John Barleycorn

from by Damh the Bard

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The Ballad of John Barleycorn
(Trad. arr. Damh the Bard)

There were three men came out of the West
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn must die.
They ploughed, they sowed, they harrowed him in
Threw clods all upon his head
And these three men made a solemn vow
John barleycorn was Dead.

They let him stand for a very long time
Till the rains from heaven did fall
Then little Sir John's sprung up his head
And so amazed them all
They let him stand till the Midsummer Day
Till he grew both pale and wan
Then little Sir John's grew a great, long beard
And so become a man.

They hire'd men with scythes so sharp
To cut him off at the knee.
They bound him and tied him around the waist
Serving him most barb'rously.
They hire'd men with their sharp pitch-forks
To prick him to the heart
But the drover served him worse than that
For he's bound him to a cart.

They rolled him around and around the field
Till they came unto a barn
And these three men made a solemn mow
Of poor John Barleycorn
They hire'd men with crab-tree sticks
To strip him skin from bone
But the miller, served him worse than that,
For he's ground him between two stones.

Here's Little sir John in the nut-brown bowl
And brandy in the glass
But Little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl's
Proved the stronger man at last
For the hunts man he can't hunt the fox
Nor cheerily blow his horn
And the tinker, can't mend Kettle or pot
Without a little Barleycorn.


from The Hills they are Hollow, released July 1, 2003


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Damh the Bard Brighton

Damh the Bard – is a modern-day Bard whose spirituality and love of folk tradition is expressed through his music, storytelling and poetry. Drawing on the Bardic tradition, his performances are both entertaining and educational, speaking directly to the heart, and never without a good splash of humour. ... more

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