the same.
  14. There’s a brig at the back o Sanct John’s toun, It’s fifty fadom deep, And there lies a’ our brau Scots lords, Young Patrick’s at their feet.
  15. Young Patrick’s lady sits at hame, She’s sewing her silken seam; And aye when she looks to the salt sea waves, ‘I fear he’ll neer return.’
  16. Young Patrick’s lady sits at hame Rocking her oldest son; And aye when she looks to the salt sea waves, ‘I’m feared he’ll neer come hame.’