Child's Ballads/255

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
"Willie's Fatal Visit", no. 255


A[edit]

'TWAS on an evening fair I went to take the air,
I heard a maid making her moan;
Said, Saw ye my father? Or saw ye my mother?
Or saw ye my brother John?
Or saw ye the lad that I love best,
And his name it is Sweet William?
'I saw not your father, I saw not your mother,
Nor saw I your brother John;
But I saw the lad that ye love best,
And his name it is Sweet William.'
'O was my love riding? or was he running?
Or was he walking alone?
Or says he that he will be here this night?
O dear, but he tarries long!'
'Your love was not riding, nor yet was he running,
But fast was he walking alone;
He says that he will be here this night to thee,
And forbids you to think long.'
Then Willie he has gane to his love's door,
And gently tirled the pin:
'O sleep ye, wake ye, my bonny Meggie,
Ye'll rise, lat your true love in.'
The lassie being swack ran to the door fu snack,
And gently she lifted the pin,
Then into her arms sae large and sae lang
She embraced her bonny love in.
'O will ye gang to the cards or the dice,
Or to a table o wine?
Or will ye gang to a well-made bed,
Well coverd wi blankets fine?'
'O I winna gang to the cards nor the dice,
Nor yet to a table o wine;
But I'll rather gang to a well-made bed,
Well coverd wi blankets fine.'
'My braw little cock, sits on the house tap,
Ye'll craw not till it be day,
And your kame shall be o the gude red gowd,
And your wings o the siller grey.'
The cock being fause untrue he was,
And he crew an hour ower seen;
They thought it was the gude day-light,
But it was but the light o the meen.
'Ohon, alas!' says bonny Meggie then,
'This night we hae sleeped ower lang!'
'O what is the matter?' then Willie replied,
'The faster then I must gang.'
Then Sweet Willie raise, and put on his claise,
And drew till him stockings and sheen,
And took by his side his berry-brown sword,
And ower yon lang hill he's gane.
As he gaed ower yon high, high hill,
And down yon dowie den,
Great and grievous was the ghost he saw,
Would fear ten thousand men.
As he gaed in by Mary kirk,
And in by Mary stile,
Wan and weary was the ghost
Upon sweet Willie did smile.
'Aft hae ye travelld this road, Willie,
Aft hae ye travelld in sin;
Ye neer said sae muckle for your saul
As My Maker bring me hame!
'Aft hae ye travelld this road, Willie,
Your bonny love to see;
But ye'll never travel this road again
Till ye leave a token wi me.'
Then she has taen him Sweet Willie,
Riven him frae gair to gair,
And on ilka seat o Mary's kirk
O Willie she hang a share;
Even abeen his love Meggie's dice,
Hang's head and yellow hair.
His father made moan, his mother made moan,
But Meggie made muckle mair;
His father made moan, his mother made moan,
But Meggie reave her yellow hair.