Sir Patrick Spens

No: 58; variant: 58B

Source: Herd's MSS., II, 27, I, 49.

  1. The king he sits in Dumferling, Drinking the blude reid wine: O ‘O where will I get a gude sailor, That’l sail the ships o mine?’ O
  2. Up then started a yallow-haird man, Just be the kings right knee: ‘Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor That ever saild the see.’
  3. Then the king he wrote a lang letter, And sealld it with his hand, And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence, That was lyand at Leith Sands.
  4. When Patrick lookd the letter on, He gae loud laughters three; But afore he wan to the end of it The teir blindit his ee.
  5. ‘O wha is this has tald the king, Has tald the king o me? Gif I but wist the man it war, Hanged should he be.
  6. ‘Come eat and drink, my merry men all, For our ships maun sail the morn; Bla’d wind, bla’d weet, bla’d sna or sleet, Our ships maun sail the morn.’
  7. ‘Alake and alas now, good master, For I fear a deidly storm; For I saw the new moon late yestreen, And the auld moon in her arms.’
  8. They had not saild upon the sea A league but merely three, When ugly, ugly were the jaws That rowd unto their knee.
  9. They had not saild upon the sea A league but merely nine, When wind and weit and snaw and sleit Came blawing them behind.
  10. ‘Then where will I get a pretty boy Will take my steer in hand, Till I go up to my tap-mast, And see gif I see dry land?’
  11. ‘Here am I, a pretty boy That’l take your steir in hand, Till you go up to your tap-mast, And see an you see the land.’
  12. Laith, laith were our Scottich lords To weit their coal-black shoon; But yet ere a’ the play was playd, They wat their hats aboon.
  13. Laith, laith war our Scottish lords To weit their coal-black hair; But yet ere a’ the play was playd, They wat it every hair.
  14. The water at St Johnston’s wall Was fifty fathom deep, And there ly a’ our Scottish lords, Sir Patrick at their feet.
  15. Lang, lang may our ladies wait Wi the tear blinding their ee, Afore they see Sir Patrick’s ships Come sailing oer the sea.
  16. Lang, lang may our ladies wait, Wi their babies in their hands, Afore they see Sir Patrick Spence Come sailing to Leith Sands.