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(one of the best known of the old English ballads; l learned it in about 1949)

(music to go here)

In Scarlet Town, where I was born
There was a fair maid dwellin';
Made ev'ry youth cry, Well-a-day!
Her name was Barb'ry Allen.

All in the merry month of May
The green buds, they were swellin',
Sweet William on his deathbed lay,
For love of Barb'ry Allen.

He sent his servant to her door,
To the place where she was dwellin',
Sayin', Miss, o Miss, o come you quick,
If you be Barb'ry Allen.

O, slowly, slowly, she got up,
And slowly she came nigh him,
She drew the curtain to one side,
And said, Young man, you're dyin'.

O yes, I'm sick, and very sick,
And grief in me is dwellin',
No better, now, I'll ever be,
If I don't have Barb'ry Allen.

Do you remember the other night,
When you were at the tavern?
You drank a health to the ladies all,
But you slighted Barb'ry Allen.

Yes, I remember the other night,
When I was at the tavern;
I gave a health to the ladies all,
But my heart to Barb'ry Allen.

He turned his pale face to the wall,
For death was in him dwellin',
Good-bye, good-bye, my dear friends all,
Be kind to Barb'ry Allen.

As she was walkin' toward her home,
She heard the death-bell knellin',
And every stroke, it seemed to say,
Hard-hearted Barb'ry Allen!

Then she looked east, and she looked west,
She saw the corpse a-comin',
O hand me down that corpse of clay,
That I may look upon him.

O mother, mother, make my bed,
O make it long and narrow;
Sweet William died for me today,
I'll die for him tomorrow.

O father, father, dig my grave,
O dig it long and narrow,
Sweet William died for love of me,
And I shall die for sorrow.

As on her death-bed there she lay,
She begged to be buried beside him,
And sore repented of the day
That ever she denied him.

Farewell, she said, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in;
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barb'ry Allen.

A rose grew from sweet William's grave,
From Barbara's grew a brier;
They grew and grew to the steeple top,
Till they could grow no higher.

They grew and grew to the steeple top,
There they could grow no higher;
And there they tied in a true-love knot,
The rose clung 'round the brier.

(from miriam berg's folksong collection)