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by David Mallet (1705? - 1765)
William and Margaret
'Twas at the [silent, solemn]1 hour When [night and morning meet;]2 In glided Margaret's grimly ghost And stood at William's feet. Her face was like an April morn, Clad in a wintry cloud: And clay-cold was her lily-hand, That held her sable shroud. So shall the fairest face appear, When youth and years are flown: Such is the robe that kings must wear, When death has reft their crown. Her bloom was like the springing flower, That sips the silver dew; The rose was budded in her cheek, Just opening to the view. But Love had, like the canker-worm, Consumed her early prime: The rose grew pale, and left her cheek; She died before her time. "Awake!" she cried, "thy true love calls, Come from her midnight grave; Now let thy pity hear the maid Thy love refused to save. "This is the [dumb]3 and dreary hour When injured ghosts complain; When yawning graves give up their dead To haunt the faithless swain. "Bethink thee, William, of thy fault, Thy pledge and broken oath: And give me back my maiden vow, And give me back my troth. "Why did you promise love to me, And not that promise keep? Why did you swear my eyes were bright, Yet leave those eyes to weep? "How could you say my face was fair, And yet that face forsake? How could you win my virgin heart, Yet leave that heart to break? "Why did you say my lip was sweet, And made the scarlet pale? And why did I, young witless maid! Believe the flattering tale? "That face, alas! no more is fair; Those lips no longer red: Dark are my eyes, now closed in death, And every charm is fled. "The hungry worm my sister is; This winding sheet I wear: And cold and weary lasts our night, Till that last morn appear. "But hark! the cock has warned me hence; A long and late adieu! Come, see, false man, how low she lies, [Who]4 died for love of you." The lark sung [loud]5; the morning smiled, With beams of rosy red: Pale William quaked in every limb, [And raving left]6 his bed. He hied him to the fatal place Where Margaret's body lay: And stretched him [on the grass-green]7 turf That wrapped her breathless clay. And thrice he called on Margaret's name, And thrice he wept full sore: Then laid his cheek to her cold grave, And word spoke never more.
J. Haydn sets stanzas 1-2, 6-7, 14-17
1 Haydn: "fearful midnight"
2 Haydn: "all were fast asleep,"
3 Haydn: "dark"
4 Haydn: "that"
5 Haydn: "out"
6 Haydn: "then, raving, left"
7 Haydn: "o'er the green grass"
- by David Mallet (1705? - 1765), "William and Margaret" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):
- by (Franz) Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809), "William and Margaret", Hob.XXXIa:153, JHW XXXII/3 no. 159, stanzas 1-2,6-7,14-17. [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]
This text was added to the website: 2008-06-08
Line count: 68
Word count: 410