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collections showed the growing interest in the
old ballad literature; and we may be sure
that Lady Wardlaw and John Pinkerton
were not the only folks who tried their wits
in imitation of the old popular style.  "I
am aware," owned Norval Clyne, the most
uncompromising upholder of the antiquity
of ballads declared to be modern, "I am
aware that one or two literary scapegraces
supplemented to a trifling extent Peter
Buchan's genuine recoveries with some
antiques of their own manufacture." In the
following year, 'twenty-nine, Mr. Robert
Chambers produced two volumes of Scottish
Ballads collected and illustrated; opening his
budget with Sir Patrick Spens. Ten years
later there appeared a new edition in six
volumes of James Johnson's Scots Musical
Museum, to which Burns had been a contributor.
It had notes and illustrations by the
late William Senhouse with additions by Mr.
David Laing, and here appeared for the first
time the heretical suggestion that the much-
praised ballad of Sir Patrick Spens was by
the same hand that wrote Hardyknute.
After another twenty years, in eighteen
'fifty-nine, when Professor Aytoun's
collections of the Ballads of Scotland appeared,
Mr. Robert Chambers published, in one of a
little series called Edinburgh Papers, which
he was then issuing, a tract on The
Romantic Scottish Ballads, their Epoch and
Authorship. Herein he argued that Lady
Wardlaw was the author not merely of two
ballads but of two dozen. This was putting
the old moon into the new moon's arms with
a vengeance

Ohon, alas! says Patrick Spens,
That bodes a deadly storm.

The storm blew straightway from a return
pamphlet by Norval Clyne on The Romantic
Scottish Ballads and the Lady Wardlaw
Heresy. But since that time the Lady
Wardlaw Heresy has spread, and the
antiquity of some of the best Scotch ballads,
if not disproved, is at least in question.
Mr. Maidment is vexed. He candidly
gives up Hardyknute to the lady, only
supposing that she may have based it on lines
of an old ballad which she had heard. But
he hints that perhaps it is not much to give
up. Sir W. Scott did, indeed, write on a
flyleaf of Ramsay's Evergreen, "Hardyknute
was the first poem I ever learntthe last
that I shall forget." But, on the other hand,
Professor Aytoun esteemed it a poor
performance and would not include it in his
charming collection of Scotch ballad poetry.
"We believe," says Mr. Maidment, "that
with the ordinary devourers of this species
of literature it was never popular. During
a long course of years we have never had
the luck to pick up a stall copy; the
Flying Stationers, the best judges of what
suited their customers, not considering it
an eligible republication." Let Hardyknute
go then; but not Sir Patrick, not
the other poems. It is very suggestive
that Mr. Maidment's new collectionthe
last and best of Scottish Ballads and Songs,
opens with Hardyknute and Sir Patrick.
Whoever wishes to know all the pros and
cons of the question, should turn to those
two little publications of ten years ago, Mr.
Robert Chambers's tract in the Edinburgh
Papers, and the reply of Norval Clyne.
Victory inclines, we think, to the side of Mr.
Chambers. But if so, what then? Is a
good ballad the less good for not being old?

There is reason to believe that we owe
many of the best ballads of the North of
Europe, ancient or modern, to the wit of
cultivated women. Of such poems in
Denmark, found in manuscripts three hundred
years old, Dr. Prior writes, in the
introduction to his translation of the Ancient
Danish Ballads, "One thing only is pretty
clear, that in great part they are the
composition of ladies. The manuscripts in
which they are preserved are almost every
one of them in female handwriting, which
alone might lead us to expect that females
had composed them." And he adds the
reasons from internal evidence, "which
justify us in admitting the conclusions to
which Oeblenschl├Ąger, N. M. Petersen, and
other Danish critics have arrived, that we
are indebted for most of them to the ladies."
So it has been, doubtless, with the northern
ballads of this country. And there is no
reason why it should dishearten us to know
that this one of the feminine gifts and
graces had not by any means died out at the
beginning of the eighteenth century. Nor
was it extinct when Lady Nairne wrote The
Land of the Leal, or when Lady Barnard
wrote Auld Robin Gray. There must be a
wrong twist in the way of study that would
lead any one to fancy this a grievance.


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issuing from the earth endowed with