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Barbara Allen

From Academic Kids

Barbara Allen is a folk song known in dozens of versions. It has been classfied as (Child Ballad 84). Joan Baez, Shirley Collins, Doris Day, The Everley Brothers, Pete Seeger, and many others have recorded the song. The author is unknown, but the song may have originated in Ireland or Scotland.

All versions of "Barbara Allen" can be summarised thus: a young man is dying of unrequited love for Barbara Allen; she is called to his deathbed but all she can say is, 'Young man, I think you're dying.' After his funeral, Barbara repents, takes to her bed, and dies. Also, the young man can be considered a symbol of Jesus and Barbara Allen representative of humankind.

One version

In Scarlet towne, where I was borne,
There was a faire maid dwellin,
Made every youth crye wel-awaye !
Her name was Barbara Allen.
All in the merrye month of May,
When greene buds they were swellin,
Yong Jemmye Grove on his death-bed lay,
For love of Barbara Allen.
He sent his man unto her then,
To the town, where shee was dwellin;
You must come to my master deare,
If your name be Barbara Allen.
For death is printed on his face,
And ore his harte is stealin:
Then haste away to comfort him,
O lovelye Barbara Allen.
Though death be printed on his face,
And ore his harte is stealin,
Yet little better shall he bee,
For bonny Barbara Allen.
So slowly, slowly, she came up,
And slowly she came nye him;
And all she sayd, when there she came,
Yong man, I think y'are dying.
He turnd his face unto her strait,
With deadlye sorrow sighing;
O lovely maid, come pity mee,
Ime on my death-bed lying.
If on our death-bed you doe lye,
What needs the tale you are tellin:
I cannot keep you from your death;
Farewell, sayd Barbara Allen.
He turnd his face unto the wall,
As deadlye pangs he fell in:
Adieu ! adieu ! adieu to you all,
Adieu to Barbara Allen.
As she was walking ore the fields,
She heard the bell a knellin;
And every stroke did seem to saye,
Unworthye Barbara Allen.
She turnd her bodye round about,
And spied the corps a coming:
Laye downe, laye downe the corps, she sayd,
That I may look upon him.
With scornful eye she looked downe,
Her cheeke with laughter swellin;
That all her friends cryd out amaine,
Unworthye Barbara Allen.
When he was dead, and laid in grave,
Her harte was struck with sorrowe,
O mother, mother, make my bed,
For I shall dye to morrowe.
Hard harted creature him to slight,
Who loved me so dearlye:
O that I had beene more kind to him,
When he was live and neare me !
She, on her death-bed as she laye,
Beg'd to be buried by him;
And sore repented of the daye,
That she did ere denye him.
Farewell, she sayd, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in:
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.

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