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Fair Marjorie's Ghost (Collected by Kenneth Peacock) lyrics
(Fair Margaret And Sweet Willam)
Fair Marjorie was sitting in her bower chamber window
A-combing back her hair,
It was there she saw young Willie and his bride
A-climbing the upper church stair.
She drew the ivory comb out of her hair
And flashed it across the floor,
It was out of the bower chamber window she jumped,
She was never to be seen any more.
About the middle part of the night
When all were fast asleep,
Fair Marjorie appeared in Willie's bedroom
And stood there at his feet.
"Oh, how do you like your blanket," she said,
"And how do you like your sheet,
And how do you like your new married bride
Who lies in your arms asleep?"
"Very well I like my blanket," he said,
"Very well I like my sheet,
But better do I like fair Marjorie
As she stands there at my feet."
She took the ivory comb out of her hair
And smote him across the breast,
Saying, "Be prepared and come along with me
To find your final rest."
He kissed her once and he kissed her twice,
And he kissed her three times o'er,
And then he fell there at her feet
To kiss a woman never more.
####.... Author unknown. Variant of an 18th century British ballad, Fair Margaret And Sweet William (Child ballad #74-B) The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965) ....####
Collected in 1959 from Mrs. Clara Stevens of Bellburns, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.383-384, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.
Kenneth Peacock noted that this is an exact reversal of the situation in Lady Margaret (Sweet William's Ghost). Certain stock situations and verses are common to several of these ancient Scottish and English ballads. Verses 3, 4, and 5 of this ballad, for example, find their counterparts in verses 19, 20, and 21 of Lord Donald. A stock character is the little foot-page who sneaks about eavesdropping on private conversations. In order to tell his master or mistress the bad news he must run several miles, swim across a river, run up to the castle gate, and dingle at the ring. Whereupon the waiting master or mistress invariably inquires, "What news, what news, my little foot-page?" - and he just as invariably answers, "Bad news, bad news." The predictable conventions of our horse-operas had their antecedents in medieval and Elizabethan balladry. As a matter of fact, two lines of this very ballad occur in John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont's 1611 play The Knight of the Burning Pestle:
In glided Margaret's grimly ghost
And stood at William's feet.
See more Child Ballad variants from Newfoundland and Labrador.