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Aledo Times Record - Aledo, IL
Barbara Allen
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About this blog
By Gary DeNeal
Gary DeNeal is the editor and publisher since 1985 of Springhouse, a bi-monthly magazine focusing on the history and lore of southeastern Illinois.
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By Gary DeNeal
Nov. 2, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Years ago I did a 30-minute radio program on Harrisburg’s WEBQ. Mostly I talked or read from Springhouse or interviewed someone, but at times the program featured songs, folk songs for the most part. Included was “Barbara Allen.” One day an elderly woman called and said hearing the old song on radio reminded her that long ago her mother-in-law would sing "Barbara Allen" over and over. This happened at Eagle Creek, probably in the 1920s.


 


It would seem, then, that the Scottish ballad mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary (1666) had arrived here with the settlers, along with axes and bibles.


 


Here is one of the many versions of the ageless “Barbara Allen.” 


 


Barbara Allen’s Cruelty


 


In Scarlet town, where I was born,


There was a fair maid dwellin’,


Made every youth cry Well-a-way!


Her name was Barbara Allen.


 


All in the merry month of May,


When green buds they were swellin’,


Young Jemmy Grove on his death-bed lay,


For the love of Barbara Allen.


 


He sent his man in to her then,


To the town where she was dwellin’,


‘O haste and come to my master dear,


If your name be Barbara Allen.’


 


So slowly, slowly rase she up,


And slowly she came nigh him,


And when she drew the curtain by—


‘Young man, I think you’re dyin’.’


 


‘O it’s I am sick and very very sick,


And it’s all for Barbara Allen’


‘O the better for me ye’se never be,


Tho’ your heart’s blood were a-spillin’!


 


‘O dinna ye mind, young man,’ said she,


‘When the red wine ye were fillin’,


That ye made the healths go round and round,


And slighted Barbara Allen?’


 


He turn’d his face unto the wall,


And death was with him dealin’:


‘Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all,


And be kind to Barbara Allen!’


 


As was walking o’er the fields,


She heard the dead-bell knellin’;


And every jow the dead-bell gave


Cried ‘Woe to Barbara Allen.’


 


‘O mother, mother, make my bed,


O make it saft and narrow:


My love has died for me to-day,


I’ll die for him to-morrow.


 


‘Farewell,’ she said, ‘ye virgins all,


And shun the fault I fell in:


Henceforth take warning by the fall


Of cruel Barbara Allen.’


 




P. O. Box 8


Herod, IL 62947

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