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Index

John Barleycorn
A Ballad
 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation



1.
There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.
2.
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.
3.
But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show'rs began to fall;
John barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris'd them all.
4.
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.
5.
The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show'd he began to fail.
6.
His colour sicken'd more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.
7.
They've taen a weapon long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then ty'd him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.
8.
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.
9.
They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim,
They heaved in John Barleycorn --
There, let him sink of swim!
10.
They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him further woe;
And still, as signs of life appear'd,
They toss'd him to and fro.
11.
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 stones.
12.
And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.
13.
John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise.
14.
'Twill make a man forget his woes;
'Twill heighten all his joy:
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
Tho' the tear were in her eye.
15.
Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne'er fail in old Scotland!




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

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

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And showers began to fall;
John barleycorn got up again,
And sore surprised them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
And he grew thick and strong:
His head well armed with pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn entered mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Showed he began to fail.

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

They have taken a weapon long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgery.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgeled him full sore.
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him over and over.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim,
They heaved in John Barleycorn -
There, let him sink of swim!

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

They wasted over a scorching flame
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller used him worst of all,
For he crushed him between two stones.

And they have taken his very heart's 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,
It will make your courage rise.

It will make a man forget his woes;
It will heighten all his joy:
It will make the widow's heart to sing,
Though 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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