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And when he came to fair Margaret's bower,
He knocked at the ring ;
To let sweet William in.
Then he turn'd up the covering-sheet,
Pray let me see the dead; • Methinks she looks both pale and wan,
• She has lost her cherry red.
* I'll do more for thee, Margaret, Than
of thy kin; • For I will kiss thy pale wan lips,
Though a smile I cannot win.'
With that bespoke the seven brethren,
Making most piteous moan, You may go kiss your jolly brown dame,
And let our sister alone.'
* If I do kiss my jolly brown dame,
• I do but what is right; * For I made no vow to your sister dear,
By day, nor yet by night.
Pray tell me, then, how much you'll deal • Of white bread and
wine : * So much as is dealt at her funeral to-day,
To-morrow shall be dealt at mine.'
Fair Margaret died to-day, to-day,
Sweet William he died the morrow : Fair Margaret died for pure true love,
Sweet William he died for sorrow.
Margaret was buried in the lower chancèl,
And William in the higher ;
And out of his a brier.
They grew as high as the church-top,
Till they could grow no higher ;
Which made all the people admire.
Then came the clerk of the parish,
As you this truth shall hear,
Or they had now been there,
You dainty dames so finely fram'd
Of beauty's chiefest mold,
Like lambs in Cupid's fold,
A lesson in my mind,
And bear a faithless mind.
* The full title of the old copy is, 'A Godly Warning to all • Maidens, by the Example of God's Judgment shewed on Jerman's • Wife of Clifton, in the county of Nottingham ; who, lying in child. • bed, was born away, and never heard of after.' A tragedy, en. Not far from Nottingham, of late,
In Clifton, as I hear,
For beauty without peer ;
Yet, as you may perceive,
And soonest will deceive.
This gallant dame she was belov'd
Of many in that place ;
Her body to embrace :
Young Bateman call’d by name,
Unto this maiden came.
Such love and liking there was found,
That he, from all the rest,
And she did love him best :
Did pass between them two,
This true love's knot undo.
He brake a piece of gold in twain,
One half to her he gave;
titled “The Vow-breaker,' written by one William Sampson, and printed in 1639, is founded on this ballad; and quotes two or three verses from it, as “a lamentable new ditty.'
• The other, as a pledge, (quoth he,)
* Dear heart, myself will have.' • If I do break my vow, (quoth she,)
• While I remain alive, * May never thing I take in hand
Be seen at all to thrive.'
This passed on for two months space,
And then this maid began
Upon another man:
Her husband needs must be,
And better in degree.
Her vows and promise, lately made
To Bateman, she denied ; And in despite of him and his,
She utterly defied. * Well then, (quoth he,) if it be so,
* That you will me forsake, ? And, like a false and forsworn wretch,
Another husband take :
· Thou shalt not live one quiet hour,
For surely I will have * Thee, either now alive, or dead,
• When I am laid in grave: Thy faithless mind thou shalt repent ;
Therefore be well assur’d, When, for thy sake, thou hear'st report • What torments I endur'd.'
But mark how Bateman died for love,
And finish'd up his life,
And made old Jerman's wife ;
Great moan was made therefore ;
Before the bride's own door.
Whereat such sorrow pierc'd her heart,
And troubled sore her mind, That she could never, after that,
One day of comfort find;
Her fancy did surmise,
Appear’d before her eyes.
When she in bed at night did lie,
Betwixt her husband's arms, In hope thereby to sleep and rest
In safety, without harms; Great cries, and grievous groans she heard,
A voice that sometimes said, • O thou art she that I must have,
"And will not be denied.'
But she, being big with child,
Was, for the infant's sake, Preserved from the spirit's power,
No vengeance could it take : The babe unborn did safely keep,
As God appointed so,