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John Renfro Davis
This ballad is an American variant of Child Ballad #85 (Lady Alice).
This ballad is similar to Lord Lovel and according to a source in Child was "refined and modernized" by Richard Westall in the 1800s. It appears in Gammer Gurton's Garland, (ed. 1810) and Bell's Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England (1856).
There is speculation that Lady Alice is a fragment of a longer ballad; Clerk Colville (Child #42) being the first part, and Lady Alice being the last. See the Ballad Index (search for Lady Alice) for further discussion.
Cecil Sharp collected this in Allanstand, N.C. in 1916. It is one of six variants he collected.
Variants and alternate titles include: Lady Alice and Giles Collins and Proud Lady Anna.
For a complete list of Child Ballads at this site go to Francis J. Child Ballads.
George Collins came home last Friday night
And there he take sick and died;
And when Mrs. Collins heard George was dead,
She wrung her hands and cried
Mary in the hallway, sewing her silk,
She's sewing her silk so fine,
And when she heard that George were dead,
She threw her sewing aside.
She followed him up, she followed him down,
She follow-ed him to his grave,
And there all on her bended knee
She wept, she mourned, she prayed.
Hush up, dear daughter, don't take it so hard,
There's more pretty boys than George.
There's more pretty boys all standing around,
But none so dear as George.
Look away, look away, that lonesome dove
That sails from pine to pine;
It's mourning for it's own true love
Just like I mourn for mine.
Set down the coffin, Pick up the lid,
And give me a comb so fine,
And let me comb his cold, wavy hair,
For I know he'll never comb mine.
Set down the coffin, lift up the lid,
Lay back the sheetings so fine,
And let me kiss his cold, sweet lips,
For I know he'll never kiss mine.
English Folk-Songs from the Southern Appalachians and
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
See Bibliography for full information.