Young Collins

'Take the Fair Face of Woman'
by Sophie Anderson - 1823-1903

Here's another spooky and strange old English ballad (Child 85). Fair Ellen it seems is an enchantress. And poor Young Collins dies after making love to her. As everyone knows this is likely to happen to young men who play around with supernatural women. Didn’t your mother tell you not to frolic with them fairy folk?

I got this one from my favorite old scratchy Peggy Seeger album. She included the ballad in her Oak Publication, “Songs of Peggy Seeger.” The guitar arrangement is pure Mabelle Carter but I imagine that it is Peggy’s own invention. It is so nice, I play it just as she did.


Young Collins walked out in his field one day
The trees and flowers was in bloom-Oh
Twas there he spied his own fair Ellen
A washing a white marble stone-Oh

She called, she cried, she changed her mind
She called and waved her hand-Oh
Come here, come here young Collins my dear
Your life is near at hand-Oh

He clasped around her slender waist
He kissed both cheek and chin-Oh
Till the stars from heaven come a twinkle-in down
To the place where Young Collins jumped in-Oh

He ran, he ran to his father’s house
Ran to his father’s door-Oh
Dear father, father, come let me in
Come let me in once more-Oh

If I should die this very night
As I feel in my heart I will-Oh
Just bury me under that white marble stone
At the foot of fair Ellen’s hill-Oh

Fair Ellen was sitting in her cottage door
A sewin’ on silks so fine-Oh
When there she spied his coffin a coming
As far as her eyes could shine-Oh

She ordered the coffin be brought right there
Gazed on his cold clay form-Oh
She took the last kiss from his cold clay lips
Where often they’ed kiss her before-Oh

She ordered the curtains be brought right there
She trimmed ‘em in silk so fine-Oh
Today they’ll weep on young Collin’s grave
Tomorrow they’ll weep on mine-Oh

The news went round through Dablin town,
Printed on Dablin’s gate-Oh
Six pretty fair maids did die last night
Twas for young Collins’ sake-Oh

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