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LADY ELIZABETH WARDLAW (1677-1727)

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 323 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LADY ELIZABETH WARDLAW (1677-1727), reputed author of Hardyknute, second daughter of Sir Charles Halket, was born in April 1677. She married in 1696 Sir Henry Wardlaw, Bart., of Pitreavie. The ballad of Hardyknute, published in 1719 as an old poem, was supposed to have been discovered by her in a vault at Dunfermline, but no MS. was ever produced; and in the 1767 edition of Percy's Reliques the poem was ascribed to her. The beautiful ballad of Sir Patrick Spens (F. J. Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, ii. 17) has been also asserted to be her work, one of the supporters of the theory being Robert Chambers (Remarks on Scottish Ballads, 1859). The level of accomplishment in Hardyknute, however, gives no reason for supposing that Lady Wardlaw was capable of producing Sir Patrick Spens. See Norval Clyne, The Romantic Scottish Ballads and the Lady Wardlaw Heresy (1859), and J. H. Watkins, Early Scottish Ballads (Glasgow, 1867).
End of Article: LADY ELIZABETH WARDLAW (1677-1727)
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