Dying Nun, Lyric Variant 01


“Dying Nun, Lyric Variant 01,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 24, 2022, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/31487.

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Dying Nun, Lyric Variant 01


One leaf typewritten on the front side. The document is in good physical condition. The document was laminated. There is some moderate fraying at the upper left edge. There are two tears, one significant and one minor, at the lower right edge. There is some acid-related staining at the lower right corner. There are numerous textual corrections handwritten in pencil throughout the document. The informant citation follows the song text.


Ballads -- North Carolina Last words -- Songs and music Nuns -- Songs and music Death -- Songs and music


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University

Date Created



I. G. Greer


The images and audio files contained in the "So Mote It Ever Be: The Folksong Heritage of North Carolina's Northern Blue Ridge Mountains" collection are available for free personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that proper citation is used (e.g. I. G. Greer/W. Amos Abrams Manuscript Files Series, Folksong Files Subseries. W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection. Special Collections. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC). Any commercial use of the materials without the written permission of Appalachian State University is strictly prohibited. Please contact the Appalachian State University W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection with specific questions or with requests for further information.








The Dying Nun.

Let the air blow in upon me.
Let me see the midnight sky.
Stand back sisters from around me.
Oh it is so hard to die.
Rais the pillow up, Oh Martha.
Sister Martha, you are kind.
Come and stand alone beside me.
Ere I leave you all behind.

Oh my Father nd my Mother.
Can you not forge the past?
When you here some stranger telling.
How your stary lamb diede at last.
But of all that used to love me.
Who will weep when I am dead?
None but you, dear Sister Martha.
Keep there watch around my bed.

Oh, The Heavenly strains come stealing.
Through the midnight drear and dim.
And I hear the chime bells pealing.
As I float away with him.

I am comming, Douglas, Douglas.
Where you are I too can come there.
Yes I come at last my dearest.
Death gives back your little Clara.

Here is my hand, now cold and frozen.
Once it was so soft and white.
And this ring that drops down from it.
Clasped my finger once so tight.
Little ring they thought so worthless.
That they let me keep it there.
Twas but one plain golden circlet.
With a brade of Douglas hair.

Sister Martha, Are you near me?
You are kinder than the rest,
Raise my head and let me lay it,
While I live upon your brest.
I was thinking of some music.
That I heard long, long ago.
Oh how sweet the nuns are singing.
In the chapel soft and low.
Sister M

Sister Martha, Sister Martha.
Has the moon gone down so soone?
And this cell seems cold as winter.
Though I know it is June.
Sisters in their white beads lying.
Dreaming in there soft moonlight.
To their dreams comes no message.
Clara dies alone tonight.

Mrs Alice Cook.

Classification Title

Dying Nun, Lyric Variant 01

Document Title

The Dying Nun


Mrs. Alice Cook [Sarah Alice Sherrill], 1867-1937

Geographic Location

Rutherwood, Watauga County, North Carolina

Scholarly Classification

Brown, Additional Ballads - 317 Randolph, 706

Dimensions - Original

213 mm x 275 mm

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Transcription Date


Transcribed By

Paul L. Robertson