Old Robin Gray (Kenneth Peacock)

My Jimmy loved me well and he sought me for his bride,
By saving a crown there was nothing else denied,
To make the crown a pound my Jimmy went to sea,
And the crown and the pound they were both saved for me.

He scarce had been gone but a week and a day,
When my father broke his arm and our cow was stole away,
My mother she fell sick, and my Jimmy on the sea,
And old Robin Gray came a-courting me.

My father he couldn't work nor my mother couldn't spin,
I toiled day and night but their bread I couldn't win.
Old Robin maintained them both and with tears in his eyes
Said, "Jenny, for their sake will you be my bride?"

My heart it said no, for I looked for Jimmy back,
But the wind blew a gale and his ship became a wreck,
His ship became a wreck, oh why didn't Jimmy dee,
Or why was he spared to say woe unto me?

My father urged me so but my mother did not speak,
Oh they looked into my eyes till I thought my heart would break,
I gave him my hand, 'though my heart was on the sea,
And old Robin Gray was a kind man to me.

We scarce had been wed, 'twas a week more than four,
When I mournfully sat on a stone by the door,
When I saw Jimmy's ghost for I didn't think 'twas he.
He said, "I've come back, love, for to marry thee."

'Twas little did we speak for little did we say,
We had but a kiss and we tore ourselves away.
I'll do my best the good wife to be,
For old Robin Gray is a kind man to me.

####.... Variant of a British broadside ballad, Auld Robin Gray, published by J Catnach (London) between 1813 and 1838, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 25(88). Lyrics written in 1772 by Lady Anne Lindsay Barnard of Balcarres House, Fife, Scotland [1750-1825] and published anonymously in 1783. See original Scottish lyrics in The Oxford Book Of English Verse ....####

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Philip J Foley [1905-1982] of Tilting, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.482-483, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that a similar variant of this little Scots ballad appears in The Quaver, or Songster's Pocket Companion published by William Milner, Cheapside, 1841. Jimmy is called Jamie in the printed version.


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