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Lyr/Tune Add: Death and the Lady (2)


Related threads:
Penguin: Tune Add: Death and the Lady (6)
Lyr Req: Death and the Lady (from Cecil Sharp) (4)
Lyr Req: Death and the Lady (2) (closed)

In Mudcat MIDIs:
Death and the Lady (2)

Lesley N. 11 Aug 99 - 01:37 PM
John in Brisbane 11 Aug 99 - 07:42 PM
Lesley N. 11 Aug 99 - 08:11 PM
John in Brisbane 12 Aug 99 - 07:41 AM
Lesley N. 12 Aug 99 - 02:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Aug 06 - 08:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Aug 06 - 01:49 AM
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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: DEATH AND THE LADY (2)
From: Lesley N.
Date: 11 Aug 99 - 01:37 PM

Inspired by the Conversations with Death Thread ( I found a copy of Death and the Lady in Lucy Broadwood's English Traditional Songs and Carols (1908). It was collected in Sussex in 1893.


'Fair Lady, throw those costly robes aside,
No longer may you glory in your pride;
Take leave of all your carnal vain delight,
I'm come to summon you away this night.'

'What bold attempt is this? Pray let me know
From whence you come, and whither I must go.
Shall I, who am a lady, stoop or bow
To such a pale-faced visage? Who art thou?'

D. 'Do you not know me? I will tell you then:
I am he that conquers all the sons of men,
No pitch of honour from my dart is free,
My name is Death! Have you not heard of me?'

L. 'Yes; I have heard of thee, time after time;
But, being in the glory of my prime,
I did not think you would have come so soon;
Why must my morning sun go down at noon?'

D. 'Talk not of noon! you may as well be mute;
There is no time at all for vain dispute,
Your riches, gold, and garments,jewels bright,
Your house, and land, must on new owners light?'

L. 'My heart is cold; it trembles at such news!
Here's bags of gold, if you will me excuse
And seize on those; and finish thou their strife,
Who wretched are, and weary of their life.

Are there not many bound in prison strong
In bitter grief? and souls that languish long,
Who could but find the grave a place of rest
From all their grief; by which they are opprest.

Besides there's many with a hoary head
And palsied joints; from whom all joy is fled
Release thou them whose sorrows are so great,
And spare my life until a later date!'

D. 'Though thy vain heart to riches is inclined
Yet thou must die and leave them all behind.
I come to none before their warrant's sealed,
And, when it is, they must submit, and yield.

Though some by age be full of grief and pain,
Till their appointed time they must remain;
I take no bribe, believe me,this is true.
Prepare yourself to go; I'm come for you.'

L. 'But if, oh! if you could for me obtain
A freedom, and a longer life to reign,
Fain would I stay, if thou my life wouldst spare.
I have a daughter, beautiful and fair,
I wish to see her wed, whom I adore;
Grant me but this, and I will ask no more?'
(The last part of the music must be repeated
to fit the extra line)

D. 'This is a slender frivolous excuse!
I have you fast! I will not let you loose!
Leave her to Providence, for you must go
Along with me, whether you will or no!

If Death commands the King to leave his crown
He at my feet must lay his sceptre down;
Then, if to Kings I do not favour give
But cut them off, can you expect to live
Beyond the limits of your time and space?
No! I must send you to another place.'
(The last part of the music must be repeated
to fit the extra line)

L. 'Ye learned doctors, now exert your skill,
And let not Death on me obtain his will!
Prepare your cordials, let me comfort find,
My gold shall fly like chaff before the wind!'

D. 'Forbear to call! that skill will never do;
They are but mortals here as well as you.
I give the fatal wound, my dart is sure,
And far beyond the doctors' skill to cure.

Flow freely you can let your riches fly
To purchase life, rather than yield and die!
But,while you flourished here with all your store,
You would not give one penny to the poor.

Though in God's name they sue to you did make
You would not spare one penny for His sake.
My Lord beheld wherein you did amiss,
And calls you hence, to give account of this!'

L. 'Oh! heavy news! must I no longer stay?
How shall I stand at the great Judgement Day?'
Down from her eyes the crystal tears did flow,
She says, 'None knows what I now undergo!

Upon my bed of sorrow here I lie!
My selfish life makes me afraid to die!
My sins are great, and manifold,and foul;
Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on my soul!

Alas! I do deserve a righteous frown!
Yet pardon, Lord, and pour a blessing down!'
Then with a dying sigh her heart did break,
And did the pleasures of this world forsake.

Thus may we see the mighty rise and fall,
For cruel Death shews no respect at all
To those of either high or low degree.
The great submit to Death as well as we.

Though they are gay, their life is but a span,
A lump of clay, so vile a creature's Man!
Then happy they whom God bath made his care,
And die in God, and ever happy are!

The grave's the market place where all must meet
Both rich and poor, as well as small and great;
If life were merchandise, that gold could buy,
The rich would live -- only the poor would die.

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T:Death and the Lady

In addition to the information from the other thread there is an abc at Bruce's site ( (Thanks Bruce!)

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Subject: RE: LYR & MUS ADD: Death and the Lady (2)
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 11 Aug 99 - 07:42 PM

Thanks Lesley and Bruce. Regards, John.

PS Lesley, it's driving me nuts but I can't find the Australian site for original Celtic Midis which makes some reference to'Tadpoles' (meaning notation'. Some of his tunes are absolute corkers (for the Celtic players among us) and his Midis are beautifully put together. The only tune names that I can recall relate to the devastating Ash Wednesday fires - 'North Wind', 'Ashes', 'Olinda Waltz'. Have you come across it?

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Subject: RE: LYR & MUS ADD: Death and the Lady (2)
From: Lesley N.
Date: 11 Aug 99 - 08:11 PM

This ought to be it - Ron Clarke's Tadpole Tunes.( Ron does have great stuff - and has been terrific about my using his tunes. I still have a couple of child ballads he did to put up...

Is that what the tadpole means?? I've always wondered - couldn't see how frogs fit into the music!! Boy do I feel stupid... but it gave me a big laugh!

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Subject: RE: LYR & MUS ADD: Death and the Lady (2)
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 12 Aug 99 - 07:41 AM

Thanx Lesley, you're the sex goddess of notators! Ron's tunes are fabtastic, I hope to write and record some tunes soo Regards, Johnn.

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Subject: RE: LYR & MUS ADD: Death and the Lady (2)
From: Lesley N.
Date: 12 Aug 99 - 02:11 PM

Thank you John - gave me another big chuckle! Sex goddess indeed... If one is going to be a goddess that's the one to be... Though I suppose I'd really rather be a muse - most people can manage sex (if not well) - music takes a lot more learning and practice to be good at than sex!

Sex Goddess and
Muse in training...

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Subject: Lyr Add: DEATH AND THE LADY (from Cecil Sharp)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Aug 06 - 08:05 PM

For purposes of comparison,here are the abbreviated lyrics in Cecil Sharp, ed., 1916, Oliver Ditson, "One Hundred English Folk Songs," No. 22, pp. 52-53, Notes p. xxvii., Dover reprint.

Lyr. Add: Death and the Lady

As I walked out one day, one day,
I met an aged man by the way;
His head was bald, his beard was gray,
His clothing made of the cold earthen clay,
His clothing made of the cold earthen clay.

I said: Old man, what man are you?
What country do you belong unto?
My name is death; hast heard of me?
All kings and princes bow down unto me,
And you, fair maid, must come along with me.

I'll give you gold, Ill give you pearl,
I'll give you costly rich robes to wear,
If you will spare me a little while,
And give me time my life to amend,
And give me time my life to amend.

I'll have no gold, I'll have no pearl,
I want no costly rich robes to wear.
I cannot spare you a little while,
Nor give you time your life to amend,
Nor give you time your life to amend.

In six months time this fair maid died.
Let this be put on my tombstone, she cried;
Here lies a poor, distressed maid;
Just in her bloom she was snatched away,
Her clothing made of the cold earthen clay.

The only note directly related to this version states "Collected and arranged by Cecil J. Sharp." Notes regarding other versions are included in the section "Notes on the Songs," but no mention is made of the source of the version at hand. My guess is that Sharp distilled the printed song from more than one source, but see note by Malcolm Douglas in thread 93874: Death and the Lady

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Subject: RE: LYR & MUS ADD: Death and the Lady (2)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 01:49 AM

Perhaps I had better repeat my comments here.

This set of 'Death and the Lady' came from Mrs R Sage at Chew Stoke, Somerset; Sharp noted it from her on 11 January 1907. Mrs Sage was 75.

I went on to say "The published text is a little amended in places; her "cold earth of day" is changed to "cold earthen clay", for example". This was based on the text as it appears in Maud Karpeles, Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs, London: Oxford University Press, 1974, I, 233-4), but since then I have compared it with the transcription (also made from Sharp's MSS, but more recently) in Roud, Upton & Taylor, Still Growing: English Traditional Songs and Singers from the Cecil Sharp Collection (London: EFDSS, 2003, 78) where 'cold earth of clay' is given; probably the confusion arose from a misreading by Dr Karpeles of Sharp's difficult handwriting: "cl" may easily be mistaken for "d".

I can assure Q that the text he quotes is not a collation of Sharp's, though he did 'neaten it up' just a little in places. It is essentially as noted from Mrs Sage.

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