I was of late at a noble wedding,
The wedding of one that proved unkind
To him that loved her but was forsaken,
And now the thoughts of him filled her mind.
Gay was the guest at that noble wedding
And bright the beauty assembled there,
As lovely as the stars of evening
Or moonlight through the summer's air.
And there was also her slighted lover,
That day returned from the fields of war
With love thoughts filling his constant bosom
And his mind relieved from the dim (din?) afar.
The wedding supper was now passed over
And every guest was to sing a song;
And the first that sung was the slighted lover,
And the words to the false bride did belong.
'How can you lie on a stranger's pillow,
You that was my love so late,
And leave me here to wear the willows
In sorrow pining for your sakes
"But if I wear this woeful willow
It will only be for a week or two;
I'll lay aside this woeful willow
And change the old love for the new.
"Here is a piece of gold that was broken;
I kept it safe in this golden chain.
You gave it me as a true love token;
No longer with me it shall remain."
The bride she sat at the head of the table;
Each word he sung she marked it well.
To bear it longer she was unable;
Down at the bridegroom's feet she fell.
"A small request I have to offer,
And this request I make of you:
That I tonight may sleep with mother.
Tomorrow night I'll sleep by you."
This request at last was granted.
Sighing and sobbing she went to bed.
When they woke next morning early
There they found the young bride dead.
Now all young maidens that hear this story
To your vows be firm and true,
And don't be led by lands or money
To change the old love for the new.
From Ballads and Songs, Belden
Collected from W.J. Weese, OH, 1906