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Young Jemmie lov'd me well, and ask'd me for his bride,
But saving a crown he had naething else beside.
To make the crown a pound, Young Jamie went to sea,
And the crown and the pound were baeth for me.

He had na been gone a year & a day
When me faether brake his arm & our cow was stoln away.
Me mither she fell sick & Jamie at the sea
And Auld Robin Gray came courting to me.

My heart is fast high when I look'd for Jamie back
The wind it blew hard, and his ship it was a wreck,
His ship it was a wreck. Why did not Jenny dee
Oh! why was she born; to cry wo! is me!

Me faether cou'd nae work & me mither could na spin.
I toil'd day & night but their bread I could na win.
Auld Robin fed them beath & with tears in his eye
Said Jenny for their sakes, pray marry me.

My faether urg'd me sare, but me mither di na speak,
But she looked in my 'een, till my heart was like to break.
So I gaa he me hand, tho my heart was at the sea,
And Auld Robin Gray was married to me.

I had not been wife but weeks only four,
When sitting so mournfully by mine own door,
I saw my Jamie's ghost, but could na think t'was he,
Till he said love I'm come to be marry'd to thee.

Sare! sare did we weep & mickle did we say,
We took but one kiss & tore ourselves away.
I wish I were deed, but I'm nur like to dee.
O why was I spared to cry Wo! is me.

I gang like a ghost & I canno like to spin.
I dare na think of Jamie for that would be a sin.
But I'll do my best a good wife to be
And Auld Robin Gray is a good man to me.

Robin Gray (Auld). The words of this song are by lady Anne Lindsay (1750-1825), daughter of the earl of Balcarres; she was afterwards lady Barnard. The song was written in 1772 to an old Scotch tune called The Bridegroom Grat when the Sun gaed Down.

Women in History of Scots Descent, Song Writers
It was to be a tale of humble life full of sorrows; the third verse baffled her, even after the rest was done. Then, little Elizabeth, the nine-year-old, stole into the room. Said Anne, "I've been writing a ballad, my dear, and I'm oppressing my heroine with misfortunes. I've sent her Jamie to sea, broken her father's arm, made her mother fall sick, and given her old Robin Gray as a lover; but I wish to load her with a fifth sorrow in the four lines, poor thing! Help me, I pray." "Steal the cow, sister Annie", suggested Elizabeth; and forthwith the cow was stolen, and the song "Auld Robin Gray" completed.

Thus tells Lady Anne the charming story of her ballad's birth. But it was not till years and years afterwards that the world knew of it: she showed it to her mother only; members of the family copied it out. Lady Anne herself sang it (to Sophy Johnstone's tune) in her beautiful rich voice; it became famous in her own countryside and in Edinburgh. There was much curiosity, and shrewd guessing, but the exact truth was not known, or at least not owned to by the authoress, till two years before her own death. Then, it so happened that she read a passage in Sir Walter Scott's The Pirate in which he compared the condition of one of his characters to "that of Jeanie Gray, the village-heroine in Lady Anne Lindsay's beautiful ballad." Then, at last, did Lady Anne feel that she ought to declare herself, and so, taking her courage in both hands, she wrote to Sir Walter telling him the whole story of the birth of the ballad.


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