Popular Ballads of the Olden Time

The following is from Popular Ballads of the Olden Time: Third Series - Ballads of Scottish Tradition and Romance Selected and Edited by Frank Sidgwick:


Although a certain number of the ballads in this volume belong to England as much as to Scotland, the greater number are so intimately connected with Scottish history and tradition, that it would have been rash (to say the least) for a Southron to have ventured across the border unaided. It is therefore more than a pleasure to record my thanks to my friend Mr. A. Francis Steuart of Edinburgh, to whom I have submitted the proofs of these ballads. His extensive and peculiar knowledge of Scottish history and genealogy has been of the greatest service throughout.

I must also thank Mr. C. G. Tennant for assistance with the map given as frontispiece; and my unknown friend, Messrs. Constable's reader, has supplied valuable help in detail.

My self-imposed scheme of classification by subject-matter becomes no easier as the end of my task approaches. The Fourth Series will consist mainly of ballads of Robin Hood and other outlaws, including a few pirates. The projected class of 'Sea Ballads' has thus been split; Sir Patrick Spence, for example, appears in this volume. A few ballads defy classification, and will have to appear, if at all, in a miscellaneous section.

The labour of reducing to modern spelling several ballads from the seventeenth-century orthography of the Percy Folio is compensated, I hope, by the quaint and spirited result. These lively ballads are now presented for the first time in this popular form.

In The Jolly Juggler, given in the Appendix, I claim to have discovered a new ballad, which has not yet been treated as such, though I make bold to think Professor Child would have included it in his collection had he known of it. I trust that the publicity thus given to it will attract the attention of experts more competent than myself to annotate and illustrate it as it deserves.

F. S.

Ballads in the Third Series

Copyright Scotland from the Roadside 2016