#01652
Lady Margaret (Kenneth Peacock) video
See also: Lady Margaret (MacEdward Leach)
See also: Lady Margaret (Peggy Seeger)

(Sweet William's Ghost)
#948: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
©2009 ~ Used with permission ~

Lady Margaret was sitting in her own lone home,
That was built of lime and stone;
Lady Margaret was sitting in her own lone home,
When she heard a dead man's moan.

"Is it my father Thomas?" she said,
"Or is it my brother John,
Or is it my own true love sweet William
From Scotland home has come?"

"'Tis not your father Thomas," he said,
"'Tis not your brother John,
But it is your true love sweet William
From Scotland home has come."

"Did you bring to me any diamonds or pearls,
Did you bring to me the ring,
Did you bring to me any token at all
That a true love ought to bring?"

"I have brought to you no diamonds or pearls,
I have brought to you no ring,
But I've brought to you my white winding sheet,
That my body was buried in."

"Oh, love, where are your red rosy cheeks,
That ofttimes used to bloom?"
"Oh they are rotten and now are forgotten,
By the love I lost so soon."

He took her by the lily-white hand
And bid her company,
He took her by the apron band
Sayng, "Follow, follow me."

She tucked her underskirts one by one,
Just about her knee;
And over the hills on a cold winter's night,
In a dead man's company.

They walked and they talked alone together
Till the cocks began to crow.
"It's time for the dead and the living to part,
Lady Margaret, I must go."

"Is there any room at your head," she said,
"Is there any room at your feet?
Is there any room about you at all
Where I may lie down and sleep?"

"My father is at my head," he said,
"And my mother is at my feet,
And there's three Hell Hounds lie about my side,
Where my poor soul should sleep.

"One is for my drunkenness,
Another is for my pride;
And the other is for promising a fair pretty maid,
That she should be my bride."

She took a cross all from her bosom,
And she smoted him on the breast,
Saying, "Here's a token for you Sweet William,
God grant you a happy night's rest."

"I am thankful to you Lady Margaret," he said,
"I am thankful unto you;
If the dead are bound to pray for the living,
Then I am bound to pray for you.

Good night, good night, Lady Margaret," he said.
"Good night, good night," said she,
"I hope the very next time we do meet
In heaven we both shall be."

####.... Author unknown. 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) ....####
Collected from Michael (Mike) A Kent [1904-1997] of Cape Broyle, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.390-395, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that ghostly visitations by departed lovers are an important part of the ancient balladeer's art. Though localized in North England and Scotland, this ballad has its roots in Scandinavian folklore. Child says that in Denmark it is known as Faestemanden I Graven, and in Sweden as Sirgens Magt. A German ballad called Der Todte Freier is also similar. Despite its popularity in Newfoundland, this fine traditional ballad has never been published before (or collected, to Peacock's knowledge, in Canada. For this reason he reproduced six tunes for it, in spite of the fact that three of them stemmed from the same source. Instead of giving the complete texts which are all very similar, Peacock made a collation based largely on Mike Kent's variant which is the most complete. Verses 2 to 6 inclusive are from the version by Mrs William Nicolle of Rocky Harbour, NL; verse 7 from variants by Mrs Wallace (Amelia J) Kinslow [1903-1985] of Isle aux Morts, NL, and Mrs Mary Ann Galpin [1872-1962] of Codroy, NL. Verses 8 to 14 are Mike Kent's, and the last verse again from Mrs William Nicolle.

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 arranged and recorded by Peggy Seeger as Lady Margaret (Blood & Roses II, 1981).

The video above features a variant recorded on a solo album by Mark Hiscock from Fort Amherst and St John's, NL, with Allison Walsh (The Music Takes Me Back, trk#8, 2003, Avondale Music, St John's, NL).


See more songs by Mark Hiscock.

A variant was also recorded by Pamela Morgan (Ancestral Songs, trk#2, 2006, Amber Music, Conception Bay South, NL, recorded at Blue Moon Studio, Oxfordshire, England).

See more songs by Pamela Morgan.

A variant was also 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, Massachusetts, 1933; and Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).


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