Sir Patrick Spens
About the Song
This traditional Scottish ballad is Child Ballad $58. Lyrics in original Scottish dialect:
The king sits in Dunfermline toune
drinking the blude reid wine,
"O whar can I get skeely skipper,
To sail this ship o' mine?"
Up & spak an eldern knicht,
Sat at the kings richt kne:
"Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor
That sails upon the se."
The king has written a braid letter,
And signed it wi his hand,
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
Was walking on the strand.
To Noroway! to Noroway!
to Noroway oer the faem!
The king's daughter to Noroway
'Tis thou maun bring her hame.
The first line that Sir Patrick red,
A loud lauch lauched he;
The next line that Sir Patrick red,
A teir blinded his ee.
"O wha is this has don this deid,
This ill deid don to me,
To send me out this time o' yeir,
To sail upon the se!
"Mak haste, mak haste, my mirry men
Our guid ship sails the morne":
"O say na sae, my master deir,
I feir a deadlie storme.
"Yestreen I saw the new moone,
Wi the auld moone in her arme,
And I feir, I feir, my master deir,
That we will cum to harme."
O loth, o loth,
The Scots lords were
To weet their cork-heild schoone;
Bot lang owre a' the play wer playd,
Thair hats they swam aboone.
O lang, lang may the ladies sit,
Wi' their fans into their hand
Or ere they see Sir Patrick Spens
Come sailing to the strand.
O lang, lang may the ladies stand,
Wi thair gold kems in their hair,
Waiting for thair ain deir lords,
For they'll se thame na mair.
Haf owre, haf owre to Aberdour,
Tis fiftie fathom deip,
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spens,
The Scots lords at his feit.
Drinking a blood red wine,
"Where can I get a good sea captain
To sail this ship of mine?"
Then up there spoke a bonny boy
Sitting at the King's right knee,
"Sir Patrick Spens is the very best seaman
That ever sailed the sea."
The King has written a broad letter
And sealed it up with his own right hand,
Sending word to Sir Patrick Spens
To come at his command.
An enemy then this must be
Who told a lie about me,
For I never was a good seaman
Nor ever do intend to be.
'Last night I saw the new moon
With the old moon in her arm,
A sign, a sign since we were born
There'll be a deadly storm.
They had not sailed upon the sea
A day, but barely three,
When loud and boisterous grew the winds
And stormy grew the sea.
Then up there came a mermaiden
A comb and glass in her hand,
"Here's a health to you my merry young men,
For you'll not see dry land!"
Oh, long may my lady look
With a lantern in her hand
Before she sees my bonny ship
Sailing homewards to dry land.
40 miles off Aberdeen
The water's 50 fathoms deep
There lies good Sir Patrick Spens
With the Scots lords at his feet.