Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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86           Ballads and Songs of Michigan
This is a widely distributed song which belongs to a large group of English and Scottish songs concerning the "Night Visit" (Charles Read Baskervill, "English Songs on the Night Visit," PMLA, XXXVI, 565-614). AH the Michi­gan versions contain lines that tell of Willie's killing himself with the dagger and of Mary's following his example, a borrowing from "The Silver Dagger," which, Kittredge notes, occurs also in the Wehman broadside of this song QAFL, XXX, 338). Only A of the Michigan texts begins with the lover trying to arouse his sweetheart from sleep. A and E have a final stanza describ­ing the feelings of the parents the morning after the tragedy For other texts and references see Cox, pp. 348-349, and Mackenzie, pp. 99-100. See also Eddy, No. 26; Greenleaf and Mansfield, pp. 55-56; Scarborough, pp. 139-142, Sharp, I, 358-364; and, for a somewhat similar song, Ord, p. 318.
Version A was sung in 1935 by Mrs. Peter Miller, West Branch, who learned the song in 1895, when she heard it sung in a lumber camp.
iiji1- j< jiij'" 1 ' 1 f 1, j j 1
"Who xs tap-ping at my          bed- room win - dow,
I _P*             t\ . m.           I IS               I           I ft h              T—T
Whis-pnng soft and mourn -fill - lyi.....Tis I, 'tis I, you
njir J t J' J 'I ' U I l I r I '«
dear - est Ma - ry, Come once more to trou - ble you"
1   "Who is tapping at my bedroom window, Whisp'ring soft and mournfully?"
" Tis I, 'tis I, you dearest Mary, Come once more to trouble you.
2   "O Mary dear, go and ask your father If you my wedded bride might be; And if he says no, return and tell me, And 111 no longer trouble thee."
3   "O Willie dear, I dare not ask him, For he is on his bed to rest,
With a silver dagger lying beside him;
He swore he would pierce my lover's heart."

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