August 26, 1841
FR opens a letter to her friend by expressing her love for his wife and their child. She goes on to say that she is sending copies of "The Child's Dream" which she has been printing for the children where she is staying.
FR had heard the children in the streets of Scarborough singing "The Child's Dream," but with imperfect rhymes and corrupted parts. The ballad was written by Henry Kirke White who as a young man converted from deism to Christianity. He died while still young, but left a large body of poetry and hymns. FR would have considered his work good for the children to sing, and therefore printed a corrected version for them.
FR interest in ballads probably began when she was a child herself, reading The Poems of Ossian by James Macpherson. These supposed translations of third century Irish poems, full of heroes and flowing-haired maidens probably awakened a love of stories told in rhyme.
FR herself wrote a number of ballads. Romantic topics attracted her, such as Robin Hood and King Arthur, but she also put into ballad form local histories from places she visited or lived. Several of her ballads appear in the book Original Ballads, by Living Authors edited by her friend the Rev. Henry Thompson. "St. Patrick's Staff" is one of hers. She signed her work "F. R."