Fair Annie Of Rough Royal

A poem by Frank Sidgwick

'Ouvre ta port', Germin', c'est moi qu'est ton mari.'
'Donnez-moi des indic's de la première nuit,
Et par là je croirai que vous et's mon mari.'


The Text is Fraser Tytler's, taken down from the recitation of Mrs. Brown in 1800, who had previously (1783) recited a similar version to Jamieson. The later recitation, which was used by Scott, with others, seems to contain certain improvisations of Mrs. Brown's which do not appear in the earlier form.

The Story.--A mother, who feigns to be her own son and demands tokens of the girl outside the gate, turns her son's love away, and is cursed by him. Similar ballads exist in France, Germany, and Greece.

There is an early eighteenth-century MS. (Elizabeth Cochrane's Song-Book) of this ballad, which gives a preliminary history. Isabel of Rochroyal dreams of her love Gregory; she rises up, calls for a swift steed, and rides forth till she meets a company. They ask her who she is, and are told that she is 'Fair Isabel of Rochroyal,' seeking her true-love Gregory. They direct her to 'yon castle'; and thenceforth the tale proceeds much as in the other versions.

'Lochryan,' says Scott, 'lies in Galloway; Roch--or Rough--royal, I have not found, but there is a Rough castle in Stirlingshire' (Child).


'O wha will shoe my fu' fair foot?
And wha will glove my hand?
And wha will lace my middle jimp,
Wi' the new-made London band?

'And wha will kaim my yellow hair,
Wi' the new-made silver kaim?
And wha will father my young son,
Till Love Gregor come hame?'

'Your father will shoe your fu' fair foot,
Your mother will glove your hand;
Your sister will lace your middle jimp
Wi' the new-made London band.

'Your brother will kaim your yellow hair,
Wi' the new-made silver kaim;
And the king of heaven will father your bairn,
Till Love Gregor come haim.'

'But I will get a bonny boat,
And I will sail the sea,
For I maun gang to Love Gregor,
Since he canno come hame to me.'

O she has gotten a bonny boat,
And sail'd the sa't sea fame;
She lang'd to see her ain true-love,
Since he could no come hame.

'O row your boat, my mariners,
And bring me to the land,
For yonder I see my love's castle,
Closs by the sa't sea strand.'

She has ta'en her young son in her arms,
And to the door she's gone,
And lang she's knock'd and sair she ca'd,
But answer got she none.

'O open the door, Love Gregor,' she says,
'O open, and let me in;
For the wind blaws thro' my yellow hair,
And the rain draps o'er my chin.'

'Awa', awa', ye ill woman,
You 'r nae come here for good;
You 'r but some witch, or wile warlock,
Or mer-maid of the flood.'

'I am neither a witch nor a wile warlock,
Nor mer-maid of the sea,
I am Fair Annie of Rough Royal;
O open the door to me.'

'Gin ye be Annie of Rough Royal--
And I trust ye are not she--
Now tell me some of the love-tokens
That past between you and me.'

'O dinna you mind now, Love Gregor,
When we sat at the wine,
How we changed the rings frae our fingers?
And I can show thee thine.

'O yours was good, and good enneugh,
But ay the best was mine;
For yours was o' the good red goud,
But mine o' the dimonds fine.

'But open the door now, Love Gregor,
O open the door I pray,
For your young son that is in my arms
Will be dead ere it be day.'

'Awa', awa', ye ill woman,
For here ye shanno win in;
Gae drown ye in the raging sea,
Or hang on the gallows-pin.'

When the cock had crawn, and day did dawn,
And the sun began to peep,
Then it raise him Love Gregor,
And sair, sair did he weep.

'O I dream'd a dream, my mother dear,
The thoughts o' it gars me greet,
That Fair Annie of Rough Royal
Lay cauld dead at my feet.'

'Gin it be for Annie of Rough Royal
That ye make a' this din,
She stood a' last night at this door,
But I trow she wan no in.'

'O wae betide ye, ill woman,
An ill dead may ye die!
That ye woudno open the door to her,
Nor yet woud waken me.'

O he has gone down to yon shore-side,
As fast as he could fare;
He saw Fair Annie in her boat
But the wind it toss'd her sair.

And 'Hey, Annie!' and 'How, Annie!
O Annie, winna ye bide?'
But ay the mair that he cried 'Annie,'
The braider grew the tide.

And 'Hey, Annie!' and 'How, Annie!
Dear Annie, speak to me!'
But ay the louder he cried 'Annie,'
The louder roar'd the sea.

The wind blew loud, the sea grew rough,
And dash'd the boat on shore;
Fair Annie floats on the raging sea,
But her young son raise no more.

Love Gregor tare his yellow hair,
And made a heavy moan;
Fair Annie's corpse lay at his feet,
But his bonny young son was gone.

O cherry, cherry was her cheek,
And gowden was her hair,
But clay cold were her rosey lips,
Nae spark of life was there.

And first he's kiss'd her cherry cheek,
And neist he's kissed her chin;
And saftly press'd her rosey lips,
But there was nae breath within.

'O wae betide my cruel mother,
And an ill dead may she die!
For she turn'd my true-love frae the door,
When she came sae far to me.'

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Fair Annie Of Rough Royal' by Frank Sidgwick

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy