There was knight and a lady gay,
And three little babes had she.
She sent them away to a far country
To learn their grammarie.
They hadn’t been gone but a very short time,
About three months and a day.
When the lord called over this whole wide world,
And taken those babes away.
‘Twas on a cold, cold Christmas night,
When every thing was still,
She saw her three little babes come running,
Come running down the hill.
She spread a table of bread and wine,
That they might drink and eat.
She spread the bed a winding sheet,
That they might sleep so sweet.
“Take it off, take it off”, cried the eldest one.
“Take it off, take it off”, cried she.
I can’t stay here in this wide wicked world.
There’s a better one for me.
Cold clods, cold clods down by my side.
Cold clods down by my feet.
The tears my dear mother has shed for me
Will wet my winding sheet.