“Are you awake, sweet William?” she said,
“Or, William, are you asleep?
God give you joy of your gay bride-bed,
And me of my winding sheet.”
When day was come and night was gone,
And all men waked in from sleep,
Sweet William to his ladye said,—
“Alas I have cause to weep.
“I dreamt a dream, my dear ladye,—
Such dreams are never good,—
I dreamt my bower was full of red swine,
And the walls ran down with blood.”
He called up his merrymen all,
By one, by two, and by three;
Saying, “I’ll away to fair Margaret’s bower,
By the leave of my ladye.”
And when he came to fair Margaret’s bower,
He knocked at the ring;
And who so ready as her seven brethren,
To let sweet William in.
He turned down the covering-sheet,
To see the face of the dead;
“Methinks she looks all pale and wan;
She hath lost her cherry red.
“I would do more for thee, Margaret,
Than would any of thy kin.
And I will kiss thy pale cold lips,
Though a smile I cannot win.”
With that bespake the seven brethren,
Making most piteous moan,
“You may go and kiss your jolly brown bride,
And let our sister alone!”
“If I do kiss my jolly brown bride,
I do but what is right;
I ne’er made a vow to yonder poor corpse,
By day, nor yet by night.”
“Deal on, deal on, ye merrymen all,
Deal on your cake and wine.
Whatever is dealt at her funeral to-day,
Shall be dealt to-morrow at mine!”
Fair Margaret died as it might be to-day,
Sweet William he died the morrow,
Fair Margaret died for pure true love,
Sweet William he died for sorrow.
Margaret was buried in the lower chancel,
And William in the higher;
And out of her breast there sprang a rose tree,
And out of his a brier.
They grew till they grew unto the church-top,
And when they could grow no higher;
And there they tied a true lover’s knot,
Which made all the people admire.
At last the clerk of the parish came,
As the truth doth well appear,
And by misfortune he cut them down,
Or else they had now been here.
SWEET WILLIAM’S GHOST
There came a ghost to Marjorie’s door,
Wi’ many a grievous moan,
And aye he tirled at the pin,
But answer made she none.
“Oh, say, is that my father?
Or is’t my brother John?
Or is it my true love Willy,
From Scotland new come home?”
“’Tis not thy father, Marjorie,
Nor not thy brother John;
But ’tis thy true love Willy
From Scotland new come home.
“Oh Marjorie sweet! oh Marjorie dear!
For faith and charitie,
Will ye gie me back my faith and troth
That I gave once to thee?”