was in the merry month of may
when all gay flowers were a bloomin’,
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 dwelling
said, “you must come to my master’s house,
if your name be barbara allen.”
so slowly, slowly she gets up,
and to his bedside going
she drew the curtains to one side
and says, “young man, you’re dying.”
“i know, i’m sick and very low,
and sorrow dwells within me
no better, no better i never will be.
til i have barbara allen.”
“don’t you remember last sat-rday night
when i was at the tavern,
you gave your drinks to the ladies there
but you slighted barbara allen?”
he reached up his pale white hands
intending for to touch her
she turned away from his bedside
and says, “young man i won’t have you.”
he turned his cheek into the wall
and bursted out a crying
“what i do to thee i do to all
and i do to barbara allen.”
she had not walked and reached the town
she heard the death bells ringing
and as they rolled they seemed to say,
“hard-hearted barbara allen.”
“oh mother, oh mother go make my bed
make it both long and narrow
sweet william died for me today
i’ll die for him tomorrow.”
sweet william was buried in the old church yard
and barbara there anigh him,
and out of his grave grew a red, red rose,
and out of hers, a briar.
they grew and grew to the old churchyard,
where they couldn’t grow no higher,
and there they tied in a true love’s knot.
the rose wrapped around the briar.
emmylou harris - barbara allen lyrics are property and copyright of their owners and provided for educational purposes and personal use only.