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John Barleycorn

    There were three men come from the West
    Their fortunes for to try,
    And these three made a solemn vow:
    "John Barleycorn must die."

    They plowed, 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,
    When little Sir John raised up his head
    And so amazed them all.

    They let him stand 'til Mid-Summer's Day
    When 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 at the knee;
    They rolled him and tied him around the waist,
    And served 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 wheeled him 'round and around the field
    'Til they came unto a barn,
    And there they took a 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 there's brandy in the glass,
    And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
    Proved the strongest man at last.

    The huntsman cannot hunt the fox
    Nor loudly blow his horn
    And the tinker cannot mend his pots
    Without John Barleycorn.

    Collected by Robert Burns
    There was three kings into the east,
    Three kings both great and high,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn should die.

    They took a plough and plough'd him down,
    Put clods upon his head,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn was dead.

    But the cheerful Spring came kindly on'
    And show'rs began to fall;
    John Barleycorn got up again,
    And sore surpris'd them all.

    The sultry suns of Summer came,
    And he grew thick and strong:
    His head weel arm'd wi pointed spears,
    That no one should him wrong.

    The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
    When he grew wan and pale;
    His bendin joints and drooping head
    Show'd he began to fail.

    His colour sicken'd more and more,
    He faded into age;
    And then his enemies began
    To show their deadly rage.

    They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
    And cut him by the knee;
    They ty'd him fast upon a cart,
    Like a rogue for forgerie.

    They laid him down upon his back,
    And cudgell'd him full sore.
    They hung him up before the storm,
    And turn'd him o'er and o'er.

    They filled up a darksome pit
    With water to the brim,
    They heav'd in John Barleycorn-
    There, let him sink or swim!

    They laid him upon the floor,
    To work him farther woe;
    And still, as signs of life appear'd,
    They toss'd him to and fro.

    They wasted o'er a scorching flame
    The marrow of his bones;
    But a miller us'd him worst of all,
    For he crush'd him between two atones.

    And they hae taen his very hero blood
    And drank it round and round;
    And still the more and more they drank,
    Their joy did more abound.

    John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
    Of noble enterprise;
    For if you do but taste his blood,
    'Twill make your courage rise.

    'Twill make a man forget his woe;
    'Twill heighten all his joy:
    'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
    Tho the tear were in her eye.

    Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
    Each man a glass in hand;
    And may his great posterity
    Ne'er fail in old Scotland!



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