The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border

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A copy of The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border in the National Museum of Scotland.


The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border is a collection of Border ballads compiled by Walter Scott, first published in three volumes in 1802 and 1803. It is not to be confused with his long poem, The Lay of the Last Minstrel.

Volume I[1] and Volume II[2] are available as e-texts.

The three volumes include such well-known ballads as

  • "A Lyke-Wake Dirge" (version beginning "This ae nighte, this ae nighte,/ Every nighte and alle")
  • "The Twa Corbies" ("As I was Walking all alane,/ I heard twa corbies making a mane")
  • "Thomas Rymer" ("True Thomas lay on Huntlie bank;/ A ferlie he spièd wi' his e'e")
  • "Lord Randal" ("'O where hae ye been, Lord Randal, my son?/ O where hae ye been, my handsome young man?'")
  • "The Demon Lover" ("'O where have you been, my long, long love,/ This long seven years and more?'")
  • "Helen of Kirkconnel" ("I wish I were where Helen lies!")

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