This book is a scholarly, yet handy, successor to the Quiller-Couch version of 1910. The editor has made a number of changes, based on seeking the integrity of the ballads, both song and verse lyrics. In the original edition, a number of versions of some of the ballads were collated to get a best version or approximation of the original (Scott was the master teacher of the former editor, and he advocated this at the time, although this editor prefers the rawer versions that come directly from the singers). This edition includes a number of melodies that go with the ancient ballad lyrics, showing the ballad in its true form as song, not a literary poem only. The lyrics are printed (as poems) underneath the music, where it exists--some are a rough approximation, but all are interesting (and fun to sing and play). Most of the ballads from the original edition have been retained, but some that were judged by the editors to be more like dialogues, carols, or sea shanties, and were omitted, as stated in the introduction. The editor has included a few literary ballads for comparison and study''s sake. The language is marvellously antique, but heavily annotated at the foot of each page, and, for the most part, readily understandable anyway (if stymied, one might try the Oxford English Dictionary in one of its more complete forms). The ballads are often grouped by subject. They are frequently bloody, as most ballads are, and often sad, but they give one the true flavour and taste of folk songs and stories that have clearly been passed down for generations, and most, for centuries.