Barbara Allen

"Barbara Allen" is a traditional Scottish ballad. It later travelled to America both orally and in print, where it became a popular folk song.

Print vitals & song text


It was in and about the Martinmas time,
When the green leaves were a falling,

That Sir John Graeme in the west country
Fell in love with Barbara Allan.

O Hooly, hooly rose she up,
To the place where he was lying,

And when she drew the curtain by,
‘Young man, I think you’re dying.’

O it’s I’m sick, and very, very sick,
And ‘t is a’ Barbara Allan:’

‘O the better for me ye’s never be,
Tho your heart’s blood were a spilling.

O dinna ye mind, young man,’ said she,
‘When ye was in the tavern a drinking,

That ye made the healths gae round and round,
And slighted Barbara Allan?’

He turned his face unto the wall,
And death was with him dealing:

‘Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all,
And be kind to Barbara Allan.’

And slowly, slowly raise she up,
And slowly, slowly left him,

And sighing said, she coud not stay,
Since death of life had reft him.

She had not gane a mile but two
When she heartd the death-bell ringing,

And every jow that the death-bell geid,
It cry’d, Woe to Barbara Allan!

‘O mother, mother make my bed!
O make it saft and narrow!

Since my love died for me to-day,
I’ll die for him to-morrow.’

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