“Fare You Well, My Own True Love (The Storms Are on the Ocean, The False True Lover, The True Lover's Farewell, Red Rosy Bush, Turtle Dove)”


The true lover bids farewell, promising to be true. He asks, "Who will shoe your pretty little foot?" Various floating verses follow, in which the traveller may or may not return and the young woman may or may not grieve at her fate


This song is officially a catch-all. The problem is, what to do with all the lost love pieces *with* some hint of a plot plus the floating element "Who will shoe your pretty little foot." After some hesitation, we decided on a four-part primary division (with some exceptions):

* "The Lass of Roch Royal" for the ballad of that title

* "Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" for fragments too short to classify at all

* "Mary Anne" for the versions specifically about that girl

* This, for everything else.

There probably are recensional variants within this song family; it's just too big and too complex. But the particular items are such a mess that we finally gave up trying to sort them. - RBW

Cross references


  • The Carter Family, "The Storms Are On the Ocean" (Victor 20937, 1927); (Okeh 03160, 1936)
  • A. P. Carter Family, "Storms are on the Ocean" (Acme 993, c. 1949)
  • Delmore Brothers, "The Storms Are On the Ocean" (Bluebird B-8613, 1941)
  • Aunt Molly Jackson, "Ten Thousand Miles" (AFS, 1939; on LC02)
  • Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "Little Turtle Dove" (Brunswick 229, 1928; on BLLunsford01; a composite of all sorts of floating verses, a few of which may be from this song)
  • Lewis McDaniel & Gid Smith, "It's Hard to Leave You, Sweet Love" (Victor 40287, c. 1929)
  • Neil Morris, "The Lass of Loch Royale" (on LomaxCD1701)
  • New Lost City Ramblers, "It's Hard to Leave You, Sweet Love" (on NLCR16)
  • Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson, "Storms Are On the Ocean" (on RitchieWatson1, RitchiteWatsonCD1)
  • [Leonard] Rutherford & [John] Foster, "Storms May Rule the Ocean" (Gennett, rec. 1929; on KMM)
  • Ruby Vass "10,000 Miles" (on Persis1)


  1. Bronson 76, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (23 versions, of which at least #17, and possibly others, e.g. #12, #13, and #19, perhaps even #8 and #23, should be placed here)
  2. Warner 97, "Red Rosy Bush" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. FSCatskills 44, "Fare You Well, My Own True Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Belden, pp. 480-482, "The False True-Lover" (2 texts)
  5. Davis-Ballads 21, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (of the various texts in the appendices, at least some, e.g. "D," "H," and "I," belong here, as does the fourth tune, "Cold Winter's Night"); 40, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (the 2 texts in the appendix seem to belong here with some "House Carpenter" verses mixed in) {#21AppA=Bronson's #8}
  6. Davis-More 26, pp. 199-206, "Lady Alice" (3 texts plus a fragment, 4 tunes -- but the fourth, fragmentary, text and tune could as well be this)
  7. Friedman, p. 78, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (3 texts, 1 tune, with the "C" text apparently being this ballad)
  8. SharpAp 114, "The True Lover's Farewell" (9 texts, 9 tunes)
  9. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 37, "The True Lover's Farewell" (1 text, 1 tune -- a composite version)
  10. Sharp-100E 55, "The True Lover's Farewell" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Randolph 18, "Oh Who Will Shoe My Foot?" (8 texts, 5 tunes, with the "A," "D," and "E" texts probably belonging here) {A=Bronson's #12, D=#19}
  12. BrownII 22, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (2 texts, which are clearly true versions of "The Lass of Roch Royal", but both have the "Storms are on the ocean" verse -- in the "B" texts, it's the chorus. Either the two songs combined to produce the North Carolina versions, or that song is the source for the Carter versions)
  13. BrownIII 109, "Fare You Well, My Own True Love" (1 text, probably combined with another song); 258, "The False True-Lover" (5 texts); also perhaps 249, "The Turtle-Dove" (1 text, a complex mix of floating verses, some of which may belong here; compare the Lunsford recording of the same name); 264, "Storms Are on the Ocean" (2 texts, with the "Storms" chorus though both have the "Sometimes I live in the country, sometimes I live in town" verse and the "A" text also has a "Blow Gently, the Winds on the Ocean" type verse)
  14. Chappell-FSRA 72, "Who Will Shoe Your Feet?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  15. Hudson 53, p. 53, "The True Lover's Farewell" (1 text plus mention of 3 more; the printed text, amazingly, lacks the "pretty little foot")
  16. Cambiaire, pp. 72-73, "Cold Winter Night" (1 text)
  17. MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 175-176, "The True Lover's Farewell" (1 text)
  18. Brewster 13, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (1 text plus 8 fragments; the "A" text is this; "B"-"I" are "Pretty Little Foot" versions)
  19. Gardner/Chickering 9, "A Lover's Farewell" (1 fragment, with the first verse ["Oh see that pure and lonesome dove"] probably this and the second being "go dig my grave, go dig it deep....")
  20. Sandburg, pp. 3-7, "He's Gone Away" (1 text, 1 tune); 98-99, "Who Will Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" (3 texts, 1 tune; of the three texts here, "B" is definitely this piece, "C" is a short fragment of Child 76; the "A" is a one-stanza "pretty little foot" text)
  21. Lomax-FSNA 108, "Winter's Night"; 109, "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  22. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 44, "The Storms Are on the Ocean" (1 text, 1 tune)
  23. JHCox 137, "The True Lover's Farewell" (1 text)
  24. Darling-NAS, p. 268, "Red Rosy Bush" (1 text); p. 270, "The True Lover's Farewell" (1 text)
  25. Silber-FSWB, p. 142, "The Storms Are On The Ocean" (1 text) p. 151, "He's Gone Away" (1 text); p. 153, "Turtle Dove" (1 text)
  27. Roud #49
  28. BI, Wa097


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1906 (Belden); +1881 (Christie, _Traditional Ballad Airs II_)
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So)