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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/138

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"Cold are my lips in death, sweetheart,
My breath is earthy strong;
If you do touch my clay-cold lips,
Your time will not be long."

It is, by the way, a mistake to say that "the ghost began to speak", for it is obvious from what follows that it is the dead man and not the ghost at all. The ballad is not complete; there are verses lost. But the gist of it seems to be that the damsel seeks release from her dead lover, and desires to return him the betrothal kiss; but when she finds that there is death in this, she seeks another solution, and is set tasks.

"Go fetch me a light from dungeon deep,
Wring water from a stone,
And likewise milk from a maiden's breast
That never babe had none."

She stroke a light from out a flint,

An ice-bell (icicle) squeezed she,
And pressed the milk a Johnis wort,
And so she did all three.
"Now if you were not true in word,
As now I know you be,

I'd tear you as the withered leaves
Are torn from off the tree."

There used to be played in farmhouses in Cornwall a dialogue game of this kind. The dead lover goes outside the door, comes in and threatens to carry off the damsel who is