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Then coming was the night sae dark,

And gane was a' the light of day: The carle was fear'd to miss his mark,

And therefore wad nae longer stay : Then up he gat, and ran his way,

I trowe, the wife the day she wan; And

aye the owreword of the fray Was, Evir alake! mine auld goodman.

45 IV.



This seems to be the old song quoted in Fletcher's " Knight of the Burning Pestle, " Acts 2d and 3d ; although the six lines there preserved are somewhat different from those in the ballad, as it stands at present. The Reader will not wonder at this, when he is informed that this is only given from a modern printed copy picked up on a stall. Its full title is, “ Fair Mar

garet's Misfortunes ; or Sweet William's frightful "dreams on his wedding night, with the sudden death " and burial of those noble lovers."The lines preserved in the play are this distich,

“ You are no love for me, Margaret,

“ I am no love for you.” And the following stanza,

"When it was grown to dark midnight,

“ And all were fast asleep,
In came Margarets grimly ghost

« And stood at Williams feet. These lines have acquired an importance by giving birth to one of the most beautiful ballads in our own or any language. See the song intitled MARGARET's Ghost, at the end of this volume.

Since the first edition some improvements have been inserted, which were communicated by a lady of the first distinction, as she had heard this song repeated in her infancy.


As it fell out on a long summer's day

Two lovers they sat on a hill ;
They sat together that long summer's day,

And could not talk their fill.


I see no harm by you, Margaret,

And you see none by mee;
Before to-morrow at eight o' the clock

A rich wedding you shall see.


Fair Margaret sat in her bower-winddw,

Combing her yellow hair ;
There she spyed sweet William and his bride,

As they were a riding near.

Then down she layd her ivory combe,

And braided her hair in twain : She went alive out of her bower,

But ne'er came alive in't again.

When day was gone, and night was come,

And all men fast asleep,
Then came the spirit of fair Marg'rct,

And stood at Williams feet.

Are you awake, sweet William ? shee said;

Or, sweet 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 wak'd from sleep, Sweet William to his lady sayd,

My dear, I have cause to weep.


I dreamt a dream, my dear ladyè,

Such dreames are never good :
I dreamt my bower was full of red wine',

bride-bed full of blood.

Such dreams, such dreams, my honoured Sir,

They ever do prove good ;
To dream thy bower was full of red wine',

And thy bride-bed full of blood.


He called


merry men all,
By one, by two, and by three;
Saying, I'll away to fair Marg'ret's bower,

By the leave of my ladie.


And when he came to fair Marg'ret's bower,

He knocked at the ring ;
And who so ready as her seven brethren

To let sweet William in.


Then he turned up the covering-sheet,

Pray let me see the dead; Methinks she looks all pale and wan,

She hath lost her cherry red.

Ver. 31. 35. Swine, PCC.


I'll do more for thee, Margaret,

Than any of thy kin;
For I will kiss thy pale wan lips,

Though a smile I cannot win.

With that bespake the seven brethren,

Making most piteous mone :
You may go kiss your jolly brown bride,

And let our sister alone.


If I do kiss my jolly hrown bride,

I do but what is right ;
I neer made a vow to yonder poor corpse

By day, nor yet by night.


Deal on, deal on, my merry men all,

Deal on your cake and your wine* :
For whatever is dealt at her funeral to-day,

Shall be dealt to-morrow at mine.


Fair Margaret dyed to-day, to-day,

Sweet William dyed the morrow : Fair Margaret dyed for pure true love,

Sweet William dyed for sorrow.


Margaret was buryed in the lower chancel,

And William in the higher :
Out of her brest there sprang a rose,

And out of his a briar.

* Alluding to the dole anciently given at funerals.


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