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Poetry #180
(published June 3, 2004)
The Grey Cock
collected by Francis J. Child

Johnny he promised to marry me
I fear he's with some fair one and gone
There's something that ails him, I know not wha' 'tis
But I'm weary of lying alone.
Johnny he came at the appointed hour
Knocked on her window so slow
This young girl arose and hurried on her clothes
And she bid her true love Welcome home.
She took him by the hand and she laid him down
Found he was as cold as the clay

She said, My dearest dear, if only I had my wish
This long night would never turn to day.
Where is your soft bed of down, my dear?
Where are your white holland sheets?
And where is the fair girl who watches over you
As you lie every night in your sleep?

The sea is my soft bed of down, he said
Sand be my white holland sheet
The little hungry fishes they do feed off me
As I lie every night in the deep.

Then oh my little cock, my handsome little cock,
Don't crow till tis long after day
Your cage will be of the purest beaten gold
And your door of the sweet ivory.

But him a being young, he crowed so very soon
Crowed three long hours before day
This young man arose and he hurried on his clothes
Farewell love, for I must go away.

When will you come back again, my love
When will you come back again?

When little fishes fly and the seas they do run dry
And the hard rocks do melt in the sun

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