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Barb'ra Allen

Anonymous (17th century, England and Scotland)
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In Scarlet town, where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwellin'
Made ev'ry youth cry "Well-a-day",
Her name was Barb'ra Allen.

'Twas in the merry month of May
When green buds they were swellin'
Sweet William on his deathbed lay
For love of Barb'ra Allen

He sent his servant to the town,
The place where she was dwellin'
Cried, "Master bids you come to him,
If your name be Barb'ra Allen."

Well, slowly, slowly she got up
And slowly she went nigh him;
But all she said as she passed his bed,
"Young man, I think you're dying."

She walked out in the green, green fields,
She heard his death bells knellin',
And every stroke they seemed to say,
"Hard-hearted Barb'ra Allen."

"Oh father, father, dig my grave,
Go dig it deep and narrow.
Sweet Willliam died for me today;
I'll die for him tomorrow."

They burried her in the old churchyard,
Sweet William's grave was nigh her,
And from his heart grew a red, red rose,
And from her heart a briar.

They grew and grew up the old church wall,
'Till they could grow no higher,
Until they tied a true lover's knot,
The red rose and the briar.

Source: Denes Agay, Best Loved Song of the American People,
Doubleday, 1975, p. 17.