John Barleycorn


There were three men came out of the west
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn must die
They’ve plowed, they’ve sown, the’ve harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
And these three men were satisfied
John Barleycorn was dead

They let him lie for a very long time
Till the rains from heaven did fall
And little Sir John sprung up his head
And so amazed them all
They let him stand ’til mid summer
’til he looked both pale and worn
And little Sir John’s grown a long, long beard
And so become a man

They’ve hired men with scythes so sharp
To cut him off at the knee
They rolled him and tied him about the waist
Serving him most barbarously
They’ve hired men with sharp pitch forks
Who pricked him to the heart…
And the loader he has served him worse than that
For he’s bound him to the cart

They’ve wheeled him around and around in the field
’til they came onto a barn
And there they made a solemn oath
On poor John Barleycorn
They’ve hired men with the crab tree sticks
to cut him skin from bone
And the miller he has served him worse than that
For he’s ground him between two stones

Here’s little Sir John in a nut brown bowl
And he’s brandy in the glass
And little Sir John in the nut brown bowl
Proved the strongest man at last
For the huntsman, he can’t hunt the fox
Nor loudly blow his horn
And the tinker he can’t mend kettle nor pots
Without little John Barleycorn