“The West-Country Damosel's Complaint”


The girl begs William to marry her; if he will not, she bids him kill her. He callously tells her to live in the greenwood. She tries, but at last begs her sister for alms. The sister drives her away. Willie finds her dead and mourns his cruelty


Child is of the opinion that this is a composite piece, with the first eleven stanzas being popular and the remaining thirteen being literary. As both the tone and the rhyme scheme change in the final stanzas, he is quite possibly correct. - RBW


  1. Child 292, "The West-Country Damosel's Complaint" (1 text)
  2. BBI, ZN2899, "When will you Marry me William"
  3. Roud #3959
  4. BI, C292


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1695