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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleAuld Robin Grey
Roud No.2652
Collected FromKeylock Family
LocationLatton
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 420
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 13th November 1915, p 2, Part 7, No. 6
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

When the sheep are in the fauld and the kye at hame,
And a' the world to sleep are gane,
The waes o' my heart fa' in showers frae my e'e,
When my gudeman lies sound by me.

Verse 2

Young Jamie lo'ed me weel and socht me for his bride,
But, saving a croun, he had nothing else beside;
To mak' that croun a pund young Jamie gaed to sea,
And the croun and the pund were both for me.

Verse 3

He hadna been awa a week but only twa,
When my mother she fell sick and the cow was stolen awa;
My father brak his arm, and young Jamie at the sea,
And auld Robin Grey cam' a -courtin' me.

Verse 4

Mt father couldna work, and my mother couldna spin,
I toiled day and nicht for their bread I couldna win;
Auld Rob maintained them baith, and, wi' tears in his e'e
Aid - 'Jennie, for their sakes, oh, marry me.'

Verse 5

My heart it said nay - for I looked for Jamie back;
But the wind it blew high, and the ship it was a wrack,
His ship it was a wrack - Why didna Jamie dee?
Or why do I live to say - 'Wae's me.'

Verse 6

My father argued sair, my mother didna speak,
But she lookit in my face till my heart was like to break;
So they gied him my hand - my heart was in the sea,
And auld Robin Grey was gudeman to me.

Verse 7

I hadna been a wife a wek, but only four,
When mournful as I sat on a stane at the door,
I saw my Jamie's wraith, but I couldna think it he,
Till he said - 'I'm come hame to marry thee.'

Verse 8

Ah! sair, sair did we greet, and mickle did we say,
We took but ae kiss and we tore ourselves awa';
I wish I was dead, but I'm nae likely to dee,
And why was I born to say - 'Wae's me.'

Verse 9

I gang like a ghaist, and I care na to spin,
I daurna think on Jamie for that wad be a sin,
But I'll do my best a gude wife to be,
For auld Robin Grey is kind to me.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: Auld Robin Grey was written in 1771 by Lady Ann Bernard whose husband was librarian to George III. It was printed on the ballad sheet and sung by the more intelligent of the rustics. The following version is not identical with that in some collections, the chief difference being in the last line of each stanza, which is shorter. I copied it from an old broadside which I found at Latton, where the piece was sung by the Keylock family.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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