Night Visiting Song
On Springthyme SPRCD 1043
Pete Shepheard: A woman is woken in the night by her lover’s knock at the window. He is but the ghost of her lover and must depart before sunrise to return to the other world. There are many versions of this collected from recent living tradition in Scotland and the evidence of the night visitor being a returning ghostly lover is not always present. The titles vary: I Must Away, The Porter Laddie, Night Visit Song, The Lover's Ghost. This version is largely from the singing of Duncan Johnstone of Torwood, Birnam recorded by Peter Shepheard in 1967 (Springthyme 67.4.3) but with the tune and some text from Bella Higgins and Andra Stewart recorded by Hamish Henderson in Blairgowrie in 1958.
The indicators of the supernatural are the departure of the lover as the cocks begin to crow, the sounding of his trumpet as he leaves and his statement that he "must cross the morning's tempest" - a return journey to the other world. The song may ultimately derive from, or is at least related to, the ballad named by Francis James Child as The Grey Cock (Child 248) and also Sweet William's Ghost (Child 77). (Roud 179: Greig Duncan 4:783; Child 248)
Pete (vocal and melodeon) with Tom (fiddle and vocal) and Arthur (whistle and vocal)
c p 2012 Springthyme Records • Springthyme Music