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Lyr/Chords Req: Little Margaret


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74 (62)
(origins) Origins: Fair Margaret and Sweet William (12)
Lyr Add: Lady Margaret (19)
Lyr Req: Fair Margaret and Sweet William (6)

Karen 06 Jan 00 - 11:13 AM
lamarca 06 Jan 00 - 05:26 PM
June Burton 07 Jan 00 - 10:55 PM
Richie 25 Apr 12 - 08:37 AM
Richie 25 Apr 12 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,phil silvers 01 Feb 16 - 12:21 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Feb 16 - 09:40 AM
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Subject: Little Margaret
From: Karen
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 11:13 AM

Does anyone have music or lyrics to a song titled "Little Margaret" which was once on an LP by Walter Forbes entitled Folk Song Festival.

The song is about a two lovers. He marries someone else, she dies of a broken heart and visits him as a ghost. He decides he loves her more than his wife and goes to find her only to learn she is dead. When he kisses her grave he dies too.

Cheerful song!

Thanks Karen

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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Little Margaret
From: lamarca
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 05:26 PM

This ballad is usually called "Lady Margaret"; it's in Child's ballad collection as #74. There are two versions in the Digital Tradition database: LADY MARGARET 2 and

Margaret and William (or Willie) are found in a number of different gloomy ballads; as lovers, they never seem to wind up happily ever after. In "Margaret and Sweet William", it's William who dies and comes back to Margaret as a ghost; in "The Douglas Tragedy", they run away together, but her father and brothers hunt them down and kill him; she dies of grief, etc...

I don't know Walter Forbes, but if you look up versions of Child #74 in different folk song books, you might find the particular set of verses that he sang. Ballads changed and evolved as they went from place to place, so there's bound to be many different versions of the same song. Happy hunting!

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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE MARGARET (Betty Smith)
From: June Burton
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 10:55 PM

Betty Smith sings a version of "Little Margaret" to the tune of "Shady Grove":

Little Margaret sitting in her high hall chair
A-combing her long yellow hair
She saw Lord William and his new-made bride
Riding down the road so near.

She threw down her ivory comb
She threw back her long yellow hair
And out of the room this lady ran
She was never anymore seen there.

It was all lately in the night
When they were fast asleep
Little Margaret appeared all dressed in white
A-standing at their bed-feet.

It's how do you like your snow white pillow
And how do you like your sheets
And how do you like the new-made bride
That's lying in your arms asleep?

It's fine I like my snow white pillow
And it's well I like my sheets
But best of all's the fair young maid
That's standing at my bed feet.

He's called the servant for to go
And saddle the dappled roan
He's rode to Little Margaret's house that night
And knocked on the door alone.

Oh is Little Margaret in the house
Or is she in the hall?
Little Margaret's in her coal-black coffin
With her face turned towards the wall.

Fold back, fold back those ivory shrouds
Be they ever so fine
I want to kiss those clay-cold lips
They'll never anymore kiss mine.

It's once he's kissed her snow-white brow
And twice he's kissed her cheeks
Three times he's kissed her clay-cold lips
And he fell in her arms asleep.

This is from memory and may have some differences to the way Betty sings it. (Note the ancient belief that it's death to kiss the dead.) I also sing a longer version from Cecil Sharpe; when William wakes after the ghostly visitation, he says "I dreamed the room was filled with swine and my bride a-floating in blood."

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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Little Margaret
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:37 AM


I've been looking at this version, titled Little Margaret or Little Marget.

It seems like Betty Smith's version and subsequent versions with this title can be traced to Lunsford's version, which he learned in Madison Co, NC.

Here's Ramsey's:

How many of teh dozen versions of this are traditional? Do they all go back to Lunsford?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Little Margaret
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:41 AM


The version in the DT, Lady Margaret and King William, is mistitled and the music that goes with it does not fit the lyrics. There are two versions from Flanders- and they are mixed up.

If an elf could fix this it would be gr8,


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Little Margaret
From: GUEST,phil silvers
Date: 01 Feb 16 - 12:21 AM

I am looking for the Walter Forbes version, Can someone upload it to youtube or make it avalable to buy online!


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Little Margaret
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Feb 16 - 09:40 AM

Rare version from an elderly Irish singer, Martin Howley - pretty sure it's the only version to have been found In Ireland
Intriguingly, Martin referred to if as 'The Old Armchair, for reasons which become apparent.
He learned it from a Travelling woman named Sherlock in his early youth - she was referred to as "Mrs Stotered" because if her fondness for Drink - I'm "stotered again"
Carroll, Mackenzie collection
Jim Carroll

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