Barbara Allen

Back to England. Our version of BARBARA ALLEN, that most venerable and best-loved of ballads, was also found fairly recently (1964) by Ewan MacColl. He, with his wife Peggy Seeger, collected it from an English gypsy, Caroline Hughes, in Dorset.

In Reading town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwelling
I picked her out for to be my bride
And her name was Barbry Ellen, Ellen
     And her name was Barbry Ellen.

He sent his servant to the town
To the place where she was dwelling
Saying, You must come to my master dear
If your name be Barbry Ellen.

Slowly she got out of bed
And come where he was lying
And when she looked on his pale face
Said, Young man, I think you're dying.

Oh mother dear, go make my bed
You make it soft and easy
That I might die for the sake of love
And she might die for sorrow.

Oh mother dear, look at the side of my bed
You'll see a bowl there standing
It's full of tears that I've shed this night
For the loss of Barbry Ellen.

Oh mother dear, look over my head
You'll see a gold watch standing
There's my gold watch and my guinea gold ring
Would you deliver it to Barbry Ellen.

As she was walking over the moor
She saw a corpse a-coming
Oh put him down, you six pretty lads
That I might well gaze on him.

As I was walking and strolled along
I heard the bell a-tolling
With every stroke it seemed to say
Hard-hearted Barbry Ellen.

© Golden Hind Music