Was in the merry month of May When flowers were a bloomin’,
Sweet William on his death-bed lay For the love of Barbara Allen.
Slowly, slowly she got up, And slowly she went nigh him,
And all she said when she got there, “Young man, I think you’re dying.”
“O yes, I’m sick and very low, And death is on me dwellin’,
No better shall I ever be If I don’t get Barbara Allen.”
“Don’t you remember the other day When you were in the tavern,
I toasted all the ladies there And slighted Barbara Allen?”
“O yes, I remember the other day When we were in the Tavern,
I toasted all the ladies there, Gave my love to Barbara Allen.”
He turned his pale face to the wall, And death was on him dwellin’.
“Adieu, Adieu, my kind friends all, Be kind to Barbara Allen.”
As she was walkin’ through the fields, She heard the death bells tolling,
And every toll they seemed to say, “Hard-hearted Barbara Allen.”
She looked east, she looked west, She saw his corpse a-comin’.
“Lay down, lay down the corpse,” she said, “And let me gaze 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.”
Sweet William died on a Saturday night, And Barbara died on Sunday,
Her mother died for the love of both, And was buried Easter Monday.
They buried Willie in the old church yard, And Barbara there anigh him,
And out of his grave grew a red, red rose, And out of hers, a briar.
They grew and grew in the old churchyard, Till they couldn’t grow no higher,
They lapped and tied in a true love’s knot. The rose ran around the briar.
VERSION TWO: In Scarlet town where I was born, There was a fair maid dwellin’ Made every youth cry Well-a-day, Her name was Barb’ra Allen. All in the merry month of May, When green buds they were swellin’ Young Willie Grove on his death-bed lay, For love of Barb’ra Allen. He sent his man unto her then To the town where he was dwellin’ You must come to my master, dear, If your name be be Barb’ra Allen. So slowly, slowly she came up, And slowly she came nigh him, And all she said when there she came: “Young man, I think you’re dying!” He turned his face unto the wall And death was drawing nigh him. Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all, And be kind to Barb’ra Allen. As she was walking o’er the fields, She heard the death bell knellin’, And ev’ry stroke did seem to say, Unworthy Barb’ra Allen. When he was dead and laid in grave, Her heart was struck with sorrow. “Oh mother, mother, make my bed For I shall die tomorrow.” And on her deathbed she lay, She begged to be buried by him, And sore repented of the day That she did e’er deny him. “Farewell,” she said, “ye virgins all, And shun the fault I fell in, Henceforth take warning by the fall Of cruel Barb’ra Allen.”
VERSION THREE: In London town where I was born, And where I got my learning, Sweet William Green took to his bed, For love of Barbara Allen. He sent her letters with his man, She read them small and moving, No better shall ye be, Ye’ll not have Barbara Allen. As she walked down the road to home, She saw his hearse a-comin’, “Oh, lay him down upon the ground, That I may gaze upon him.” “Oh, mother, mother make my bed, Oh, make it long and narrow, Sweet William died for love today, I’ll die for him tomorrow.” They buried her by the old church tower, Him they laid beside her, And from her grave grew a red, red rose, And from his grave a briar. They grew to top the old church tower, They could not grow no higher, And there they twined in a true lover’s knot, Red rose around the briar.