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Barthram's Dirge

(in Sir Walter Scott's Border Minstrelsy). Sir Noel Paton, in a private letter, says: “The subject of this dirge was communicated to Sir Walter as a genuine fragment of the ancient Border Muse by his friend Mr. Surtees, who is in reality its author. The ballad has no foundation in history; and the fair lady, her lover, and the nine brothers, are but the creation of the poet's fancy.” Sir Noel adds: “I never painted a picture of this subject, though I have often thought of doing so. The engraving which appeared in the Art Journal was executed without my concurrence from the oil sketch, still, I presume, in the collection of Mr. Pender, the late M.P., by whom it was brought to the Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy here” (at Edinburgh) November 19th, 1866.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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