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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleDeath and the lady
Roud No.1031
Collected FromUnknown
LocationUnknown
CountyUnknown
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSHC: 2598/36 Packet 5 - Miscellaneous: Williams, A: MS collection No Mi 554
Source SecondaryUnpublished
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1 - Death

Fair lady, lay thy costly robes aside,
No longer may’st thou glory in thy pride,
Take leave of all thy carnal, vain delight,
I am come to summon thee away this night.

Verse 2 – Lady

What bold attempt is this? Pray let me know
From whence you come, and whither I must go?
Shall I, who am a lady, stoop and bow
To such a pallid visaged one as thou?

Verse 3 – Death

Do you not know me? I will tell you, then,
‘Tis I that conquer all the sons of men,
No pitch of honour from my dart is free,
My name is Death. Have you not heard of me?

Verse 4 – Lady

Yes, I have heard of thee, time after time,
But, being in the glory of my prime,
I did not think thou would’st have come so soon,
Why must my morning sun go down at noon?

Verse 5 – Death

Talk not of noon. Thou might’st as well be mute,
This is no time at all for vain dispute.
Thy riches, garments, gold and jewels bright,
Houses and land must on their owners light.’

Verse 6 - Lady

My heart is cold and trembles at the news,
There is bags of gold, if thou wilt me excuse,
Go seize on those and finish thou their strife,
Wretched are and weary of their life.

Verse 7 – Death

Missing from the text

Verse 8 – Lady

Besides, there are many bound in prisons strong,
In bitter grief of soul, who’ve languished long,
Who would but find the grave a place of rest,
From all the grief with which they are oppressed.

Verse 9 – Death

I come to none before my warrant’s sealed,
And when it is they must submit and yield,
Though thy vain heart to riches is inclined,
Yet thou must die and leave then all behind.

Verse 10 – Lady

Oh awful news! Must I no longer stay?
How shall I stand at the great Judgement Day?
Down from her eyes the crystal tears did flow,
She says – ‘None knows what I do undergo.’

Verse 11 – Death

Missing from the text

Verse 12

Upon my bed of sorrow here I lie,
My selfish life makes me afraid to die.
My sins are great, and manifold and foul,
Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on my soul.

Verse 13 – Death

Missing from the text

Verse 14 – Lady

I know I do deserve thy righteous frown,
Yet pardon, Lord, and pour thy blessing down,
Then with a dying sigh her heart did break,
And did the pleasures of this world forsake.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Unpublished

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2014.

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