Dialogue between Death and its victims had been a common subject for popular culture throughout Europe since the 14th century. In the 18th century, the theme was a staple among ballad singers, as a solo or possibly duet.
This ballad tells the tale of Death coming to take the life of a young woman. It is a standard version, though many variants of the words appeared under the same title, set to various tunes, from at least the late 1680s until the early 1800s. Versions of the ballad appeared in several early-18th century operas. This one was printed in 1795.
Death itself is portrayed rather crudely as a skeleton holding an hourglass and arrow. The woman pleads for more time to see her daughter marry, but – in keeping with the moralistic tone of such ballads – her demise is instant and inevitable, and she has only her religious faith in her favour.