381   Sir Patrick Spens

I. The Sailing

THE king sits in Dunfermline town
   Drinking the blude-red wine;
‘O whare will I get a skeely1 skipper
   To sail this new ship o’ mine?’

O up and spak an eldern knight,
   Sat at the king’s right knee;
‘Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor
   That ever sail’d the sea.’

Our king has written a braid letter,
   And seal’d 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 faem;
The king’s daughter o’ Noroway,
   ’Tis thou must bring her hame.’

The first word that Sir Patrick read
   So loud, loud laugh’d he;
The neist word that Sir Patrick read
   The tear blinded his e’e.

‘O wha is this has done this deed
   And tauld the king o’ me,
To send us out, at this time o’ year,
   To sail upon the sea?

‘Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet,
   Our ship must sail the faem;
The king’s daughter o’ Noroway,
   ’Tis we must fetch her hame.’

They hoysed their sails on Monenday morn
   Wi’ a’ the speed they may;
They hae landed in Noroway
   Upon a Wodensday.

II The Return

‘Mak ready, mak ready, my merry men a’!
   Our gude ship sails the morn.’
‘Now ever alack, my master dear,
   I fear a deadly storm.

‘I saw the new moon late yestreen
   Wi’ the auld moon in her arm;
And if we gang to sea, master,
   I fear we’ll come to harm.’

They hadna sail’d a league, a league,
   A league but barely three,
When the lift2 grew dark, and the wind blew loud,
   And gurly grew the sea.

The ankers brak, and the topmast lap,3
   It was sic a deadly storm:
And the waves cam owre the broken ship
   Till a’ her sides were torn.

‘Go fetch a web o’ the silken claith,
   Another o’ the twine,
And wap them into our ship’s side,
   And let nae the sea come in.’

They fetch’d a web o’ the silken claith,
   Another o’ the twine,
And they wapp’d them round that gude ship’s side,
   But still the sea came in.

O laith, laith were our gude Scots lords
   To wet their cork-heel’d shoon!
But lang or a’ the play was play’d
   They wat their hats aboon.

And mony was the feather bed
   That flatter’d4 on the faem;
And mony was the gude lord’s son
   That never mair cam hame.

O lang, lang may the ladies sit,
   Wi’ their fans into their hand,
Before they see Sir Patrick Spens
   Come sailing to the strand!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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