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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleLover's ghost
Roud No.246
Collected FromMay, Richard
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 90
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 8th July, 1916, p 3, Part 36, No. 2
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

It's of a farmer in our town,
His election goes the country round;
He had a daughter, a beauty bright,
In every place was her heart's delight.

Verse 2

Many a young man a-courting came,
But none of them would her favour gain,
Till a young man came, of low degree,
Came underhanded and she fancied he.

Verse 3

Soon as her father came this to hear,
He separated her from her dear,
For four score miles this maid was sent,
To her uncle's home for his discontent.

Verse 4

Nine days after this young man died,
And his ghost appeared at her bedside -
"Rise, rise, my love and come with me,
And break these chains and set me free."

Verse 5

This maid arose and got up behind,
And he drove as swift as the very wind,
And not a word did this young man speak,
But - "My dearest dear, how my head does ache!"

Verse 6

She had a handkerchief of the holland kind,
And around his head she did him bind;
She kissed his pale lips, and thus did say -
"My dearest dear, you're as cold as clay."

Verse 7

He drove her up to her father's door,
And saw her father standing on the floor -
"O father dear, did you send for me
By such a kind messenger, kind sir?" said she.

Verse 8

He wrung his hands and tore his hair,
Much like a man in deep despair;
He tore the hair all from his head,
Crying - "Daughter dear, the young man is dead."

Verse 9

Early next morning this maid arose,
And straightaway to the churchyard goes,
She rose the corpse that was nine day's dead,
And found her handkerchief bound round his head.

Verse 10

O parents, parents, a warning take,
Don't chide your children, for heaven's sake!
Don't chide your children, for heaven's sake,
Or you'll repent when it is too late.
Print Song Lyrics
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'This curious old piece I discovered at Fairford. I have nowhere else heard it. It is of great age, and I have no doubt that by reason of the nature of the narrative, it was welcomed by the rustics. Words of Richard May, Fairford.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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