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Sweet William’s Ghost

No: 77; variant: 77C

  1. LADY MARJORIE, Lady Marjorie, Sat sewing her silken seam; By her came a pale, pale ghost, With many a sich and mane.
  2. ‘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?’
  3. ‘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.’
  4. ‘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?’
  5. ‘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.
  6. ‘O Lady Marjory, Lady Marjory, For faith and charitie, Will you give to me my faith and troth, That I gave once to thee?’
  7. ‘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].’
  8. ‘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.
  9. ‘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.’
  10. 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.
  11. ‘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.’
  12. ‘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.’
  13. ‘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.’
  14. 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.