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Lyr Add: Lady Margaret

DigiTrad:
LADY MARGARET AND KING WILLIAM


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Lady Margaret (Obray Ramsey) (4)
Lyr/Chords Req: Little Margaret (7)
(origins) Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74 (62)
(origins) Origins: Fair Margaret and Sweet William (12)
Lyr Req: Fair Margaret and Sweet William (6)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Sweet William's Ghost (Recorded by Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle from Charles O'Boyle of Belfast , 7th July 1952)


michaelr 30 Apr 02 - 08:04 PM
michaelr 30 Apr 02 - 08:23 PM
GUEST, NOMADman 30 Apr 02 - 09:22 PM
GUEST, NOMADman 30 Apr 02 - 09:43 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 30 Apr 02 - 11:57 PM
michaelr 01 May 02 - 01:53 AM
Barry T 01 May 02 - 01:55 AM
michaelr 01 May 02 - 02:14 AM
GUEST,MCP, Lyric Add 01 May 02 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,MCP, Lyric Add 01 May 02 - 08:45 AM
Malcolm Douglas 01 May 02 - 12:05 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 01 May 02 - 02:23 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 01 May 02 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,MCP 01 May 02 - 05:04 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 01 May 02 - 05:36 PM
Charley Noble 01 May 02 - 06:29 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 01 May 02 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,MCP 01 May 02 - 08:05 PM
Jon Bartlett 02 May 02 - 02:54 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: LADY MARGARET
From: michaelr
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 08:04 PM

Lady Margaret (trad.)

Lady Margaret was sitting in her own warm home
`Twas built of lime and stone
Lady Margaret was sitting in her own warm home
When she heard a dead man moan

Oh is it my father, Lord Thomas, she said
Or is it my brother John
Or is it my true love, sweet William
From Scotland home has come?

Well it is not your father, Lord Thomas, he said
Nor is it your brother John
But it is your true love, sweet William
From Scotland home has come

And did you bring for me any diamonds and pearls
Or did you bring me a ring
Or did you bring any token at all
That a true love ought to bring?

Well I didn't bring for you any diamonds and pearls
Neither did I bring you a ring
But I brought to you my white winding sheet
That my body was buried in

But love, where are your red rosy cheeks
That ofttimes once did bloom?
Oh they are all rotten and soon will be forgot
By the love I left so soon

And he's taken her by the lily-white hand
And bade her company
And he's taken her by the middle so small
Saying, Follow, follow me

And she's lifted her underskirts one by one
Just above her knee
And she's gone to the hills on a cold winter's night
In a dead man's company

And they walked and they talked all on that night
`Til the cocks they began to crow
It is time for the dead and the living to part
Lady Margaret, I must go

Ah but is there any room at your head, she said
Or is there room at your feet
Or is there any room all `round your side
Where I might lie down and sleep?

Oh my father is at my head, he said
And mother is at my feet
And there's three hellhounds all `round my side
You can't lie down and sleep

Oh one is for my drunkenness
And one is for my pride
And one is for that sweet pretty miss
That I promised would be my bride

And she's taken the cross from around her neck
And smote him upon his breast
Saying, A tall bed for you, my sweet William
God grant you a happy night's rest

Well I'm thankful to you, Lady Margaret, he said
I'm thankful unto you
If the dead for the living folk may pray
I am bound to pray for you

And good night, good night, Lady Margaret, he said
Good night, good night to thee
And the very next time that we shall meet
In heaven we both shall be


From Maggie Boyle's "Gweebarra" CD (Pure Records, 1998). The liner notes state that she learned the song from one Mike Hockenhull.

The song appears to be English. Anyone have any info?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: michaelr
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 08:23 PM

Oops - I see now that it's in the DT, slightly different, Child #77. I did not see it the first time I looked.

I'd still like some background on the song as I'm preparing to arrange it for my band.

Michael


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: GUEST, NOMADman
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 09:22 PM

Just a couple of bits of information. Sweet William's Ghost (Child #77) is based on the superstition that if one dies with an unfulfilled commitment, he/she cannot rest in peace. In this case, William has left unfulfilled his promise to marry Lady Margaret, his death having prevented it. He returns as a ghost to ask Margaret to release him from the promise. She does this symbolically by smiting him across the breast with a cross. He then returns to his grave to eternal rest.

The other superstition evident in this ballad is the requirement that ghosts must retreat from the world of the living at dawn - signalled by the crowing of the cock.

Regards,
John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: GUEST, NOMADman
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 09:43 PM

One more item: Maggie Boyle/Mike Hockenhull's version sounds very much like one published by Kenneth Peacock in "Songs of the Newfoundland Outports." The mention of William sharing his grave with his mother, father and three hellhounds seems peculiar to the Newfoundland variants of this ballad. I have a recording of it made by Lisa Null in 1977 and the lyrics are essential identical to what you posted.

Regards,
John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 11:57 PM

The title "Lady Margaret" in the DT for the Newfoundland song should have "Sweet William's Ghost" or Child # 77 (Group D) appended. "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" or "Lady Margaret" is Child # 74. (a version in the DT as "Lady Margaret 2")
A slightly different version of the Newfoundland text, sung by Mrs Emma Boone of Conception Bay in 1929, is included in Bronson's "The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads." There are 15 verses (13 in the DT).
Child # 77 apparently was not found in the Ozark region by Randolph or by Cox in the Virginia area. I haven't seen Brown's collection from North Carolina. So far, the NFLD verse seems unique.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: michaelr
Date: 01 May 02 - 01:53 AM

Thanks for the background, Nomad and Dicho! I had no idea this was a Child ballad, with versions in Newfoundland, even.

Last summer, I saw the Ennis sisters from Nfld. in concert, and they asserted that, differing from the rest of Nova Scotia, Nfld. was mainly settled by Irish. Is that correct, and does it mean the song could be Irish in origin?

Michael


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: Barry T
Date: 01 May 02 - 01:55 AM

Here's a midi for your enjoyment


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: michaelr
Date: 01 May 02 - 02:14 AM

Nice, Barry. Quite a different melody from the one Maggie Boyle sings. I wonder if Mike Hockenhull adapted another or made up his own; or if there are separate melodies in the tradition.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: GUEST,MCP, Lyric Add
Date: 01 May 02 - 08:40 AM


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST
From: GUEST,MCP, Lyric Add
Date: 01 May 02 - 08:45 AM

Here's another version of the song. AFAIR it came from JEFDSS 1951, and I thought it was from Elizabeth Cronin (her version of Lord Gregory was in the same edition I'm fairly sure), but I've just looked at the Elizabeth Cronin book and I can't see it there, and I can't find the journal either.

So the version is as I remember it. (I haven't sung it for a while, so I can't remember if the last verse had only the two lines - to the last half of the tune- or if I've forgotten them). The tune is a version of The Star of the County Down tune

Mick

SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST


Lady Margaret sits in her bow-window, sewing her silken seam
When she heard her true love William, knocking to come in.
"Did you bring me the gold", she said, "Or did you bring me the lace.
Or did you bring me the bonny brown dress, my fair body to embrace".

"I brought no gold, dear Margaret", he said, "And I forgot the lace,
And now I carry my winding sheet through many's the dreary place.
The cock crows once, dear Margaret", he said, "Tis wearing nearer the day.
Come give to me that faith and troth that I once gave to thee".

"Well, your faith and troth, dear Willie", she said, "You ne'er shall get from me
Until you come to yonder churchyard and give me kisses three".
"The cock crows twice, dear Margaret", he said, "Tis wearing nearer the day.
Come give to me that faith and troth that I once gave to thee".

"For my face is ate with worms, dear Margaret, and my breath is mighty strong
And if you should kiss my clay-cold lips your life would not be long.
The cock crows thrice, dear Margaret", he said, "Tis wearing nearer the day.
Come give to me that faith and troth that I once gave to thee".

So she's lifted up her bonny brown dress so far above her knee,
And through and through the cold, cold night that grey ghost followed she
Until she came to St. Bernard's Churchyard, where she knelt down on a stone
And she spied the grave a-open to let her lover in.

And she's kissed him on the clay-cold lips, laid her hand upon his breast.
Saying, "There's your faith dear Willie, I hope your soul's at rest".


La-dy Mar-g'ret/ sits in her bow/ win-dow, sew-ing her sil-ken/ seam
When she/ heard her true love/ Wil-liam,/ knock-ing to come/ in.
"Did/ you bring me the/ gold", she said, "Or did/ you bring me the/ lace.
Or did/ you bring me the bon-ny brown/ dress, my/ fair bo-dy to em-/brace".//


X: 1
T:Sweet William's Ghost
M:6/4
L:1/4
Q:1/4=60
K:Em
E/ E/ E E| E3 E D E|\
M:4/4
G A3| B A/ G/ E B,|D3
G/ F/|E E E (D/E/)| G A3|B (A/G/) E E|E3
B|d B B> G|\
M:5/4
A A A2 G/ A/|\
M:4/4
B B G> E|\
M:5/4
D3
G F|\
M:7/4
L:1/4
E E E (D/E/) G/G/ G|\
M:4/4
A3 (G/A/)|B A/G/ E E|\
M:6/4
L:1/4
E3||


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Subject: Lyr Add: LADY MARGARET / SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 May 02 - 12:05 PM

Very close, Mick: it was in vol.VIII no.1 (1956), and was recorded by Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle from Charles O'Boyle of Belfast (Sean's father), 7th July 1952. The final half-verse was sung to the first half of the tune, with the final phrase marked rallentando. Tune and text differ in places from your (admirable) recollection, so I'll quote it as originally noted (except for the spelling of brown as broun):

LADY MARGARET (SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST)

(Recorded by Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle from Charles O'Boyle of Belfast , 7th July 1952)

Lady Margaret sat in her bow window, sewing her silken seam,
When a grievous ghost chanced to pass by, most wonderful to be seen.
"Are you my father Phillip?", she said, "Are you my brother John?
Or are you my true-love Willy, to fair Scotland has come home?"

"I'm not your father Phillip", he said, "nor yet your brother John,
But I'm your true-love Willy, to Scotland has come home."
"Did you bring me the gold, dear Willy, did you bring me the lace?
Did you bring me the bonny brown dress, my fair body to embrace?"

"I brought no gold, dear Margaret", he said, "and I forgot the lace,
But now I carry my winding sheet through many's the dreary place.
The cock crew once, dear Margaret", he said, "'tis wearing nearer the day.
Come give to me my faith and troth that I once gave to thee".

"Your faith and troth, dear Willie", she said, "you ne'er will get from me
Till you come down to yon bower and give me kisses three".
"The cock crew twice, dear Margaret", he said, "'tis wearing nearer day.
Come give to me my faith and troth that I once gave to thee".

"My nose is ate with the worms, dear Margaret, my breath it is mighty strong
And if I would kiss you bonny fair lips your days would not be long.
The cock crew thrice, dear Margaret", he said, "'tis wearing nearer day.
Come give to me my faith and troth that I once gave to thee".

She tilted up her bonny brown dress a-far above her knee,
For the lee long length of the dark winter's night the dread corpse followed she
Until she came to Saint Bernard's churchyard and sat down on a stone
When she saw the grave a-opening to let her Willy in.

She lifted up her bonny white hand and stroke him on the breast, breast.
Saying, "There's your faith and troth, dear Willy, I hope your soul's at rest!"

Child #77   Roud no. 50

Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol.VIII no.1, 1956.

"Charles O'Boyle: Age 74 at the time of recording; died shortly afterwards. Father of Sean O'Boyle who worked as a collector for the BBC in Northern Ireland. Charles inherited much of his own singing tradition from his mother, who was born in Donaghadee, Co. Down, where there is a strong Scots tradition, but she lived most of her life in Belfast. He was a teacher, but from 1914-20 (interrupted by the war) studied and worked in Cork with Hardebeck. He became secretary to Hardebeck, who was blind, and made musical and Gaelic transcriptions and translations for him. His work is acknowledged by Hardebeck in the preface to Pt. III of Gems of Melody. (Pigott)." - Peter Kennedy.

A.L. Lloyd commented, "The tune is an interesting Mi pentatonic variant of the ubiquitous Dives and Lazarus tune".

To complement Mick's abc, here is a (slightly different) midi made from the notation in JEFDSS, as transcribed by Peter Kennedy and Michael Bell from the recording of Charles O'Boyle's singing:

Sweet William's Ghost (midi).

As to Michaelr's question, Newfoundland wasn't settled solely from Ireland (!) and a lot of English and Scottish traditions persist there too, though perhaps less obviously. In this case, the earliest known examples of the song are Scottish; it spread to Ireland, and has been found quite widely there in the North; some of the tunes to which versions are sung are certainly Irish in origin (though not, of course, The Star of the County Down / Dives and Lazarus / Gilderoy). It wouldn't be surprising if the bulk of examples from Newfoundland had got there via Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 May 02 - 02:23 PM

Malcolm and MCP, thanks for the version from Charles O'Boyle. A good tale for stormy winter nights.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 May 02 - 03:01 PM

There is a short version (fragment?) of Sweet William's Ghost in Bronson, Child 77 Group E, from Mrs Elizabeth White, Perthshire, and collected by Hamish Henderson that is quite different and worth adding here:

Lyr. Add: SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST (Gp. E)

For my mouth is full of mould, Maggie
My breath is wonderful strong
And if I was to kiss your sweet ruby lips
Your time wouldnae be long.
Gie me yer faith in mould, Maggie
An' let me pass right on my way
My aiths that are true you'll never get
Nor nothing of the kind
To you tell me so many scores deid
Since his twa met the streen
There's three score deid and three score burned
And three score went awa
There was none of them dead they'd go to heaven
Oh none but barely three.
There was one of them I tore his shepherd man
That paid his service free
There another of them my ship carpenter
That was daily on the sea.
There another of them my pretty babe
Which died after nor see'd
For the cocks may craw in thonder ha'
When poor Johnnie must awa.

Bronson, p. 201-202, music given.
When I get the new edition of Child vol. 2, I will check for more. (or Malcolm, please post). I don't pretend to understand the story here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 01 May 02 - 05:04 PM

Malcolm - Thanks for the original. Normally I copy songs out when I sing them, even when I have them in books, but I don't seem to have done that in this case, and I can't find the journal either! It's nice to have the source again.

Dicho - Versions A-G are listed given in Child II. I could post them, but they are already available online eg Contemplator: Child 77 or the University of Hawaii Child Ballad site (address in Forum - haven't got it to hand). (There's also a Child concordance available at Child Concordance - Colorado U.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 May 02 - 05:36 PM

MCP, the version E in Contemplator is not the one I quoted from.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 May 02 - 06:29 PM

I've always been fond of the Southern Appalachian version as sung by Obray Ramsey which he calls "Little Margaret." It's got the ghost appearing at their bedfeet and a spooky G/F tune. I'll post words if anyone's interested.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 May 02 - 06:41 PM

Please, Charlie. This is a good spooky ghost story, and I can't seem to get enough versions.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 01 May 02 - 08:05 PM

Dicho - Sorry, I didn't mean to imply the versions were the same, just that the Child texts were available. (Interestingly, this is one of the only 50 or so ballads that Child actually quotes a tune for - Group A, Harris MS)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lady Margaret
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 02 May 02 - 02:54 AM

The midi version posted above is essentially the one sung by Peggy seeger on the Blood & Roses series. When I sing the song, I take Lady Margaret to be about 70 - a Miss Haversham who's spent the most of her life loving/hating her sweetheart, and now she's finally forgiven him. Nu?


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