Barbara Allen

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

This was sung by Joan Baez with the Dead on 12 and 31 December 1981

'Twas in the merry month of May
When green buds all were swellin'
Sweet William on his death bed lay
For the love of Barbara Allen

He sent his servant to the town
To the place where she was dwellin'
Saying, "You must come to my master dear
If your name be Barb'ry Allen"

So slowly, slowly she got up,
And slowly she drew nigh to 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 kind to Barb'ry Allen

As she was walking through the field
She heard the death bells knellin'
And every stroke to her did say
"Hard-hearted Barb'ry Allen"

"Oh mother, oh mother, go dig my grave
Make it both long and narrow
Sweet William died of love for me
And I will die of sorrow"

"Oh father, oh father, go dig my grave
Make it both long and narrow
Sweet William died on yesterday
And I will die tomorrow"

Barb'ry Allen was buried in the old church-yard
Sweet William was buried beside her
Out of Sweet William's heart grew a red red rose
Out of Barb'ry Allen's, a briar

They grew and gew in the old church-yard
'Til they could grow no higher
At the end they formed a true lovers' knot
And the rose grew 'round the briar




Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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