Rise Up Quickly and Let Me In (The Ghostly Lover)

DESCRIPTION: The singer arrives at his love's window and begs to come in. She asks who is there. He identifies himself, and she allows him to enter. When he leaves, he rejoices, "For late last night I've been with my lass." In other versions, his ghost bids farewell.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1826 (Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume1)
KEYWORDS: nightvisit courting
FOUND IN: Britain(England(West),Scotland(Aber)) Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf,Ont)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #177, p. 2, ("Hearken, hearken, and I will tell you") (1 text)
Greig/Duncan4 783, "I Must Away" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume1 14, "The Wandering Lover" (1 text)
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland 34, "The Ghostly Lover" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke-TraditionalSingersAndSongsFromOntario 41, "I'll Go See My Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, p. 89, "Hearken, Ladies, and I Will Tell You, Or The Constant Lovers" (1 text)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 159, "A Health to All True-Lovers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #50, "O Who Is That?" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-MaritimeFolkSongs, p. 63, "Here's a Health To All True Lovers" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #22568
LaRena [Mrs Gordon] Clark, "I'll Go See My Love" (on ONEFowke01)
Jimmy McKee, "A Health To All True Lovers" (on FSBFTX15)
John Reilly, "Adieu Unto All True Lovers" (on Voice10)
Belle Stewart, "Here's a Health to all True Lovers" (on Voice06)

cf. "I Will Put My Ship In Order" (lyrics, theme)
cf. "The Grey Cock, or, Saw You My Father" [Child 248] (plot)
cf. "Love Let Me In (Forty Long Miles; It Rains, It Hails)" (plot)
cf. "Let Me In This Ae Nicht" (plot)
cf. "Willy O!" (theme)
cf. "I'm a Rover and Seldom Sober" (two verses)
cf. "The Light of the Moon" (theme: night visit ended by a crowing cock)
Open and Let Me In
NOTES [881 words]: This is a difficult conundrum, in that there are versions of this song with very similar words but plots with very different directions: One is a nightvisiting song, the other a ghost returning to his love after long absence.
In earlier versions of the Index, I split these two ballads, as "Rise Up Quickly" and "The Ghostly Lover" -- after all, the ghost is a pretty significant change; this was in contradiction to Roud, who lumped them.
Making things trickier still, one important text (Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland's) is "I Will Put My Ship In Order" without the first and last verses. It's not just the same plot; it's the same *words*. The two assuredly have a common origin, though in fact the songs have different endings. But fragments could file with other songs.
It is amazing that Kennedy, who is an impossible lumper and included at least one completely unrelated text from Sam Henry in his notes, failed to observe the connection to "I Will Put My Ship In Order." Kennedy's text is incredibly composite in its choruses, taking items from "I'm a Rover and Seldom Sober" and "Love is Teasing." But the Ord-BothySongsAndBallads text implies that these are not an original part of the song. Many of the other versions have also picked up extraneous material.
The title I have assigned here is not based on any traditional version; I pulled it out of Kennedy's text because the extant titles were so unhelpful and inorganic to the texts.
Adding it all up, I wonder if this could possibly be a mix of "I Will Put My Ship In Order" and some lost Ghostly Lover song. Or is the "Ghostly Lover" version a mix of the nightvisiting version of this song with "The Grey Cock" or something of that type? In any case, it's a mess which admits of no easy solution. - RBW
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland names its text "The Ghostly Lover" though the ghost does not appear. "Although the words do not seem to bear out the title, the White girls insist this is a song about a lover who was drowned, but rose from his watery grave to see his sweetheart once again." Another ghostly example is John Reilly's "Adieu Unto All True Lovers" on "The Voice of the People, Vol 10: Who's That at my Bed Window?," Topic TSCD 660 (1998): here the text is clearly what we are calling "Rise Up Quickly and Let Me In" with the "where is the blushes" verse from "Willy O!" added to provide the ghost. The discussion of the Costello version in the notes to "The Grey Cock, or, Saw You My Father [Child 248]" give a similar example in which verses of both "Willy O!" and "Rise Up Quickly and Let Me In" are inserted unchanged into another ballad.
"Rise Up Quickly and Let Me In" has distinguishing lines that stand out when verses are imported into another ballad. For example,
... "Who's that at my bed window,
Disturbing me from from my long night's rest?"
"I am your lover; sure pray discover...."
"...I'm wet, love, unto the skin." [as opposed to "I've got wet through all my clothes" in "Love Let Me In (Forty Long Miles; It Rains, It Hails)"].
"I'll be guided without a stumble....
It may begin with a treacherous journey that might have led the traveller to stumble:
"Over hills and lofty mountains,
Oh dear! oh dear! I'm forced to go...."
"Let the night be dark as the very dungeon [or dunghill]..."
Greig/Duncan4: "There has been some crossing over of material between this night visiting song and [Greig/Duncan2] 338 'Willie O', which treats the subject of a dead lover's return." Greig/Duncan4 783B is very close to Ord's text.
The cold and wet theme seems common in non-ghostly night-visit songs. Besides Kidson's "Forty Miles" see "Hey Lizzie Lass" and "Oh Tibbie, Are Ye Sleepin'." While the night visitor of "When A' the Lave Gaed to Their Beds" does not complain of being cold or wet he ends by declaring "I care na' for the hardest work, Nor wind nor rain I'll fear, While I am welcome back again To the arms of my dear."
The first verse of Greig's version is almost the same as the first verse of his text for "Hearken, Hearken"; the non-revenant sense of this version is made stronger by the verse: "Hearken, hearken, and I will tell you Of a lad and a country lass; Seven long years they've been a-courting, Many a jovial hour betwixt them passed."
Another wet lover song is "I Will Put My Ship in Order."
Speculation in VaughanWilliams/Lloyd-PenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs suggests Costello's "I'm your love and don't discover" line may be "'but I can't uncover' (can't reveal myself)." That might tie in with the "Grey Cock" ghost theory. However, as pointed out in the discussion of Costello's text under "The Grey Cock," that text takes its first five verses from this song. Here the line becomes entirely innocent. Ord has "it's your own true lover," and Fowke has "It's your true lover, so now uncover."
Another mysterious line from the Costello version - "The burning Thames I have to cross" - becomes somewhat less mysterious in these texts. In Fowke the line is "The burning tempest I have to cross." Ord has "The storm and tempest I mean to cross," explaining why the lover says "I am weary of my long journey, Besides I'm wet, love, unto the skin."
Fowke's source learned the song from her Grandad Watson whose ancestors came from northern England." - BS
Last updated in version 4.3
File: Ord089

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.