Andrew Moar                          [Young Grigor]                             SA1971.216.2

In the first edition of Peter Buchan’s Gleanings of Scotch, English and Irish Scarce Old Ballads (London 1825) we find a résumé of this long ballad:

grigoSubsequent broadside versions all contain small differences from each other and from the version which Andrew provides here (Roud index no. 4600). Despite his age Andrew sang or recited a number of long ballads which he had memorised years earlier and he also provided  some fascinating local history connected with fishing and local customs.

Because of its length Andrew chose to  sing just a few of the verses and recited the remainder.  He admitted to forgetting some of the verses which we have added for the sake of completeness, taking them from Peter Buchan’s book (Gleanings…).  The added verses are inset to distinguish them.

Come all you young lovers in Scotland draw near. 
To my sad story which. now ye shall hear. 
Concerning two lovers which liv’d in the North, 
Among yon high mountains that stand beyond Forth. 

This maid was a daughter of a gentleman. 
To the name of MacFarlane, and of the same clan: 
But Gregor was bom in a Highland Isle, 
And by blood relation her cousin we style. 

But where riches are wanting, we oftentimes see 
Few men are esteem-ed for their pedigree. 
His father was forc’d when he was a child, 
To leave this re-al-m, and when he was exil’d. 

[His lands they were forfeit, as I let you know, 
Because of rebellion, the truth for to show ; 
Bread, gold, and vast riches, he with him did give, 
For his education, and how he might live. ]

And solely he to the care of his friend, 
Was left by his father for to be maintained, 
He learn’d him indeed for to read and to write. 
In the rules of arithmetic he made him perfect. 

In Latin and French he had taught him also, 
That he through the world was fit for to go. 
The king with recruiting, all hands did employ. 
While her father as a servant us-ed this young boy. 

In all kinds of drudgery he made him to serve 
But still so he kept him as a corpse of reserve, 
Such a beautiful young man was not in this place; 
None could compare with him in stature and grace. 

This charming Miss Kitty was oft in the way ; 
One day, in love’s passion, she to him did say, 
“My dear cousin Grigor, I’ve something to tell, 
Which now from my bosom this day I reveal.”

“Will yon do for da tune?”          “Aha – that’s fine.”

You know that with love ‘at I’m plagu’d to the heart
But you are the object which makes me to smart, 
If you do but love me. dear cousin, said she, 
I’m happy for ever, so therefore be free. 

Then said he, dear Kitty, I’m all in a stun, 
I suppose your intentions are nothing but fun. 
For had I of substance to balance with you, 
I’d count myself happy, your suit I might rue. 

[Said she my dear Gregor, I’m no way in jest
And if you deny me then death’s my request ; 
You know the substance and wealth that I have, 
‘ Tis enough to uphold us all gallant and brave. 

1 know that my parents for more riches are bent. 
But a few years by nature will make them extinct ; 
To you my dear Gregor, I do make this vow, 
That I never will marry another but you.

Then he consented, and flew to her arms, 
And said my dear Kitty, Im kill’d with your charms 
But if your parents this fond love should know, 
They soon will carve out my sad overthrow. ]

Of that, my dear Gregor, be silent I pray, 
Tonight we will part, and meet the next day. 
Under the broad oak, by the cave in the glen, 
Where more of my mind unto you I’ll explain. 

Her mother next morning by the blink of her eye. 
 Betwixt her and Gregor great love did espy
And she to her husband the same did reveal, 
Giving orders to watch them when they were in the field. 

All day then the old father went walking about, 
And hard upon her he kept a look out, 
Till hard in the evening, she went to the glen, 
Where Gregor was waiting to hear her explain 

The way they would manage, and make matters go. 
Her father did follow now quickly also. 
He gently stood over the…     cave, 
Hearing there the discourses how they would behave 

At length he advances, cries, “Gregor, what now. 
Is this my reward from an orphan as you? 
Behold, I’ve maintained you since seven years old. 
And now your intentions they seem rather  bold.”

 “Two lines I can’t remember there.”

[Then Gregor ask’d pardon, and this he did say,
Sir, I’m at your disposel, then do as you may,]

The old man in a passion there chiding did stand. 
Till Kitty took courage and then speech into hand.  

“Why mean you, dear father, on us for to frown? 
Is this man a beggar? I’m sure he’s our own; 
He’s of our own kindred, our flesh and our blood, 
And you very well know his behaviour is good. 

It’s him that I choose for a husband and shall,
Go give all your riches to whom that you will :
Do you think l’m a hog or a horse to be sold
Away to some numbskull for nothing but gold.”

[The father in a rage to the mother did go,
And told the proceedings with sorrow and woe,
Yet seem’d as his anger that night had been gone,
Lest that young Gregor the place should abscond.]

But he sent a message into Inverness,
Which brought forth a party young Gregor to press,
And to make ready he gave no time gave we hear,
He ask’d but one favour, a word of his dear ;

Who being refused, the old man with a frown,
Says  soldiers can have sweethearts in every town;
At this the young lady did weep bitterly,
“May the heavens requite you for your cruelty.”

[Young Gregor took courage and marched away ; 
When his captain view’d him this to him did say — 
For the lady that lov’d you, I pity her case. 
Who’s lost such a beauty and sweet blooming face. 

His lady cried out, what a wretch can he be, 
Caus’d press this young man for no injury. 
His long yellow hair to his haunches hang down, 
0’er his broad shoulders, from ear to ear round. 

Now Gregor considering his pitiful case, 
Received the bounty and swore to the peace, 
His captain unto him a furlough he gave, 
To see his dear Katty once more he did crave. 

Two lines he sent to her by a solid hand, 
That he under the oaktree at midnight would stand. 
For to wait upon her and hear her complaint, 
And there for to meet him she was well content. 

Her vows she renewed with tears not a few. 
And a gold ring, on his finger as a token she threw, 
Which was not to move, come death or come life, 
Till that happy moment he made her his wife. 

She fain would go with him, but he answered. No : 
Your parents would follow and cause us more woe, 
May the heavens be witness, and this oak. said he 
That I never shall enjoy a woman but thee. 

And here where he left her a weeping full sore. 
Poor creature she never got sight of him more. 
For in a short time thereafter he went to the sea, 
And left sight of Britain with a tear in his eye.]

He was sent to America, their orders being so, 
There prov’d a gallant soldier, and valour did show, 
And for his behaviour none e’er could him blame, 
From a corporal at length to a sergeant he came. 

Being near Fort Niagara, in the year fifty-nine. 
On the fourteenth of July, as he always did incline 
To frequent the green-wood, or some distant place, 
To breathe out his sorrows, his mind to solace. 

Among the savage Indians, alas! There he fell, 
But how he was murdered we canno’ weel tell; 

[For on the next morning they found him their dead, 
And an Indian lay by him wanting the head. 

Cut off by his broadsword as they understood, 
As there all around him was nothing but blood : 
Five wounds in his body, his hair scalpt away, 
His clothes, sword, and pistol, of all made a prey. 

And one of his fingers from his hand they had cut. 
The one with the gold ring from his lover he got.]

On that very same night, though in Scotland we hear,. 
A dreadful spectre unto his love appear’d. 

As she sat a-weeping under the green oak. 
He quickly passed by her and not a word spoke; 
Yet shaking the left hand where the ring he did wear, 
That a-wanted a finger, and blood droppeth there. 

[Whereat the young lady was struck with amaze. 
And rose to run after and on him to gaze. 
As she knew it was Gregor, but how in that place. 
It made her to wonder and dread the sad case. 

With terror and grief home she did retire. 
And spent the whole night in weeping and prayer, 
So early next morning she rose with the sun. 
Went back to the green oak to weep all alone. 

For always she esteem’d that place, as we hear. 
As on it she got the last sight of her dear. 
And as she sat weeping and tearing her hair. 
Again the pale spectre to her did appear.  

And with a wild aspect it stared in her face, 
Then said, dear Katty, do not me embrace,
For I’m but a spirit, tho’ shining in blood,
My body lies murdered in a foreign wood.

Two wounds in my body, and three in my side,
With hatchets and arrows they’re both deep and wide,
My scalp and fine hair for a premium is sold,
And also my finger with the ring of pure gold.

Which you threw upon it as a mark of true love,
Love’s stronger than death for it does not remove ;
For my earnest desire is for you, my dear.
And till you are with me, I’ll still wander here ;

For this world’s but vanity, all’s but a vain show,
It’s nought to the pleasure where we are to go
She went to embrace being all of a fright,
But he in a moment vanish’d out of her sight.]

Then home  to her father in terror she ran.
Says “Father dear father, see what have you done.
Gregor, lov’d Gregor, came to me in blood,
His body lies murdered in a foreign wood.

“And then there’s some verses there that I forget. He came hame again. She went the following night, see?”

And as she sat weeping and tearing her hair,
Again the white spectre to her did appear
And with a bold aspect it stared in her face,
Then said, “My dear Kitty, do not me embrace,
For I’m but a spirit, tho’ shining in blood, 

My body lies murdered in a foreign wood.”

Then home  to her father in terror she ran…  

“I don’ know – I missed out a bit.”

“My scalp and fine hair for a premium is sold,
And also the finger with the ring of pure gold.
Which you press’d upon me as a mark of true love,
Love clear… purer than death for it’s nae removed.”

[For my earnest desire is for you, my dear.
And till you are with me, I’ll still wander here.”

For this world’s but vanity, all’s but a vain show,
It’s nought to the pleasure where we are to go.”
She went to embrace being all of a fright,
But he in a moment vanish’d out of her sight. ]

Then home  to her father in terror she ran.
Saying  “Oh cruel, father,  what have you done?

Her father look’d at her as one being amaz’d, 
Then said, “My dear Kitty, your brains they are craz’d .”

And still she maintain’d it, and cried like a child, 
Never known…after was known for to laugh nor to smile; 
Brocht to her all doctors, whose skill was in vain. 
But all gave opinion she was sound in her brain. 

Her body decayed, her cheeks grew wan and pale, 
She sighed for her true love beyond this dark vale. 
First she, then her mother, in one night expired. 
I hope she enjoys the bliss she desired. 

Now the old father cries, bereft of all joys, 
Tho’ plenty of boys….of gold,  neither girls nor boys, 
Now all cruel fathers to this take a heed, 
This beauty that remained is now with the dead. 

“There’s a lot of verses I missed out.”
PC” Where did you get this song?”
“Oh just me father too –  there were a lot of songs…”