Young Charlotte

Young Charlotte lived by the mountain side in a wild and lonely spot,
No dwelling there for three miles round except her father’s cot;
And still on many a wintry night young swains would gather there,
For her father kept a social board and she was young and fair.

Her father loved to see her dressed as fine as a city belle,
For she was the only child he had and he loved his daughter well;
It is New Year’s Eve, the sun is down, why beam her longing eyes,
Out at the frosty window for to see the sleighs go by?

At a village inn fifteen miles off there is a merry ball tonight,
The air is cold and piercing, but her heart beats warm and light,
Yet restless beams her longing eyes till a well known sound she hears,
When dashing up to the cottage door young Charlie’s sleigh appears.

“Oh, daughter dear,” the mother cries, “This blanket around you fold,
It is a dreadful night, you know and you’ll catch your death of cold.”
“Oh, nay, oh, nay!” fair Charlotte said, and she laughed like a gypsy queen,
“To ride in blankets muffled up I never shall be seen.

“My silken cloak is warm enough, you know it is lined throughout,
Besides I have a silken shawl to tie my neck about.”
Her bonnet and her gloves were on, she jumped into the sleigh,
And away they rode by the mountainside and over the hills away.

There is life in the sound of the merry bells as o’er the hills they go,
What a creaking doth the runners make as they bite the frozen snow,
With muffled face all silently, five cold long miles they passed,
When Charlie in a few frozen words the silence broke at last.

“Such a night as this I never knew, the reins I scarce can hold,”
When Charlotte said in a feeble voice, “I am exceeding cold.”
He cracked his whip and hurried his steeds more swiftly than before,
Until at length five other miles they quickly did pass o’er.

At length said Charles, “How fast the ice is gathering on my brow,”
Young Charlotte said in a feeble voice, “I am growing warmer now,”
Still on they glide through the frosty air and in the cold starlight,
Until at length the village inn and ball-room were in sight.

They reached the place and Charles jumped out and held his hands for her,
“Why sit you there like a monument, have you no power to stir?”
He asked her once, he asked her twice, she answered not a word,
He asked her for her hand again, and yet she never stirred.

He took her hands within his own—oh, God, they were cold as stone,
He tore the mantle from her brow, the cold stars on her shone;
Then quickly to the lighted hall her lifeless form he bore,
Young Charlotte was a frozen corpse and never spoke no more.

He sat himself down by her side, and the bitter tears did flow,
He said, “My dear intended bride, you no more will sorrow know,”
He threw his arms around her neck and kissed her marble brow,
And his thoughts went back to the place where she said, “I am growing warmer now.”

He put the corpse into the sleigh and quickly hurried home,
And when he reached the cottage door, oh, how her parents mourned!
They mourned for the loss of their daughter dear, and young Charlie mourned for his bride.
He mourned until his heart did break and they slumber side by side.

Gordon, Robert Winslow, 1888-1961
Date Recorded: 
September, 1924
Track Duration (h:m:s): 
Original Medium: 
wax cylinder
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Call Number/Physical Location: 
AFS 19011A: G84 Misc 139

From Franz Rickaby's notes to his 1923 transcription of M.C. Dean: "Learned from his mother in NY."


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