JOHN BARLEYCORN

 

There were three men came out from the west
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn oath:
'John Barleycorn must die.'

They powed, they sowed, they harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
'Til these three men were satisfied
John Barleycorn was dead.

~

They let him lie for a very long time
'Til the rains from heaven did fall
Then little Sir John, he raised up his head
And so amazed them all.

They let him lie 'til a long Mid-Summer
'Til he looked both pale and wan
Then little Sir John grew a long, long beard
And so became a man.

~

They hired men with their scythes so sharp
To cut him off down at the knee
They rolled him and tied him around by the waist
Serving him barbarously.

They hired men with their sharp pitchforks
To pierce him to the heart
But the loader did serve him worse than that
For he bound him to the cart.

~

They rolled him around and 'round the field
'Til they came unto a barn
And there they made the solemn oath
On poor John Barleycorn.

They hired men with their crab-tree sticks
To split him skin from bone
But the miller did serve him worse than that
For he ground him between two stones.

~

There's little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
And brandy in the glass
And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
Proved the strongest man at last.

For the hunter he can't hunt a fox
Nor so loudly blow his horn
And the tinker he can't mend his pewters or his pots
Without a little bit of John Barleycorn.