#01111
Barbara Allen (Collected by Leach) video
#404: YouTube video by raymondcrooke ©2010
~ Used with permission ~

midi   alt: midi2

It was early early in the spring,
As the flowers they were budding;
Young William on his deathbed lay,
For the love of Barbara Allen.

Slowly, slowly as she went down,
To the place where he was lying;
She gently drew the curtains back,
And she says, "Young man, you're dying."

"A dying man I know I am,
One kiss from you would cure me."
"One kiss from me you will never more get,
If your poor heart is breaking.

"Don't you remember last Saturday night,
All in that barroom drinking;
Where you drank a health to all fair maids,
And you slighted Barbara Allen?"

"Yes I remember last Saturday night,
All in that barroom drinking;
When liquor and wine it had got my brain,
And I slighted Barbara Allen.

"Now you go up to the head of my bed,
There is a basin standing;
It's wet with tears that I've oftentimes shed,
For the love of Barbara Allen.

"Now you go down to foot of my bed,
There is a waistcoat hanging;
There is my gold watch and my gold chain,
Go take it, Barbara Allen."

He turned his back unto the wall,
He turned his back upon her;
Saying, "Here's adieu to all fair maids,
And likewise Barbara Allen."

She turned around for to go home,
And her poor heart was breaking;
And when she got one mile from town,
She heard the death bell tolling.

And every time that bell would toll,
Hard-hearted Barbara Allen,
She looked to the east and she looked to the west,
She saw the funeral coming.

She begged his bearers to lay him down,
Until she gazed upon him;
Oh, the more she gazed, oh, the more she looked,
Until she burst out crying.

"Oh, Father, you go dig my grave,
Go dig it long and narrow;
Young Willie died for me today,
And I'll die for him tomorrow."

Young Willie was buried in the old church yard,
And Barbara was buried beside him;
Up from his grave there grew a rose,
And up from hers a briar.

It grew together in a true love's knot,
In a true love's grave forever;
They lapped and tied in a true love's knot,
The rose ran around the briar.

####.... Author unknown. One of many variants of a 17th-century British traditional ballad, Bonny Barbara Allan [Child ballad #84] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads [1882-1898] edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965) ....####
Sung as Barbry Ellen by Gerald Aylward [1917-1987] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Six variants were also collected by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.649-661, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

The variant in the video above features an excellent acapella performance of a variant by Raymond Crooke of Melbourne, Australia.


See more Child Ballad variants from NFLD.


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