Sung by: Gus Mahon
(with instrumental accompaniment)
Recorded in Heber Springs, AR

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It was a pleasant month in May,
When all the flowers were blooming.
Sweet William on his deathbed lay
For the love of Barbry Allen.

He sent his servant to the town;
He sent him to her dwelling.
"Sweet William's sick; he sent me here
To tell Miss Barbry Allen."

He turned his pale face to the wall,
And turned his back to the people.
"Adieu, adieu to my friends . . .,
And 'bye to Barbry Allen."

"Oh, don't you remember the other day,
Down at your father's dwelling,
You passed your wine to the ladies all around,
And slighted Barbry Allen."

He hadn't got more than a mile from there,
'Til he heard a death bell ringing.
He looked to the east, and he looked to the west,
And he saw his pall . . . coming.

"Oh, hand me down the cold white corpse,
And let me kneel upon them.
Sweet William died for me today;
I'll die for him tomorrow."

They laid Sweet William by the church house door,
And . . . beside of him.
Sprang out of his grave a beautiful rose,
And out of hers, a briar.

They grew and grew to the church steeple top
And could not grow no higher,
And now they're twined in a true love knot,
For all young people to admire.

(Comment by Mr. Mahon: "That's the first time I've sung that in twenty years.")

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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