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Margaret, daughter of King Alexander III of Scotland, was married in 1281 to Eric, King of Norway. She was escorted to her husband in August of that year by a goodly number of knights and nobles. Many of these were drowned on the voyage homeward, as Sir Patrick Spens is in the ballad.

The king sits in Dunfermline town,

Drinking the blood-red wine;
“O where will I get a skeely 1 skipper,

To sail this new ship of mine?”
O up and spake an eldern 2 knight,

Sat at the king's right knee: a skeely, skilful.

2 eldern, old.

“Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor

That ever sailed the sea.”

Our king has written a broad letter,1

And sealed it with his hand, And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,

Was walking on the strand.

“To Noroway, to Noroway,

To Noroway o'er the foam; The king's daughter of Noroway,

'Tis thou must bring her home!”

The first word that Sir Patrick read,

So loud, loud laughed he;
The next word that Sir Patrick read,

The tear blinded his e'e.2

“O who is this has done this deed,

And told the king o' me,
To send us out at this time of the year

To sail upon the sea ?

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

Our ship must sail the foam; The king's daughter of Noroway, 'Tis we must fetch her home.”

They hoysed 4 their sails on Monenday morn

With all the speed they may; They have landed in Noroway Upon a Wodensday.

1 broad letter, letter of commission.

2 e'e, eye.

8 weet, wet.
4 hoysed, hoisted.
1 twae, two.
? goud, gold.
8 queenis, queen's.
* fee, property.
6 white monie, silver money.

They had not been a week, a week,

In Noroway, but twae,1
When that the lords of Noroway

Began aloud to say,

“Ye Scottishmen spend all our king's goud,

And all our queenis 3 fee.” 4 “Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud !

Full loud I hear ye lie!

“For I brought as much white monie 5

As gane 6 my men and me,
And I brought a half-fou? o' good red goud

Out o'er the sea with me.

s Make ready, make ready, my merry men all!

Our good ship sails the morn." “Now, ever alack! my master dear,

I fear a deadly storm!

“I saw the new moon, late yestreen,

With the old moon in her arm; And if we go to sea, master,

I fear we'll come to harm.”

They had not sailed a league, a league,

A league, but barely three, When the lift' grew dark, and the wind blew loud,

And gurly 10 grew the sea.

6 gane, suffice.
7 half-fou, half-bushel.
8 yestreen, last evening.
9 lift, air.
10 gurly, stormy.

The anchors broke, and the topmasts lap,

It was such a deadly storm,
And the waves came o'er the broken ship,

Till all her sides were torn.

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They fetched a web o' the silken cloth

Another o'the twine, And they wapped them round that good ship's side,

But still the sea came in.

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But long ere all the play was played,

They wet their hats aboon.
And many was the feather-bed

That flattened on the foam ;
And many was the good lord's son

That never more came home.

The ladies wrang their fingers white,

The maidens tore their hair ;
All for the sake of their true loves,

For them they'll see nae mair.2

O long, long may the ladies sit,

With their fans into their hand,
Before they see Sir Patrick Spens

Come sailing to the strand.

O long, long may the maidens sit,

With their goud kames 3 in their hair,
All waiting for their own dear loves,

For them they'll see nae mair.

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Tact is the life of the five senses. It is the open eye, the quick ear, the judging taste, the keen smell, and the lively touch. Talent is power, tact is skill; talent is weight, tact is momentum ; talent knows what to do, tact how to do it.

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