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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
16. Sweet William’s Ghost
 
Traditional Ballads
 
 
WHAN bells war rung, an mass was sung,
  A wat a’ man to bed were gone,
Clark Sanders came to Margret’s window,
  With mony a sad sigh and groan.
 
“Are ye sleeping, Margret,” he says,        5
  “Or are ye waking, presentlie?
Give me my faith and trouthe again,
  A wat, 1 trew-love, I gied 2 to thee.”
 
“Your faith and trouth ye’s 3 never get,
  Nor our trew love shall never twain, 4        10
Till ye come with me in my bower,
  And kiss me both cheek and chin.”
 
“My mouth it is full cold, Margret,
  It has the smell now of the ground;
And if I kiss thy comely mouth,        15
  Thy life-days will not be long.
 
“Cocks are crowing a merry mid-larf, 5
  I wat the wild fule 6 boded day;
Gie me my faith and trouthe again,
  And let me fare me on my way.”        20
 
“Thy faith and trouth thou shall na get,
  Nor our trew love shall never twin, 7
Till ye tell me what comes of women
  A wat 8 that dy’s in strong travelling.”
 
“Their beds are made in the heavens high,        25
  Down at the foot of our good Lord’s knee,
Well set about wi gilly-flowers,
  A wat sweet company for to see.
 
“O cocks are crowing a merry midd-larf,
  A wat the wilde foule boded day;        30
The salms of Heaven will be sung,
  And ere now I’le be misst away.”
 
Up she has tain a bright long wand,
  And she has straked 9 her trouth thereon;
She has given (it) him out at the shot-window, 10        35
  Wi many a sad sigh and heavy groan.
 
“I thank you, Margret, I thank you, Margret,
  And I thank you hartilie;
Gine 11 ever the dead come for the quick,
  Be sure, Margret, I’ll come again for thee.”        40
 
It’s hose an shoon and gound 12 alane
  She clame the wall and followed him,
Until she came to a green forest,
  On this she lost the sight of him.
 
“Is there any room at your head, Sanders?        45
  Is there any room at your feet?
Or any room at your twa sides?
  Whare fain, fain woud I sleep.”
 
“Their is na room at my head, Margret,
  Their is na room at my feet;        50
There is room at my twa sides,
  For ladys for to sleep.
 
“Cold meal 13 is my covering owre,
  But an my winding sheet;
My bed it is full low, I say,        55
  Down among the hongerey worms I sleep.
 
“Cold meal is my covering owre,
  But an my winding sheet;
The dew it falls na sooner down
  Then ay it is full weet.”        60
 
Note 1. Gave. [back]
Note 2. Ye shall. [back]
Note 3. Part. [back]
Note 4. Unintelligible. [back]
Note 5. Fowl. [back]
Note 6. Stroked. [back]
Note 7. Unintelligible. [back]
Note 8. Gave. [back]
Note 9. A window opening out on a hinge; or a bow-window. [back]
Note 10. If [back]
Note 11. Stockings and shoes and gown. [back]
Note 12. Mould. [back]
Note 13. Old woman. [back]
 

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