The Library


An extensive bibliography of versions, anthologies, literary criticism, afterlife poetry and prose, art and musical renditions all pertaining to the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens.



(1765) Bishop Thomas Percy, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. Ex-Classics; PDF File
London: Dent and Dutton, 1910. Internet Archive; OpenLibrary
London: G. Bell and Sons, 1900. GoogleBooks
Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1866. GoogleBooks

(1769) David Herd, Ancient and Modern Songs, Heroic Ballads, &c.
(Glasgow: Kerr & Richardson, 1869).; GoogleBooks

(1794) J. Ritson, A Collection of Scottish Songs
(London: J. Johnson and J. Egerton, 1794).

(1787-1803) John Johnson. The Scots Musical Museum. (Edinburgh, Blackwood 1853). Version printed in The Scots Musical Museum; James Johnson first publishes the music [Bronson 1976].

(1802) Sir Walter Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Vol. 1. Kelso: (Printed By James Ballantyne, For T.Cadell Jun. And W. Davies, Strand, London; And Sold by Manners and Miller, and A. Constable, Edinburgh, 1802). Project Gutenberg
The Walter Scott Digital Library, Edinburgh University Library

(circa 1818) Rev. Robert Scott, The Grenbuchat Ballads. Ed. David Buchan and James Moreira. (University Press of Mississippi, 2007). GoogleBooks

(1858) Aytoun, William Edmond Stoune, Ed. The Ballads of Scotland. Vol. I (II). (Williams Blackwood and Sons. Edinburgh, 1858).

(1864) William Allingham, The Ballad Book. (Freeeport, NY: Books For the Libraries Press [1864]), 1969. p. 376. GoogleBooks

(1882-98) Francis James Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1882-98). InternetArchive; GoogleBooks

(1902) Thomas Henderson, Sir Walter Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. (London: William Blackwood & Sons, 1902). GoogleBooks

(1956) Ewan MacColl, English and Scottish Popular Ballads; Child Ballads (audio) Preview: Amazon

(1957) Hermes Nye, Early English Ballads from the Percy and Child Collections (audio) Preview: iTunes, Smithsonian Folkways

(1963) J.B. Priestley and Josephine Spear, Adventures in English Literature. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1963), pp. 62-63.

(1970) Freguson, Margaret, Mary Jo Salter, and Jon Stallworthy, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th Ed. (London: W.W. Norton, 2005).

(2000) Crawford, Rupert and Mick Imlah, eds. The New Penguin Book of Scottish Verse. (London: Penguin, 2000).


(1854) J. Allingham, ‘Signs of Storm’, Notes and Queries, Nov. 11, 1854, (London: Bell & Daldy, 1854), pp. 383-384.

(1860) ‘Scotish Ballad Controversy’, Notes and Queries, 2nd S. IX Feb. 18th (London: Bell & Daldy, 1860), p. 118.

(1860) ‘Replies: Scotish Ballad Controversy’, Notes and Queries, July–December (London: Bell & Daldy, 1860), pp. 30-33.

(1864) ‘Sir Patrick Spens’, Notes and Queries, 2nd S.X. Sept. 22 (London: Bell & Daldy, 1860), p. 237.

(1864) ‘Quotation’, Notes and Queries, 3rd S. VI. Sept. 10 (London: Bell & Daldy, 1864), p. 210.

(1872) ‘Who Was Sir John Russell?–Earldom of Menteith, 1231-1298’, Notes and Queries, 4th S. X, August 10 (London: Bell & Daldy, 1872), p. 101.

(1887) ‘Parody and Burlesque’, Notes and Queries, 7th S. IV. July 30 (London: Bell & Daldy, 1887), pp. 97, 98.

(1897) ‘Hardyknute’, Notes and Queries, 8th S. XI. Jan. 16 (London: Bell & Daldy, 1897), p. 55. GoogleBooks

(1899) Robert Boucher Jr., ‘Sir Patrick Spens’, The Kingdom of Fife: It’s Ballads and Legends. (Dundee: Lohn Leng & Co., 1899), pp. 13-20. GoogleBooks

(1883) Gerald Massey, The Natural Genesis Vol. I. (London: Williams and Norgate, 1883). pp. 41-42. GoogleBooks

(1914) Charles Wharton Stork, ‘The Influence of the Popular Ballad on Wordsworth and Coleridge’, PMLA, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Modern Language Association: 1914), pp. 299-326. JSTOR

(1932) LaFourcade, Georges, Swinburne: A Literary Biography. (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1932), p. 29.

(1937) John Powell, ‘In the Lowlands Low’, Southern Folklore Quarterly Vol. 1, No. 1, March 1937. (University of Florida, 1937).

(1937) Edwin Capers Kirkland, ‘”Sir Patrick Spens” Found in Tennessee’, Southern Folklore Quarterly Vol. 1, No. 4, December 1937. (University of Florida, 1937).

(1957) Keith Stewart, ‘The Ballad and the “Genres” in the Eighteenth Century’, ELH Vol. 24, No. 2 (John Hopkins University Press, Jun., 1957). pp.120-137. JSTOR

(1963) J.B. Priestly and Josephine Spear, ‘Early English and Scottish Ballads,’ Adventures In English Literature. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1963).

(1963) Ezekiel Mphahlele, ‘African Literature and Universities: A Report on Two Conferences to Discuss African Literature and the University Curriculum’ Transition, No. 10 (Indiana University Press, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute: Sep., 1963), pp. 16-18. JSTOR

(1964) M. Briskin, ‘A New Approach to Old Heroes’ The English Journal, Vol. 53, No. 5 ( May, 1964), p. 359. JSTOR

(1965) Willa Muir, Living With Ballads, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), pp. 188-233.

(1966) Albert B. Friedman, ‘XI: Accidents And Disasters’, The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English-speaking World, (New York: The Viking Press, 1966 [1955]), pp. 297-301.

(1968) Fowler, David C. A Literary History of the Popular Ballad. (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1968), pp. 239-258.

(1970) Matchett, William H. ‘The Integrity of ‘Sir Patrick Spence.’ Modern Philology, Vol. 68, No. 1. (The University of Chicago Press: 1970), pp. 25-31. JSTOR

(1971) Ronald J. Goba, ‘Marshall McLuhan and ‘Sir Patrick Spens’, The English Journal, Vol. 60, No. 1 (National Council of Teachers of English: January 1971), pp. 62-64. JSTOR

(1971) McNeil, Norman L., ‘Origins of ‘Sir Patrick Spens,’ InHunters & Healers: Folklore Types & Topics, ed. Wilson M.Hudson, (Austin: Encino [for the Texas Folklore Society, 35], 1971) p. 171.

(1972) R.L.H. Albright, ‘The Fate of Sir Patrick Spens: The Ballad as a Strategy for Living,’ Keystone Folklore Quarterly 17, (Pittsburgh: Point Park College, 1972), pp. 19-26.

(1979) Alan Norman Bold, The Ballad (London: Routledge, 1979), p. 46.

(1979) Richard Moore, ‘Sir Patrick Spens,’ The Explicator Vol. 37 No 3. Spring 1979.

(1982) Richard Moore, ‘Seven Types of Accuracy.’ The Iowa Review, Vol. 13, No. 3/4. (University of Iowa:1982), pp. 152-163. JSTOR

(1980) William Ryan, ‘Formula and Tragic Irony in ‘Sir Patrick Spens.’ Southern Folklore Quarterly 44 (University of Iowa, 2002), pp. 73-83.

(1981) W.F.H. Nicolaisen, ‘Theodore Fontane’s ‘Sir Patrick Spens.’ Lore and Language Vol. 3 Nos. 4/5, January/July 1981. [Special Issue: Procedings of the 10th Symposium on European Ballad Research. Edinburgh, 1979.] (The Center for English Cultural Tradition and Language, Univ. of Sheffield, 1981). ISSN #0307-7144

(1990) Susan Stewart, ‘Scandals of the Ballad,’ Representations, No. 32 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 134-156. JSTOR

(1997) Edgar A. Dryden, ‘John Marr and Other Sailors: Poetry as Private Utterance’, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 52, No. 3. (University of California Press: Dec., 1997), pp. 326-349. JSTOR

(2000) Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why. (New York: Scribner, 2000) pp. 98-107. GoogleBooks

(2001) Fraser Bell, ‘The Song of 1916,’ Queen’s Quarterly 108.4 (Dec 22, 2001), pp. 521-529.

(2001) William De Witt Snodgrass, De/Compositions. (University of Michigan: Graywolf Press, 2001). pp. 264-267.

(2002) William Bowman Piper, ‘The Composition of ‘Sir Patrick Spence,’ Philological Quarterly, Vol. 81, 2002. Questia

(2004) Roger W. Sinnott, ‘Seeking Thin Crescent Moons’, Sky & Telescope 107.2 (Feb 2004), pp. 102-5.

(2006) Mary Ellen Brown, ‘Placed, Replaced, or Misplaced?: The Ballads’ Progress,’ The Eighteenth Century, Volume 47, Number 2, Summer 2006, pp. 115-129. Project MUSE

(2009) Richard King, ‘The Poets at His Feet: The Afterlife of ‘Sir Patrick Spens’. Scottish Literary Review, Vol. 1 No. 2 (Association for Scottish Literary Studies). PDF file

POETRY/PROSE (back to top)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1798) ‘The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere’. Internet Archive;; GoogleBooks

(ca1802) ‘Dejection: An Ode’. Internet Archive; GoogleBooks; PoemHunter

(2001) ‘The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’. J.C.C Mays, ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), pp. 695-699.

(1912) ‘The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Vol. I. ed. Ernest Hartley Coleridge, (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1912), p. 363. Internet Archive

(2000) Fiona Stafford, ‘The Grand Old Ballad in Coleridge’s “Dejection”. Starting Lines in Scottish, Irish, and English Poetry: from Burns to Heany’. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). pp. 91-141.

(1998) R.A. Benthall, ‘New Moons, Old Ballads, and Prophetic Dialogues in Coleridge’s “Dejection: An Ode”‘. Studies in Romanticism, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Boston University: Winter, 1998), pp. 591-614. JSTOR

(1927) John Livingston Lowes, The Road to Xanadu: A Study in the Ways of the Imagination. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1927), pp. 172-333.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1824 posthumous) ‘The Triumph of Life’

(1933) The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley.Thomas Hutchinson, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933), pp. 503-516. GoogleBooks

(1965) Donald H. Reiman, Shelley’s ‘The Triumph of Life’: A Critical Study (Urbana, University of Illinois Press: 1965), p. 29. JSTOR

(1966) Joseph Raben, ‘Coleridge as The Prototype of The Poet in Shelley’s Alastor.’ The Review of English Studies. Vol. 17, No. 67 (1966), p. 291. Oxford Journals

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(1839) ‘The Wreck of Hesperus’. Poetry-Online;; GoogleBooks;

(1984) Martin B. Ostrofsku, ‘Longfellow’s ‘The Wreck of Hesperus’: A Folkloric Analysis’. Kentucky Folklore Record. (1984).

(2004) Charles C. Calhoun, Longfellow: a rediscovered life. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004). pp. 138-139.

(1886) Samuel Longfellow, The Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with excerpts from his journal and correspondence. Vol I of II. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1891 [1886]). pp. 297, 353-5.

David MacBeth Moir

(1852) David MacBeth Moir, ‘The Old Seaport,’ The Poetical Works of David MacBeth Moir. Thomas Aird, ed. Vol. II. (W. Blackwood and Sons, 1852), pp. 209-213. GoogleBooks

Georges Swinburne LaFourcade

(1932) Georges Swinburne LaFourcade, Swinburne: A Literary Biography. (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1932.) p. 29.

Herman Melville

(1850) White Jacket. InternetArchive; GoogleBooks; Online-Literature; OpenLibrary

(1860-1885) ‘The Admiral of the White’. GoogleBooks

(1888) ‘The Haglets’. OpenLibrary; GoogleBooks

(1924) Billy Budd, Sailor (with ballad ‘Billy in the Darbies’) [published posthumously]. OpenLibrary; GoogleBooks;

(1947) Collected Poems of Herman Melville. Howard P. Vincent, ed.(Chicago: Packard and Company, 1947).

(1964) Selected Poems of Herman Melville. Hennig Cohen, ed. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1964).

(1988) Merton M. Sealts, Jr., Melville’s Reading Revised and enlarged edition. (University of South Carolina Press: 1988) [1948]. p. 108.

(2003) Robert D. Madison, ‘Mellville’s Haglets’, Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 5.2 (Oct. 2003) pp. 79-83.

(1958) William Bysshe Stein, ‘The Old Man and the Triple Goddess: Melville’s ‘The Haglets’, ELH, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Mar., 1958, Johns Hopkins University Press), pp. 43-59. JSTOR

(1964) Agnes Dicken Cannon ‘Melville’s Use of Sea Ballads and Songs,’ Western Folklore, Vol. 23, No. 1, Western States Folklore Society.(Jan., 1964), pp. 1-16. JSTOR

Audrey De Vere

(1884) Audrey De Vere, ‘Robert Bruces’s Heart; or, The Last of the Crusaders’ [1884]
The Poetical Works of Aubrey De Vere. Vol. VI. (Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1884)

Mediaeval Records and Sonnets, (Macmillan & Co., 1893). GoogleBooks

Grace Greenwood,

(1885) Grace Greenwood,Stories from Famous Ballads; For Children. (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1885), pp. 109-117. GoogleBooks

Robert Louis Stevenson

(1887) ‘The Unfathomable Sea’

(1896) Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes. (New York: Macmillian and Co.,1896). p. 90. GoogleBooks

(1895) Robert Louis Stevenson, Ballads and Other Poems of Robert Louis Stevenson. (New York: Charles Schribner’s Sons, 1895). GoogleBooks

Kate Douglas Wiggin

(1897) Kate Douglas Wiggin,Penelope’s Progress: being such extracts from the commonplace book of Penelope Hamilton as relate to her experiences in Scotland. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1898 [1897]), pp. 168-181. GoogleBooks; OpenLibrary; InternetArchive

Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh

(1923) Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh, ‘A Literature Lesson. Sir Patrick Spens In the Eighteenth Century Manner,’ in Laughter from a Cloud, foreword by Hilary Raleigh (London: Constable, 1923), pp. 207-08. PoemHunter;

Univ.of Toronto

Robert Frost

(1956) Reginald L. Cook, ‘Frost on Frost: The Making of Poems.’ American Literature, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Duke University Press: 1956), pp. 62-72. JSTOR

(2004) Lesley Lee Francis. Robert Frost: An Adventure In Poetry, 1900-1918. (Transaction Publishers, 2004), pp. 84-98.

A.T. Quiller-Couch

(1906) A.T. Quiller-Couch, ‘New Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens.’ From a Cornish Widow. (New York: E.F. Dutton and Company, 1906), pp. 62-70. GoogleBooks

Louis MacNiece

(1979) Louis MacNiece,’The North Sea [1948],’ The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice. E.R. Dodds, ed. (London: Faber and Faber, 1979), pp. 271-273.

(1967) Louis MacNiece, ‘Canto XVIII [1966]’ The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice. E.R. Dodds, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 402-406.

Edwin Muir

(1960) Edwin Muir, ‘Complaint of the Dying Peasantry,’ Collected Poems. (London: Faber and Faber, 1963 [1960]). p. 1. GoogleBooks

Elizabeth Huberman, The Poetry of Edwin Muir: the Field of Good and Ill. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971). p. 75.

Tom Clark

(1995) Tom Clark, ‘Excalibur.’ Like Real People. (Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, 1995), p. 153.

William Fuller

(2000) William Fuller, ‘What Does It Matter Now’ Chicago Review 46.1 (Wntr 2000): 101. Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale. University of St. Andrews.

William Hershaw

(2006) William Hershaw, ‘Sir Patrick Spens,’ Fifty Fife Sonnets Coarse and Fine: Parochial Petrarchan Poems for Pleasure and Perusal. (Kirkcaldy, Scotland: Akros Publications, 2006), p. 7.

MUSIC (back to top)

Edward Francis Rimbault,

Musical Illustrations of Bishop Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1850)

Robert Pearsall, in 10 parts, sung by the Bach Choir (1892)

G.J. Bennet, edited and arranged for 8 voices (1876)

‘A ‘Ladies’ Night’ at the Bristol Madrigal Society,’ The Musical Times, Vol. 46, No. 744 ( Musical Times Publications Ltd.: Feb. 1, 1905), pp. 97-99. JSTOR

‘Festival Novelties,’ The Musical Times, Vol. 48, No. 774 (Aug. 1, 1907), pp. 530-532. (Musical Times Publications Ltd.). JSTOR

W.A. Barratt, a Ballad for Baritone Solo, Chorus, and Orchestra’ (1907). Musical Times

Thea Musgrave, for tenor and guitar (traditional) (1961)

The Musical Times, 1963

Buffy Sainte Marie on Life Wheel Spin and Spin (1966) PLAY

Nic Jones on Ballads and Songs (1970) PLAY

Fairport Convention‘s folk rock version on Full House (1971) PLAY

Michael Cooney on Still Cooney After All These Years (1979)

David Francis Urrows. “Sea Ballads and songs in Whalsay, Shetland, and the indigenous singing style”, Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Symposium on Traditional Music of the Sea, Mystic, CT, 1983.

Geoff Kauffman on Fair Stood the Wind (1987) PLAY

Jackie Leven on Fairytales for Hardmen (1997) PREVIEW

Martin Carthy on Signs of Life (1998) PREVIEW

Rick Fielding on This One’s the Dreamer (1999)

June Tabor on An Echo of Hooves (2003) PLAY

John Langstaff and Martin Best on Nottamun Town: British and American Folksongs and Ballads(2003) PREVIEW

Robin Williamson on The Iron Stone (2006) PREVIEW

Gordon Bok on In Concert (2006) PREVIEW

Kris Drever on Black Water (2006) PREVIEW

John Roberts on Sea Fever (2007) PREVIEW

‘Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music’.

ART (back to top)

James Archer, ‘The Legend of Sir Patrick Spens,’ Auckland Art Gallery

Anne Ryan, American 1889-1954, ‘Now, Ever Awake My Master Dear, I Fear a Deadly Storm,’ Indianapolis Museum of Art. VIEW

Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal, ‘The Ladies’ Lament from the Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens,’ 1856. Jan Marsh, The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal. (London: Quartet Books, 1989). pp. 179-183.

Blockprint by Gwen Raverat

Black and White image:

MISCELLANEOUS (back to top)

Reference by a film critic: John Simon, ‘Year of the Dragon,’ National Review Sept. 20, 1985.

Margaret Atwood, ‘The ballad of the LongPen: Margaret Atwood tries out her remote book-signing invention in Scotland,’ The Saturday Guardian Sept. 30th, 2006.

Grant, Williams and David D. Murison. The Scottish National Dictionary. Vol. VIII. Edinburgh, The Scottish National Dictionary Association, Ltd. 1971.

spencie n. Also spency, spensi(e), -y. The stormy petrel, Thalassidroma pelagica (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 210, spensie, 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 211, spency, 1914 Angus Gl., spensi, Sh. 1971). Also in Eng. dial. [ˈspɛnsi] *Sh. 1808 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 725: It [the Stormy Petrel] breeds in Fair Isle, Foulah, and some of the other northern islands; and is there known by the various appellations of Alamouty, Mytie, and Spensy. [Orig. obscure.]

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