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Fair Margaret And Sweet William

This song is by June Tabor and appears on the album An Echo Of Hooves (2003).

Sweet William arose on a May morning
And he dressed himself in blue;
We want you to tell of that long love that's been
Between Lady Margaret and you.

"Oh, I know nothing of Lady Margaret's love,
And I know she don't love me.
Before tomorrow morning at eight of the clock
Lady Margaret a bride shall see."

Lady Margaret was a-sitting in her own bower room,
Combing back her yellow hair,
And she saw Sweet William and his new wedded bride
And the lawyers a-riding by.

It's down she stood her ivory comb
And back she threw her hair,
And it's you may suppose and be very well assured,
Lady Margaret was heard no more.

The day being past and the night coming on,
When most all men were asleep,
Something appeared to Sweet William and his bride
And stood at their bed feet.

Saying, "How do you like your bed making
And how do you like your sheets?
And how do you like that new wedded bride
That lies in your arms and sleeps?"

"Very well do I like my bed making
Much better do I like my sheets,
But best of all is that gay lady
That stands at my bed feet."

The night being past and the day coming on,
When most all men were awake,
Sweet William he said he was troubled in his head
By the dreams that he dreamed last night.

"Such dreams, such dreams cannot be true,
I'm afraid they're of no good.
I dreamed that my chamber was full of wild swine
And my bride's bed floating in blood."

He's called down his waiting men
One by two by three,
Saying, "Go and ask leave of my new wedded bride
If Lady Margaret I mayn't go and see."

He's rode up to Lady Margaret's own bower room
And tingled all on the ring,
And who was so ready as her own born brother
To rise and let him in.

"Is Lady Margaret in her own bower room
Or is she in her hall?
Or is she high in her chambery
Amongst the ladies all?"

"Lady Margaret's not in her own bower room
Nor neither is she in her hall,
She is in her long cold coffin
Lies pale against yon wall."

"Unroll, unroll those winding sheets
Although they're very fine,
And let me kiss them cold pale lips
Just as often as they've kissed mine."

It's first he's kissed her ivory cheeks
And then he's kissed her chin,
And when he kissed them cold pale lips
There was no breath within.

Three times he's kissed her ivory cheeks,
Three times he's kissed her chin,
And the last time he kissed them cold pale lips
It crushed his heart within.

Lady Margaret died like it might be today,
Sweet William he died on tomorrow,
Lady Margaret she died for pure true love,
Sweet William he died for sorrow.

Lady Margaret was buried in yon churchyard,
Sweet William was buried by her,
And out of her grave sprung a red, red rose,
Out of his a green, green briar.

And they both growed up the old church wall
Till they could not grow any higher
And they met and they tied in a true love's knot,
Red rose around green briar.

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