Edward, Edward

Original Text: 
Thomas Percy, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765). 3rd. edn. (London: J. Dodsley, 1775). B-11 6294 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
2Edward, Edward?
3Why dois your brand sae drap wi' bluid?
6Mither, mither,
7O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid,
9Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid,
10Edward, Edward,
11Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid,
12My deir son I tell thee, O.
13O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid,
14Mither, mither,
15O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid,
18Edward, Edward,
19Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair,
21O, I hae killed my fadir deir,
22Mither, mither,
23O, I hae killed my fadir deir,
26Edward, Edward?
27And whatten penance will ye drie for that?
28My deir son, now tell me, O.
29Ile set my feit in yonder boat,
30Mither, mither,
31Il set my feit in yonder boat,
32And Ile fare ovir the sea, O.
34Edward, Edward?
35And what wul ye doe wi' your towirs and your ha',
36That were sae fair to see, O?
38Mither, mither,
39Ile let thame stand tul they doun fa',
41And what wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife,
42Edward, Edward?
43And what wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife,
44Whan ye gang ovir the sea, O?
46Mither, mither,
47The warldis room, let them beg thrae life,
48For thame nevir mair wul I see, O.
50Edward, Edward?
51And what wul ye leive to your ain mither deir?
52My deir son, now tell mee, O.
54Mither, mither,
55The curse of hell frae me sall ye beir,


1] In 1765, Thomas Percy, later Bishop of Dromore, published in three volumes his collection of "old heroic ballads, songs and other pieces of our earlier poets together with some few of later date," under the title Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, The edition contained, in addition to a dedication to the Countess of Northumberland and a preface, an "Essay on the Ancient English Minstrels" which was, in part, responsible for the increasing interest in the ballad and minstrel literature of the past. It encouraged one poet at least, James Beattie (1735-1803), to write one of the century's best poems in the Spenserian stanza, The Minstrel (1771-74). Percy collected his materials from old manuscripts, from English and Scottish correspondents, from earlier printings of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century ballads, from the archives of various antiquarian societies, and from earlier collections of ballads, especially the Pepys collection, "near 2000 in number, which he has left pasted in five volumes in folio," in the Library of Magdalen College, Cambridge. The text of this ballad is based upon that of the first edition of the Reliques. According to Percy's description, the poem is "a Scottish ballad," and was obtained "from a MS. copy transmitted from Scotland." In a version recorded in Scotland some years later, and in an analogous Scandinavian ballad, a brother, not a father, has been murdered. Noteworthy in the version here given is the use of repetition to produce suspense, and the withholding of the mother's guilt until the close to effect surprise and shock.
"Why does your sword so drop with blood?" Back to Line
4] gang: walk. Back to Line
5] guid: good. Back to Line
8] nae mair bot: no more but, none but. Back to Line
16] erst: formerly. Back to Line
17] auld: old. Back to Line
20] "Some other grief you are enduring." Back to Line
24] wae: woe. Back to Line
25] whatten: what kind of. Back to Line
33] ha': hall. Back to Line
37] fa': fall. Back to Line
40] maun: must. Back to Line
45] The warldis room: the world's large.
late: let. thrae: through. Back to Line
49] ain: own. Back to Line
53] frae: from.
sall: shall.
heir: bear. Back to Line
56] Sic: such. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
(but much earlier)
RPO poem Editors: 
G. G. Falle
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.231.