God give you joy, you lovers true, In bride-bed fast asleep; Lo! I am going to my green-grass grave, And I'm in my winding sheet. HERD'S copy.
62. Alluding to the dole anciently given at funerals. P.
SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST
As already remarked, is often made the sequel to other ballads. (See _Clerk Saunders_, p. 45.) It was first printed in the fourth volume of Ramsay's _Tea Table Miscellany_, with some imperfections, and with two spurious stanzas for a conclusion. We subjoin to Ramsay's copy the admirable version obtained by Motherwell from recitation, and still another variation furnished by Kinloch.
Closely similar in many respects are the Danish _Faestemanden i Graven (Aage og Else)_, Grundtvig, No. 90, and the Swedish _Sorgens Magt_, _Svenska F. V._, i. 29, ii. 204, or Arwidsson, ii. 103. Also _Der Todte Freier_, Erk's _Liederhort_, 24, 24 a. In the Danish and Swedish ballads it is the uncontrolled grief of his mistress that calls the lover from his grave: in the English, the desire to be freed from his troth-plight.--See vol. i. p. 213, 217.
There came a ghost to Margaret's door, With many a grievous groan, And ay he tirled at the pin, But answer made she none.
"Is that my father Philip, 5 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; 10 But 'tis thy true love Willy, From Scotland new come home.
"O sweet Margaret! O dear Margaret!
I pray thee speak to mee: Give me my faith and troth, Margaret, 15 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." 20
"If I should come within thy bower, I am no earthly man: And should I kiss thy rosy lips, Thy days will not be lang.
"O sweet Margaret, O dear Margaret, 25 I pray thee speak to mee: Give me my faith and troth, Margaret, As I gave it to thee."
"Thy faith and troth thou's never get, Nor yet will I thee lend, 30 Till you take me to yon kirk-yard, And wed me with a ring."
"My bones are buried in yon kirk-yard, Afar beyond the sea, And it is but my spirit, Margaret, 35 That's now speaking to thee."
She stretched out her lily-white hand, And for to do her best; "Hae there[L39] your faith and troth, Willy, God send your soul good rest." 40
Now she has kilted her robes of green A piece below her knee, And a' the live-lang winter night The dead corps followed she.
"Is there any room at your head, Willy, 45 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, Margaret, There's no room at my feet; 50 There's no room at my side, Margaret, 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 Margaret, 55 That you were going away."
No more the ghost to Margaret said, But, with a grievous groan, Evanish'd in a cloud of mist, And left her all alone. 60
"O stay, my only true love, stay,"
The constant Margaret cried: Wan grew her cheeks, she closed her een, Stretch'd her soft limbs, and died.
WILLIAM AND MARJORIE.
Motherwell's _Minstrelsy_, p. 186.
Lady Marjorie, Lady Marjorie, Sat sewing her silken seam, And by her came a pale, pale ghost, Wi' mony a sigh and mane.
"Are ye my father the king?" she says, 5 "Or are ye my brither John?
Or are ye my true love, sweet William, From England newly come?"
"I'm not your father the king," he says, "No, no, nor your brither John; 10 But I'm your true love, sweet William, From England that's newly come."
"Have ye brought me any scarlets sae red, Or any of the silks sae fine; Or have ye brought me any precious things, 15 That merchants have for sale?"
"I have not brought you any scarlets sae red, No, no, nor the silks sae fine; But I have brought you my winding-sheet Ower many a rock and hill. 20
"Lady Marjorie, Lady Marjorie, For faith and charitie, Will ye gie to me my faith and troth, That I gave once to thee?"
"O your faith and troth I'll not gie to thee, 25 No, no, that will not I, Until I get ae kiss of your ruby lips, And in my arms you lye."
"My lips they are sae bitter," he says, "My breath it is sae strang, 30 If you get ae kiss of my ruby lips, Your days will not be lang.
"The cocks are crawing, Marjorie," he says,-- "The cocks are crawing again; It's time the dead should part the quick,-- 35 Marjorie, I must be gane."
She followed him high, she followed him low, Till she came to yon churchyard green; And there the deep grave opened up, And young William he lay down. 40
"What three things are these, sweet William," she says, "That stand here at your head?"
"O it's three maidens, Marjorie," he says, "That I promised once to wed."
"What three things are these, sweet William," she says, 45 "That stand close at your side?"
"O it's three babes, Marjorie," he says, "That these three maidens had."
"What three things are these, sweet William," she says, "That lye close at your feet?" 50 "O it's three hell-hounds, Marjorie," he says, "That's waiting my soul to keep."
O she took up her white, white hand, And she struck him on the breast, Saying,--"Have there again your faith and troth, 55 And I wish your saul gude rest."
SWEET WILLIAM AND MAY MARGARET.
Kinloch's _Ancient Scottish Ballads_, p. 241.