The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens

The ballad of Sir Patrick Spens, appears in Volume II of The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Edited by Francis James Child. These volumes are in the public domain.

In the reign of Alexander III of Scotland, his daughter Margaret was escorted by a large party of nobles to Norway for her marriage to King Eric; on the return journey many of them were drowned. Twenty years later, after Alexander's death, his grand-daughter Margaret, the Maid of Norway, was heiress to the Scottish throne, and on the voyage to Scotland she died.

The Fife burgh of Dunfermline (home town of Andrew Carnegie and the singer/actress Barbara Dickson) gets a mention in the poem.

Sir Patrick was described as 'the greatest sailor', who did the King's bidding and apparently lost his life at sea.

By the way, if YOU know a Scottish Poem that you would like to be included on this site, or indeed if you have written one, why not submit your contribution HERE, so people from around the world can enjoy it.




The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens

The king sits in Dunfermline toun,
Drinkin' the bluid red wine
'0 whaur will I get a skeely skipper,
To sail this ship o' mine?'

Then up and spak an eldern knicht,
Sat at the king's richt knee,
'Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor,
That ever sail'd the sea.'

Our king has written a braid letter,
And seal'd it wi' his han',
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence,
Was walkin' on the stran'.

'To Noroway, to Noroway,
To Noroway owre the faim;
The king's dochter o' Noroway,
It's thou maun bring her hame.'

The first line that Sir Patrick read,
Sae lond, loud laughed he;
The neist line that Sir Patrick read,
The tear blinded his e'e.

'O wha is this has dune this deed,
And tauld the king o' me,
To send us oot at this time o' the year
To sail upon the sea?

Be't wind, be't weet, be't bail, be't sleet,
Our ship maun sail the faim;
The king's dochter o' Noroway,
It's we maun fetch her hame.'

They boys'd their sails on Mononday,
Wi' a' the speed they may;
They hae landed in Noroway
Upon a Wodnesday.

'Mak ready, mak ready, my merry men a',
Our guid ship sails the morn,'
'0 say na sae, my maister dear,
For I fear a deidly storm.

I saw the new moon late yestreen,
Wi' the auld moon in her arm,
And I fear, I fear, my maister dear,
That we will come to harm.

They had na sail'd a league, a leagne,
A league but barely three,
When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud,
And gurly grew the sea.

The ankers brak, and the tapmasts lap,
'Twas sic a deidly storm
And the waves cam owre the broken ship,
Till a' her sides were torn.


If you have found The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens interesting, then see also the following poems:-


My Love is Like a Red Red Rose - This lovely romantic poem/song by Rabbie Burns.
The Collier Laddie - Believed to be one of the oldest of Fife's songs.
Psalm 1 - A paraphrase of this Psalm by Rabbie Burns.
Address to a Haggis - Rabbie Burn's famous poem, recited at Burn's Suppers throughout the world.
Auld Lang Syne - Rabbie Burns' famous song, traditionally sung to bring in the New Year.
Poem Mary Morrison - Another love poem by Rabbie Burns. I've dedicated this page to my Aunt, also called Mary Morrison who passed away in 2007.
The Boy in The Train - This delightful poem describes one young lads arrival by train to Kirkcaldy with smell of the linoleum factories.
Titanic Poem - Answers this question followed by a poem about that tragedy written by my Grandmother (from Scotland, of course!)
Translation Auld Lang Syne - Find out what the words of Auld Lang Syne mean?
Address To A Mouse - This Poem was written when Burns disturbed a mouse’s nest when ploughing a field.
Address To The Toothache - This descriptive Poem says it all!
The Carls o Dysart - This Poem/song was written by Rabbie Burns on a journey through Fife.
Burns Supper - Learn a bit more about a Burns Supper and get the Menu and recipe for Haggis, chappit potatoes and bashed neeps.
Hogmanay - See how we bring in the New Year in Scotland.
Scottish Custom and Traditions - Learn a bit more about some of our customs and traditions.
Language, Customs and Culture Bookstore - Browse through our Bookstore for Scots-English Dictionaries, and plenty books on the works of Rabbie Burns.

See also poems contributed by visitors:
I Love The Lomonds, Cheeseboard, The Silver Trail to Crail , This Public Bar in Ladybank, A Friendly Fife Said "Hello", They walked all the way from Glasgow, Aberdour Greets Me Kindly, A Glimpse of Gold in Kirkcaldy, Kingskettle Cemetery, The Bonnie Bonnie Sand of St Andrews Bay, Thomas Joseph Harris, The Tay Bridge Disaster, Sojourn in St Andrews, When I walked to Leven, I should have played for Ladybank Violet, The Old Scottish Stone, Collessie, The Kingdom of Fife, Lady Mary Ann, The Village of Tayport & its Surroundings, Loch Leven, Grace Before Dinner, Holy Willie's Prayer, Will Ye No' Come Back Again, The Rights of Woman, Scots Wha Hae, Tam o' Shanter, The Star o' Rabbie Burns, Robert Burns, Ae Fond Kiss, Ballade of the Royal Game of Golf, A Man's a Man for A' That, To A Louse, Cuddle Doon, Scotch Drink

Share Scottish Poetry - Poems contributed by visitors to this site. Do contribute YOUR poems and have them published on this site!

Return from The Ballad of Sir Partick Spens to Scottish Poems.

Go back to Home Page




Click the crown button to go to the top of this page
The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens


Site Build It!

Available from Scotlands Enchanting Kindom


Contact Updates Home Page

Advertise with us!

Advertise with us!



Sign up in the form below for my Ezine/Newsletter called "Proclamation from the Kingdom" and receive a free gift - a mini Scottish recipes ebook.

Enter your
Email Address


Enter you
Name


Then

Don't worry
your e-mail address
is totally secure.
I promise to use it only
to send you
"Proclamation from the Kingdom".


Translate this page


Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Software


Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Site search Web search