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Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Hughie Jones)

DigiTrad:
GREY COCK
GREY COCK (2)
NIGHT VISITING SONG
OH, ARE YOU SLEEPING MAGGIE
SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST
WESTRON WYND (3)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: A version of Sweet William's Ghost (5)
Lyr Req/Add: The Cocks Are Crowing (31)
Lyr Add: The Grey Cock (NOT Penguin version) (20)
Child's 'Grey Cock' (19)
Lyr Req: Lover's Ghost (30)
Lyr Req/Add: My Pretty Crowing Chickens (10)
Lyr Req: Willie-O (from Cathal McConnell) (11)
Penguin: The Grey Cock (24)
Lover's ghost (9)
Lyr Req: The Lover's Ghost (5)
Lyr Req: Lover's Ghost (request only) (3)
Lyr Req: Well Met, My Own True Love (14)


Roberto 06 Jan 04 - 03:52 AM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jan 04 - 11:04 AM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jan 04 - 11:40 AM
Roberto 06 Jan 04 - 11:50 AM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jan 04 - 12:08 PM
Roberto 06 Jan 04 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Jan 06 Jan 04 - 05:35 PM
Roberto 07 Jan 04 - 02:07 AM
Susanne (skw) 10 Jan 04 - 06:35 PM
Barb'ry 10 Jan 04 - 07:56 PM
Roberto 12 Jan 04 - 06:33 AM
Roberto 03 Feb 04 - 04:36 AM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Feb 04 - 09:58 AM
Susanne (skw) 04 Feb 04 - 07:50 PM
Roberto 06 Feb 04 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Jan 06 Feb 04 - 07:15 PM
Mrrzy 07 Nov 15 - 07:47 PM
Mrrzy 09 Nov 15 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Nov 15 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,Mrr 10 Nov 15 - 08:48 AM
Joe_F 10 Nov 15 - 06:53 PM
Mrrzy 11 Nov 15 - 02:23 PM
Mrrzy 11 Nov 15 - 02:38 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST (from Hughie Jones)
From: Roberto
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 03:52 AM

From the CD "Voices" (Fellside), I'd like to get the text of Sweet William's Ghost (Child #77) as sung by Hughie Jones. This is my transcription, with some missing words and several doubts. Could somebody correct and complete this text? By the way, a question: what do scholars say up to now about The Bay of Biscay? Is it part of Child's #77's family, or is it part of The Grey Cock's family, or does it stand alone? Thank you. Roberto

Lady Margaret sat in her low-roof (?) room
She was sewing all alone
Till after the parting of midnight
She heard a mournful sound

O is it my father? Is it my mother?
Or is it my brother John?
Or is it my true-love, young William
From London new come home?

O, it's not your father or mother – he cried
Nor yet your brother John
But I am your true-love, young William
An' I am not a living man

Then Margaret, (…)??? Margaret
And Margaret of vanity
Don't ever love any other young man
The way that you loved me

O, that's a promise that I'll not give
O no, that will not (…)?
Till I have a kiss from your sweet lips
As in my arms you lie

My lips they are so bitter – he said
My breath is earthy strong
That if you was to cuddle me in your arms
Your time would not be long

Well, he's took her by the apron string
Said – Dear love, follow me
And it's over the hills on a fine summer night
In a dead man's company

Well, they ran till they came to the low church-yard
Where the grass grows rank and green
He said – Dear love, this is the place
Where my fair body dwells in

Is there no room at your bed-head
Is there no room at your feet
Or is there no room at your right side
For a lady like me to sleep?

Three maids do lie at my right side
That I once promised to wed
Three babes do lie at my bed-foot
That these three maidens had

O what is this - poor Margaret cries
That stands at your bed-head?
They are the three hounds of Hell – he said
To guide the souls of the dead

Then up and crowed the milk-white cock
And up and crowed the grey
And he vanished in the dewed (?) ground
And she went weeping away


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 11:04 AM

Bay of Biscay (more usually Willy O) is a (probably 19th century) re-write of Sweet William's Ghost, and as such is generally categorised under Child 77 (Roud 50). It was particularly popular in Ireland, where it appeared on a number of broadsides. The Grey Cock usually isn't a supernatural ballad at all, though in some instances it has acquired revenant verses; usually borrowed either from Willy O or from Fair Margaret and Sweet William (Child 74, Roud 253).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 11:40 AM

I see that a bunch of Grey Cock links have appeared at the top of the page. More relevant are the following:


Lady Margaret  DT file, no tune. From a Peggy Seeger record, supposedly a Newfoundland set, but no source named.

Lady Margaret  Text from a Maggie Boyle record, no traditional source identified. Set from Charles O'Boyle of Belfast, with tune. Text from Elizabeth White, Perthshire, without tune.

Sweet William's Ghost  DT file, with tune. Misleadingly captioned "collected by Child and Percy"; this is the version that first appeared in Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany (quoted by Child from the edition of 1763). There is no indication where the accompanying tune came from: it resembles the Scots Musical Museum example (which was set to much the same text), but is altered.

The Song of the Ghost  Re-write by A. P. Graves, with tune.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Roberto
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 11:50 AM

Thank you, Malcolm. But I hope your reply, restricted to The Bay of Biscay, does not mean you give up trying to help with Hughie Jones' recording as well. What you say about The Grey Cock surprises me, because I've always thought The Grey Cock had the ghost theme in it. For instance, Cecilia Costello's version has it. And Lloyd's too (A Selection from the Penguin Bok of English Folk Songs). In the ballad Index, the ghost theme is part of the description of the ballad. Without the ghost theme, I thought we could group songs similar to The Grey Cock, such as The Night Visiting Song. But if we accept that Willie-O is Child #77 and Cecilia Costello's song is Child #248, both with the ghost theme,I think it is difficult to say they are two completely different songs. Could we say that ballads #77 and #248 are linked together, both with the ghost theme, and that there is another song in the family, as The Night Visiting Song, without the ghost theme, where the cocks just signal to the lovers that it is time to leave, and not to get back to the tomb?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 12:08 PM

The revenant verses in Cecilia Costello's Grey Cock (and in Lloyd's recording based on her set, which omits one of them) were all taken from Willy O. Such was the excitement when she was originally recorded that nobody seems to have noticed that those verses belonged to a completely different song, and a great many rather shaky assumptions have since been built upon that omission; to the extent that you frequently come across people who believe that almost all night-visiting songs are really about ghosts.

Hugh Shields (The Grey Cock: Dawn Song or Revenant Ballad? in E.B.Lyle, Ballad Studies, pp. 67-92) goes into all this in depth. The Ballad Index disagrees, but on what look to me like rather weak grounds, based mainly on Shields' use of the alba (dawn song) analogy; had he stuck to "night visiting", of which there are any number of kinds, I can't see what else they could have found to object to in his paper.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Roberto
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 12:21 PM

A very interesting and convincing answer. Thank you again (but don't forget Hughie Jones, please). Roberto


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: GUEST,Jan
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:35 PM

Roberto - email me with the info wants and I will get Hughie to sort this for you (its ok we are close friends!! - and will be seeing him shortly

Jan@chanteycabin.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Roberto
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 02:07 AM

Thank you, Jan. I've just sent an e-mail to you.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST (from Hughie Jones)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Jan 04 - 06:35 PM

SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST
(Trad)

Lady Margaret sat in her low-roof room
She was sewing all alone
Till after the parting of midnight
She heard a mournful sound

O is it my father? Is it my mother?
Or is it my brother John?
Or is it my true love, young William
From London new come home?

O it's not your father or mother, he cried
Nor yet your brother John
But I am your true love, young William
And I am not a living man

Fair Margaret, rare Margaret
And Margaret of vanity
Don't ever love any other young man
The way that you loved me

O that's a promise that I'll not give
O no, that will not I
Till I have a kiss from your sweet lips
As in my arms you lie

My lips they are so bitter, he said
My breath is earthy strong
That if you was to cuddle me in your arms
Your time would not be long

Well, he's took her by the apron string
Said, Dear love, follow me
And it's over the hills on a fine summer night
In a dead man's company

Well, they ran till they came to the low church-yard
Where the grass grows rank and green
He said, Dear love, this is the place
Where my fair body dwells in

Is there no room at your bed-head
Is there no room at your feet
Or is there no room at your right side
For a lady like me to sleep?

Three maids do lie at my right side
That I once promised to wed
Three babes do lie at my bed-foot
That these three maidens had

O what is this, poor Margaret cries
That stands at your bed-head?
They are the three hounds of Hell, he said
To guide the souls of the dead

Then up then crowed the milk-white cock
And up then crowed the grey
And he vanished in the dew-wet ground
And she went weeping away

As sung by Hughie Jones on 'Voices'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Barb'ry
Date: 10 Jan 04 - 07:56 PM

Susanne beat me to it - I think you and I must have a similar repertoire Roberto!
Barb'ry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Roberto
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 06:33 AM

Thank you very much, Susanne, and thank you Barb'ry. I've received the e-mail from Hughie Jones as well, that Guest Jan had promised. Best wishes. R


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Subject: Lyr Add: ADIEU UNTO ALL TRUE LOVERS -LOVER'S GHOST
From: Roberto
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 04:36 AM

Again on the ghost theme in Child #77 and/or in Child #248. Hoping that Malcolm Douglas sees this reply and says something more. It seems to me that if the ghost theme was added to The Grey Cock (Child # 248), it happened long before Cecilia Costello's recording. She is not the only one to do that among "source" singers. Two more examples come from the following versions, one by John Reilly, and the other sung by Alison McMorland, from the singing of Bob Butler of Sheffield. They didn't learn the song from recordings, I think.


Adieu Unto All True Lovers
John Reilly, on Who's that at my bed window? Songs of love & amorous encounters, The Voice of the People Vol. 10, Topic TSCD 660, ballad recorded 1967, previously released on Topic 12T359

For here's adieu unto all true lovers
And to my true lover where'er she'll be
This very night I mean to be with her
Though she is a many a long mile away

If the night was dark and as dark as a dunghill
And no daylight, love, for to appear
Saying - I'll be guided without a stumble
Into the arms of you, my dear

Oh, when he came to his own love's cottage
He'd kneel down gently all on a stone
Through a pane of glass he had whispered slowly -
I say, true love, are you all alone?

Who's that? Who's that at my bed window
Disturbing me from my long night's rest? -
Oh, I say, lover, do not discover
Open the door, love, and let me in
I say, true lover, do not discover
Besides I'm wet, love, unto the skin

Ah, she rose up off her soft down pillow
Opened the door and let her love in
Where they both caught hands and they kissed each other
A welcome night it did soon begin

They still kept hands and they embraced each other
Until the long night was at an end
Saying - Willie, Willie, where is your flushes?
Where is your flushes you had years ago?
Saying - Molly Ban, sure, cold clay has changed 'em
The raging seas between me and you

They still kept hands and they 'braced each other
Until the cocks they begin to crow
And then shook hands and he cried and parted:
To the burning temples, love, I have to go


Lover's Ghost
Alison McMorland, on Alison McMorland and Geordie McIntyre, Ballad Tree, Tradition Beares LTCD1051, 2003 (from the singing of Bob Butler of Sheffield)

Johnny he promised to marry me
But I fear he's with some fair one gone
There's something bewails him and I don't know what it is
And I am weary from lying alone

Johnny came here at the appointed hour
And he chapped at the window so low
This fair maid arose and she's hurried on her clothes
And she's welcomed her true lover in

She took him by the hand and she's laid him down
She felt he was colder than the clay
Oh my dearest dear if I only had one wish
This long night would ne'er turn to day

Crow up crow up my little bird
And don't you crow before the break o' day
Your cage shall be made of the glittering gold
And its doors of the silvery grey

Where is your soft bed of down my love
And where is your white Holland sheet
And where is the fair maid who watches over you
While you're taking your long silent sleep

The sand is my soft bed of down my love
The sea is my white Holland sheet
And the long hungry worms will feed off of me
While I sleep every night in the deep

When will I see you again my love
When will I see you again
When the little fishes fly and the seas they do run dry
And the hard rocks they melt in the sun


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 09:58 AM

There are examples beside Cecilia Costello's (and pre-dating her) where supernatural elements have crept into innocent night-visiting songs found in oral tradition, as I think I mentioned in another thread on the subject. The phenomenon seems to have begun in the 19th century, quite likely in Ireland.

The supernatural elements in John Reilly's set (recorded from him by Tom Munnelly in 1967) are again imported from Willy-O. Since that song is specifically about a night-visiting revenant, it isn't too surprising that it has at times become mingled with other, non-supernatural, night-visiting songs. Indeed, versions of Willy-O have from time to time been wrongly identified as Grey Cock variants, which further confuses the issue.

I know Bob Butler slightly, and I doubt if he'd describe himself as a "source singer"; so far as I know, he gets his material the same way as do other revival singers. I rather think that the set Alison McMorland heard from him derives from those in Maud Karpeles' Folk Songs from Newfoundland, but I'll have to ask him about that at some point. Miss Karpeles called her examples The Lovers Ghost, sub-titling them The Grey Cock, but acknowledged that the association was questionable. It looks like a Sweet William's Ghost / Lady Margaret variant to me, perhaps influenced in places by Willy-O; Canadian forms of these often include floating verses which occur in other night-visiting songs such as The Grey Cock, giving rise to all kinds of confusion.

Did Hughie Jones mention where he got that set of Sweet William's Ghost, incidentally?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 07:50 PM

Sorry, Malcolm, forgot to add the info:
[1992:] Child asserts that the story has much in common with a supernatural ballad well known in Scandinavia. This particular version was given to Hughie [Jones] by Bert Lloyd in 1966. (Paul Adams, notes 'Voices')


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: Roberto
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 11:48 AM

The notes on the CD (Voices) say that Hughie Jones got the song from Bert Lloyd in 1966.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: hughie jones' sweet william's ghost
From: GUEST,Jan
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 07:15 PM

Yes he did learn the song from Bert - who used to stay with Hughie and Chris when he was in Liverpool


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Dean Gitter)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Nov 15 - 07:47 PM

Does anybody else have this by Dean Gitter, Ghost Ballads? The words are slightly different than the ones in the trad. It also has the idea of you can't kiss a ghost or you'll die (which I've asked about before but couldn't find the thread), but in this version there is gory detail of how rotted he is... but in the one in the Trad, she dies. Also it seems he visited her to break the engagement... which is kind of nice of him, no?

And I am missing one word or phrase, help!

SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST (Dean Gitter's Ghost Ballads album), recorded by Mrrzy as best I could

There came a ghost to Margaret's door
With many a sob and groan
And though he begged and pleaded with her
She would not let him in

Is that my father dear, she said?
Or is it my brother, John?
Or is it my true lover, Will
Come from the salt seas home?

Oh, Lady Margaret, let me in
I pray you speak to me
Give me my faith, give me back my troth
As I gave mine to thee

-You'll get no (something) will from me
But I will let you in
But if you come within my bower
You must kiss my cheek and chin

-I'll gladly come within thy bower
But I am no earthly man
And if I kiss your red, rosy lips
Your days would not be long

My bones lie rotting in the sand
Beyond the deep blue sea
And this is just my ghost, dear love
That's speaking now with thee

-Your faith and troth you'll never get
Until you have given to me
A gentle smile from your handsome face
And a ring to wed with thee

The only thing that I can give
Is my long, white, winding sheet
For the worms have made off with my handsome face
And I have no eyes to weep

But I cannot rest in my lonely grave
For thinking of my love
Pray give me back my faith and troth
So my soul may rest above

She stretche`d out her lily white hand
She wished to do her best
Here is your troth and faith, my dear,
God send your soul to rest

No more the ghost did say to her
But with a grievous groan
He vanished in a cloud of mist
And left her all alone


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Hughie Jones)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Nov 15 - 12:24 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Hughie Jones)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Nov 15 - 10:31 PM

"For the worms have made off with my handsome face
And I have no eyes to weep"

Mrrzy, it was nice of you to transcribe the song, but I believe that verse comes under the heading of Too Much Information. Ditto the rotting bones.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Hughie Jones)
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 08:48 AM

Seriously! I have to agree, it's the grossest ghost ballad I know!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Hughie Jones)
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 06:53 PM

The version on Peggy Seeger & Ewan MacColl's _Blood and Roses_, Vol. 2, concludes with the following, which always makes me catch my breath:

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, my love,
Farewell, dear girl, said he;
If ever the dead may pray for the living,
My love, I'll pray for thee.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Hughie Jones)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 02:23 PM

Lovely! I know Pray for the dead and the dead with pray for thee (the Play me a dirge, matey
Can you catch the phrase I'm missing in the Dean Gitter one? You can listen to it as well as see the lovely cover art.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet William's Ghost (Hughie Jones)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 02:38 PM

Got it!

You'll get no favors, Will, from me

Aha!

Can an elf adjust the above lyrics?

Thanks!


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