Poem Summary Line 1 The ballad begins by introducing the main characters.
Share via Email The Isle of Islay. The ballad is an evergreen form, originally sung, and, if the name is to be believed, accompanied by dancing. It twines its indestructible way through written literature and still attracts contemporary poets and musicians.
There are dozens of magnificent old ballads that continue to be set and sung, and for whose survival we owe much to the first great collectors like Allan Ramsay, Thomas Percy and FW Child. However, the other versions are often lively and well worth comparing. You can read a few of them here.
First recorded in the 18th century, the ballad is said to describe an incident, or combination of incidents, dating from the 13th. Sir Patrick himselfprobably an invention, emerges as a fallible, generous sort of character.
His words heighten the tension, bringing in meteorological evidence to justify the fears of the fatalistic captain. After the ominous seventh stanza, you might expect a slow build-up to the shipwreck. This tragedy is a collective one, and, unusually for the ballad, "Sir Patrick Spens" pays attention to the many bit-players — those hopelessly decorative nobles and the ladies waiting at home.
Many little details illustrate material wealth — the cork-heeled shoes, the gold combs. Is there a hint that that these lords and ladies have got what they deserved? Perhaps, but, having displayed a certain irony, the narrator quickly raises the pitch to pathos and sorrow.
There is an almost keening tone in the two stanzas beginning "O lang, lang …" Ballads are human stories writ large.
The past they inhabit is a strange and shadowy country, haunted by violence and death. They sing in ancient measures, and stir primitive emotions. This one seems also to possess a strange modernity. It may partly be due to the absence of the traditional refrain, but it also lies in the shorthand style, the brisk parade of revealing images, the telling shifts of viewpoint and angle.
As for the plotline, it manages to combine inevitability with suspense, realism with parable. Kings, or politicians, should trust the experts: To be reminded that fine shoes and fancy hats are no insulation when seas are rough is always welcome. Especially to the down-at-heel troubadours like Anon.Sir Patrick Spens also climbs the mast of the ship in the middle of a storm to seek land.
A large amount of courage is therefore used. In the ballad, there is a . The events covered in "Sir Patrick Spens" were of crucial importance in the Scottish politics of the time. In , Scotland was an independent kingdom but under threat from England, whose King, Edward I, was keen to conquer Scotland to keep it under control and .
The ballad, “Sir Patrick Spens”, portrays various kinds of power involving the forces of nature, the king, the knight and the captain Sir Patrick Spens.
In the first stanza the audience meets the powerful king, who “sits in Dumferling town,/Drinking the . “Sir Patrick Spens” is a well-known and popular ballad of unknown origin. The poem has many versions, with considerable variation in length and detail, as indicated in Francis James Child’s.
"Sir Patrick Spens" is one of the most popular of the Child Ballads (No. 58) (Roud 41), and is of Scottish origin. It is a maritime ballad about a disaster at sea. ‘Sir Patrick Spens’ is, for the most part, an archetypal early ballad being composed in quatrains, with the typical alternating four-stress and three-stress lines and the second and fourth line of each stanza rhyming.