What is this I cannot see, Icy hands take hold on me
I am death and none can excel, I open the door to heaven and hell
Death oh death how can it be, That I must come and go with thee?
Death oh death how can it be, I’m unprepared for eternity?
I have come for to get your soul, Take your body and leave it cold
I'll drop the flesh from of'n your frame; The earth and worms both have their claim
Oh death oh death please give me time, To fix my heart and change my mind.
Your mind is fixed, Your heart is bound; I’ve got the shackles to drag you down.
Whoa death someone would pray, Could you wait to call me til another day?
The children pray the preacher preached Time and mercy is out of your reach;
I’ll lock your jaw so you can’t talk I’ll lock your knees so you can’t walk
I’ll close your eyes so you can’t see, This very hour you go with me.
My mother came to my bed and placed a cold towel upon my head
My head is warm my feet are cold, Death is a movin' upon my soul ;
Oh death how you're treatin me You close my eyes so I can't see
Well you're hurtin my body you make me cold, You run my life right out of my soul.
Oh death please consider my age, Please don't take me at this stage
My wealth is all at your command, If you'll remove your icy hands;
Oh the young the rich or poor Are all alike to me you know
No wealth no land no silver or gold, Nothin' satisfies me but your soul.
Your heart is fixed, your mind is bound, I have the shackles to drag you down
Too late! too late! to all farewell, Your soul is doomed, you're summoned to hell.
As long as God in heaven shall dwell, your soul your soul shall scream in hell.
Oh, death Oh, death Won't you spare me over til another year?
Won't you spare me over til another year?
"A Conversation With Death" is an old folk song, possibly with Appalachian origins. It may be best known from the film and soundtrack of "O Brother Where Art Thou?", sung by Ralph Stanley. If anyone has any information on its origin and background, I'd be pleased if you'd post it in the comments.
It appears in several variations, and what I post here is a composite of several. It is conceived as a conversation between death and a dying person. I don't take it as an overly scriptural song, but one that is interesting in the genre of folk songs. I thought that overall the dying person has mostly "Arminian" or Pelagian notions, while death leans towards predestinarianism.