(BONNY BARBARA ALLAN)
Sung by: Ollie Gilbert
Recorded in Mountain View, AR by George Fisher
Click here to listen to the original recording
When the rosebuds, they were swelling,
Sweet Willie lay on his deathbed . . .
By the love of Barbry Allen.
He sent his servant out to her
Where she was at her dwelling,
Saying, “Servant sent me after you,
If your name be Barbry Allen.”
Slowly, slowly, slowly she rose,
And slowly went unto him.
She came near; she said to him,
“Young man, I think you’re dying.”
“Oh, yes, I’m sick and very sick,
And death is in me dwelling,
But none the better I’ll ever be
If I don’t get Barbry Allen.”
“Oh, yes, you’re sick and very sick,
And death is in you dwelling,
But none the better you’ll ever be,
For you won’t get Barbry Allen.”
Don’t you remember last Friday night,
When we were at a dwelling,
Drinking wine with the ladies around,
You slighted Barbry Allen?”
He turned his pale face to the wall;
She turned her back upon him.
“Adieu, adieu, to my friends all around,
And adieu to Barbry Allen.”
She hadn’t got more than three . . . down,
She heared his death bells ringing.
Every note they seemed to say,
“Hard-hearted Barbry Allen.”
She looked to the east; she looked to the west;
She saw the corpse a-coming.
The more she looked, the more she wept,
Busted out to crying.
“Oh, open me up the corpse of clay,
And let me gaze upon it.
Adieu, adieu to my friends all around;
My folly has o’erdone me.
“Oh, Mother, go home and fix my bed;
Fix it long and narrow.
Sweet Willie died for me today,
And I’ll die for him tomorrow.”
Sweet Willie was buried in . . . churchyard,
And Ba4rbry was buried beside him.
Out of his breast grew a lily white rose,
And out of her a green briar.
They grew and they grew to the high steeple top,
But they could not grow no higher.
They . . . top tie in a true lover’s knot,
And the rose around the 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.”