#01687
The Unquiet Grave (Kenneth Peacock) video

Click to jump down to Variant B
#1645: YouTube video by raymondcrooke
©2011 ~ Used with permission ~

Come blow me some winds tonight, my love,
Come blow me sweet drops of rain,
For I only had but one true love
And in Greenwood she was slain.

For I can do as much for my true love
As any young man can say,
I'll sit and mourn all 'round her grave
For a twelve-month and one day.

When the twelve-month and one day were past
Her spirit began to speak:
"What makes you mourn all 'round my grave,
For you will not let me sleep?"

"Just one more kiss from your sweet lips,
That is all I do crave,
If I could once kiss your sweet lips
Then I'd go straight from your grave."

"My lips are cold tonight, sweetheart,
My breath it smells earthy and strong,
If you get one kiss from my cold lips
Your time it won't be long.

"Go fetch me an egg from the billows so deep,
Or water out of a stone,
Or milk all from a fair maid's breast
Where the fair maid never had none."

"How can I fetch you an egg from the billows so deep,
Or water out of a stone,
Or milk all from a fair maid's breast
Where the fair maid never had none?"

"You go down in some yonder green grove
Where true loves used to walk,
And there you'll find so fine a flower
All withered unto the stalk.

"All withered unto the stalk, sweetheart,
And the leaves are all withered and gone,
And I must leave you and die, fair girl,
And go straight to my home."

Collated from songs collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from Mrs Wallace (Amelia J) Kinslow [1903-1985] of Isle aux Morts, NL, and in 1960 from James (Jim) M Keeping [ca.1910-?] of Burnt Islands, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.410-411, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also collected in 1929 from Mrs Rosanna (Rosie) White [1900-1977] of Sandy Cove, NL, and published as #10, The Unquiet Grave [Child ballad #78] on page 23 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).



Cold Falling Drops Of Dew (Variant B)

Cold falling drops of dew, sweetheart,
Cold falling drops of rain,
I never in the world had but one sweetheart,
In the greenwood he was slain.

I will do as much for my true love
As any fair girl so gay,
I will sit and mourn all on his grave
For a twelve-month and a day.

When the twelve-month and a day were past
This young man rose to speak:
"What keeps you here lying on my grave
And will not let me sleep?"

"What do you ask, what do you crave,
What do you ask of me?"
"One kiss, one kiss from your lily-white lips,
That's all I ask of thee."

"My lily-white lips are as cold as clay,
And my breath is vile and strong,
If you take one kiss from my lily-white lips
Your time it won't be long.

"It was down in yonder valley, sweetheart,
Where you and I used to walk,
And the fairest flower you and I used to pick
Is withered unto the stalk.

"All withered unto the stalk, sweetheart,
And the roots have now decayed,
And I must leave you in this wide world
And go into my grave."

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.412-413, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

####.... Author unknown. Both of the above songs are variants of The Unquiet Grave [Child ballad #78] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965). Also variants of a British broadside ballad, The Weeping Lover, published by W. Wright (Birmingham) sometime between 1820 and 1831, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: 2806 c.17(460) ....####
Kenneth Peacock noted that the tunes of both variants are similar, though Mr Decker's has a duple pulse. His variant is more unusual in having the girl mourn by her lover's grave. The texts of the A variant are very similar and were collated to give the best wording. Peacock also noted that there is a widespread superstition right across Asia and Europe that prolonged and excessive grieving disturbs the peace of the dead. The lovely 'lover's-task' verses (6 and 7) of variant A are not found in Professor Child's variants, though one of the variants in the [Cecil] Sharp [1859-1924] manuscripts contains a similar verse.

The video above features a performance of a variant by Raymond Crooke of Melbourne, Australia.


See more Child Ballad variants from NFLD.


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