Sir Patrick Spens

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Thomas Percy (1729—1811) writer and Church of Ireland bishop of Dromore

Reliques of Ancient English Poetry

Sir Walter Scott (1771—1832) poet and novelist


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An early Scottish ballad, included in Percy's Reliques. The subject is the dispatch of Sir Patrick to sea, on a mission for the king, in winter; his foreboding of disaster; and his destruction with his ship's company. Sir W. Scott, in his version, makes the object of the expedition the bringing to Scotland of the Maid of Norway (1283–90), who died on her voyage to marry Edward, prince of Wales.

Subjects: Literature.

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