Sung by: Almeda Riddle

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(Comment by Mrs. Riddle: “I had the mumps a few weeks ago, and it almost ruined . . . I’m not completely over it. My, I couldn’t use my voice for quite a while. I had first tonsillitis and then mumps, until I . . . It’s gonna crack up on this one, maybe.”)

“Now, what will we do, Lady Margaret,” he said,
“And what can we do,” cried he,
“For before tomorrow’s sun goes down,
Lord William’s new bride you must see.
Lord William’s bride you’ll see.”

Then Lady Margaret sat in her high hall window,
Combing out her yellow hair,
And along came William from the church so near,
Leading his bride so fair,
Leading his bride so fair.

Now she threw down that ivory comb,
And back she tossed her hair,
And down she fell from her high hall window,
Nevermore didn’t go there,
Nevermore to go there.

When day was done, and the night came on,
The people lay asleep.
Lady Margaret arose from a coffin cold,
Stood weeping by William’s bed feet,
Just weeping by William’s bed feet.

“And it’s how do you like that bed making,
And it’s how do you like your sheet?
And it’s how do you like your new made bride,
There in your arms asleep,
Lying there looking so sweet?”

“And it’s well that I like this bed making,
And it’s well do I like my sheet,
But it’s better would I like were my own love,
Here in my arms asleep,
Not weeping at my bed feet.”

Then he called down his waiting men,
By one and two and three.
“Go bring me leave for my new made bride.
Lady Margaret I must see,
Lady Margaret I must see.”

“Then if you go back to Lady Margaret,
Pray, what’s to become of me?”
“Well, I won’t be gone but an hour or two,
Until I return to thee.
Then I will return to thee.”

Oh, is she in that bowery room,
Or is she in her hall?
Or is she in her chambery,
A lady among them all,
A lady among them all?

No, she’s not in her bowery room,
And she’s not in her hall.
Lady Margaret lies in a coffin cold,
Out there in the hall,
Her face turned toward the wall.

“Take off, take off that coffin lid;
Turn back the shroud so fine.
Oh, let me kiss Lady’s Margaret’s lips.
In life she often kissed mine;
In life she often kissed mine.

Then the father took off the coffin lid,
And the brother turned down the sheet.
Three times he kissed the death-cold lips,
Then fell dead at her feet--
Fell dead right at her feet.

Lady Margaret was buried in the old church yard;
Lord William we buried a-nigh her.
From Margaret’s heart springed a red, red rose,
From Lord William’s heart a green briar,
From Lord William’s heart a green briar.

And they grew and they grew to the top of the wall;
Then they couldn’t grow any higher,
So fell down on the cold, cold ground,
But the rose still clung to the briar,
And the rose embraced the briar.

Also found in Child, #74; Randolph, Vol. I, #16, “Lady Margaret”; Brown, Vol. II, #20, “Fair Margaret and Sweet William”; Belden, p. 48, “Fair Margaret and Sweet William.”

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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