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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleDeath and the maid
Roud No.1031
Collected FromHarvey, Henry [Wassail]
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 351
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 19th August, 1916, p 3, Part 42, No. 4: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 173
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

As I walked forth alone one day,
'Twas in the pleasant month of May,
The birds did whistle and the lambs did play,
I met an old man by the way.

Verse 2

His head was bald, his beard was grey,
His flesh was like to mortal clay,
I asked of him where he came from,
Or to what place he did belong.

Verse 3

"My name is Death. Pray! Don't you see?
Lords, Dukes and Squires bow down to me;
And you are one of those branches three,
And it's you, fair maid, must go with me."

Verse 4

"I'll give you gold and jewels rare,
I'll give you costly fine robes to wear,
I'll give you all my wealth in store,
If you'll let me live a few years more."

Verse 5

"I want not your gold nor jewels rare,
Nor yet your fine costly robes to wear,
Your time is come and you cannot stay,
Your time is come and you must obey" -
These were the words that Death did say.

Verse 6

A few days later the fair maid died -
"Let this be writ on my tomb," she cried.
"Here lies a maid dead ere her time,
All snatched away in beauty's prime.
'Twas Death forbid that I should remain,
So I died that I might live again."
Print Song Lyrics
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS / FSUT: 'This appears to be rather a recitation than a song. It was nevertheless sung by the rustics, and listened to with seriousness by the audience. Words of the late Wassail Harvey, Cricklade.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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