Home  »  English Poetry II  »  328. Auld Robin Gray

English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Lady Anne Lindsay

328. Auld Robin Gray

WHEN the sheep are in the fauld, and the kye at hame,

And a’ the warld to rest are gane,

The waes o’ my heart fa’ in showers frae my e’e,

While my gudeman lies sound by me.

Young Jamie lo’ed me weel, and sought me for his bride;

But saving a croun he had naething else beside:

To make the croun a pund, young Jamie gaed to sea;

And the croun and the pund were baith for me.

He hadna been awa’ a week but only twa,

When my father brak his arm, and the cow was stown awa;

My mother she fell sick, and my Jamie at the sea—

And auld Robin Gray came a-courtin’ me.

My father couldna work, and my mother couldna spin;

I toil’d day and night, but their bread I couldna win;

Auld Rob maintain’d them baith, and wi’ tears in his e’e

Said, Jennie, for their sakes, O, marry me!

My heart it said nay; I look’d 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 cry, Wae’s me?

My father urgit sair: my mother didna speak;

But she look’d in my face till my heart was like to break:

They gi’ed him my hand, but my heart was at the sea;

Sae auld Robin Gray he was gudeman to me.

I hadna been a wife a week but only four,

When mournfu’ as I sat on the stane at the door,

I saw my Jamie’s wraith, for I couldna think it he

Till he said, I’m come hame to marry thee.

O sair, sair did we greet, and muckle did we say;

We took but ae kiss, and I bad him gang away;

I wish that I were dead, but I’m no like to dee;

And why was I born to say, Wae’s me!

I gang like a ghaist, and I carena to spin;

I daurna think on Jamie, for that wad be a sin;

But I’ll do my best a gude wife aye to be,

For auld Robin Gray he is kind unto me.