Sir Patrick Spens, The Ballad

 Essay on Sir Tanker Spens, The Ballad

Laura Dickens

A Critical Examination of Sir Patrick Spens

‘Sir Patrick Spens' is, for the most part, an archetypal early ballad being constructed in chanson, with the typical alternating four-stress and three-stress lines and the second and fourth line of each stanza rhyming. The poem is set in medias res, telling certainly of any tragedy, quite possibly based on two voyages inside the thirteenth-century on what Scottish noblemen transported beaufitul princesses to royal marriages, with many members of Alexander III's daughter Margaret's escort too much water on the trip home. The theme of disaster and possessing a plot based on local background are both elements often noticed in the ballad form. Yet , the poem does as well defy qualities of the classic ballad; it provides a third person narrative tone that is not actually impartial, which usually contradicts the typically impersonal, distanced liaison commonly seen in this genre of poems. There is an example of a satirical view of the higher classes, mocking the king's decision to not keep back the journey and also mocking the fact that the nobles boarded the deliver, for if they happen to have not, then a tragedy may have been avoided. The dark humour seen in the personification of their hats that ‘swam aboon'(line 32) exemplifies a view not particularly sympathetic while using drowning patients, which in conjunction with the idea that ‘the play were played'(line 31) suggests the inevitability this would be the condition, clearly symbols of a mockery of the decisions made by the bigger classes. Early on ballads often contain solid regional vernacular as they were originally orally transmitted. This specific dialect shows the reader a very good idea of the origins from the ballad and lends a sense of authenticity for the text, reaffirming the typicality of this particular ballad, becoming a further reference to it's fundamentals in regional history. The dialect can also be used as a instrument to highlight sections of the ballad, for example , if it is used to identify...