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A Night Visitor's Song

traditional, arranged by the Tannahill Weavers
Long, long ago in the days before break dancing, hip hop and acid house, a young man's favorite night out was to go sit outside his girlfriend's bedroom window in the rain.  This was known as "night visiting".

There are hundreds of songs in many languages and dialects covering this subject, and all carry the same basic ground rules for the true devotee of night visiting.

These bold rapscallions had always to (a) set off in the dead of night, (b) walk for miles, (c) lean their backs against a stone for an hour or so and, finally (d) it had to be raining.

Having done all this he waits until his girlfriend, or night visitee, goes to bed.  Then, being suitably drenched, freezing, and troubled with aching feet and back, he wakes her up, gets her out of bed and still, surprisingly, gains access to her bedroom.

This is where the tricky part begins, the rest being simply a question of pure stamina on the part of the night visitor.  As all night visitees lived with their parents until they were married, true skill would now shine through as both endeavored to have as much fun as possible without making any noise, and still be finished by dawn.  This last stipulation was made doubly difficult by the fact that it's taken so long to get in there that they only have half a verse left to do anything anyway.

With the advent of high rise buildings this crude form of night visiting can no longer be advised, as illustrated by the experience of an acquaintance of ours who actually fell down a flight of stairs with a crate of beer and two bottles of wine while attempting it.  Luckily nothing was broken... it was all in his stomach at the time.


I must away love, I can no longer tarry
The morning tempest I have to cross
I will be guided without a star love
Into the arms I love the best

I walked up tae her bedroom windae
I leant my back there against a stane
I whispered softly intae her windae
"My darling lassie, dae ye lie alane?"

She raised her head from her snowy pillow
And with her arms raised across her breast
Said "Who is this at my bedroom windae
"Disturbing me at my long night's rest?"

I said "My true love, its you own true lover
"Open the door now and let me in
"For I have come on a long, long journey
"And I am drenched unto the skin"

She opened the door then without a murmur
Opened the door then and let me in
We gently kissed and embraced each other
And in the morning we lay as yin

The day was dawning, the cocks were crawing
The birds were whistling in every tree
Farewell my true love, for I must leave ye
For now the long night has turned to day

I must away love, I can no longer tarry
The morning tempest I have to cross
I will be guided without a star love
Intae the arms I love the best




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