Wife of Usher's Well, Lyric Variant 03


None, “Wife of Usher's Well, Lyric Variant 03,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed June 27, 2022, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/31928.

Social Bookmarking


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>


Wife of Usher's Well, Lyric Variant 03


One leaf with preprinted staff lines: handwritten in carbon on the front side. The document is in good physical condition. The document was laminated. The upper left corner was torn from the document. There is a minor tear at the right upper edge. There are two minor tears at the left edge. There is a paper clip rust stain at the left upper edge. There is a boxed "A" stamped in blue ink at the upper left corner. There is also a date stamped in black ink beneath the document title. There is a handwritten check mark following the musical notations. There is also an editorial comment handwritten in pencil following the musical notations. The document is a carbon duplicate.


Ballads: English Ballads. Scots -- North Carolina Ghosts -- Songs and Music Mothers -- Songs and Music Children -- Songs and music

Alternative Title

There was a Lady in Merry Scotland. Three Babes. The Three Little Babes. Lady Gay. Lady Gray. There was a Lady. The Three Little Babs. The Lady and the Children Three. The Three Pore Little Children. Moravian Song. The Lone Widow. A Ballad of the Return of the Dead. Lady Grey




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 Wife of Usher’s Well
Lady Gray or Three Little Babes.
(A Balad of the Return of the Dead)

There was a lady of beauty rare,
And children she had three,
She sent them away to the North Countree,
To learn their grammarree.

They hadn’t been gone so very long,
Scarcely three months and a day,
When there came a sickness all over the land,
And swept them all away.

And when she came this for to know,
She wrung her hands full sore,
Saying alas' alas! What shall I do,
For I’ll never see my babes any more.

Ain’t there a king in Heaven ,she cried,
Who used to wear a crown?
I pray the Lord will me reward,
And send my three babes down.

It was a comin’ near Christmas time,
And the nights were long and cold,
When her three little babes came running down
To their dear mother’s home.

She set a table for them there,
All covered with cakes and wine,
And said come eat, my dear little babes,
Come, eat and drink of mine.

We do not want your cakes, Mammee,
We do not want your wine,
For in the morning by the break of day,
With our Savior you must dine.

She fixed them a bed in the backmost room,
All spread o’er with clean white sheets,
And on the top a golden one.xx
That they might soundly sleep.

Take it off, take it off, Mammee, they said,
Take it off we say again.
A woe, a woe to this wicked world,
So long since pride began.

Cold clods lie at our heads, Mammee,
Green grass grows at our feet,
The tears come running down your cheeks
To wet our winding sheet.

Rise up, rise up, said the oldest one,
I hear the rooster crow,
Oh, yonder stands our Savior dear,
And to him we must go.

Document Title

The Wife of Usher's Well or Lady Gray or Three Little Babes. (A Balad of the Return of the Dead)

Scholarly Classification

Child, 79. Brown, Older Ballads - Mostly British - 25 Randolph. 19 Cox 14 Combs 22. Sharp 22

Dimensions - Original

208 mm x 330 mm

Upload Date


File name


Transcription Date


Transcribed By

Paul L. Robertson

Social Bookmarking


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>