From Child, Vol. 6, Border Minstrelsy
Marie Hamilton's to the kirk gane,|
Wi ribbons in her hair;
The king thought mair o Marie Hamilton,
Than ony that were there.
2. Marie Hamilton's to the kirk gane,
3. Marie Hamilton's to the kirk gane,
4. She hadna been about the king's court
5. She hadna been about the king's court
6. The king is to the Abbey gane,
7. O she has rowd it in her apron,
8. Word is to the kitchen gane,
9. Scarcely had she lain down again,
10. "O no, O no, my noble queen!
11. "Get up, get up, Marie Hamilton,
12. O slowly, slowly raise she up,
13. The queen was clad in scarlet,|
Her merry maids all in green;
And every town that they cam to,
They took Marie for the queen.
14. "Ride hooly, hooly, gentlemen,
15. But little wist Marie Hamilton,
16. "Why weep ye so, ye burgess-wives,
17. When she gaed up the Tolbooth stairs,
18. When she cam to the Netherbow Port,
19. "Yestreen the queen had four Maries,
20. "O, often have I dressd my queen,
21. "Often have I dressd my queen,
22. "I charge ye all, ye mariners,
23. "I charge ye all, ye mariners,
24. "For if my father and mother got wit,
25. "O little did my mother ken,
(1) The ballad has almost the largest number of variants on record. This is a proof of antiquity. Variants so many, differing in all sorts of points, could not have arisen between 1719, and the age of Burns, who quotes the poem.
(2) This is especially improbable, because, in 1719, the old vein of ballad poetry had run dry, popular song had chosen other forms, and no literary imitator could have written Mary Hamilton in 1719.
(3) There is no example of a popular ballad in which a contemporary event, interesting just because it is contemporary, is thrown back into a remote age.
(4) The name, Mary Hamilton, is often NOT given to the heroine in variants of the ballad. She is of several names and ranks in the variants.
(5) As Mr. Child himself remarked, the "pottinger" of the real story of Queen Mary's time occurs in one variant. There was no "pottinger" in the Russian affair.
All these arguments, to which others might be added, seem fatal to the late date and modern origin of the ballad, and Mr. Child's own faith in the hypothesis was shaken, if not overthrown. - From "A Collection of Ballads" by Andrew Lang.
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