Lady Margaret (Peggy Seeger)

See also: Lady Margaret (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Lady Margaret (MacEdward Leach)

Lady Margaret, sitting in her own lone home,
Alone, O, all alone;
When she thought she heard a dismal cry,
She heard a deadly moan.

"Is it my father Thomas?" she said,
"Or is it my brother John?
Or is it my love, my own dear Willie,
Come home to me again?"

"I am not your father Thomas," he said,
"Nor am I your brother John;
But I am your love, your own dear Willie,
Come home to you again."

"Then where are the red and rosy cheeks,
That even in winter bloom?
And where is the long and yellow hair,
Of the love I lost too soon?"

"The ground has rotten them off, my dear,
For the worms are quick and free;
And when you're so long lying in your grave,
The same will happen to thee."

He took her by the lily-white hand,
And begged her company;
He took her by her apron band,
Said, "Follow, follow me."

She took her underskirts one by one,
And wrapped them above her knee;
And she's over the hills on a winter's night,
In a dead man's company.

They walked, they walked to the old churchyard,
Where the grass grows grassy-green:
"Here's the home where I live now,
The bed I do lie in."

"Is there any room at your head, my love,
Is there any room at your feet?
Is there any room about you at all,
For me to lie down and sleep?"

"My father is at my head, dear girl,
My mother is at my feet;
Upon my heart are three hell-hounds,
Bound my soul to keep.

One is for my drunkenness,
And another is for my pride;
And one is for promising a pretty fair girl,
That she should be my bride."

She took the cross from all on her bosom,
And smoted him on the breast;
"Here's your token I kept so long,
God send you a happy rest."

"Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, my love,
Farewell, dear girl," said he;
"If ever the dead may pray for the living,
My love, I'll pray for thee."

####.... Author unknown; arranged and recorded by Peggy Seeger (Blood & Roses II, 1981). Variant of an English traditional ballad, Fair Margaret And Sweet William (Child ballad #77) The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965). Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, Sweet William's Ghost, without a known publisher or date, archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 5(1) ....####
A collation of variants was collected in 1951 by Kenneth Peacock primarily from Michael (Mike) A Kent [1904-1997] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published as Lady Margaret in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.390-395, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A very similar, shorter variant was collected in 1950 from Michael (Mike) A Kent [1904-1997] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published as Lady Margaret in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1930 from Mrs Maude Roberts Simmonds of Glenburnie, Bonne Bay, NL, and published as #9, Lady Margaret (Sweet William's Ghost, Child #77) on page 21 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; and Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).


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