Fair Margaret and Sweet William

No: 74; variant: 74B

  1. SWEET WILLIAM would a wooing ride, His steed was lovely brown; A fairer creature than Lady Margaret Sweet William could find none.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?’
  4. ‘I know none by her,’ he said, ‘And she knows none by me; Before tomorrow at this time Another bride you shall see.’
  5. Lady Margaret at her bower-window, Combing of her hair, She saw Sweet William and his brown bride Unto the church repair.
  6. 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.
  7. When day was gone, and night was come, All people were asleep, In glided Margaret’s grimly ghost, And stood at William’s feet.
  8. ‘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?’
  9. ‘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.’
  10. 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.
  11. ‘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.’
  12. 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.’
  13. 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.
  14. ‘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?’
  15. ‘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.’
  16. ‘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.’
  17. 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.
  18. 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.