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John Barleycorn

By

An old song - first printed in the 17th century at Samuel Pepys' behest and later made internationally famous by folk-rock group "Steeleye Span". Irish folklorists, however, adhere to the dogma that John Barleycorn was reincarnated as uisce beagh (Whiskey), not as common beer.

John Barleycorn

Oh three wise men they came from the east,
To plough for wheat and rye,
And they made a vow, and a solemn vow,
John Barleycorn should die!

Chorus
To me ri-fol-lair-ry, fol-de-diddle-aye
To me ri-fol-lair-ry Oh
To me ri-fol-lair-ry, fol-de-diddle-aye
To me ri-fol-lair-ry Oh

They laid him in three furrows deep,
Laid clods upon his head,
Then these three were rejoicing then -
John Barleycorn was dead.

Chorus

They let him lie for a very long time
Till the rain from heaven did fall,
Then little Sir John he sprang up again
And he proved them liars all.

Chorus

They let him stand till the midsummer day,
Till he looked both pale and wan.
The little Sir John he grew a long beard
And he so became a man.

Chorus

They have hired men with the scythe so sharp,
To cut him off at the knee,
They rolled him and they tied him around the waist,
And served him barbarously.

Chorus

Then they hired men with pitchforks,
To pitch him onto the load,
And the worst of all they served Barleycorn -
they bound him down with cord!

Chorus

They have hired men with the crab-tree sticks,
To beat him high and low,
They came down smick-smack on poorJohn's back,
Till the flesh beld w'every blow!

Chorus

And the next they put him in the maltin' kiln,
Thinking to dry his bones.
And the miller, he has served him worse than that,
He crushed him between two stones.

Chorus

And they've wheeled him here, and they've wheeled him there,
They've wheeled him to a barn,
And they have served him worse than that,
They've bunged him in a vat.

Chorus

They have worked their will on John Barleycorn
But he lived to tell the tale,
For they pour him out of an old brown jug
And they call him home brewed ale.

Chorus

So, come put your wine into glasses dear,
Your cider in tin cans,
But young Barleycorn in his old brown jug
For he proves the strongest man!

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