Sung by: Fred High
Recorded in High, AR 8/26/59

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(Mr. High: "I'm going to sing the first song that ever I learnt when I was a little boy. In St. Louis . . . it's taken well up there, and I'll sing it first.")

There was a lady, lived in the West Country,
And children, she had three.
She sent them away to the North Country,
For to learn the grammery.

They hadn't been gone but a very small while,
Scarce like twelve months and a day,
'Til death--oh, death--spread over the land
And swept those babes away.

"Is there no king in heaven," she cried,
"That used to wear a crown?
Pray send me home my three little babes
For tonight or in the morning sun."

It being near at Christmastime,
The nights so long and cold,
She seen--oh, seen--her three little babes
Come running home early in the morning sun.

She set the table right before them
And spread it with bread and wine.
Says, "Come--oh, come--my three little babes;
Come eat and drink of mine."

"We can't eat none of the bread, Mother,
Nor drink none of your wine,
For just before the break of day
Our savior we must join."

She made their beds in the back side room,
And spread it with clean sheets,
And on the top spread a golden cloth
For to make a better sleep.

"Rise you up, rise you up," says the oldest one,
"Rise you up, rise you up," says he,
"For yonder stands our savior dear,
And Him we must obey.

"Green grass grows at our head, Mother,
Cold clods lie at our feet.
The tears you've shed for us, Mother,
Would wet our winding sheet."

Also found in Child, #79, "The Wife of Usher's Well"; Randolph, Vol. I, #19, "The Three Little Babes"; Brown, Vol. II, #25, "The Wife of Usher's Well"; Belden, p. 55, "The Wife of Usher's Well."

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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