I'm glad you pointed to the verb soundin'. I agree, it is just splendid and the image revolves around it. The earl won't be doing that any time soon, because he's dead.
I also agree, "Sir Patrick Spens" has better poetry than I allowed for in my point-making. But ballads tend to, I think. The whole sailing story reminds me of "The House Carpenter" in particular, in theme and in some specific detail.
I also like your remark that my stout soldier is "struggling to be fierce in a martial culture."