Sweet William
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Ron Clarke


Information
Lyrics
One of the interesting things about folk music is how the tunes and lyrics have evolved over time. This is a variant of Johnny's Gone For a Soldier which is probably a variant of Shule Aroon which dates back to the 17th Century. Aother variant is Shule Agra.

According to one theory, the tune arose out of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The Irish supported James II, and were defeated at the Boyne. William III, who defeated James, offered forgiveness to the rebels who would swear loyalty to him, but many preferred exile. The only evidence for this theory, is that some English versions have the line "But now my love has gone to France, To try his fortune to advance...."

It's often I sat on my true love's knee
And many a fond tale he told me
He told me things that never shall be
Sweet William's a-mourning among the rush.

Chorus:
The rose is red, the grass is green
The days are past that I have seen
And there is another where I have been
Sweet William's a-mourning among the rush.


I wish I was where I love best
Close in them arms I would embrace
The door should be locked and the key in the chest
Sweet William's a-mourning among the rush.

Chorus

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain
Wish I was a maid again
Then my parents would not complain
Sweet William's a-mourning among the rush.

Chorus

I'll dye my petticoats crimson red
Through the world I'll beg my bread
When he comes back he'll think I'm dead
Sweet William's a-mourning among the rush.

Chorus
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