“Sir James the Rose”


James the Rose (has killed a squire, and) is forced to flee. He asks his leman's help. She, under pressure, tells his pursuers of his hiding place. James is taken and killed. His leman regrets her actions

Long description

"O heard ye of Sir James the Rose ... he has killed a gallant squire An's friends are out to take him." He visits his lover, the nurse at the House of Marr. He tells her he is looking for a place to hide. Her pursuers ask if she has seen him. As they are about to leave she tells them where he is hiding. He tries to buy them off but they kill him and give his heart to his lover. In despair she drops from sight. "A traitor's end, you may depend, Can be expect'd no better."


Child has only one version of 213 ("O heard ye of Sir James the Rose") but acknowledges a different ballad: "'Sir James the Ross, A Historical Ballad' (sometimes called 'The Buchanshire Tragedy'), was composed by the youthful Michael Bruce (1767) upon the story of the popular ballad, and has perhaps enjoyed more favor with 'the general' than the original." - BS

Cross references


  • NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(50), "Tragedy of Sir James the Rose," Poet's Box (Glasgow), 1869; also RB.m.143(157), "Sir James the Ross"


  1. Child 213, "Sir James the Rose" (1 text)
  2. Bronson 213, "Sir James the Rose" (27 versions+1 in addenda, but a large fraction of these are "Sir James the Ross")
  3. DT 213, ]JAMEROS2
  4. Roud #2274
  5. BI, C213


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1781 (Pinkerton)
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber))