Ballads and Songs of Indiana - online book

A collection of 100 traditional folk songs with commentaries, historical info, lyrics & sheet music

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Brewster: Ballads and Songs of Indiana             71
(Child, No. 74)
Five variants of "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" have been con­tributed to the Indiana collection. They resemble Child B in the conver­sation between William and the ghost of Margaret and in the rose-and-briar ending, but are like A in that the dream is William's instead of his bride's. The story, briefly, is.this: Sweet William arises early one morning and dresses in blue. He says that there is no strong bond between Lady Margaret and himself, and adds that on the morrow she will see his bride. As he and his bride pass by, Lady Margaret is standing in her bower window (or door) combing her hair. In her emotion she drops the ivory comb, dashes out, and is never seen again. That night her ghost appears at Sweet William's bedside and asks how he likes his bride. His reply is that he likes best the lady who stands at the foot of the bed. He wakes, tells his bride of a fearful dream, and asks her permission to visit Lady Margaret. He is admitted by the latter's brothers, who inform him that she is dead and in her coffin. He kisses her farewell, and dies of sorrow. They are buried side by side, and plants entwine above their graves.
For American texts, see Barry, Eckstorm, and Smyth, p. 134 (two variants and one air); Belden, No. 5; Brown, p. 9; Campbell and Sharp, No. 17; Cox, p. 65 (seven variants); Davis, p. 221 and p. 570 (melodies); Hudson, Folksongs, p. 87; McGill, p. 69; Mackenzie, Ballads, p. 25; Mac­kenzie, p. 124; Scarborough, Song Catcher, p. 103; Shearin, p. 3; Shearin and Combs, p. 8; Wyman and Brockway, p. 94; Journal, XIX, 281; XXIII, 381; XXVII, 154; XXVIII, 200; XXX, 303; XXXI, 74; XXXV, 340; JFSS, II, 289; III, 64; Randolph, The Ozarks: An American Survival of Primitive Society, 182-83 (text and air); Neely, Tales and Songs of Southern Illinois, pp. 141-42.
"Sweet William." Contributed by Mrs. G. W. Smith, of Oakland City, Indiana. Gibson Comity. June 8, 1935. With music.
1.     One morning in June Sweet William arose
And dressed himself in blue, Saying,1 "Come tell unto me of the long and loving love That's betwixt Lady Margaret and you/9
2.   "O I know nothing of Lady Margaret," said he;
"Lady Margaret knows nothing of me, But tomorrow morning by eight o'clock Lady Margaret my bride shall see.
1 This is, of coarse, said to Sweet Willistm, raot bv Mm.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III