Lass of Roch Royal, The [Child 76]

DESCRIPTION: (Anne) misses her love (Lord Gregory). She sets out to meet him. When she comes to his castle, Gregory's mother turns her (and her son) away. When Gregory arrives/awakens to meet his love, he find Anne dead (drowned) and gone
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1776 (Herd); c. 1765 (Ebsworth)
KEYWORDS: separation death mother betrayal floatingverses
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland) US(Ap,MW,So,SE,SW) Canada(Ont) Ireland
REFERENCES (37 citations):
Child 76, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (12 texts)
Bronson 76, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (23 versions+1 in addenda, though many are generic "Pretty Little Foot" versions; I would regard only #1, #3, #4, #4.1 in the addenda, #5, #16, and #21 as being true versions of this piece, and the first two of those are fragments; #2 has the correct title but no text. Note that Bronson seems to agree, since all the versions in Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads come from this list)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 76, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (4 verions: #1, #4.1, #5, #16)
Chambers-ScottishBallads, pp. 201-206, "The Lass of Lochryan" (1 text)
Riewerts-BalladRepertoireOfAnnaGordon-MrsBrownOfFalkland, pp. 160-167, "Fair Anny," "Love Gregor," (2 parallel texts)
Dixon-ScottishTraditionalVersionsOfAncientBallads X, pp. 60-62, "Love Gregory" (1 text, plus a "pleasing imitation" called "Lord Thomas," printed 1825, on pp. 99-100)
Bell-Combined-EarlyBallads-CustomsBalladsSongsPeasantryEngland, pp. 211-216, "The Lass of Lochroyan" (1 text)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #60, p. 2, "Fair Annie of Lochroyan" (1 fragment, a verse of "Fair Annie of Lochroyan" from Peter Buchan "after Willie succumbs.")
Greig/Duncan6 1226, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (4 texts plus a single verse on p. 568, 1 tune)
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume1 13, "Lord Gregory" (1 text)
OCroinin/Cronin-TheSongsOfElizabethCronin 83, "Lord Gregory" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland2, pp. 174-177, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 fragments, one of which is probably "The Lass of Roch Royal" but the second being "Pretty Little Foot"; 1 tune)
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, p. 55, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (notes and references only)
Randolph 18, "Oh Who Will Shoe My Foot?" (8 texts, 5 tunes, with only the "C" and "G" versions clearly belonging here; most of the rest are "Pretty Little Foot" texts; "D," "E," and "F" are probably "Fare You Well, My Own True Love") {G=Bronson's #16}
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 37-39, "Oh, Who Will Shoe My Foot" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 18G) {Bronson's #16}
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 22, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 texts, clearly this song, but with the "Storms are on the ocean" verse; this is either the original of the latter or the two combined)
Scarborough-ASongCatcherInSouthernMountains, pp. 122-123, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (sundry excerpts from versions she did not collect; the versions Scarborough collected are of "Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot," "Honey Babe/New River Train," and "I Truly Understand That You Love Some Other Man")
Ritchie-FolkSongsOfTheSouthernAppalachians, pp. 78-79, "Fair Annie of the Lochroyan" (1 text, 1 tune) {cf. Bronson's #5, a rather different transcription though of the same approximate version}
Fowke-TraditionalSingersAndSongsFromOntario 42, "Lord Gregory" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 253-256, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (1 text)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 43, "The Lass of Rochroyan" (1 text)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 78, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (3 texts, 1 tune, with only the "A" text being this ballad)
Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles 31, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 texts, 2 tunes, the second clearly "The Lass of Roch Royal" but the first could be any "Who's Goin' to Shoe" song)
Gummere-OldEnglishBallads, pp. 223-227+352, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (1 text)
Sandburg-TheAmericanSongbag, 98-99, "Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" (3 texts, 1 tune; of the three texts here, "C" is definitely a fragment of this piece, "B" is "The Storms Are on the Ocean"; the "A" text is a "pretty little foot" version)
Combs/Wilgus-FolkSongsOfTheSouthernUnitedStates 21, pp. 118-121, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (1 text)
Buchan-ABookOfScottishBallads 12, "The Lass of Roch Royal" , 13, "Love Gregor" (2 texts)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 13, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 texts, but one is a "Pretty Little Foot" version)
Gainer-FolkSongsFromTheWestVirginiaHills, pp. 47-50, "Sweet Annie of Rock Royal" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacColl/Seeger-TravellersSongsFromEnglandAndScotland 10, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (1 text, 1 tune)
Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads, pp. 1-3, "The Lass of Lochryan"; pp. 3-5, "Fair Annie of Lochryan" (3 texts)
HarvardClassics-EnglishPoetryChaucerToGray, pp. 65-68, "Love Gregor" (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 214, "The Lass Of Roch Royal" (1 text)
Morgan-MedievalBallads-ChivalryRomanceAndEverydayLife, pp. 66-70, "The Lass of Rock Royal" (1 text)
Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex, ZN1259, "I built my love a gallant ship"
ADDITIONAL: J Woodfall Ebsworth, The Roxburghe Ballads, (Hertford, 1888 ("Digitized by Microsoft")), Vol. VI Part 3 [Part 18], pp. 609-615, "The Lass of Ocram" ("I built my love a gallant ship, And a ship of Northern fame") (1 text)

Roud #49
Ollie Conway, "Lord Gregory" (on IROConway01)
Elizabeth Cronin, "Lord Gregory (The Lass of Roch Royal)" (on FSB4, FSBBAL1); "Lord Gregory" (on IRECronin01)
Peggy Delaney, "Maid of Aughrim" (on IRTravellers01)
Jean Ritchie, "Fair Annie of Lochroyan" (on JRitchie01) {Bronson's #5}

Bodleian, Harding B 10(3367), "The Lass of Ocram" ("I built my love a gallant ship a ship of northern fam") J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844
cf. "Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" (floating lyrics) and references there
cf. "Fare You Well, My Own True Love (The Storms Are on the Ocean, The False True Lover, The True Lover's Farewell, Red Rosy Bush, Turtle Dove)" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Mary Anne" (lyrics)
cf. "Blackbirds and Thrushes (I)" (theme)
cf. "More Pretty Girls than One" (tune)
Lord Gregory
A-Roving On A Winter's Night
Roving On Last Winter's Night
Who's Goin' to Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot
Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot
Sweet Annie of Roch Royal
Annie of Rough Royal
Annie of Lochryan
NOTES [666 words]: This song has created a great deal of confusion, because of the attempt of certain scholars to make everything a Child Ballad. Some versions of this song contain the verses beginning "Who will shoe your pretty little foot, And who will glove your hand...." Therefore, anything containing these verses is filed by those scholars as Child #76, even though the songs they so file often contain no other portions of "The Lass of Roch Royal" -- and in fact the "pretty little foot" stanzas are not integral to "Roch Royal"; it's my personal feeling that they originated elsewhere and floated into this song, rather than the reverse.
For this reason, it may be that some of the versions listed here should be classified with "The Storms Are on the Ocean" or other some other song with the "who will shoe your pretty little foot" lyrics. (I eventually tried to clean those out, but it's hard to do after the fact, and for too long I just trusted people who stamped a song "Child 76.") The floating stanzas about shoeing the girl's feet are simply too widespread for any classification effort to be entirely successful; hence the Ballad Index staff created the entry "Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot."
After much hesitation, we finally ended up dividing the complex family of songs involving those lyrics as follows:
* "The Lass of Roch Royal" for the ballad of that title
* "Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" for fragments too short to classify at all
* "Mary Anne" for the versions specifically about that girl
* "Fare You Well, My Own True Love (The Storms Are on the Ocean, The False True Lover, The True Lover's Farewell, Red Rosy Bush, Turtle Dove)," for everything else.- RBW
Greig/Duncan6 1226C has a happy ending. The lady, called Janet here, sails safely away, apparently not hearing Lord Gregory's cries because of the rough weather. He apparently goes crazy "among the wild wood swine" in someone's park and is "put in strong prison," apparently by the owner. Janet hears of that, sails back and brings him home. That is sort of "A Maid in Bedlam" ending -- especially broadside Bodleian Firth c.18(139) -- with sexes reversed.
Of Child's versions, Peggy Delaney's "Maid of Aughrim" on IRTravellers01 is closest to 76H.
Ebsworth: "There are various corrupt and fraudulent versions afloat, and even our Roxburghe Ballad is somewhat flawed, a modernized reprint [c.1765, according to Ebsworth] of one that may have belonged to the days of Mary Queen of Scots. It is the authentic fountainhead of all the others" (p. 609). - BS
This song offers an interesting example of how an informant might modify a song over time. We have two different versions from Anna Gordon Brown of Falkland. For an examination of how her two versions varied, see Bertrand Bronson's essay "Mrs. Brown and the Ballad," with the relevant comparison on pp. 70-71 of the reprint in Bertrand Harris Bronson, The Ballad as Song (essays on ballads), University of California Press, 1969.
Chambers explains that "Lochryan is a beautiful, though somewhat wild and secluded bay, which projects from the Irish Channel into WIgtonshire, having the little seaport of Stranraer situated at its bottom." Of course, that doesn't prove that Lochryan was the original setting of the ballad. - BS
Indeed, there are reasons to think the ballad predates any such setting. David C. Fowler, A Literary History of the Popular Ballad, Duke University Press, 1968, pp. 218-219, suggests the woman is a type of calumniated queen, a theme common in the Middle Ages; a typical ballad of that type is "Sir Aldingar" [Child 59]. Fowler, pp. 228-230, compares the "Lass" particularly to Constance, the heroine of Chaucer's "Man of Law's Tale." There is certainly one very strong similarity: both involve a rejected woman going away in a boat with her son. Fowler, p. 233, also mentions Hermione in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale."
Fowler, p. 227, says that James Joyce cites a fragment of this song in his short story "The Dead." - RBW
Last updated in version 5.1
File: C076

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