The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14888 Message #2879895
Posted By: Jack Campin
05-Apr-10 - 07:25 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Meaning of John Barleycorn
Subject: RE: Meaning of John Barleycorn
GUEST, where is that from? It's rather like George Mackay Brown's:
The Ballad of John Barleycorn, the Ploughman, and the Furrow
George Mackay Brown
As I was ploughing in my field
The hungriest furrow ever torn
Followed my plough and she did cry
"Have you seen my mate John Barleycorn?"
Says I, "Has he got a yellow beard?
Is he always whispering night and morn?
Does he up and dance when the wind is high?"
Says she, "That's my John Barleycorn.
One day they took a cruel knife
(O, I am weary and forlorn!)
They struck him at his golden prayer.
They killed my priest, John Barleycorn.
They laid him on a wooden cart,
Of all his summer glory shorn,
And threshers broke with stick and stave
The shining bones of Barleycorn.
The miller's stone went round and round,
They rolled him underneath with scorn,
The miller filled a hundred sacks
With the crushed pride of Barleycorn.
A baker came by and bought his dust
That was a madman, I'll be sworn.
He burned my hero in a rage
Of twisting flames, John Barleycorn.
A brewer came by and stole his heart
Alas, that ever I was born!
He thrust it in a brimming vat
And drowned my dear John Barleycorn.
And now I travel narrow roads
My hungry feet are dark and worn.
But no one in this winter world
Has seen my dancer Barleycorn".
I took a bannock from my bag.
Lord, how her empty mouth did yawn!
Says I, "Your starving days are done,
For here's your lost John Barleycorn".
I took a bottle from my pouch,
I poured out whisky in a horn.
Says I, "Put by your grief, for here
Is the merry blood of Barleycorn".
She ate, she drank, she laughed, she danced,
And home with me she did return,
By candle-light in my ingle-nook
She wept no more for Barleycorn.