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|This ballad is also known as Cold Blows the Wind.
This may be a fragment of a longer ballad. Variants and alternate titles include
Charles Graeme (Scotland) and William and Marjorie.
This ballad is Child Ballad #78.
The lyrics refer to the ancient belief that a woman bethroed to a man even following his death. In order to survive him she had to perform specific tasks or solve the riddles he asked her. In this it is similar to other riddle songs such as Scarborough Fair.
For a complete list of Child Ballads at this site go to Francis J. Child Ballads.
Cold blows the wind to my true love,
And gently drops the rain.
I've never had but one true love,
And in green-wood he lies slain.
I'll do as much for my true love,
As any young girl may,
I'll sit and mourn all on his grave,
For twelve months and a day.
And when twelve months and a day was passed,
The ghost did rise and speak,
"why sittest thou all on my grave
And will no let me sleep?"
"Go fetch me water from the desert,
And blood from out the stone,
Go fetch me milk from a fair maid's breast
That young man never has known."
"My breast is cold as clay,
My breath is earthly strong,
And if you kiss my cold clay lips,
You days they won't be long."
"How oft on yonder grave, sweetheart,
Where we were want to walk,
The fairest flower that e'er I saw
Has withered to a stalk."
"when will we meet again, sweetheart,
When will we meet again?"
"when the autumn leaves that fall from the trees
Are green and spring up again."
One Hundred English Folksongs
See Bibliography for full information.
Lyrics from Digital Tradition Mudcat Discussion Cafe Discussion Group