Dying Nun, Lyric Variant 02


“Dying Nun, Lyric Variant 02,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed June 13, 2024, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/31488.

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Dying Nun, Lyric Variant 02


This item is part of the I. G. Greer Folksong Collection which consists of more than 300 individual song titles and their variants as collected by Isaac Garfield Greer (1881-1967) from informants, primarily in Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga counties. The collection includes manuscripts, typescript transcriptions produced by Dr. Greer’s clerical staff, and handwritten musical notations. Songs range from traditional Child Ballads, traditional English and Scottish ballads as well as their American variants, to 19th century popular music to musical compositions of local origin.


Last words--Songs and music
Nuns--Songs and music
Death--Songs and music


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University


Greer, I. G. (Isaac Garfield), 1881-1967








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.
Raise the pillow up, Oh, Martha,
Sister Martha, you are kind,
Come and stand alone beside me,
E're I leave you all behind.

Oh, my Father and my Mother,
Can you not forget the past?
When you hear some stranger telling,
How your stray lamb died 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 coming Douglas, Douglas
Where you are I too 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 braid 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 breast,
I was thinking of some music,
That I heard long, long ago,
Oh, how sweet the nuns are singing,
I n the Chapel soft and low.

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

Scholarly Classification

Brown, Additional Ballads - 317 Randolph, 706

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