Sung by: Mr. and Mrs. Berry Sutterfield
Recorded in Big Flat, AR 8/29/58

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In yonders town, where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwelling,
Made every youth cry, "Well-a-way."
Her name was Barbry Ellen.

Was in the merry month of May,
When green buds, they were swelling;
Sweet William came from the western states
And courted Barbry Ellen.

Was all in the month of June,
When everything was blooming,
Sweet William on his deathbed lay
For the love of Barbry Ellen.

He sent his servant to the town
Where Barbry was a-dwelling,
Saying, "My master's sick and sent for you
If your name is Barbry Ellen.

"He is sick and very sick,
And death on him is dwelling,
So hasten away to comfort him,
Oh, lovely Barbry Ellen."

Slowly, slowly she got up,
And slowly she came nigh him,
And all she said when she got there:
"Young man, I think you're dying."

"Oh, yes, I'm sick and very sick,
And death on me is dwelling.
No better, no better I never will be,
If I can't get Barbry Ellen."

"Oh, yes, you're sick and very sick,
And death on you is dwelling.
No better, no better you never will be,
For you can't get Barbry Ellen.

"Don't you remember in yonders town
When we were at the tavern,
You drank a health to the ladies all around,
And slighted Barbry Ellen?"

"Oh, yes, I remember in yonders town,
In yonders town a-drinking,
I gave a health to the ladies all around,
But my heart to Barbry Ellen."

As she was on her highway home,
The birds kept a-singing.
They sang so clear, did seem to say,
"Hard-hearted Barbry Ellen."

As she was walking o'er the fields,
She heard his death bells ringing,
And every stroke did seem to say,
"Hard-hearted Barbry Ellen."

She looked to the east, and she looked to the west;
She saw his corpse a-coming.
"Lay down, lay down that corpse of clay,
That I may look upon him."

The more she looked, the more she mourned,
'Til she bursted out to crying,
Saying, "Pick me up and carry me home,
For I feel like I am dying.

"Oh, Mother, oh, Mother, go make my bed.
Go make it long and narrow.
Sweet William died for pure, pure love
And I shall die for sorrow.

"Oh, Father, oh, Father, go dig my grave.
Go dig it long and narrow.
Sweet William died for me today;
I'll die for him tomorrow."

They buried Sweet William in the old churchyard,
And Barbry in the new one.
A rose sprung from Sweet Williams' grave,
And a briar from Barbry Ellen's.

They grew and they grew to the top of the wall,
And they could not grow no higher.
They lapped and they tied in a true love's knot,
And the rose run 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."

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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