The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14888   Message #1897054
Posted By: RTim
30-Nov-06 - 08:15 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Meaning of John Barleycorn
Subject: ADD Version: John Barleycorn
On the WGBH/PBS programme "Sound & Spirit" this weekend they played a version of Barleycorn as an example of a "Death & Resurrection" song - but I don't think of it as such a song - It's a clever story about Beer!
I recorded a version on my CD that was an amalgam of two versions from the south of England - from Mr. Miller of Wootten Fitzpaine.


Two hired men came from the north,
their victory to try
And they did make a solemn vow
John Barleycorn should die.
        To me rite fol dol the diddle lol the day
        To me rite fol the diddle dol the dey.

They ploughed the ground & harrowed him in,
threw clods upon his head
Then they did both rejoice & sing,
John Barleycorn is dead.

There he lay all underground, till rain on him did fall
Then Barleycorn sprung up again & so he done 'em all.

There he stood till midsummer, till he grew pale & wan
And Barleycorn he grew a long beard & so became a man.

They hired men with scythes so sharp to cut him off at knee
And the women with their forks & rakes they used him bitterly.

They hired men with prongs so sharp
to stab him to the heart,
And like a thief or felon, they did bind him to a cart.

They wheeled him round & round the fields
till they came to a barn
And there they made a mow of him
to keep him from all harm.

Then hired men with long staffs came
To beat him skin from bone,
But the miller he served him worst than that
For he ground him between two stones.

Put brandy in a keg, me boys, put cider in a can,
But Barleycorn in an old brown bowl
will floor the strongest man.

He'll turn your gold to silver, your silver into brass,
He'll make a boy become a man, and a man become an ass.