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Sweet William's Ghost

Thomas Percy 1729 (Bridgnorth) – 1811

There came a ghost to Margaret's door,
With many a grievous grone,
And ay he tirled at the pin;
But answer made she none.

Is this my father Philip?
Or is't my brother John?
Or is't my true love Willie,
From Scotland new come home?

'Tis not thy father Philip;
Nor yet thy brother John:
But 'tis thy true love Willie,
From Scotland new come home.

O sweet Margret! O dear Margret!
I pray thee speak to mee:
Give me my faith and troth, Margret,
As I gave it to thee.

Thy faith and troth thou'se nevir get,
'Of me shalt nevir win,'
Till that thou come within my bower,
And kiss my cheek and chin.

If I should come within thy bower,
I am no earthly man:
And should I kiss thy rosy lipp,
Thy days will not be lang.

O sweet Margret, O dear Margret,
I pray thee speak to mee:
Give me my faith and troth, Margret,
As I gave it to thee.

Thy faith and troth thou'se nevir get,
'Of me shalt nevir win,'
Till thou take me to yon kirk yard,
And wed me with a ring.

My bones are buried in a kirk yard
Afar beyond the sea,
And it is but my sprite, Margret,
That's speaking now to thee.

She stretched out her lilly-white hand,
As for to do her best:
Hae there your faith and troth, Willie,
God send your soul good rest.

Now she has kilted her robes of green,
A piece below her knee:
And a' the live-lang winter night
The dead corps followed shee.

Is there any room at your head, Willie?
Or any room at your feet?
Or any room at your side, Willie,
Wherein that I may creep?

There's nae room at my head, Margret,
There's nae room at my feet,
There's no room at my side, Margret,
My coffin is made so meet.

Then up and crew the red red cock,
And up then crew the gray:
'Tis time, 'tis time, my dear Margret,
That you were gane away.

No more the ghost to Margret said,
But, with a grievous grone,
Evanish'd in a cloud of mist,
And left her all alone.

O stay, my only true love, stay,
The constant Margret cried:
Wan grew her cheeks, she clos'd her een,
Stretch'd her saft limbs, and died.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:01 min read
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Thomas Percy

Thomas Percy was Bishop of Dromore, County Down, Ireland. Before being made bishop, he was chaplain to George III. Percy's greatest contribution is considered to be his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, the first of the great ballad collections, which was the one work most responsible for the ballad revival in English poetry that was a significant part of the Romantic movement. more…

All Thomas Percy poems | Thomas Percy Books

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