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Proud Norse with giant body tall,


Braid shoulders and arms strong,

Cry'd, "Where is Hardyknute sae fam'd,
And fear'd at Britain's throne:

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Norss' een like gray gosehawk's stair'd wyld,

He sigh'd wi' shame and spite;

"Disgrac'd is now my far-fam'd arm

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"That short brown shaft sae meanly trimm'd, Looks like poor Scotlands gear,


But dreadfull seems the rusty point!"

And loud he leugh in jear.

"Oft Britons blood has dimm'd its shine;

This point cut short their vaunt:"


Syne pierc'd the boaster's bearded cheek;
Nae time he took to taunt.

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Let Scots, while Scots, praise Hardyknute,
Let Norse the name ay dread,


Ay how he faught, aft how he spar'd,

Shall latest ages read.


Mirk grew the night ere Hardyknute

Now loud and chill blew th' westlin wind,

Sair beat the heavy shower,

Wan near his stately tower.


His tow'r that us'd wi' torches blaze

To shine sae far at night,

Seem'd now as black as mourning weed,

Nae marvel sair he sigh’d.



"There's nae light in my lady's bower,
There's nae light in my ha';

Nae blink shines round my FAIRLY fair,
Nor ward stands on my wa'.

What bodes it? Robert, Thomas, say;"
Nae answer fitts their dread.

"Stand back, my sons, I'le be your guide:"
But by they past with speed.



"As fast I've sped owre Scotlands faes,"
There ceas'd his brag of weir,


Sair sham'd to mind ought but his dame,

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**In an elegant publication, entitled Scottish Tragic Ballads, printed by and for J. Nichols, 1781, 8vo, may be seen a continuation of the ballad of Hardyknute, by the addition of a Second Part, which hath since been acknowledged to be his own composition by the ingenious editor: to

whom the late Sir D. Dalrymple communicated (subsequent to the account drawn up above in p. 79), extracts of a letter from Sir John Bruce, of Kinross, to Lord Binning, which plainly proves the pretended discoverer of the fragment of Hardyknute to have been Sir John Bruce himself. His words are, "To perform my promise, I send you a true copy of the manuscript I found some weeks ago in a vault at Dumferline. It is written on vellum, in a fair Gothic character, but so much defaced by time, as you'll find that the tenth part is not legible." He then gives the whole fragment as it was first published in 1719, save one or two stanzas, marking several passages as having perished by being illegible in the old MS. Hence it appears that Sir John was the author of Hardyknute, but afterwards used Mrs. Wardlaw to be the midwife of his poetry, and suppressed the story of the vault; as is well observed by the editor of the Tragic Ballads, and of Maitland's Scot. Poets, vol. i. p. cxxvii.

To this gentleman we are indebted for the use of the copy, whence the second edition was afterwards printed, as the same was prepared for the press by John Clerk, M. D., of Edinburgh, an intimate companion of Lord President Forbes.

The title of the first edition was, "Hardyknute, a fragment, Edinburgh, printed for James Watson, &c. 1719," folio, twelve pages.

Stanzas not in the first edition are Nos. 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42.

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In the present impression the orthography of Dr. Clerk's copy has been preserved, and his readings carefully followed, except in a few instances, wherein the common edition appeared preferable: viz. He had in ver. 20, but v. 56, of harm. -v. 64, every. —v. 67, lo down.—v. 83, That omitted. -v. 89, And omitted.. -v. 143, With argument but vainly strave Lang.. -V. 148, say'd. .—v. 155, incampit on the plain.· v. 156, Norse squadrons.—v. 158, regand revers.—v. 170, his strides he bent. v. 171, minstrals playand Pibrochs fine. - v. 172, stately went..—v. 182, mon. —v. 196, sharp and fatal.—v. 219,

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