Sung by: Sara Jo Fendley
Recorded in Mountain View, AR 4/19/63

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‘Twas in the merry month of May,
When the green buds all were swelling,
Sweet William on his deathbed lay
For the love of Barbry Allen.

He sent his servants to the town,
To the place where she was dwelling,
Saying, “You must come to my master dear,
If your name be Barbry Allen.”

So slowly, slowly, she got up,
And slowly she drew nigh him,
And the only words to him did say,
“Young man, I think you’re dying.”

He turned his face unto the wall,
And death was in him welling.
“Goodbye, goodbye, to my friends all.
Be good to Barbry Allen.”

“Oh, Mother--oh, Mother--go dig my grave;
Make it both long and narrow.
Sweet William died on yesterday,
And I shall die tomorrow.”

Barbry Allen was buried in the old churchyard;
Sweet William was buried beside her.
Out of Sweet William’s heart there grew a rose;
Out of Barbry Allen’s a briar.

Also found in Child, #84, “Bonny Barbara Allan”; Randolph, Vol. I, #21, “Barbara Allen”; Brown, Vol. II, #27, “Bonny Barbara Allan”; Belden, p. 60, “Barbara Allen.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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