The English and Scottish Popular Ballads/Part 3/Chapter 74

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416573The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Part 3 — 074. "Fair Margaret and Sweet William"Francis James Child


As it fell out on a long summer's day,
Two lovers they sat on a hill;
They sat together that long summer's day,
And could not talk their fill.
'I see no harm by you, Margaret,
Nor you see none by me;
Before tomorrow eight a clock
A rich wedding shall you see.'
Fair Margaret sat in her bower-window,
A combing of her hair,
And there she spy'd Sweet William and his bride,
As they were riding near.
Down she layd her ivory comb,
And up she bound her hair;
She went her way forth of her bower,
But never more did come there.
When day was gone, and night was come,
And all men fast asleep,
Then came the spirit of Fair Margaret,
And stood at William's feet.
'God give you joy, you two true lovers,
In bride-bed fast asleep;
Loe I am going to my green grass grave,
And am in my winding-sheet.'
When day was come, and night was gone,
And all men wak'd from sleep,
Sweet William to his lady said,
My dear, I have cause to weep.
'I dreamd a dream, my dear lady;
Such dreams are never good;
I dreamd my bower was full of red swine,
And my bride-bed full of blood.'
'Such dreams, such dreams, my honoured lord,
They never do prove good,
To dream thy bower was full of swine,
And [thy] bride-bed full of blood.'
He called up his merry men all,
By one, by two, and by three,
Saying, I'll away to Fair Margaret's bower,
By the leave of my lady.
And when he came to Fair Margaret's bower,
He knocked at the ring;
So ready was her seven brethren
To let Sweet William in.
He turned up the covering-sheet:
'Pray let me see the dead;
Methinks she does look pale and wan,
She has lost her cherry red.
'I'll do more for thee, Margaret,
Than any of thy kin;
For I will kiss thy pale wan lips,
Tho a smile I cannot win.'
With that bespeak her seven brethren,
Making most pitious moan:
'You may go kiss your jolly brown bride,
And let our sister alone.'
'If I do kiss my jolly brown bride,
I do but what is right;
For I made no vow to your sister dear,
By day or yet by night.
'Pray tell me then how much you'll deal
Of your white bread and your wine;
So much as is dealt at her funeral today
Tomorrow shall be dealt at mine.'
Fair Margaret dy'd today, today,
Sweet William he dy'd the morrow;
Fair Margaret dy'd for pure true love,
Sweet William he dy'd for sorrow.
Margaret was buried in the lower chancel,
Sweet William in the higher;
Out of her breast there sprung a rose,
And out of his a brier.
They grew as high as the church-top,
Till they could grow no higher,
And then they grew in a true lover's knot,
Which made all people admire.
There came the clerk of the parish,
As you this truth shall hear,
And by misfortune cut them down,
Or they had now been there.


SWEET WILLIAM would a wooing ride,
His steed was lovely brown;
A fairer creature than Lady Margaret
Sweet William could find none.
Sweet William came to Lady Margaret's bower,
And knocked at the ring,
And who so ready as Lady Margaret
To rise and to let him in.
Down then came her father dear,
Clothed all in blue:
'I pray, Sweet William, tell to me
What love's between my daughter and you?'
'I know none by her,' he said,
'And she knows none by me;
Before tomorrow at this time
Another bride you shall see.'
Lady Margaret at her bower-window,
Combing of her hair,
She saw Sweet William and his brown bride
Unto the church repair.
Down she cast her iv'ry comb,
And up she tossd her hair,
She went out from her bowr alive,
But never so more came there.
When day was gone, and night was come,
All people were asleep,
In glided Margaret's grimly ghost,
And stood at William's feet.
'How d'ye like your bed, Sweet William?
How d'ye like your sheet?
And how d'ye like that brown lady,
That lies in your arms asleep?'
'Well I like my bed, Lady Margaret,
And well I like my sheet;
But better I like that fair lady
That stands at my bed's feet.'
When night was gone, and day was come,
All people were awake,
The lady waket out of her sleep,
And thus to her lord she spake.
'I dreamd a dream, my wedded lord,
That seldom comes to good;
I dreamd that our bowr was lin'd with white swine,
And our brid-chamber of blood.'
He called up his merry men all,
By one, by two, by three,
'We will go to Lady Margaret's bower,
With the leave of my wedded lady.'
When he came to Lady Margaret's bower,
He knocked at the ring,
And who were so ready as her brethren
To rise and let him in.
'Oh is she in the parlor,' he said,
'Or is she in the hall?
Or is she in the long chamber,
Amongst her merry maids all?'
'She's not in the parlor,' they said,
'Nor is she in the hall;
But she is in the long chamber,
Laid out against the wall.'
'Open the winding sheet,' he cry'd,
'That I may kiss the dead;
That I may kiss her pale and wan
Whose lips used to look so red.'
Lady Margaret [died] on the over night,
Sweet William died on the morrow;
Lady Margaret die for pure, pure love,
Sweet William died for sorrow.
On Margaret's grave there grew a rose,
On Sweet William's grew a briar;
They grew till they joind in a true lover's knot,
And then they died both together.


As Margaret stood at her window so clear,
A combing back her hair,
She saw Sweet William and his gay bride
Unto the church draw near.
Then down she threw her ivory comb,
She turned back her hair;
There was a fair maid at that window,
She's gone, she'll come no more there.
In the night, in the middle of the night,
When all men were asleep,
There walkd a ghost, Fair Margaret's ghost,
And stood at his bed's feet.
Sweet William he dremed a dream, and he said,
'I wish it prove for good;
My chamber was full of wild men's wine,
And my bride-bed stood in blood.'
Then he calld up his stable-groom,
To saddle his nag with speed:
'This night will I ride to Fair Margaret's bowr,
With the leave of my lady.
'Oh is Fair Margaret in the kitchen?
Or is she in the hall?
. . . . .
. . . .
'No, she is not in the kitchen,' they cryed,
'Nor is she in the hall;
But she is in the long chamber,
Laid up against the wall.'
Go with your right side to Newcastle,
And come with your left side home,
There you will see those two lovers
Lie printed on one stone.