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According to Child this ballad appears in an unpublished manuscript from the first half of the 18th century. It was first published in Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs in 1776.
This ballad is Child Ballad #76 (The Lass of Roch Royal).
Alternate titles and variants include The Lass of Roch Royal, Fair Anny, Love Gregor, The Lass of Aughrim (an Irish version) and Oh open the door Lord Gregory.
In most of the Child versions, Lord Gregory's lover is greeted at the door by his mother and turned away. In some versions Gregory's mother is a "witch-dame"who informs his lover that Gregory has gone to sea. She takes ship to find him. Her ship is wrecked in a storm. Gregory sees the wreck from the strand. He is able to bring her body to the shore, where he dies of heartbreak.
Roch, or Roch-royal are not found, but Rough Castle is near Falkirk in Stirlingshire. Loch Ryan is in the south-west of Scotland.
For a complete list of Child Ballads at this site go to Francis J. Child Ballads.
O mirk, mirk is the midnight hour,
And loud the tempests roar,
A waefu' wand'rer seeks thy tow'r,
Lord Greg'ry ope thy door.
An exile frae her father's ha',
An a' for loving thee;
At least some pity on me shaw,
If love it may na be.
Lord Gregory, mind'st thou not the grove,
By bonnie Irvine-side,
Where first I own'd that virgin-love
I lang, lang had denied.
How often didst thou pledge and vow
Thou wouldst for aye be mine?
And my fond heart, itsel' sae true,
It ne'er mistrusted thine.
Hard is thy heart, Lord Gregory,
And flinty is thy breast:
Thou dart of heav'n, that flashest by,
O wilt thou give me rest!
Ye mustering thunders from above,
Your willing victim see!
But spare, and pardon my false love
His wrongs to heav'n and me.
Songs of Scotland
The Royal Edition, Volume I and
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
See Bibliography for full information.