Hermit of St. Kilda, The

DESCRIPTION: "And is the Percy yet so loved By all his friends and thee? 'Then bless me, Father,' said the youth, For I thy guest am he."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1908 (GreigDuncan8)
KEYWORDS: reunion father
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GreigDuncan8 1789, "The Hermit of St. Kilda" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Roud #12994
NOTES: The current description is all of the GreigDuncan8 fragment.
This apparently refers to Stallir, "a devout Hermit of St Kilda," who built a house on the remote rocky island of Borrera a few miles from St Kilda off the north-west coast of Scotland (source: James Wilson, A Voyage Round the Coasts of Scotland and the Isles (Edinburgh, 1842 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol II., p. 57).
GreigDuncan8: "Words of ballad from Chambers' Miscellany." That's not definite enough for me to find. Is this in one of many volumes of Chambers's Miscellany of Instructive and Entertaining Tracts by William and Robert Chambers? Is it The Book of Days: a Miscellany...." by Robert Chambers? Something else? - BS
St. Kilda and Borerra are well to the west of the Hebrides, the most isolated rocks in all of Britain, but the mention of "the" Percy bothers me -- this sounds like a reference to the Percy earls of Northumberland, not some hermit. The Percies, who ruled a very large earldom very remote from London, were constantly involved in rebellion (the first one, Henry, and his son Harry Hotspur were involved in the overthrow of Richard II; the second, third, and fourth all had their hands in the Wars of the Roses, mostly on the Lancastrian side). As a result, they were always getting deposed, or at least in trouble. So a son might at any moment go into hiding.
The wild thought that came to me, the second time I read this entry, is that the father is in fact Henry Percy, First Earl of Northumberland, and the son is Harry Hotspur. Hotspur was killed in 1403 (in rebellion against Henry IV, whom he had earlier helped place on the throne), and Henry the Father lived until 1408 -- but this was a period when no one believed anyone was dead (e.g. there were constant rumors that Richard II was still alive), so maybe a rumor arose that Harry Hotspur survived the Battle of Shrewsbury and returned in disguise to his father.
Pure, wild, crazy speculation, of course. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.5
File: GrD81789

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