Sir Patrick Spens (Robert Lucas Pearsall)

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  • (Posted 2023-11-27)  CPDL #77611:     
Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-11-27).   Score information: Letter, 16 pages, 762 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2019-12-25)  CPDL #56415:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2019-12-25).   Score information: A4, 14 pages, 137 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: From the Novello edition c.1875. There are some minor textual differences compared with #24813, and more extensive differences in the music. This edition is SATTB.SATTB.
  • (Posted 2011-10-27)  CPDL #24813:        (Sibelius 6)
Editor: Ian Haslam (submitted 2011-10-27).   Score information: A4, 10 pages, 82 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: This edition is SATB.SATB, with T & B divisi in both choirs. As edited for The Command Concert, 1938.

General Information

Title: Sir Patrick Spens
Composer: Robert Lucas Pearsall

Number of voices: 10vv   Voicing: SATTB.SATTB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1878 in Novello's Part-Song Book (2nd series), Vol. 11, no. 333
    2nd published: 1938

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

The King sits in Dunfermline town,
Drinking the blood-red wine.
"O! where shall I get a captain bold
To sail this new ship of mine?"

Then up and spake an eldern knight,
Sat at the King's right knee:
"Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor
That ever sail'd the sea."

The King has written a broad letter,
And seal'd it with his hand,
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
who was walking on the strand.

"To Noraway, to Noraway
To Noraway o'er the foam.
The Princess fair of Noraway,
'Tis thou must bring her home."

"O! who is it has done this deed,
And told the King of me?
To send us out at this time of the year,
To sail upon the sea!"

They had not sail'd a league,a league,
A league but barely three,
When the sky grew dark, and the wind blew loud,
And gurly grew the sea.

The anchors break, the top masts lap,
'Twas such a deadly storm.
And the waves come o'er the broken ship,
Till all her sides were torn.

The ladies wrang their fingers white,
The maidens tore their hair;
All for the sake of their true loves,
For them they'll see no more.

O! forty miles from Aberdeen
'Tis fifty fathom deep.
And there lies brave Sir Patrick Spens,
With his comrades at his feet.