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Unquiet Grave

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The Unquiet Grave

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The Unquiet Grave

Cold blows the wind to my true love,
And gently drops the rain.
I've never had but one true love,
And in green-wood he lies slain.

I'll do as much for my true love,
As any young girl may,
I'll sit and mourn all on his grave,
For twelve months and a day.

And when twelve months and a day was passed,
The ghost did rise and speak,
"Why sittest thou all on my grave
And will no let me sleep?"

"Go fetch me water from the desert,
And blood from out the stone,
Go fetch me milk from a fair maid's breast
That young man never has known."

"My breast is cold as clay,
My breath is earthly strong,
And if you kiss my cold clay lips,
You days they won't be long."

"How oft on yonder grave, sweetheart,
Where we were want to walk,
The fairest flower that e'er I saw
Has withered to a stalk."

"When will we meet again, sweetheart,
When will we meet again?"
"When the autumn leaves that fall from the trees
Are green and spring up again."
Child #78   Aside from its exquisite poetry and music,
this ballad is notable for its exhibition of the universal
popular belief that excessive grief on the part of mourners
disturbs the peace of the dead.  Most of the verses of "The
Unquiet Grave" can be found in other ballads and folk lyrics,
suggesting the possibility that what we have here is only a
fragment of a longer ballad still undiscovered.  But in its few
short verses, it presents a compelling and highly dramatic
vignette of love, death, and grief. From "British Ballads and
Folk Songs from the Joan Baez Songbook"
sung by Joan Baez (5), Frankie Armstrong (Lovely on Water)
Ian Campbell, and Patons

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