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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBarbara Allen
Roud No.54
Collected FromIles, Elijah
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleChild No 084
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 388; WSRO: 2598/28 Williams, A: Round about the Upper Thames Ms, Vol. 5, p 38
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 13th November , 1915, p 2, Part 7 No. 2: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 204, 205
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

It's of one morn, one sweet May morn,
When flowers they are springing,
A young man on his death bed lay,
For the sake of Barbara Allen.

Verse 2

He sent his servant to the house,
To the house where she was dwelling;
He said, "You must come to my master's house,
If your name is Barbara Allen."

Verse 3

So slowly she put on her clothes,
So slowly she went to him,
And when she got to his bedside,
She said, "Young man, you're dying."

Verse 4

He turned his face towards the wall,
When Death was creeping on him -
"Adieu to you! And adieu to all!
And adieu to Barbara Allen."

Verse 5

As she was going across the field,
She heard the bell a-tolling,
And as it tolled it seemed to say,
"Hard hearted Barbara Allen."

Verse 6

As she was going down the street,
She met the corpse a-coming;
She said, "Put down this pretty corpse,
That I may gaze upon him."

Verse 7

The more she gazed the more she laughed,
Till the further she got from him,
And all the people cried, "For shame!
Hard hearted Barbara Allen."

Verse 8

"Now this young man he died for love,
And I will die tomorrow,
Now bury this young man today,
And bury me tomorrow."

Verse 9

Now these two lovers are dead and gone,
And they lay close together,
And out of his breast there sprang a red rose,
And out of hers' a briar.

Verse 10

And there they grew to the chancel top,
Till they could not grow any higher,
They turned and tied in a true lover's knot,
For all people to admire.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams: Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'Obtained of Elijah Iles, aged ninety four, Inglesham, Wiltshire.'

Williams: Alfred: FSUT: 'Well known in several versions. Obtained of Elijah Iles, Inglesham, Wiltshire.'

Note 2

In Verse 6 Line 1 the original text read:

As she was going across the field

In Verse 10 Line 2 the original text read:

Till they could grow no higher

Note 3

FSUT only contains verses 1 - 8.

Note 4

Williams, Alfred: RAUT: There is only a brief reference to the song being sung by Iles.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2011.



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