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The Grey Cock

I must be going, no longer staying
The burning Thames I have to cross
I will be guided without a stumble
Into the arms I love the best

And when he came to his true love's window
He knelt down gently all on a stone
And it's through the pain he has whispered slowly
My darling dear do you lie alone?

She's raised her head from her down-soft pillow
And snowy were her milk-white breasts
Saying, "Who's there who's there at my bedroom window
Disturbing me from my long night's rest?"

Tis I your love but don't discover
I pray you rise and let me in
For I am fatigued from my long night's journey
Besides I am wet unto my skin

So this young girl rose and put on her clothing
So swift she's let her true love in
And it's there they kissed and embraced each other
Through that long night they lay as one

Then it's Willy dear, o dearest Willy
Where's your colour you'd some time ago
O Mary dear the clay has changed me
And I'm but the ghost of your Willy oh

Then it's cock, oh cock, o handsome cockerel
I pray you not crow before it is day
And your wings I'll make of the very first beaten gold
Your comb I will make of the silver grey

But the cock he crew and he crew so fully
He crew three hours before it was day
And before twas day my love had to leave me
Not by light of the moon nor light of the sun

So Willy dear, o dearest Willy
When shall I see you again
When the fishes fly love and the sea runs dry love
And the rocks they melt in the heat of the sun

Traditional

As sung by Eliza Carthy of Waterson:Carthy on their eponymous first CD (also appearing on the collection One Voice - Vocal Music from Around the World). The song is a raw, unaccompanied vocal track, showcasing the power and range of Eliza Carthy's remarkable voice.

Like the song House Carpenter (also known as The Demon Lover), the lyrics tell the story of a lover come back as a ghost. The cock's crow makes the ghost vanish, for he would be destroyed entirely if caught in the morning light.

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