13. BARBARA ALLEN*
IN Scarlet town, where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwelling,
Made every youth cry Well-away!
Her name was Barbara Allen.
All in the merry month of May,
When green buds they were swelling,
Young Jemmy Grove on his death-bed lay
For love of Barbara Allen.
He sent his man unto her then,
To the town where she was dwelling:
‘O haste and come to my master dear,
If your name be Barbara Allen.’
Slowly, slowly rose she up,
And she came where he was lying;
And when she drew the curtain by,
Says, ‘Young man, I think you’re dying.’
‘O it’s I am sick, and very, very sick,
And it’s all for Barbara Allen.’
‘O the better for me ye’ll never be,
Though your heart’s blood were a-spilling!
‘O do not ye mind, young man,’ she says,
‘When the red wine ye were filling,
That ye made the healths go round and round,
And ye slighted Barbara Allen?’
He turned his face unto the wall,
And death was with him dealing:
‘Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all;
Be kind to Barbara Allen.’
As she was walking o’er the fields,
She heard the bell a-knelling;
And every stroke did seem to say,
‘Unworthy Barbara Allen!’
‘O mother, mother, make my bed
To lay me down in sorrow.
My love has died for me to-day,
I’ll die for him to-morrow.’
There are many versions of this very popular ballad-song. It seems to have been first published by Allan Ramsay in 1724. Our text is from the Ballad Book (G.T.S.), with some additions and emendations from Percy’s Reliques.
* From Ballads Old & New, Part II, Edited by H. B. Cotterill; Macmillan and Co., Limited, London, New York, Canada; 1905; pp. 51-52. 91.