Fair Margaret and Sweet William


“Fair Margaret and Sweet William,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 27, 2024, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/31504.

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Fair Margaret and Sweet William


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.


Ballads, English
Courtship--Songs and music
Death--Songs and music

Alternative Title

Alace I Lie My Alon, I'm Like to Die Awld, William and Margaret, Lady Margaret, Lady Margaret and Sweet William, Pretty Polly, Lady Margret, Sweet William and Lady Margaret, Sweet Willie, Sweet William and Lady Marg'ret, Margaret and William, Lady Marget, King William and Lady Margaret, Little Marget, Sweet Willie and Fair Annie, Fair Margaret and Sweet William, Lady Margaret's Ghost


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University


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








Sweet William

Sweet William dressed himself, he dressed
Himself in royal blue,
His leave he did ask of his own true love
Lady Margaret to go and see.

Lady margaret in her own parlor door
Combing back her own sweet hair,
Until she saw Sweet William and his bride
Come riding up to the door.

She tossed back her yaller hair,
She threw down her ivory comb
And into her own chamber she went
Never to come out any more.

Lady Margaret died just like today,
Sweet William died tomorrow,
Lady Margaret died with sighs and groans
Sweet William died with sorrow

Lady Margaret was buried in the old church yard,
Sweet William by her side,
And out of her grave there sprang a red rose
And out of his-un a brier.

They growed so high, they growed so tall,
They could not grow no higher,
When they met they tied in a true love knot,
A red rose round a brier.




Scholarly Classification

Child, 74 Brown, Older Ballads - Mostly British - 20 Cox, 11 Combs, 19 Sharp, 20

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