Dalhousie University Archives

Nova Scotia Ballads

[Page 19]

Barbara Allen - Mrs. D.


Figure 1. Barbara Allen (1840)


It was in and about the Hart'mas1 time,
When the green leaves were a fallin',
That Sir John Graham in the West Countrie,
Fell in love wi' Barbara Allen.
[Page 20]
"0 see you not those seven ships,
So bonny as they're sailin',
I'll make you mistress of them all,
My bonny Barbara Allen."
But it fell out upon one day,
When he set in the tavern,
He drank the ladies' health around,
And slichted2 Barbara Allen.
He sent his man down through ths town,
To the place where she was dwellin',
But for all the letters he did send,
She swore she'd never have him.
[Page 21]
Then he took sick and very sick,
He sent for her to see him.
"Oh haste, and come to my master dear,
Gin ye be Barbara Allen."
Now he is off with all his speed,
To the place where she was dwellin'
"Here is a letter from my master
Gin ye be Barbara Allen."
She took the letter in her hand,
But ere she'd read the letter through,
With tears her eyes were blinding.
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Now she is gone with all her speed,
She's nigh unto his dwellin',
She slightly drew the curtains by,
"Young man, I think you're dying."
"It's oh I'm sick! I'm very sick,
My heart is at the breaking.
One kiss or two from your sweet lips
Would keep me from a dying!"
"Remember not, young man" said she,
"When you sat in the tavern,
You drank the ladies' healths around
And slichted Barbara Allen."
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He turned his face unto the wall,
And death was with him dealin',
"Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all,
And be kind to Barbara Allen."
Then slowly, slowly rose she up
And slowly, slowly left him,
And sighing said she could not stay,
Since death of life had reft3 him,
She had not gone a mile from town,
When she heard the death bell knelling,
And every knell the death bell gave,
Was "Woe to Barbara Allen,"
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"Oh mother, mother, make my bed,
And make it eoft and narrow,
As my love died for me today
I'll die for him tomorrow."


Hart'mas: refers to St. Martin's Day, which celebrates the beginning of harvesting in August.
slichted: archaic term for slighted.
reft: plundered or robbed.
Anonymous. Date: 2014-10-16