Morrice

(Gil or Child). The natural son of an earl and the wife of Lord Barnard or John Stewart, “brought forth in her father's house wi' mickle sin and shame,” and brought up “in the gude grene wode.” One day he sent Willie to the baron's hall, requesting his mother to come without delay to Greenwood, and by way of token sent with him a “gay mantel” made by herself. Willie went into the dinner-hall, and blurted out his message before all who were present, adding, “and there is the silken sarke your ain hand sewd the sleive.” Lord Barnard, thinking the Child to be a paramour of his wife, forbade her to leave the hall, and, riding himself to Greenwood, slew Morrice with a broadsword, and setting his head on a spear, gave it to “the meanest man in a' his train” to carry it to the lady. When the baron returned Lady Barnard said to him, “Wi' that same spear, O pierce my heart, and put me out o' pain;” but the baron replied, “Enouch of blood by me's bin spilt, sair, sair I rew the deid,” adding

Ill ay lament for Gil Morice,
As gin he were mine ain;
I'll neir forget the dreiry day
On which the youth was slain.

Beliques of Ancient English Poetry, ser. iii. 1.

Dr. Percy says this pathetic tale suggested to Home the plot of Doralas (a tragedy)

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