Child's Ballads/77

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
"Sweet William's Ghost", no. 077


A[edit]

THERE came a ghost to Margret's door,
With many a grievous groan,
And ay he tirled at the pin,
But answer made she none.
'Is that my father Philip,
Or is't my brother John?
Or is't my true-love, Willy,
From Scotland new come home?'
Tis not thy father Philip,
Nor yet thy brother John;
But 'tis thy true-love, Willy,
From Scotland new come home.
'O sweet Margret, O dear Margret,
I pray thee speak to me;
Give me my faith and troth, Margret,
As I gave it to thee.'
'Thy faith and troth thou's never get,
Nor yet will I thee lend,
Till that thou come within my bower,
And kiss my cheek and chin.'
'If I shoud come within thy bower,
I am no earthly man;
And shoud I kiss thy rosy lips,
Thy days will not be lang.
'O sweet Margret, O dear Margret,
I pray thee speak to me;
Give me my faith and troth, Margret,
As I gave it to thee.'
'Thy faith and troth thou's never get,
Nor yet will I thee lend,
Till you take me to yon kirk,
And wed me with a ring.'
'My bones are buried in yon kirk-yard,
Afar beyond the sea,
And it is but my spirit, Margret,
That's now speaking to thee.'
She stretchd out her lilly-white hand,
And, for to do her best,
'Hae, there's your faith and troth, Willy,
God send your soul good rest.'
Now she has kilted her robes of green
A piece below her knee,
And a' the live-lang winter night
The dead corp followed she.
'Is there any room at your head, Willy?
Or any room at your feet?
Or any room at your side, Willy,
Wherein that I may creep?'
'There's no room at my head, Margret,
There's no room at my feet;
There's no room at my side, Margret,
My coffin's made so meet.'
Then up and crew the red, red cock,
And up then crew the gray:
'Tis time, tis time, my dear Margret,
That you were going away.'
No more the ghost to Margret said,
But, with a grievous groan,
Evanishd in a cloud of mist,
And left her all alone.
'O stay, my only true-love, stay,'
The constant Margret cry'd;
Wan grew her cheeks, she closd her een,
Stretchd her soft limbs, and dy'd.

B[edit]

WHAN bells war rung, an mass was sung,
A wat a' man to bed were gone,
Clark Sanders came to Margret's window,
With mony a sad sigh and groan.
'Are ye sleeping, Margret,' he says,
'Or are ye waking, presentlie?
Give me my faith and trouthe again,
A wat, trew-love, I gied to thee.'
'Your faith and trouth ye's never get,
Nor our trew love shall never twain,
Till ye come with me in my bower,
And kiss me both cheek and chin.'
'My mouth it is full cold, Margret,
It has the smell now of the ground;
And if I kiss thy comely mouth,
Thy life-days will not be long.
'Cocks are crowing a merry mid-larf,
I wat the wild fule boded day;
Gie me my faith and trouthe again,
And let me fare me on my way.'
'Thy faith and trouth thou shall na get,
Nor our trew love shall never twin,
Till ye tell me what comes of women
Awat that dy's in strong traveling.'
'Their beds are made in the heavens high,
Down at the foot of our good Lord's knee,
Well set about wi gilly-flowers,
A wat sweet company for to see.
'O cocks are crowing a merry midd-larf,
A wat the wilde foule boded day;
The salms of Heaven will be sung,
And ere now I'le be misst away.'
Up she has tain a bright long wand,
And she has straked her trouth thereon;
She has given [it] him out at the shot-window,
Wi many a sad sigh and heavy groan.
'I thank you, Margret, I thank you, Margret,
And I thank you hartilie;
Gine ever the dead come for the quick,
Be sure, Margret, I'll come again for thee.'
It's hose an shoon an gound alane
She clame the wall and followed him,
Untill she came to a green forest,
On this she lost the sight of him.
'Is their any room at your head, Sanders?
Is their any room at your feet?
Or any room at your twa sides?
Whare fain, fain woud I sleep.'
'Their is na room at my head, Margret,
Their is na room at my feet;
There is room at my twa sides,
For ladys for to sleep.
'Cold meal is my covering owre,
But an my winding sheet;
My bed it is full low, I say,
Down among the hongerey worms I sleep.
'Cold meal is my covering owre,
But an my winding sheet;
The dew it falls na sooner down
Then ay it is full weet.'

C[edit]

LADY MARJORIE, Lady Marjorie,
Sat sewing her silken seam;
By her came a pale, pale ghost,
With many a sich and mane.
'Are ye my father, the king?' she says,
'Or are ye my brother John?
Or are you my true-love, Sweet William,
From England newly come?'
'I'm not your father, the king,' he says,
'No, no, nor your brother John;
But I'm your true love, Sweet William,
From England that's newly come.'
'Have ye brought me any scarlets so red?
Or any silks so fine?
Or have ye brought me any precious things,
That merchants have for sale?'
'I have not brought you any scarlets sae red,
No, no, nor the silks so fine;
But I have brought you my winding-sheet,
Oer many's the rock and hill.
'O Lady Marjory, Lady Marjory,
For faith and charitie,
Will you give to me my faith and troth,
That I gave once to thee?'
'O your faith and troth I'll not give thee,
No, no, that will not I,
Until I get one kiss of your ruby lips,
And in my arms you come [lye].'
'My lips they are so bitter,' he says,
'My breath it is so strong,
If you get one kiss of my ruby lips,
Your days will not be long.
'The cocks they are crowing, Marjory,' he says,
'The cocks they are crawing again;
It's time the deid should part the quick,
Marjorie, I must be gane.'
She followed him high, she followed him low,
Till she came to yon church-yard;
O there the grave did open up,
And young William he lay down.
'What three things are these, Sweet William,' she says,
'That stands here at your head?'
'It's three maidens, Marjorie,' he says,
'That I promised once to wed.'
'What three things are these, Sweet William,' she says,
'That stands here at your side?'
'It is three babes, Marjorie,' he says,
'That these three maidens had.'
'What three things are these, Sweet William,' she says,
'That stands here at your feet?'
It is three hell-hounds, Marjorie,' he says,
'That's waiting my soul to keep.'
She took up her white, white hand,
And she struck him in the breast,
Saying, Have there again your faith and troth,
And I wish your soul good rest.

D[edit]

LADY MARGARET was in her wearie room,
Sewin her silken seam,
And in cam Willie, her true-love,
Frae Lundin new come hame.
'O are ye my father Philip,
Or are ye my brither John?
Or are ye my true-love, Willie,
Frae London new come home?'
'I'm nae your father Philip,
Nor am I your brother John;
But I am your true-love, Willie,
An I'm nae a levin man.
'But gie me my faith and troth, Margrat,
An let me pass on my way;
For the bells o heaven will be rung,
An I'll be mist away.'
'Yere faith and troth ye'se never get,
Till ye tell me this ane;
Till ye tell me where the women go
That hang themsell for sin.'
'O they gang till the low, low hell,
Just by the devil's knee;
It's a' clad ower wi burnin pitch,
A dreadfu sicht to see.'
'But your faith and troth ye'se never get,
Till you tell me again;
Till you tell me where the children go
That die without a name.'
'O they gang till the high, high heaven,
Just by our Saviour's knee,
An it's a' clad ower wi roses red,
A lovelie sicht to see.
'But gie me my faith and troth, Margrat,
And let me pass on my way;
For the psalms o heaven will be sung,
An I'll be mist away.'
'But your faith and troth yese never get
Till ye tell me again;
Till ye tell me where the women go
That die in child-beddin.'
'O they gang till the hie, hie heaven,
Just by our Saviour's knee,
And every day at twal o clock
They're dipped oer the head.
'But gie me my faith and troth, Margret,
And let me pass on my way;
For the gates o heaven will be shut,
And I'll be mist away.'
Then she has taen a silver key,
Gien him three times on the breast;
Says, There's your faith and troth, Willie,
I hope your soul will rest.
'But is there room at your head, Willie?
Or is there room at your feet?
Or is there room at any o your sides,
To let in a lover sweet?'
'There is nae room at my head, Margrat,
There's nae room at my feet,
But there is room at baith my sides,
To lat in a lover sweet.'

E[edit]

'AS May Margret sat in her bouerie,
In her bouer all alone,
At the very parting o midnicht
She heard a mournfu moan.
'O is it my father? O is it my mother?
Or is it my brother John?
Or is it Sweet William, my ain true-love,
To Scotland new come home?'
'It is na your father, it is na your mother,
It is na your brother John;
But it is Sweet William, your ain true-love,
To Scotland new come home.'
'Hae ye brought me onie fine things,
Onie new thing for to wear?
Or hae ye brought me a braid o lace,
To snood up my gowden hair?'
'I've brought ye na fine things at all,
Nor onie new thing to wear,
Nor hae I brought ye a braid of lace,
To snood up your gowden hair.
'But Margaret, dear Margaret,
I pray ye speak to me;
O gie me back my faith and troth,
As dear as I gied it thee.'
'Your faith and troth ye sanna get,
Nor will I wi ye twin,
Till ye come within my bouer,
And kiss me, cheek and chin.'
'O should I come within your bouer,
I am na earthly man;
If I should kiss your red, red lips,
Your days wad na be lang.
'O Margaret, dear Margaret,
I pray ye speak to me;
O gie me back my faith and troth,
As dear as I gied it thee.'
'Your faith and troth ye sanna get,
Nor will I wi ye twin,
Till ye tak me to yonder kirk,
And wed me wi a ring.'
'My banes are buried in yon kirk-yard,
It's far ayont the sea;
And it is my spirit, Margaret,
That's speaking unto thee.'
'Your faith and troth ye sanna get,
Nor will I twin wi thee,
Till ye tell me the pleasures o heaven,
And pains of hell how they be.'
'The pleasures of heaven I wat not of,
But the pains of hell I dree;
There some are hie hangd for huring,
And some for adulterie.'
'Then Margret took her milk-white hand,
And smoothd it on his breast:
'Tak your faith and troth, William,
God send your soul good rest!'

F[edit]

WHEN seven years were come and gane,
Lady Margaret she thought lang;
And she is up to the hichest tower,
By the lee licht o the moon.
She was lookin oer her castle high,
To see what she might fa,
And there she saw a grieved ghost,
Comin waukin oer the wa.
'O are ye a man of mean,' she says,
'Seekin ony o my meat?
Or are you a rank robber,
Come in my bower to break?'
'O I'm Clerk Saunders, your true-love,
Behold, Margaret, and see,
And mind, for a' your meikle pride,
Sae will become of thee.'
'Gin ye be Clerk Saunders, my true-love,
This meikle marvels me;
O wherein is your bonny arms,
That wont to embrace me?'
'By worms they're eaten, in mools they're rotten,
Behold, Margaret, and see,
And mind, for a' your mickle pride,
Sae will become o thee.'

  • * * * *
  • * * * *

'O, bonny, bonny sang the bird,
Sat on the coil o hay;
But dowie, dowie was the maid
That followd the corpse o clay.
'Is there ony room at your head, Saunders?
Is there ony room at your feet?
Is there ony room at your twa sides,
For a lady to lie and sleep?'
'There is nae room at my head, Margaret,
As little at my feet;
There is nae room at my twa sides,
For a lady to lie and sleep.
'But gae hame, gae hame now, May Margaret,
Gae hame and sew your seam;
For if ye were laid in your weel made bed,
Your days will nae be lang.'

G[edit]

  • * * *

BUT plait a wand o bonny birk,
And lay it on my breast,
And shed a tear upon my grave,
And wish my saul gude rest.
'And fair Margret, and rare Margret,
And Margret o veritie,
Gin eer ye love another man,
Neer love him as ye did me.'
Then up and crew the milk-white cock,
And up and crew the grey;
The lover vanishd in the air,
And she gaed weeping away.