Lady Anne Lindsay
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Lady Anne Lindsay Barnard of Balcarres

(1750 - 1825)

Lady Anne Lindsay was born in 12 December 1750 at Balcarres, Fife, Scotland, daughter of Sir James Lindsay, 5th Earl of Balcarres.  In 1793 Lady Ann Lindsay married Andrew Barnard, son of the Bishop of Limerick and regent of the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa).  Andrew returned to Great Britain in March 1794 but Lady Anne remained in South Africa until January 1802.  She described her stay in that country in her book "South Africa A Century Ago", but she became best known for her popular sentimental ballad "Auld Robin Gray" which was written in 1772.  The music for her ballad was written by the Reverend William Leeves (1748 - 1828, poet & composer, became Rector of Wrington in 1779) and it is believed later inspired Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892, appointed Poet Laureate by Queen Victoria in 1850 and served in that capacity for 42 years)  to write his poem "Enoch Arden"(1864).

The words of Lady Anne Lindsay's beloved ballad are as follows.

Auld Robin Gray

By Lady Anne Lindsay (1772)

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 urged me 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, tho' my heart was in 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 we tore ourselves 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.


The music for the ballad is as follows.

Lady Anne Barnard died 6 May 1825 in London, England.  The balance of this narrative is still being researched and will be added at a later date.


I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Bob Dalrymple,  of Australia in providing me with the lyrics and music for Lady Anne Lindsay Barnard's "Auld Robin Gray".

Page Initially Posted: July 2, 2001;  Updated: March 12, 2007