There came a ghost to Marg'ret's door, With many a grievous groan, And ay he tirled at the pin, But answer made she none. Is that my father Philip, Or is't my brother John? Or is't my true love Willy From Scotland new come home? 'Tis not thy father Philip, Nor yet thy brother John, But 'tis thy true love Willy From Scotland new come home. O sweet Marg'ret! O dear Marg'ret! I pray thee, speak to me, Give me my faith and troth, Marg'ret, As I gave it to thee. Thy faith and troth thou's never get, Nor yet will I thee lend, Till that thou come within thy bower, And kiss my cheek and chin. If I shou'd come within thy bower, I am no earthly man; And shou'd I kiss thy rosy lips, Thy days will not be lang. O sweet Marg'ret! O dear Marg'ret! I pray thee, speak to me, Give me my faith and troth, Marg'ret, As I gave it to thee. Thy faith and troth thou's never get, Nor yet will I thee lend, Till you take me to yon kirk-yard, And wed me with a ring. My bones are buried in yon kirk-yard, Afar beyond the sea; And it is but thy spirit, Marg'ret, That's now speaking to thee. She stretched out her lily-white hand, And for to do her best, Hae there's your faith and troth, Willy, God send your soul good rest. Now she has kilted her robes of green A piece below her knee, And a' the live-lang winter night The dead corp followed she. Is there any room at your head, Willy? Or any room at your feet? Or any room at your side, Willy, Wherein that I may creep? There's no room at my head, Marg'ret, There's no room at my feet; There's no room at my side, Marg'ret, My coffin's made so meet. Then up and crew the red red cock, And up then crew the gray, 'Tis time, 'tis time, my dear Marg'ret, That you were going away. No more the ghost to Marg'ret said, But with a grievous groan, Evanish'd in a cloud of mist, And left her all alone. O stay, my only true love, stay, The constant Marg'ret cry'd; Wan grew her cheeks, she clos'd her een, Stretch'd her soft limbs, and dy'd.
Confirmed with The Tea-Table Miscellany: or, a Collection of choice Songs, Scots and English, in four Volumes. The eleventh Edition, being the Compleatest and most Correct of any yet published. By Allan Ramsay [editor], London: A. Millar, 1750. Appears in volume IV, pages 324 - 325.
- from Volkslieder (Folksongs) , "Sweet William's ghost " [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)
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Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
- Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Johann Gottfried Herder (1744 - 1803) , "Wilhelms Geist", subtitle: "Schottisch", appears in Stimmen der Völker in Liedern, in 3. Das dritte Buch. Nordwestliche Lieder, first published 1773 ; composed by Christian Gottlob Neefe, Karl Sigmund Freiherr von Seckendorff.
Researcher for this text: Melanie Trumbull
This text was added to the website: 2018-12-27
Line count: 64
Word count: 390