1] This ballad is taken from "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" (1805); it is represented as sung at the wedding festivities by Albert Graeme:
"And first stept forth old Albert Graeme, he minstrel of that ancient name: Was none who struck the harp so well, Within the Land Debateable; Well friended too, his hardy kin, Whoever lost, were sure to win; They sought the beeves that made their broth, In Scotland and in England both. In homely guise, as nature bade, His simple song the Borderer said."
Scott says the residence of the Graemes was chiefly in the Debateable Land, so called because it was claimed by both kingdoms. The ballad imitates the simple minstrelsy of the Border and the burden, according to the author, is derived from an old Scottish song beginning--
"She lean'd her back against a thorn, The sun shines fair on Carlisle wa': And there she has her young babe born And the lyon shall be lord of a'." Back to Line