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Sir Patrick Spens

No: 58; variant: 58G

Source: Jamieson's Popular Ballads, I, 157, communicated by Scott.

  1. The king sits in Dunfermlin town, Sae merrily drinkin the wine: ‘Whare will I get a mariner, Will sail this ship o mine?’
  2. Then up bespak a bonny boy, Sat just at the king’s knee: ‘Sir Patrick Spence is the best seaman, That eer set foot on sea.’
  3. The king has written a braid letter, Seald it wi his ain hand; He has sent word to Sir Patrick, To come at his command.
  4. ‘O wha is this, or wha is that, Has tald the king o me? For I was never a good seaman, Nor ever intend to be.’
  5. They mounted sail on Munenday morn, Wi a’ the haste they may, And they hae landed in Norraway, Upon the Wednesday.
  6. They hadna been a month, a month In Norraway but three, Till lads o Norraway began to say, Ye spend a’ our white monie.
  7. ‘Ye spend a’ our good kingis goud, But and our queenis fee:’ ‘Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud, Sae weel’s I hear you lie.
  8. ‘For I brought as much white money As will gain my men and me; I brought half a fou o good red goud Out oer the sea with me.
  9. ‘Be’t wind or weet, be’t snaw or sleet, Our ships maun sail the morn:’ ‘O ever alack’ my master dear, I fear a deadly storm.
  10. ‘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 suffer harm.’
  11. They hadna sailed a league on sea, A league but barely ane, Till anchors brak, and tap-masts lap; There came a deadly storm.
  12. ‘Whare will I get a bonny boy Will tak thir sails in hand, That will gang up to the tap-mast, See an he ken dry land?’
  13. Laith, laith were our good Scots lords To weet their leathern shoon; But or the morn at fair day-light, Their hats were wat aboon.
  14. Mony was the feather bed, That flotterd on the faem, And mony was the good Scots lord Gaed awa that neer cam hame, And mony was the fatherless bairn That lay at hame greetin.
  15. It’s forty miles to Aberdeen, And fifty fathoms deep; And there lyes a’ our good Scots lords, Wi Sir Patrick at their feet.
  16. The ladies crackt their fingers white, The maidens tore their hair, A’ for the sake o their true loves, For them they neer saw mair.
  17. Lang, lang may our ladies stand, Wi their fans in their hand, Ere they see Sir Patrick and his men Come sailing to the land.