Fair Margaret and Sweet William
No: 74; variant: 74B
- 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.