Collected by Marvin Wallace Sung by Buck Buttery
For Mary C. Parler Lincoln, Arkansas
Transcribed by Frances Majors August 19, 1958
Reel 281— Item 1
Barbara Alien (Child No. 84.)
In Scarlet Town where I was born There was a maiden dwelling,
Made every youth cry well away,
And her name was Barbara Allen.
All in the merry month of May,
When green buds they were swelling,
Sweet William come from the western states And courted Barbara Allen.
It was all in the month of June,
When everything was blooming,
Sweet William on his death bed lay For the love of Barbara Allen.
He sent his servants to the town Where Barbara was a-dwelling.
Said, My master is sick and sent for you If your name is Barbara Allen.
And death is painted on his face And o'er his heart is stealing;
Then hasten away to comfort him,
Oh, lovely Barbara Allen.
So slowly, slowly she got up,
And slowly she came nigh him;
And all she said when she got there,
Young man, I think you're dying.
Oh, yes, sick and very sick,
And death is o'er me dwelling;
No better, no better I'll ever be If I can't have Barbara Allen.
Oh, yes, you're sick and very sick,
And death is o'er you dwelling;
No better, no better you'll ever be,
For you can't have Barbara Allen.
Oh, don't you remember in yonder town When you were at a tavern,
You drank a toast to the ladies all around
And slighted Barbara Allen?Barbara Allen (Cont'd)
Reel 281, Item 1 (Cont'd)
Yes, I remember in yonder town When I was at a tavern;
I gave my wine to the ladies all around And my heart to Barbara Allen.
As she was on her highway home The birds they kept a-singing;
And every word they seemed to say Hard-hearted Barbara Allen
As she was walking o'er the fields She heard the death bells knelling;
And every toll they seemed to say Hard-hearted Barbara Allen.
She looked to the east, she looked to the west She spied his corpse a-coming;
Lay down, lay down that corpse of clay,
That I might look upon him.
The more she looked, the more she mourned,
Till she fell to the ground a-crying;
Saying, Take me up and carry me home,
For now I think I'm dying.
Oh, Mother, oh, Mother, go make my bed;
Go make it long and narrow.
Sweet William died for pure, pure love,
And I will die of sorrow.
Oh, Father, oh, Father, go dig my grave;
Go dig it long and narrow.
Sweet William died for me today;
I'll die for him tomorrow.
She was buried in the old church yard,
And he was buried nigh her;
On William's grave there grew a red rose;
On William's grew a green briar.
They grew to the top of the old church tower; They couldn't grow no higher.
They locked and tied in a true love knot,
The red rose and the briar.
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